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The Wendell Fire Department is committed to protecting the people and property within our community. We will be responsive to the needs of our citizens by providing rapid, professional emergency services essential to their health, safety and wellbeing.”

In 2018 the Wendell Fire Department responded to 71 emergency service calls.

Call details:


Other fires 2

Building fires 6

Chimney or flue fires 3

Passenger vehicle fires 1

Brush or brush and grass fires 1

EMS calls excluding vehicle accidents 29

Vehicle accidents with injuries 4

Vehicle/pedestrian accidents 0

Vehicle accidents with no injuries 4

Search for a person on land 1

Swimming/recreational water area rescue 0

Other hazardous condition 5

Combustible/flammable liquid spill 1

Gas leak (LPG) 0

Power line down 4

Arcing, shorted electrical equipment 0

Police matter 0

Other service calls 2

Unauthorized burning 3

Dispatched and cancelled in route 4

Other false alarms or false calls 1

Smoke detector malfunction 4

Unintentional detector activation 2

Mutual Aid Provided 8

Mutual Aid Received 7

Automatic Aid Received 33

During 2018 we trained in many of our required disciplines. These include Fire Attack/Fire Suppression, Emergency Medical Procedures, Pump Operation/Water Supply, Fire Ground Strategies and Tactics, Rapid Intervention Team Tactics, Driver Training, Roadway Safety, Save Yourself, Vehicle Fires, Vehicle Extrication, the National Incident Command System and Communications Protocols. We are also regularly holding combined training with the New Salem Fire Department. A modern fire department requires diligence and constant attention. Our goal is to meet nationally recognized standards.

We constantly endeavor to deliver safe, cost effective service. One of our primary goals is to meet relevant National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and Occupational Health and Safety (OSHA) standards for providing emergency services to Wendell. We are committed to implementing policies and procedures as well as to comply with recently enacted State health and safety regulations.

Our joint Student Awareness of Fire Education (SAFE) program with New Salem again received a Department of Fire Services SAFE and Senior SAFE grant to provide fire safety education to our children and elder residents. Our joint program conducted seven fire safety education events in 2018. We also have a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector replacement program in place. Each department has two certified fire safety educators who implement the program.

I would like to remind all residents that every family should have a home escape plan with two ways out of every room. This plan should be tested and practiced at least once a year. Include in this plan a safe outside meeting place where all household members

can be accounted for. Unless you have devices that use ten year sealed batteries, please remember to change the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors when the clocks change. Test your devices monthly. By law there must be one carbon monoxide detector on every habitable floor of every residence. Please note that as of December 1st, 2016 all smoke alarms must be replaced if they are more than ten years old.

Please contact us if you need assistance inspecting or replacing your fire safety devices. We are also happy to conduct a general home life safety inspection.

We are looking for more firefighters. Staffing is at an all-time low. We need dedicated people with a strong sense of commitment. There is a lot of training to go through, and being a firefighter is physically demanding. The reward is being able to safely help the residents of Wendell. If you are interested please contact us at 978-544-3500 or stop by on the 1st or 2nd Thursdays of the month to observe training.

This has been a busy year for Wendell Fire. I am honored to serve as your Fire Chief. We continue to make history with the first shared fire chief’s position in Massachusetts. Other small departments are working through similar situations based on our model. On behalf of the Department I wish to express our gratitude to the residents of Wendell for their ongoing support of the Department at Town Meeting and at the Wendell Firefighters’ Association’s fund raisers. We continue to make improvements to the Fire Station. Please feel free to visit us and see the improvements.

You, the residents of Wendell, are the ones who make our service possible. I would also like to personally recognize and thank all members of the Wendell Fire Department, Wendell Firefighters’ Association and their families for all the time they have given throughout the year. We would not be able to accomplish our mission without their assistance and support.

Respectfully Submitted,

Joseph J. Cuneo,

Chief, WFD

2008 Annual Report

From Old Home Day 2009 - Photo By Christopher ParkerThe Wendell Fire Department had 74 calls from January 1, 2008 through December 31, 2008, including: 3 smoke/fumes investigations, 12 EMS calls, 7 downed power lines, 12 cellar pump outs, 2 search/rescue calls, 1 chimney fire, 2 vehicle accidents w/injuries, 4 mutual aid calls, 1 structure fire, 3 vehicle accidents w/o injuries, 2 illegal burns, 1 lightning strike transformer fire, 3 brush fires, 1 false alarm, 1 detector sounding call, 1 vehicle fire, and 1 flammable liquid spill response call.

The Wendell Fire Department is proud to have received, yet again, the 2007 Life Safety Achievement Award, in recognition of its work to keep its community free of deaths from fire, from the Residential Fire Safety Institute, awarded by its director, Roy L. Marshal, Dan F. Agnew, President and CEO of Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Co., and Stephen D. Coan, the Massachusetts State Fire Marshall.

The Department has received its pagers with the new frequencies, and they seem to be working well, especially with its versatility of numerous channels and regional towers to keep the main channel open for other incoming transmissions.

All of Franklin County is now transmitting and receiving on simulcast; if a firefighter somehow misses a call, they are alerted by a flashing red light, and they can retrieve that message by pushing a button on their pager, which will repeat the transmission.

When on the scene or requesting mutual aid, once all vehicles and personnel are on the incident or fire ground scene, we have the ability on our portable and/or mobile radios to change to any of our tactical channels and manage the scene, and all towers and main channels are free.

We received a grant this year; unfortunately, we never know what we will receive until late in the year, leaving little time to search for prices on equipment and vendors to get the most you can for the money.  It seems every year or every incident we find something we could have used, but didn’t have.  With budgets like ours, which are very small, grants are godsends.  We can’t get everything, but little by little, we add to what we have.

Ice Storm, December 13 2008 - Photo by Angela DugaThe ice storm we had in December also gave us, and the town as a whole, different ideas for equipment and possibilities to think about if it happens again.  The Emergency Management Director will be setting up meetings to make plans on this very issue—not just an ice storm, but any type of emergency that could impact the whole town in the future.

The Fire Department, if it gets a grant next year, will also brainstorm and figure out what and how, depending upon the situation, we can provide to expedite at least a temporary solution to whatever comes up.

We have recently lost one of our Firefighter/EMTs to the Orange Fire Department, as they had an opening.  We wish Chris Goshea all the best in his new permanent profession. He was an excellent employee and will be greatly missed, but we are sure to see him from time to time on the ambulance responding to one of our EMS calls or mutual aid to one of our fire calls.

I have attended numerous MEMA meetings in Agawam, MA for the latest MEMA updates and what to do to access them in case of any type of emergency.  They have also updated our MEMA radios with more sites and the ability to utilize this radio to include not only Fire, but Police, Highway, Boards of Health, etc. with special IDs so MEMA can identify who is transmitting and the reasons.  MEMA is still making changes to the antennas and forms to make this job easier.

Also, I have been attending monthly meetings of the Pandemic Committee as assistant EMD and LEPC member.  After years in the planning stage, we had our first 4 town free flu clinic at the Turners Falls High School. The planning and dry runs proved to pay off, as everything went smoothly, and we are very proud of the experience and personnel that went into this venture.

We are still meeting and hope there will be some communication with our town population on what to expect if and when there is some kind of medical emergency which would impact the 4 town area.

The various permits issued by the Fire Department for the fiscal year 2007/2008 generated approximately $385.00 for the town.

To the responding fire fighters, I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude to you, for your dedication, dependability, and responsibility during the year of 2008.  I know words are not enough, but I believe you know where I am coming from.

Respectfully submitted,

 Everett L. Ricketts, Sr.

Fire Chief



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