BRATTLEBORO — Town officials have selected a firm they would like to tap for a study on creating a joint EMS/fire service.
“The purpose of this engagement is to determine what additional staffing, equipment, training Brattleboro Fire will need to be in a position to assume full responsibility for emergency medical services, including transport, in a future fiscal year, possibly as soon as FY24,” Brattleboro Fire Chief Len Howard said in a memo, referring to fiscal year 2024.
Ahead of Tuesday’s Select Board meeting, Howard is recommending the board authorize the town manager to sign a contract with AP Triton of Sheridan, Wyoming, to perform the feasibility study. The project carries a price tag of $38,721.
Expected to take about 120 days to complete, Howard said the assessment will result in a final report with information on system demands, recommendations and strategies to deliver a high level of service.
“The proposed scope of work will examine our existing assets, including staffing, equipment and model of organization (shift schedule, etc.), review community and geographic profile of Brattleboro to determine what BFD needs to do in order to ensure a successful transition,” he wrote. “The analysis will include anticipated additional departmental costs and anticipated revenues based on our community profile.”
The fire department has delivered “first-response pre-hospital EMS care” to Brattleboro residents since 2000, according to the initial announcement. Last month, following a contract dispute with former EMS provider Rescue Inc. of Brattleboro, the Select Board signed a one-year contract with Golden Cross Ambulance of Claremont, N.H., to set up a hybrid model with the fire department to provide a paramedic-level EMS transport service.
The plan calls for having two ambulances stationed at Central Station downtown. Golden Cross will provide a paramedic for 24 hours each a day and an additional certified advanced emergency medical technician (AEMT) staff member for 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day, which is identified as a time of “peak activity” in Brattleboro.
“The staff and equipment from Golden Cross will be supplemented by existing BFD staff, 11 of which will have AEMT certification and one possesses a paramedic license with another currently working toward a paramedic license,” Howard wrote.
After reviewing proposals and speaking with representatives from different consultants, Howard said town staff believe AP Triton “spent the right amount of time with me to make sure that they were proposing the scope of work that we needed.” He described hearing good feedback from a fire chief in Williston who has experience working with the group.
In its proposal to Brattleboro, AP Triton said it was established in 2014 and “has a wide range of experience in the fire service, emergency medical services, special events and filming, fire prevention, and life-safety programs.” Its consultants are credited with having conducted many studies over the years.
“AP Triton was founded on the need to provide innovative solutions to public safety departments,” the proposal states. “For too many agencies, creative thinking is not part of the status quo. AP Triton is able to bring our experience to enable long-term, creative, and sustainable solutions specialized to your local issues.”
In a recent editorial, Select Board member Tim Wessel asked residents to join the board in having “faith in our well-known, trusted Fire/EMS employees, and support us as we slowly move Brattleboro toward this continuous EMS care model from the response scene all the way to Brattleboro Memorial Hospital.”
“We have much to gain from our new path forward for our community’s safety and care,” he wrote.
Also in front of the Select Board on Tuesday is a recommendation to contract with Edgeworks Creative of Waterbury for a redesign of the town’s website. At annual Representative Town Meeting in 2021, $75,000 was approved for the purpose.
In a memo, Brattleboro Planning Director Sue Fillion said the town sought proposals from consultants to update the content and improve the overall look and feel, general functionality and features on brattleboro.org. Focus groups including input from community members assisted with identifying goals of the project, which largely involve making the website easier to navigate and increasing public outreach.
“The new website design will be inviting, attractive, engaging, and accessible,” Edgeworks Creative said in its proposal. “The new site will provide a responsive design, making it mobile friendly. The site will be performant, well-organized, and simple to maintain with roles and permissions applied to allow content to be managed by department. The new site will provide a platform for the delivery of news and information that Brattleboro residents, businesses, and visitors can navigate more easily.”