Lincoln County Emergency Management Agency got permission Tuesday to apply for a Homeland Security grant to fund a county-wide emergency support team in the event of a mass-casualty event, such as an active shooting or bombing.
The $20,000 requested will train fire department and ambulance service officials and others who choose to be part of the team to respond to the “warm” zones, according to Lt. Rand Maker of Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office. That is to distinguish it from a “hot” zone where the danger is highest. For instance, in the case of a school shooting, victims might be brought to a gymnasium, which is thought to be safer, though there may still be some danger. The emergency support team would perform first aid and get victims on the way to a hospital. In many active shooting situations today, victims are not moved until there is no danger at all, and lives can be lost due to an unwillingness to put anyone else at risk.
Chief Paul Leeman Jr. of Bristol said at the meeting, “Every time you see one of these events unfold, there are interviews of first responders who say, ‘We never thought anything like this could happen here.’ We’re not willing to be those people. We have to act to save lives.”
“We live in a safe community, but this is a weakness we want to fix,” Maker said.
EMA Director Casey Stevens said having the county in charge of the support team would mean they would be covered for Worker’s Compensation under the state’s emergency management agency. When a call about such an event came in to 9-1-1, the team would be activated from the county level.
Besides training and equipment for the team, the requested grant of nearly $80,000 would also cover the costs of the planned AM emergency radio system, equipment for emergency shelters, other special teams such as search and rescue and amateur radio, and the CodeRED emergency notification system.
In a related matter, Communications will be able to see what the South Bristol School cameras are recording in the event of a 9-1-1 call coming from the school, after selectmen agreed to let the Communications Department sign into the security cameras. This was important to the school and to the dispatchers because the school is so remote, and it takes a long time for officers and other first responders to reach it.
Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission has agreed to host the Southern Maine office of the National Digital Equity Center, which will offer courses on broadband and the use of specific software, especially for businesses, both at the LCRPC office and other locations around Lincoln County. The project will be staffed by Americorps volunteers and will be located at the office for a year. The downstairs room will serve as an office, but other rooms, including the main conference room, will be available for their use as well.
LCRPC received permission to enter into another 10-year contract with Maine Department of Transportation, expiring June 30, 2029.
Commissioners approved the renewal of animal control contracts for Wiscasset, Dresden, Damariscotta, Newcastle, Jefferson, Whitefield and Bristol. Boothbay Harbor has already signed a contract, and Boothbay is in the works, according to Maker. Still expected are Alna and Bremen. Westport Island has its own ACO, and Southport and Edgecomb have not yet signed a contract. The other towns are already part of the county ACO system.
Recently retired Mark Bridgham will be returning as a reserve deputy, with a specialty in drug recognition, data-driven policing, and community events, Maker said. He got commissioners’ permission to change the detective’s job description so people with two to three years’ experience could apply.