Town works to ensure public safety


SOUTHWICK – The town’s police and fire departments are working to have a well-trained response to emergencies and to ensure the safety of residents.
This week, Southwick firefighters trained at a home on College Highway that was donated by the owner for training purposes, along with another house on Feeding Hills Road. Fire Chief Richard Anderson said being able to utilize the buildings is an incredible opportunity.
“It is entirely valuable to us – we have smoke machines and props and furniture – so it’s very realistic,” Anderson said.
Capt. William Frazer leads training exercises for the department .  He creates a scenario for a group of firefighters to respond to, then discusses the exercise and what was done well and what could be improved upon.  He then creates a new scenario, said Anderson.
Being able to prepare for anything helps citizens, Anderson said.
“I have a lot of new people in the department and with this training we can also create and develop our incident command procedures and test our equipment,” he said.
About 25 of the town’s 50 volunteer firefighters participated in such a training Tuesday night. Drivers passing by the house on College Highway witnessed firefighters in full gear responding as they would to a real emergency. A large sign was posted on the lawn notifying the public that training was being conducted.
In addition to the training exercises at the houses, the department holds drills every Monday night.
“We are well prepared for emergencies,” said Anderson. “We know it’s coming, we just don’t know when, and we have to be ready.”
Southwick Police spent time training at the Coast Guard facility in Bourne this fall and also received a grant as part of their commitment to safety and controlling costs.
The department was awarded a $5,000 loss control grant to purchase work zone safety equipment, such as barricades and safety cones, that will protect officers, motorists, and pedestrians in road work zones and construction areas.
“The most important factor in providing a safe route of travel during road construction or an emergency is the proper redirection of traffic around or through the work area,” said Southwick Police Chief Mark Krynicki. “Having the proper equipment such as signs, cones, and barricades to accomplish this task is essential.”
“The proper control of traffic with the equipment provided will reduce accidents, which in turn will eliminate police response for investigations, leading to a savings for the taxpayer. The proper use of signs and barricades will also reduce the number of police officers needed to manage certain traffic situations and allow them to be assigned to other duties creating a cost savings to the Town of Southwick,” said Krynicki.
Southwick received the grant from the Massachusetts Interlocal Insurance Association (MIIA), which provides property and casualty insurance to the town. MIIA awards loss control grants to its member municipalities to fund equipment purchases and implement training programs that address safety and loss prevention issues. These proactive efforts help protect the town, its employees and citizens by avoiding accidents and potentially costly claims.

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