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I know all those towns from friends and relatives that lived in them at various times. Been in the area many times. We currently have good friends in Wells. Mutual aid like what you describe is the norm in small town New England because nobody has enough equipment or manpower to do it all. And pretty much all the small towns have volunteer depts. Still, the small towns had firetrucks long before DHS showed up showering money on them. Usually they’d buy used ones from cities down South or in the MidWest. Those that don;’t get a grant from the DHS still do. DHS’s priorities just don’t make sense to me in this regard. Maybe it’s just pork politics without any deeper hidden agendas.