Town Manager proposes using civilian dispatchers to increase firefighting staffing

Jan 30, 2024

MIDDLEBORO — Town Manager James McGrail announced at the Monday Jan. 22 Middleboro Select Board meeting that he plans to increase fire department staffing levels in the FY 2025 budget.

Currently, McGrail said, a trained firefighter is responsible for “dispatching,” or responding to calls from residents for the services of the fire department, on every shift. McGrail said that dispatching was a task that could be done by a civilian rather than a trained firefighter, which would mean that more firefighters would be available to fight fires and respond to other emergencies.

“Changing to a civilian fire dispatch would provide a short-term solution that would not only streamline the 911 call process, but also allow for more trained firefighters on fire trucks,” McGrail said. “My hope is to be able to resolve the dispatch issue in the FY 2025 budget.”

McGrail credited the firefighters union for proposing that the town switch to using civilian dispatchers.

The main impact that the increased staffing would have on Middleboro residents is that the additional firefighters would allow the South Fire Station on Wareham Street to remain open “24/7/365,” McGrail said. Currently, the South Fire Station is not always staffed, which results in increased response times for residents living in the south part of the town.