Sunday, January 5, 2014

Annual Report 2013: Fire Dept

The Franklin Fire Department is divided into two divisions: Operations and Maintenance, which is the largest and responsible for dispatch, emergency medical services, fire suppression and hazardous materials response. Administration and Support Services is responsible for personnel, budget and finance, training, code compliance and coordinating the Town’s emergency preparedness.

Our Mission

The mission of the Franklin Fire Department is to: Have a positive impact in the lives of citizens and visitors of Franklin in their time of crisis by providing compassionate, contemporary, community driven services.

Safeguard human life from the perils of fire, sudden illness, injury or other emergency medical condition, natural and man-made disasters as well as preserve the environment and property from ensuing destruction.

Be responsible for a safe, productive and pleasant work environment for our employees, and provide them opportunities to gain new skills and advance their personal career goals.

Operational Objectives

  • Initiating advanced life support to patients within 8 minutes of receiving the telephone call at our communications center.
  • To access, extricate, treat and transport and transport trauma patients to a level one trauma medical facility within one hour of the occurrence of the injury.
  • Interrupt the progression of fires in structures within 8 minutes of open flame ignition.
  • To insure response readiness remains greater than 70%.
  • Provide safety and survival skills for all school students in grade K through 5 consistent with the Student Awareness Fire Education (SAFE) initiative of the Commonwealth.
  • Provide educational opportunities for department members to insure optimal performance and safety.
  • To develop and maintain “best practice” to insure personnel and citizen safety.
  • Insure fire safety through timely, consistent code compliance services to all external customers.
  • Provide all department services in a manner that satisfies the needs of our customers.

Message from the Fire Chief

Fiscal Year 2013 has been a very difficult year in maintaining a high level of emergency services for the
community. Reductions in authorized staffing levels experienced in Fiscal Year 2009 have reached their
natural and predicted impact. During the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2013, the department suffered a number
of duty related injuries and extended injuries. (We believe there is a causal relationship between years of
diminished staffing levels and increases duty related injuries.) As a result, we were unable to sustain, either
financially or by staffing, sufficient minimum daily staffing levels (10 personnel) to provide the level of
emergency services the community had previously enjoyed. In November of 2012, we these conditions
forced the department to reduce minimum daily staffing to 9 personnel. The effect on service level has
been negative, with a decrease in response time in the King Street District by 5%, increase in on-scene times
by over 50% and an increase in overall time of incident, department-wide by 9%.

This challenged the safety level for our citizens and firefighter alike. In terms of positive outcomes for medical related emergencies, we know that a one minute increase in response time can increase patient morbidity by 13% one year after the incidents. Additionally, I believe the reduced staffing has had a negative impact on our employees. The department’s loss time accident rate has increased by 40% since down staffing occurred in 2009. In addition to the rate increase, loss time has increase 5 fold, to nearly 3,400 work hours lost in Fiscal Year 2013 due to duty related injury.

This year the department also marked a milestone with the retirement of Lieutenant Paul Beach. Lieutenant Beach began his employment with the department in 1983 as a Call Firefighter and was appointed as a Career Firefighter in 1985. During his nearly 27 years of service to the Town, Paul served in many capacities, serving his last 15 years as the Department’s Technology Officer, leading the department’s transition from paper to the digital age. We wish him and his wife Jean a long, happy and healthy retirement.

This year the department responded to more than 3,400 emergency responses – an overall increase of less than 1% from last year. This modest increase reflected no major increase in any call type category from Fiscal Year 2012.

In addition to emergency response, the department also continued to try to expand its fire prevention education activities, providing safety and survival education to the most vulnerable population to fire – our children and seniors. Through the dedicated efforts of SAFE Officer Robert Donovan, the department continued to educate over 100 children per month as well as attend various activities at the Senior Center. Lieutenant Tom Carlucci with Firefighter Keith Darling and Doug Perro provide dedicated assistance in completing this important service to our citizens.

Our employees continue to be the chief reason for maintaining our current the level of success and level of services we provide our citizens. They continue to work tirelessly to protect life and property within Franklin. In addition to their on-duty responses, our employees commit countless hours in continuing education and training targeted to maintain and improved upon their emergency skills.

Additionally, they continue to press forward in attempt to provide the highest level of service to the
community based upon advancement in the fire-rescue field and advancements in technology. These efforts
have yielded significant and broad insight into the requirements necessary to maintain and improve upon
the services we provide to the citizens of Franklin.

Respectfully Submitted,

Gary B. McCarraher, Fire Chief

Franklin Fire Dept - Tower 1 unit at the downtown fire station
Franklin Fire Dept - Tower 1 unit at the downtown fire station

The full annual report can be obtained from the Town Clerk's office (hard copy) or viewed and/or downloaded from the Franklin website here

Annual reports of prior years can also be found online at

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