The new bike ordinance was almost adopted by the Brattleboro Selectboard, but it looked strange upon a second review, and was delayed until the next meeting.
Reps from AP Triton said they, too, would not be giving much weight to community input gather by their own community survey on EMS feasibility. They will present four options, but not a preferred choice, and will leave it to the board to come to their own conclusions. They are also 75% done with their work, but would love to hear from the public at their Wednesday night meeting.
The board bought their simulation machine, and started a Charter Review Commission at the last moment possible, despite earlier requests to get the process going multiple times in the past few years.
This study has been described a way to assess the feasibility of a Fire/EMS service within the
Brattleboro Fire Department. It might be noted that $25k of the money set aside for this study was approved as part of the Town Budget on a vote of 100-6 (5 abstentions) by members at a March 19, 2022 Representative Town Meeting. At that time the line item for the appropriation was for a ”strategic plan” to help with “community expectations, concerns, positive feedback, help identifying critical issues, service gaps as well as give … guiding values and principles on how we move forward ….” 2021-2022 Annual Report, p. 48
There was no mention of Fire/EMS at that time.
The Brattleboro Selectboard will approve the purchase of a simulation machine at their next regular meeting.
They’ll also update the bike section of the Code of Ordinances, hear a presentation on preliminary findings of feasibility of a Fire/EMS service within the Brattleboro Fire Department, and will begin a Charter review process. You can bring up other items not on the agenda during public participation.
The Brattleboro Fire Department AP Triton Survey was “closed” to anyone who clicked on the link to access it, despite an October 31 deadline for community members taking the survey.
Clicking on the link this weekend led to a screen that said the survey was closed.
The Brattleboro Selectboard doesn’t want to review what led to an abrupt change in EMS services in town last spring.
As much as some citizens would like to know, the board resists. No lookin’ back. No way. Don’t want to even think about it.
The next animal control officer will serve 40 hours a week, a fancy new B&B got a liquor license, the Town will work on plans for permanent downtown public restrooms, and the board expressed gratitude for the monthly EMS update and all the fine work being done.
Per the request of the Brattleboro Selectboard, I am to provide a monthly EMS update relative to the operations and any pertinent data collected. The last update was provided on July 19, 2022. This update is representative of that date till the date written on August 9, 2022.
Since July 1, 2022, the Brattleboro Fire Department (BFD) has responded to 313 EMS calls and 132 fire- related emergencies. On August 2, 2022, the BFD answered an astonishing 28 calls for service. 21 of those emergencies were EMS calls and 2 of the 28 were working fires in the Town of Hinsdale NH. To this date, no mutual aid has been requested into the Town of Brattleboro by the BFD.
The next August meeting of the Brattleboro Selectboard will bring discussions of public restrooms, an EMS update, a request to have the Animal Control Officer work 40 hours a week, and more. You can bring up other items not on the agenda during public participation.
Brattleboro – Rescue Inc. is proud to announce the opening of VEMSA, Vermont EMS Academy, to bring state-of-the-art emergency medical training to Southern Vermont and the surrounding region. The facility is on Route 30 in Newfane, Vermont, just minutes off I-91. VEMSA will be opening this fall with an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) and AHA (American Heart Association) classes and many other courses soon to follow.
“It’s both a natural progression and a dream realized for Rescue Inc,” said Drew Hazelton, Rescue Inc’s chief of operations, “We’ve always wanted to create a place where doctors, nurses, teachers, and first responders can hone and broaden their skills.” VEMSA will focus on the latest in emergency medical techniques for all skill levels. “We will offer CPR courses, for instance, to high school students and teachers while also providing instruction to practicing medical professionals,” said Hazelton.
The Brattleboro Selectboard discussed their own powers of resolution and whether they could do anything at all on the issue of abortion rights. They decided their lawyer-approved resolution needed more teeth, but also no chance of disruption to the State, and maybe funding, but not any special funding, and maybe something else as yet undetermined. They’ll take up the urgent issue again at their next meeting.
There were grave concerns about data collection and not sharing any data with bounty hunters. A bit later, board members were impressed by the ambulance data being collected locally and asked for even more EMS data from the Fire Department.
It was a gloomy and restless mood amongst many members of the public. Many expressed feelings of impending doom. Two asked for a special session of Representative Town Meeting.
The Brattleboro Selectboard will meet Tuesday, for the most part, to finish what wasn’t completed at their previous meeting. The consent agenda has been updated, but just about everything else is the same.
Of note this week is the change to the item “Resolution on a Woman’s Right to Choose” which is now presented as “Resolution on a Pregnant Persons Access to Abortion,” and that an EMS Update by the Assistant Fire Chief has been added. You can choose to bring up other items not on the agenda during public participation.
It was a really long Brattleboro Selectboard meeting with not much getting done! They heard about downtown safety issues, but took no action. They approved a mural design they couldn’t see. There will be more places to buy liquor. The preferred bridge design was selected. And then it was 10:30 pm with discussions of a woman right to choose and EMT issues, among other things, still awaiting ample discussion. They ended up postponing much of the agenda to a future meeting.
