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Federally-mandated incident management system accepted

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TOWNSEND — The selectmen this week voted to adopt a federally-mandated safety resolution after a presentation by fire Chief William Donahue and Townsend Emergency Management Agency Director Shirley Coit.

The National Incident Management System (NIMS) is part of the Homeland Security Presidential Directives. Now that the resolution is adopted, the town continues to be eligible for state and federal emergency preparedness grant money.

Donahue said the resolution will make all local officials and emergency staff use the same terminology in the case of an emergency.

”If I were using my slang during a crisis, I would assume you would know what I’m saying,” he said. “Within fire services, people use different words.

”This course will make everyone, from an EMT to the emergency room doctor, all speak the same language,” he said.

Donahue used an example of terminology that would differ from service to service. “If I said give me a line, what would you think?” he asked. “You would think I needed a fire hose. But if you said that same line to a paramedic, you would get an IV,” he said.

Donahue said the NIMS courses cover the basics of communications, and give nonemergency personnel an understanding of how and why things happen the way they do in fire services.

”It is very important for town officials during a large incident to know what to do,” he said.

”We will all conform to the same program across the state,” Coit said. “To implement the program, we are extremely fortunate that our chief is qualified to instruct the course. We do not have to get someone to come in and pay them to teach.”

The resolution requires that all town officials take the six-hour course prior to April 3 to comply. Donahue said the six hours are broken down into two, three-hour classes.

No dates have yet been set for the courses.

In other business, the board voted to send a letter to state Rep. Robert Hargraves, (R-Groton) and state Sen. Robert Antonioni, (D-Leominster) asking them to remove a cap on the distribution of lottery money to cities and towns.

”We’ve sent quite a few of these, not that they do much good. But maybe they’ll get tired of seeing the letter and just do something about this,” Chairman Daniel Murphy said.

The board also appointed Barry Brown to the Senior Center Building Design Committee.

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