As a lifelong resident of West Falmouth, I am upset about the closing of the West Falmouth fire station. Particularly concerning is the cavalier attitude displayed by a number of our senior Town of Falmouth officials. I object to this, particularly when it comes to the safety of Falmouth residents.
I am well aware of the town’s longstanding plan to close the West Falmouth station, but feel that West Falmouth residents have been misled regarding the timing of the closure and the replacement station. Three years ago my village was told the station would close only after the new station was built. The proposed location was Route 151 or Thomas Landers Road. However, at a recent meeting, the town’s consultant presented Sandwich Road as the new site. When questioned on estimated response times during the peak summer season, there were no answers.
It was painfully obvious at the meeting on October 17 that Fire Chief Small and several other officials already had their plan in place. The meeting was not a “community meeting.” There was no public input, no flow or exchange of ideas and make no mistake this “plan” will affect the entire town in the long run.
Perhaps the most egregious oversight is that our senior Town of Falmouth officials and Fire Chief [Michael] Small entered into union negotiations knowing the vulnerability of the West Falmouth station. They negotiated with the local union without a safeguard in place that will protect West Falmouth residents. The fire chief unabashedly states, “It’s not in the budget” and “There’s no going back.”
I challenge Chief Small and Town Manager Julian Suso to go back to the books and figure it out! How about getting creative and not being so inflexible? Here are a few suggestions:
- Privatize transport and nonemergency calls to area nursing homes, et cetera.
- Have only an ambulance at the West Falmouth station for local emergencies within a five- to six-mile radius.
- Build out to the north of the West Falmouth fire station parcel, allowing the ability to house both a fire truck and ambulance.
- Create an open floor plan/studio sleeping arrangement for the firefighters stationed in West Falmouth. It could be similar to those many of our senior citizens currently live in, or how about bunkbeds?
I close in reminding Chief Small that at a recently completed CPR course at the Falmouth fire station I was told the most important thing to remember is, it takes one person to make a difference in an emergency.
Amy C. Sellers
Old Dock Road