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News & Issues
Falmouth Fire-EMS rescue a dog from a storm drain using specialized confined space rescue tools and training.
Focus on Falmouth Fire-EMS
In January 2020, the results of a Falmouth Fire-EMS staffing study will be submitted to the Falmouth Town Council. In advance of that report, this special series will explore Falmouth Fire-EMS by looking at its history, the role of volunteerism in the provision of fire services, and the evolving function of the department and the service it provides to our community today. Click the links to see the first two installments: "A History of Service" and "Generations of Service."
When people think of Falmouth Fire-EMS, they often think of fire trucks responding to fire calls in their neighborhood or the ambulances they see driving by to an emergency. Medical calls do, in fact, make up about 70% of all Falmouth’s emergency calls. The other 30% of calls, however, vary greatly. In past decades, most non-medical calls were for building fires or car crashes. Today, calls are more unique. Here is a review of some of the more interesting calls Falmouth Fire-EMS responded to in 2019.
- Rescued a hiker with a broken ankle on the trail system off Winn Road. The department’s off-road UTV was not able to make it to the injured hiker so crews used a stokes basket (a type of stretcher) with a large wheel attached to help move the patient out of the woods to a waiting ambulance.
- Called to an injured boater off the coast of the Goslings Islands. Falmouth Fire-EMS paramedics treated the seriously injured patient and when it was not possible for Life Flight to come to the scene, our crews assisted transporting him by boat to a waiting ambulance on the mainland in Freeport.
- Came upon an injured youth biker over one-half mile into the woods. An off-duty Falmouth paramedic, riding his mountain bike on the trails off Blackstrap Road, found the biker. Falmouth Fire-EMS used its off-road UTV to make its way to the injured biker, treat him, and then safely remove him from the woods just as darkness set in.
- Rescued a cat off the roof of a large home in West Falmouth. The home was under renovation and an inside cat escaped through a window left opened for ventilation. Once on the roof, the cat could not get down. The homeowner tried unsuccessfully to climb onto the roof to retrieve the cat. Falmouth Fire-EMS used the 95-foot tower truck to remove the cat from the roof safely without injury.
- Located a woman lost in the woods off Oxford Woods Road. Crews used the off-road UTV to get part-way to the woman and her dog, but then hiked for over a mile to reach her just as darkness fell. The commanding officer used the department’s response software to track the members in the woods using the GPS feature and the coordinates off the woman’s cell phone. Once the woman was found, crews walked her out to a waiting ride on Tanya Lane off Blackstrap Road using their flashlights to lead their way.
- Rescued a dog from a storm drain approximately 6-feet below ground. To do so the department used specialized confined space rescue tools. In 2015, the Wastewater Department requested Fire-EMS members receive training for confined space rescues rather than retain outside on-call contractors for emergencies. The rescuer was lowered into the drain to retrieve the dog unharmed.
When not responding to calls, staff at Falmouth Fire-EMS is busy with community outreach efforts. Falmouth-Fire EMS staff visits schools, daycare centers, senior housing, and other places to promote fire and injury prevention, to teach the use of fire extinguishers to staff, and to perform emergency evacuation drills. Our crews also visit businesses and private homes to test the property’s Knox Box lock systems. These systems allow first responders immediate access to a secure building which saves time, reduces injuries to responders, and minimizes property damage. Additionally, Falmouth Fire-EMS will test alarms for businesses and private homes. While on site, staff also conducts a pre-plan of the property in case of a potential fire or other type of emergency on site.
Falmouth Fire-EMS also offers training to the community. Several staff members are certified American Heart Association Instructors. CPR and First Aid classes are offered at the Fire Station and at various off-site locations, including daycare centers, Falmouth High School, and private businesses.
In the next issue of the Falmouth Focus, we will explore the challenges facing Falmouth Fire-EMS today and in the future.
Officer Kathy Oelschlegel serves as Falmouth Police Department's recovery coach.
Operation PHOENIX Community Policing Initiative
Members of the Falmouth Police Department realize that education, enforcement, and treatment measures must evolve when confronting the opioid epidemic. Substance use disorder is non-discriminatory, affects our community, and impacts public safety and our economic well-being. Tragic overdoses and deaths require innovative problem solving methods necessary to address this public health crisis. The Falmouth Police Department is pleased to announce Operation PHOENIX – Providing Hope and Opportunity through Education, Networking, and Information Exchange. This community policing initiative recognizes that recovery from substance use disorder starts with motivation and the understanding that addiction is a chronic, relapsing medical condition. Operation PHOENIX will partner a police officer/recovery coach with persons suffering from substance use disorder. This non-punitive approach provides an opportunity for the police officer/recovery coach to work collectively with established partnerships within the recovery community to find tailored pathways and modalities of treatment unique to each individual’s needs, empowering them to improve their health and wellness and strive to reach their full potential.
