Consider Fire District No. 1 staffing, issues at upcoming election

Apr 16, 2018

To the Editor:

The Dartmouth District 1 Fire Department election for a Prudential Committee seat is scheduled for April 30, 2018 at the 10 Bridge Street fire station.

I hope the voters will consider these important issues:

1). Dartmouth District 1 Fire Department is and always has been a call fire department. This means there is only one full time employee: Chief Brad Ellis. The fire station is staffed with the Chief and two per diem firefighters from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and with two per diem firefighters those same hours on Saturdays and Sundays.

After hours emergency calls are handled via the 911 system. District 1 firefighters are extremely dedicated and highly capable and they respond as needed during the day and to after-hours calls, nights, weekends and on holidays via pagers and a response system.

2). Chief Ellis does not plan to make District 1 a full-time fire department. If anyone has said otherwise it is pure fiction or a deliberate misrepresentation. Please contact Chief Ellis and he will be more than happy to talk about the department with you.

3). Chief Ellis is merely seeking one full time fire prevention officer to conduct state mandated inspections of residences, businesses and schools. We can all agree that public safety is paramount, especially in the schools. Chief Ellis and the per diem Fire Prevention Office conducted over 600 inspections of commercial and residential properties last year.

Unfortunately, because of the burden of those inspections, many of the Massachusetts Public Fire and Life Safety Education school training sessions could not be conducted. This is why Chief Ellis is seeking this single full time position to make sure schools, businesses and residences are inspected faithfully and regularly as mandated by the law.

Certainly this is a reasonable request made in the interest of public safety, and a tax increase, if any, would minimal. The Prudential Committee just denied the Chief’s request and they voted to remove this article from the annual warrant.

4). The April 30th District 1 Prudential Committee election is important for many reasons, and I ask you to reach out directly to both candidates, Joann Avila and Robert Davignon and discuss their positions with them.

Thank you for your consideration.

Melissa Ellis

(Wife of Fire Chief Brad Ellis)