Page 15 - Southington Magazine Issue 46 Autumn 2021
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who specializes in planning out municipal fire de- partments. ESCI looked at all angles of the Town of Southington and its current make-up for the fire department. The plan takes into consideration what areas the department excels at, and what areas will need improvement for the future.
Additionally, Chief Paul will continue to encour- age a training program based on OSHA standards for both career and volunteer firefighters to ensure members are skilled in areas of the fire services which are routine and needed.
At a time in the United States when volunteerism is decreasing at an alarming rate, the Southington Fire Department continues to recruit and train quali- ty volunteers. Twice a year they offer extensive train- ing to a select few who apply to be a volunteer fire- fighter. The person who completes this 7 week course graduates with a Firefighter 1 state certificate. This is the basic entry level required before a fire fight- er can respond on a fire truck. The fire department pays for the training, and equipment needed to pass the course. More information is available at SFD.org.
Once on the force, the Southington Fire Depart- ment requires continued training for their Firefight- ers. Through training and drills they learn vehicle ex- trication, hazmat control, and even rope rescue for emergency calls in such places like Ragged Moun- tain. Firefighters, who participate in 100 percent of mandatory drills and respond to 12.5 percent of re- quired calls, receive a 12.5 percent tax abatement as a continued incentive.
Southington has a five member Board of Fire Commissioners, appointed for four-year terms. The board approves the budget and helps set policy.
In addition to funding from the town budget, the Southington Fire Department utilizes grant funding through the work of Assistant Chief Heath and FF Daniel Comen. Southington has been successful in qualifying for several grants including the AFG (as- sistance to Firefighters) and SAFER (staffing for ad- equate Fire and Emergency Response.) Grants have the potential to help keep, training, equipment and stations up to date.
This helps keep the Southington Fire Department fleet well equipped to meet the many responsibili-
ties of first responders. Presently Southington has six fire suppression engines, eight staff vehicles, one 3,000 gallon tanker, and a ladder truck.
Southington leads the state with an innovative emergency service, five years in the making, called the trail marking systems. Emergency markers are posted approximately every 100 feet along estab- lished hiking trails. They are placed in a way that are visible to hikers, just like the trail color blazes should be. This not only helps hikers stay on the established trail but also allows them to read the marker num- bers from any point on the trail.
The Southington Fire Department has maps with all the trail number locations on them. Emergency response personnel are able to determine the quick- est and best route to reach a hiker in distress. The members of the Southington Fire Department are highly trained Firefighter/EMTs and High Angle Res- cue Technician certified, capable of treating and ex- tricating injured and lost hikers from Southington’s wilderness areas.
The Southington Fire Department is commit- ted to the preservation of life and property in the Southington community, which includes the resi- dents, businesses, and the many visitors to our town. Fire Chief James Paul, Jr. is proud to represent this outstanding organization. His priority is to provide a high level of effective and efficient service to the citizens of Southington, while also providing a safe and positive working environment for the firefight- ers and staff who proudly serve this community.
 The Southington Fire Department was originally formed in 1884. Today the citizens and visitors are protected by a fire and emergency service depart- ment that is equipped with a highly trained staff and vital equipment that provide protective measures to handle the risks identified within our community and region. It is their commitment to stand ready to as- sist in time of need 24/7 with compassion, profes- sionalism, respect, and dignity.
 The core mission of the Southington Fire Depart- ment is to protect life, property, and the environment by providing exceptional and progressive all-hazard emergency services, public education, and fire pre- vention programs.
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