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The Castine Fire and Rescue Department and First Responders Team arrived within four minutes when two cars collided at the intersection of Routes 166 and 166A—the only road into Castine—on September 27. “It’s working out very well,” said captain Tom Gutow of the First Responder service’s ability to quickly act on emergency calls.
The Castine Fire and Rescue Department is manned by volunteers, including Maine Maritime Academy students, who helped at the accident scene.
by Anne Berleant
“I was going straight, she was turning and saw me too late,” said the driver of a vehicle involved in a two-car accident at the intersection of Routes 166 and 166A on September 27. He spoke from the side of the road just minutes afterwards—already, Castine Fire and Rescue Department had both roads blocked to traffic and First Responders were at the scene.
The accident left the only road into Castine closed to car traffic for about half an hour. Both cars involved in the accident had no passengers; one driver was fine and one was transported by Peninsula Ambulance Corps to Blue Hill Memorial Hospital.
First Responders service members arrived within four minutes after the 911 call, according to Captain Tom Gutow, and Peninsula Ambulance was there 25 minutes later.
The First Responder team was launched earlier this year, when Bagaduce Ambulance Corps ceased operations.
While there were ample funds to continue the BAC, which had served Castine for more than 30 years, trained volunteers were in short supply. An ad hoc committee appointed by the selectmen recommended contracting with Peninsula Ambulance and forming a First Responder team to cover that 20- to 30-minute time gap between an emergency call and the arrival of ambulance and medical personnel from Blue Hill.
Once 911 is dialed, the call goes to the Hancock County dispatcher in Ellsworth, who pages the appropriate fire department. In Castine, that is the Fire and Rescue Department, manned by volunteers from the community and Maine Maritime Academy students.