Thursday night, the Kingston Government Study Committee met with Fire Chief Robert Heath and asked him to outline the function of the fire department. Chief Heath gave the committee a full overview of how the station works day-to-day in regards to staff, equipment, and costs.
The committee was interested in how adequate the station’s equipment and resources are in order for firefighters to successfully perform their duties. Chief Heath explained to the committee that the fire department is able to respond to a single call within six minutes, but is unable to respond to multiple calls within the same timeframe. Due to a lack of employees and fire stations, the department must rely on surrounding towns to react to emergency calls.
“I would be lying to you if I didn’t say we should be ahead of where we are in order to provide service. We’re going to reach a point in the next couple of years that we should think about a fire station up on Route 80,” said Chief Heath.
He noted that Kingston isn’t in a current position to build a new station but believes that the idea should be considered in the near future.
Another issue that was addressed by the fire chief was the possibility of a regional dispatch center, “We’re in the midst right now of trying to form a regional dispatch center: Kingston, Duxbury, Plympton, and Halifax. It can work. You have a pool of resources; the radio does not have to be keyed in Kingston to talk to the fire truck in Kingston. I think it’s extremely workable.”
Though Chief Heath is skeptical that a new regional center would cut costs, he believes that it would improve 911 response times. A location for the new center is yet to be established but Chief Heath thinks that the Halifax police station would be a perfect fit.
This would be the 2nd regional dispatch center on the South Shore. The 1st center will be open this fall in Hingham and includes Norwell, Hingham, Cohasset, and Hull.