In a personal and informal setting, the role of the police officer/recovery coach is to develop a peer-to-peer relationship with a client by creating a non-judgmental and unbiased atmosphere. The purpose of the recovery coach is to act as an ally and confidant motivated to build trust, create open dialogue, and provide problem-solving strategies for healthy approaches to recovery and wellness. The goals of the recovery coach are to uncover and remove a client’s personal and environmental barriers to success and independence and connect them to supportive resources within the recovery community. This will empower a client to disrupt their pattern of behavior and lessens stigmas attached to substance use disorder by making recovery more visible.
To reach out to the police officer/recovery coach and learn more about Operation PHOENIX, please contact Officer Kathy Oelschlegel or Chief John Kilbride at the Falmouth Police Department at 207-781-2300.
Students Lead Effort to Install Charging Stations at Falmouth High School
Town officials were pleased to take part in a ribbon cutting ceremony on December 20 to mark the installation of four new electric charging stations at Falmouth High School. Seniors Ben Rooks and Nicky Shapiro wrote and received a $10,000 grant from Efficiency Maine, matched by Falmouth Public Schools, to install the charging stations on the school campus. A sizable crowd turned out on a very cold morning to hear comments at the ceremony also organized by the students. State Senator Cathy Breen, State Representative Teresa Pierce, a representative from U.S. Congresswoman Chellie Pingree’s office, and Jennifer Brennan of Efficiency Maine gave remarks. Town Council Chair Amy Kuhn and Falmouth School Superintendent Geoff Bruno cut the ribbon. Dan Burgess from the Governor’s Energy Office was also in attendance.
Rooks and Shapiro first conceived of the idea during a conversation with engineering and technology teacher John Kraljic and science teacher Andrew Njaa regarding the number of school staff driving electric cars and their limited access to charging stations. The students worked over the summer to obtain the grant, raise the matching funds from the school, and coordinate the installation of the chargers. The additional chargers are a resource to the school community, noted Rooks and Shapiro, but are also open and available to the community at large.
Boston Post Cane
The Town of Falmouth presented resident Myron Hager, age 102, with the Boston Post Cane at a ceremony and reception held at OceanView at Falmouth on December 10. Town manager Nathan Poore delivered a biographical sketch of Dr. Hager and Town Council Chair Amy Kuhn presented the cane, honoring Hager as the oldest living resident of Falmouth. He is the 26th recipient of the cane.
A thirty-four year resident of Falmouth, Hager and his wife, Gladys, were OceanView’s first residents, moving there in 1986. The couple met at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he completed a degree in English. They married in 1942, when Hager was on a fifteen-day furlough from the Medical Service Corps. The couple enjoyed 70 years of marriage prior to her passing in 2012. Hager received a master’s degree and doctorate in educational administration from Yale University in 1956 and served as Director of Admissions at Westbrook College in Portland for twenty-five years.
A member of the Falmouth Congregational Church Chorus for over fifty years, music has always been an important component of Hager’s life. He began singing as a founding member of the Statesmen Quartet at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. For twenty-five years he and his wife sang in Portland’s Magic of Christmas Chorus. The couple also traveled to Russia and Japan, singing with the Surry Opera and across Siberia and Ireland with Brunswick Choirs. Hager also is a member of the OceanView Chorus. His volunteer service in the broader community includes: Bagduce Music Lending Library, Maine Historical Society, Friends of the Kotzschmar Organ, Foster Grandparents, Southern Maine Agency on Aging RSVP Advisory Council, Meals on Wheels, Money Minders and Brentwood Manor.
The tradition of the Boston Post Cane dates to 1909 when Edwin Grozier, publisher of the Boston Post newspaper, sent gold-headed ebony canes to towns throughout New England to be presented with the compliments of the Boston Post to the oldest male citizen of the town. The cane belonged to the town and not the recipient. Upon his death, the cane would be passed to the next oldest resident. In 1930, eligibility for the cane was expanded to include women. The newspaper went out of business in 1957, but the tradition of the Boston Post Cane continues in many communities.
Florence McCann was the most recent recipient of the cane in Falmouth. McCann passed away on April 6, 2019 at the age of 107. She grew up in Falmouth and was presented with the cane in 2013. At the ceremony honoring Myron Hager, McCann's daughter noted that her mother knew Hager well and would be very pleased to know that he had succeeded her as the newest recipient of the cane.
