Windham Fire – Rescue extrication purchase
By Deputy Chief Stanlee Emerson
Windham Fire-Rescue Department
In the early spring of 1979 there was a bad accident on Pope Road in Windham. A male from Westbrook was the victim in the accident. He was badly injured. Windham had no extrication equipment so Westbrook Fire was called to assist with the extraction of the patient from the mangled vehicle. This delay made the rescue greater than 60 minutes before we could transport him to the hospital. As a result of his injuries the young man died after nine days in the hospital. His mom, Mrs. Barbara Hawkes of Westbrook called the fire chief and asked what could have been done to make the patient removal process faster and safer. The fire chief stated hydraulic rescue tools would have been an asset. Mrs. Hawkes started raising money and raised $20,000 and donated the funds to the Windham Fire – Rescue Department. In the fall of 1979, Windham purchased a complete set of hydraulic rescue tools.
Over the last 35 years we have used these tools and replaced or upgraded individual tools and power supplies as they have failed.
For the last few years our tools have struggled to complete to task asked of them. Auto. manufacturers are forced to use more foreign metals to meet the newer safety standards. This makes rescue and extrication a longer process making rescues, and patient care a longer process. We were not completing the tasks in an ample amount of time. We approached our town council and received permission to test and shop for new tools. Through about four months of testing, meetings, and shopping we narrowed the equipment to four vendors, We met with the Windham Town Council to authorize the purchase of the budgeted funds. They allowed us to spend approximately $35,000. We have purchased Hurst rescue tools and placed them into service July 10, 2013.
These tools are housed at Windham Center Station on Windham Squad 1. A special thanks to Timmons Machine for the design of the new brackets for the tools. In our new budget we are planning to spend $9,900 to purchase a combination cutter/spreader and a power supply. This unit will be placed in North Windham to be used in the North Windham area and the upper Roosevelt Trail travel corridor. This will speed up the process in the northern and eastern sector of the town. A much needed addition to the department.
I do need to thank Mrs. Hawkes again for what she originally did. Thank you to the Windham Town Council and the people of Windham for their continuing support of the Windham Fire-Rescue Department.
The Windham Fire-Rescue is looking is looking for some automobiles to train with the new tools. If anyone have any old vehicles to donate, we will get them removed to a training lot. If you have any vehicles please call the chief’s office at 207-892-1911.