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Whately forwards mutual aid agreement on I-91 emergencies to Hatfield board

  • Whately Fire Department’s Engine 4. Per a proposed mutual aid agreement with Hatfield, the Whately Fire Department would be responsible for coverage of the Interstate 91 southbound lane in Hatfield, while the Hatfield Fire Department would be responsible for the northbound lane in Whately. STAFF FILE PHOTO/ANDY CASTILLO



Staff Writer
Monday, March 08, 2021

WHATELY — Following a brief discussion last week, the Select Board voted to sign a mutual aid agreement with Hatfield, effectively swapping coverage areas for a portion of Interstate 91 to improve their emergency response.

The proposed agreement, which was submitted by Hatfield Fire Chief Robert Flaherty for Whately to review, has not yet been taken up by the Hatfield Select Board, said Hatfield Town Administrator Marlene Michonski.

Under the proposed agreement, the Whately Fire Department would be responsible for coverage of the southbound lane in Hatfield, while the Hatfield Fire Department would cover the northbound lane in Whately.

“It should have been done … when they opened the highway,” said Whately Fire Chief John Hannum.

The change affects only the fire departments and does not include EMS services, according to the agreement. If additional town services are needed, the town in which the emergency is happening will respond.

“Presently, to do 91 northbound, south of Tom’s Hot Dog stand, I have to go to Northampton and turn around to get to that side of the highway,” Hannum said. “We just swapped those sections of highway, and it makes it safer.”

He said the arrangement will provide better access to emergencies for both departments.

Select Board member Jonathan Edwards called the agreement “common sense” before the board voted unanimously to sign it.