A packed agenda of important items awaits the Brattleboro Selectboard for their first regular meeting of July. It’s going to be a long meeting.
There will be new liquor licenses, Commonwealtth Dairy wants to nearly double its water and sewer use, rental housing fines will be set, and the board will choose a bridge design for Melrose. There will be a discussion of downtown safety and a new mural for High Street. The board will discuss a woman’s right to choose. There are emergency repairs to authorize.
The firefighters get a “recently concluded additional collective bargaining agreement,” and the Fire Chief would like the board to approve additional funds to meet requirements of becoming a paramedic-level service.
But wait, there’s more! There will be a first reading of a new ordinance regarding wastewater allocation approvals, there will be a new contract for the Interim Town manager, a new street name will be approved, and the FY23 tax rate will be set.
Chief Hazelton & Members of the Rescue Inc. Board,
On behalf of the Town of Brattleboro, I am writing to follow up from the meeting on June 6, 2022, regarding EMS Mutual Aid. The Town appreciates the many years of excellent service Rescue Inc. has provided to Brattleboro and wishes continued award-winning success for Rescue Inc.’s service to other communities in our region. We look forward to rebuilding a healthy working relationship between the two entities towards our shared goal of maintaining the health and safety of the people we serve.
Below our FY23 service plan is outlined, in hopes that this information will clarify the capacity at which we are asking Rescue Inc. to engage in Mutual Aid.
Rescue Inc Press Release: “Brattleboro – The Brattleboro selectboard sent a request to the Rescue Inc trustees asking for a meeting to discuss mutual aid on May 19th. This was the first communication between the Town and Rescue Inc. since the September 2021 consortium meeting which was attended by then Town Manager Peter Elwell and the Selectboard Chair Elizabeth McLoughlin. The Rescue corporate officers agreed to an early June meeting and replied to the request on May 20th. A June 6th meeting date was confirmed.
Brattleboro’s request for help covering ambulance calls comes after the selectboard unilaterally chose to terminate a 56-year relationship with our nonprofit, community-based organization. This decision was made without any discussions about, or actual consideration of, the impact on the surrounding communities. The Town presented its position during a February 9th meeting when Rescue was told the Town would not pay an assessment fee and that Rescue should provide service for free. The response from Rescue Chief Drew Hazelton rejecting those terms in March has been cited as the reason for the sudden closed door meeting that led to the change in EMS providers.
Robert Oeser sent a notice to the Town of Brattleboro on Friday. The Town has 10 calendar days to respond publicly..
“To: The Brattleboro Selectboard
Ian Goodnow, Chair
Daniel Quipp, Vice-Chair
Jessica Gelter, Clerk
When I asked him about his goals back on Jan 20, Town Manager Yoshi Manale spoke of creating more open spaces downtown, being open and transparent, and being flexible while solving problems. No mention of wanting to alter EMS services. Yet the impression one might get from official communications is that a new town manager came to town, took aim at EMS, and is walking away.
But that’s not the full story. First off, the Brattleboro Selectboard told him to take on Rescue.
Both the current and former Chair of the Brattleboro Selectboard have confirmed that Town Manager Manale was not acting solo when it came to Rescue Inc actions and decisions.
It is sometimes helpful to look at information in a timeline format. Thanks to everyone who assisted in piecing this together this list of Brattleboro Fire, Rescue, and EMS items from the past year or so.**
Please note any additions or corrections you feel would clarify in the comments if you’d like. This is an in-progress project and will likely be updated. I’ll note any edits to the main timeline list in the comments.
March 22 – Elizabeth McLoughlin becomes Chair of the Selectboard.
It is important that Selectboard members hear from Brattleboro residents on how our Emergency Medical Response service to the town will work, going forward.
A change to the delivery of EMS was agreed to by the Selectboard at the April 19 meeting. This week’s board meeting will cover a proposal for a feasibility study, to include EMS. See item 8 (B) on the attached agenda for this Tuesday, May 17 at 6:15pm. In-person and remote joining details are below.
A general observation –
When the $25,000 for the Fire Department strategic plan was approved in the budget at RTM on March 19 of this year, there was no public indication that Rescue Inc would no longer be providing EMS services. Community input absolutely needs to be a part of any strategic plan for this service, following the example of other towns. Therefore, in this proposed feasibility study, “all options should be on the table.”
The Brattleboro Selectboard will award a contract to a web developer for the redesign of the Town website at their next regular meeting. They’ll also approve of a contract for an EMS feasibility study.
You can bring up other items not on the agenda during public participation.
The Brattleboro Fire Department and Golden Cross will host a community forum on Monday, April 18, 2022 at 6:00pm in the Second Floor Meeting Room at the Central Fire Station at 103 Elliot Street and over Zoom.