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Report of the Emergency Management Director for 2009

The Emergency Management Department prepares for natural and manmade disasters, serving as the local branch of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Wakefield continues as an active member of the 16 community Mystic Regional Emergency Planning Committee (REPC). The Mystic REPC meets 10 times during the year and works to conduct and coordinate emergency exercises and procedures throughout the area encompassed by its members.

Wakefield subscribes to Swiftreach Networks, a “reverse 9-1-1” telephone system that allows town officials to immediately notify residents and businesses via telephone of emergency situations and important community and school information.

During 2009 all local emergency shelters were inspected and certified by the American Red Cross. Training for emergency shelter volunteers was conducted by the American Red Cross on February 19th and April 15th. Wakefield is fortunate to have a group of citizens ready to assist in the operation of an emergency shelter at any hour should the need arise. Several department heads in Town also participated in a training sponsored by MEMA regarding the use and set-up of an emergency operations center in Wakefield should the need arise. Wakefield also participated in several MEMA sessions on the use of library facilities for local disaster recovery centers, where victims of disasters would report for information and aid.

Wakefield came very close to opening an emergency shelter during the morning of January 1st when a failure of the heating plant at the Harborside Healthcare facility on Bathol Street caused concern that the occupants might need to be evacuated to a warmer environment. Fortunately, The Wakefield Municipal Gas and Light Department was able to get the heat turned on fast enough to prevent this evacuation from being necessary. Members of the Fire, Police, Municipal Light, and School Departments worked closely with Action Ambulance and the employees of Harborside Healthcare to insure that the patients were never in jeopardy.

The Wakefield Auxiliary Fire Department operates under the auspices of Emergency Management. During 2009, Auxiliary Captain Richard Harrington, Auxiliary Lieutenant Robert Sartori, and Auxiliary Firefighters Kevin Boyle, Al Catanzaro, Matthew Harrington, Michael Parr, and Matthew Nichols attended weekly training sessions and responded to emergencies as necessary.

Thanks to donations by Richard Harrington and The Savings Bank, the Auxiliary Fire Department acquired a used 1981 Ford / Marion Squad Truck from the Scarborough, Maine Fire Department in March of 2008. This vehicle was totally refurbished thanks to MacLellan Ready Mix Concrete of Wakefield at no cost to the town and placed into active service in July of 2008. The “new” Squad Truck replaces the well worn present 1971 / 1956 Mack Squad truck, which was transferred to the Woburn Auxiliary Fire Department for their use and is available to “back-up” Wakefield as necessary. The “new” Squad truck is equipped with a diesel generator to provide lighting, emergency power, and an eight-tank compressed air cascade system giving the department the ability to re-fill breathing apparatus tanks at an emergency scene. The Squad truck is also totally enclosed to provide Auxiliary members riding on it maximum protection. This truck has served the town well during 2009 and all the assistance in helping to acquire and maintain it is deeply appreciated.

I wish to express my sincere thanks to all department heads and their supervisors for their continued cooperation and assistance in serving on the Local Emergency Planning Committee and to the volunteer members of the Wakefield Auxiliary Fire Department for their service during 2009.

Respectfully submitted,

Fire Chief Michael J. Sullivan
Emergency Management Director

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