Submitted by First Selectman Fred Camillo
The Fire Response Time Study recently conducted by the Matrix Consulting Group provided the Town of Greenwich with a list of recommendations to consider that have the potential to improve response times to fires all over town, including the northwest corner of Greenwich.
The two primary ways the report identified that the Greenwich Fire Department could improve response times the most is by focusing on reducing the call processing time (the time it takes to process a 911 call for emergency service), and turnout time (the time it takes responders to don protective gear and begin responding in their vehicles.)
Our new fire administration has asked for time to go over data, review the list of recommendations to consider and make a detailed plan to address response times. I think that is a prudent course of action. To help guide the Town of Greenwich and Greenwich Fire Department in this process, the Town will adopt an organizational statement that outlines response time expectations, staffing, response capabilities, and to provide guidance for any future expansion of the fire department.
With $1 million of Town money already appropriated for expansion/renovation of the existing station at Round Hill to accommodate more volunteers and enhance the operations there, and with the Greenwich Fire Departments renewed focus in improving response times, this measured approach is both prudent and logical. If we halt that ( volunteer enhancement ) effort, we, in effect, end that effort and forever close out the volunteer corps at Round Hill. The Town believes that no longer having a volunteer corps at Round Hill would be a mistake. Greenwich has a long and honored tradition of volunteer firefighting. Volunteer firefighters play a critical role in responding to emergency calls and are absolutely dedicated to the safety of their fellow citizens and the protection of property and the environment.
If, at the end of the day, the GFD is unable to significantly improve response times, we are putting in the budget money for altered renderings for an addition to the new proposed building in order to house paid firefighters in addition to the volunteers at Round Hill. Thus, we are fully prepared to meet our obligations to protect Town residents all over Greenwich. We just need to do it in a measured and methodical way so that we are not making decisions on emotions or biases, but instead basing them on facts born out of experience, research, and true need.
The Town of Greenwich (Chief McHugh in concert with Office of First Selectman) is now focused on this and giving it the proper attention and doing so with the reorganization that has recently taken place in the past year. We believe the reorganized Greenwich Fire Dept, in tandem with adherence to recommendations in the Matrix report, will result in better coverage for our 62,500 residents, personal and public property, and enhanced public safety for the modern era.