The Belgrade Fire & Rescue Department is a volunteer organization committed to protecting the Town’s citizens, their property and the environment. The department’s 40 members diligently remain ready to meet the public’s need for emergency response through the provision of quick, professional services – delivered with dignity – that are essential to one’s health, safety and well-being. We achieve these goals through prevention, education, fire suppression, rescue, and hazardous materials response. If you are interested in serving, call 207-495-7739.
The department’s membership includes call members and per-diem employees. The emergency medical services (EMS) roster includes six paramedics, three advanced emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and nine EMTs. They respond to medical calls and treat patients until a Delta Ambulance paramedic responds and, if necessary, the patient is taken to a hospital via ambulance or a Lifeflight helicopter. Belgrade Rescue is licensed at the EMT level and permitted to practice at the paramedic level.
Currently, the department has only one full-time employee – Rescue Chief Travis Burton, who is a licensed paramedic. At the annual Town Meeting on March 21, residents will vote on whether to add a second full-time firefighter/emergency medical services (EMS) position in the Belgrade Fire & Rescue Department. This position is needed because of declining numbers of volunteer firefighters, the decreasing availability of EMS personnel, and the aging demographics of our community.
If approved, the full-time firefighter/EMS employee would give the community on-duty staffing for 10 hours a day, seven days a week. Funding for the position would be split with the Town of Rome, if Rome voters also approve the measure. The additional firefighter/EMS employee would be stationed in Belgrade, but would respond to calls in Belgrade and Rome. If Rome voters reject their article to help fund the position, Belgrade would fund the entire cost of the position. If that were the case, the firefighter/EMS employee would respond to calls in Belgrade, going to Rome only in extraordinary circumstances. Belgrade’s mutual aid agreement to respond to fire calls in Rome would remain in effect.
Also at Town Meeting, voters in the March 20 secret-ballot election will consider a cost recovery ordinance. This measure would allow the Town to bill insurance companies to recover the Fire & Rescue Department’s costs for responding to incidents such as vehicle crashes. Belgrade taxpayers would be exempt from the ordinance. The money generated by cost recovery would help fund the cost of the additional firefighter’s salary. Had this ordinance been in place in January 2019 when the department responded to a tanker truck fire on Route 27, the Town would have recovered approximately $36,000 in cost.
In 2020, the department will continue to move forward with plans to build a new fire station in the Depot area. The new station will replace the existing Depot station, which has no running water, no room to walk around the trucks (which complicates performing mandatory truck checks), and no space for offices. A new facility would allow the on-duty staff to be stationed in the middle of town. The department’s building committee continues to search for available land; we appreciate any ideas in that regard.