Melissa Green, a paramedic with Golden Cross, and Brattleboro firefighter Helder Ferreira, an EMT, clean up the inside of the Golden Cross ambulance after it was used on Friday, July 1, 2022, after the town switched from using Rescue Inc.

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BRATTLEBORO — Six weeks into its partnership with Golden Cross Ambulance, the Brattleboro Fire Department is looking at new data with an eye to the future when it may run emergency medical services on its own.

“Overall, things are going very smoothly,” Fire Chief Len Howard said at the Select Board meeting Tuesday. “We’re still learning every day.”

Howard commended his staff for stepping up to the challenge of expanding the types of EMS calls it responds to as part of its new partnership with Golden Cross, which began in July after the town split ways with Rescue Inc. due to contract disputes. The town received a paramedic license earlier this year.

From July 1 to Aug. 9, the department responded to 313 ambulance calls and 132 fire-related emergencies. Howard said the average response time to ambulance calls is just under four minutes.

“Our average time for the call is 27 minutes,” he said. “We have transported 199 folks.”

Howard said the department has needed two ambulances 55 times and three ambulances nine times. Town officials are considering whether the third ambulance will be required in the future after initially believing two would be enough.

Mutual aid has not yet been needed for EMS calls, Howard said, even on Aug. 2 when the department answered 28 requests for emergencies. Twenty-one were for EMS and two involved working fires in Hinsdale, N.H.

Of the approximately $109,453 Golden Cross has billed patients, about $28,531 has been collected by the group. Howard said it will take a few months to get “a more consistent collection rate.”

Estimated revenue is an important consideration as the department could become a joint fire/EMS service. Currently, AP Triton is conducting a feasibility study on the prospect.

“It’s in full swing,” Howard said. “It’s starting to pick up speed.”

AP Triton is anticipated to meet with town staff and hold a public forum soon. Howard said he hopes the study also will outline capital needs.

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Select Board Vice Chairman Daniel Quipp said the data reassures him about the town’s decision to contract with Golden Cross and look into transitioning into a joint fire/EMS service.

“I think that 28-call day is a massive outlier,” he said. “I’m also assuming you could have a day where you have eight calls and it could be eight really difficult calls. So it’s not just a numbers game. It’s not just about volumes.”

Board member Elizabeth McLoughlin highlighted a section of a report from Assistant Fire Chief Charles “Chuck” Keir III stating that “staff morale from both agencies remains high.”

“BFD and Golden Cross employees have been working together closely as a team and continue to learn from each other,” the report states. “Golden Cross employees are learning the town, while BFD employees learn the intricacies of transporting patients. Each day employees train together on EMS and other emergency-related topics. Training in the pathophysiology of cardiac-related conditions to firefighter rehab can often be heard between emergencies.”

Bob Oeser of Brattleboro received confirmation from Howard that the department incurred a spike of overtime in July due to staff vacancies and training new staff.

Franz Reichsmann of Brattleboro is calling for the town to publicly assess what happened with the split with Rescue Inc.

“I’m still very curious to hear just what do we need to learn from the difficulties that we encountered,” he said.

Much of what happened cannot be discussed because it involves contract discussions and disputes, board member Tim Wessel said.

“I’m not sure how we could speak to that much,” he said.

Quipp said he’s “really grateful to have moved on from what was a really difficult time to where I am trusting that things will just continue to work the way they are currently working.”

“I don’t see why it would go off the rails,” he said.