Town of Falmouth Employees Les Libby, Mike Coffey, Tom Morrison, Lisa Sangillo, Matt Bubar, and Pete McHugh, among others, were honored for their service.
Falmouth Town Employees Recognized for Service
Several Town of Falmouth employees were honored for their service at a staff appreciation event held on December 18. Awards were given for 5-30 years of employment with the Town.
Five Years: Matthew Bubar, Eric Lunn, Peter McHugh, Steven Morrill, Lisa Sangillo
Ten Years: Michael Coffey
Fifteen Years: Ethan Croce, Leslie Libby
Twenty Years: Michael Allen, Matthew Gilbert, Thomas Morrison
Thirty Years: Robert Susi
Upcoming Meetings & Events
West Falmouth Crossing Public Forum Rescheduled to January 21
The Town of Falmouth initiated, with support of the West Falmouth Crossing (WFC) property owners, an effort to review the West Falmouth Crossing Master Plan (which was developed in the late 1990s) and to conduct a development feasibility analysis of the West Falmouth Crossing area. The Town will conduct a public meeting about this effort on Tuesday, January 21, at 7:00pm in the Falmouth Town Hall Council Chambers. This meeting was rescheduled from an earlier date due to inclement weather. The purpose of this meeting is to present a site analysis based upon existing conditions and information known to date as well as gather input from the public. This meeting will be recorded for broadcast on community TV at a later date. More information can be found here.
Very Merry Lost & Found
The items shown above were found during the Very Merry Falmouth event, December 5-7, in the event tent at the Falmouth Shopping Center. If any of these items belong to you, please email Erin Cadigan to claim them.
How often does the Falmouth Focus come out?
Our plan is to publish the Focus bi-weekly. We like having the newsletter come out the Friday before a Monday Town Council meeting so we can keep residents informed of what is coming up at the next meeting. But sometimes there are five weeks in a month. Sometimes, like in December, the Council only meets once per month. These changes impact when we publish. Next week, on January 10, we will publish an extra issue of the newsletter so that it lands in your inbox in advance of the January 13 Town Council meeting. In general, we will try to error on the side of sending out an extra issue, rather than skipping a week, in order to coincide with Town Council meetings. Our goal is to keep you informed as best we can. We hope you are enjoying the Falmouth Focus and that it meets your expectations in providing the information you need about what is going on in your Town government. This is your town newsletter. Please email us with suggestions of content and topics that most interest you.
Future Anticipated Agenda Items
January 13--An agenda will be posted here prior to the meeting.
Please take note that the January 13 meeting and broadcast will begin at 6:00pm. The public hearing and all matters requiring Council action will begin after 7:00pm.
- Staff presentation on short-term rental regulation and request for the Council to provide high level policy direction for the Ordinance Committee
- Earth Day Resolution
- Ordinance to amend Sections 7-7, 7-8, and 19-128 of the Code of Ordinances to increase abutter notification requirements for Planning Board site plan and subdivision applications
- Public Hearing on an Ordinance for Pesticide and Fertilizer Regulations.
- The Council will consider a supplemental appropriation to fund a statistical market analysis and the townwide property revaluation.
- Presentation and discussion on Falmouth Fire-EMS Department current and past staffing structure and pending staffing study
- Order to accept Cavendish Way, Killarney Road, and Paddock Way as public streets
- Order to accept common open space in the Cavendish Way, Killarney Road, and Paddock Way neighborhood
Stay Informed with the Town of Falmouth Website and E-Alerts
There are many Town committees and boards that meet on a regular basis. The events calendar on the Town of Falmouth website homepage lists upcoming board, committee, and Town Council meetings. We send E-Alerts when Town Council, Planning Board, and Board of Zoning Appeals, meeting agendas and minutes are posted to the website. Subscribe via E-Alerts to those that most interest you. Agendas and Minutes for these meetings are also posted online. Town Council, Planning Board, and School Board meetings are live-streamed on Falmouth Community TV Channel 1301 (Former Channel 2). Recordings of these meetings are also available for viewing online. Board of Zoning Appeals Meetings are not broadcast live but can be viewed online within 24 hours after the meeting. E-Alerts allows you to subscribe to specific email lists about Town-related issues that interest you. Over 70% of respondents to our Communications Methods Survey found E-Alerts to be an effective means of getting info about Town activities. The Falmouth Focus, this bi-weekly newsletter, is another way to stay in the loop. Subscribe via E-Alerts. Please let us know what kind of information you would like to see included in your town newsletter.
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