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Westbrook’s Gregg Prevost has made a career of public safety. in return, it has given him a second family. (Photo by Eric O’Connell/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)
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“Twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week for the last 30 years.”
That’s how Gregg Prevost describes his career. Gregg is the chief of operations and president of Westbrook Ambulance, captain of headquarters for the Westbrook Fire Department, as well as the technical systems supervisor for Valley Shore Emergency Communications.
“The most important thing is my people work safely and everyone gets home safely,” Gregg says.
Gregg has served since 1988—you could say it was a role he was born for. Gregg’s father and grandfather were both firemen, and Gregg has fond memories of growing up in that environment.
“I go back multiple generations,” Gregg says. “I used to go for rides with them back when that was allowed.”
Gregg even recalls participating in car crash drills when he was a child.
“Public safety as something that was instilled in me as a youth,” Gregg says.
Gregg was always interested in public safety and got an early start in emergency services—he was once the youngest EMT in the State of Connecticut. Since that time as an EMT, Gregg has continued to work in public safety.
“It’s a challenge. You get to do something different every day,” Gregg says.
The nature of Gregg’s work can sometimes mean dealing with tragic circumstances; fatalities involving youths are the hardest part of his job. Unfortunately, Gregg also must spend time dealing with people who have tried to game the system as the service has expanded.
“The call volume was about 200 calls 30 years ago. Last year, we did about 1,200 calls,” Gregg says. “About 50 percent were legit emergencies.”
For the other 50 percent, the ambulance may not have been necessary. For instance, Gregg says that some people will call for an ambulance because they know that if they arrive at an emergency room in one, they will get to a bed right away, instead of spending time in the waiting room.
However, the work can also produce some special moments, as well.
“Thirty years a go we had a drowning [rescue] in town. About two years ago, I ran into the girl that had been drowning and she’s married now,” Gregg says.
Additionally, Gregg has spent the last 20 years combining two of his joys: auto racing and public safety. Gregg serves as the operations chief of the Incident Management Team for Fire and EMS Services at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
“I’ve been a fan since I was a kid,” says Gregg.
Gregg says he takes a “working vacation” when he travels to New Hampshire for the race. During his years in New Hampshire, Gregg has seen a little bit of everything, from cardiac arrest patients, overdoses, and even once a call to deliver a baby.
“It’s a bit of a challenge,” Gregg admits. “The place is about the size of Westbrook [and] gets 100,000 people twice a year,” says Gregg. “It’s basically a small city for a five-day period.”
Most people wouldn’t be surprised to find out that Gregg’s work means he has daily interactions with the Police Department, but what some may find surprising is that Gregg also has regular contact with the Planning & Zoning Commission. The commission will present plans for new developments in town so the emergency services can review the projects. Gregg says proposed developments are evaluated for fire and ambulance access, and that multistory buildings have multiple staircases and elevators.
“That’s something we’re always cognizant of,” Gregg says.
Gregg grew up in Westbrook and has stayed local since. He lived in Chester and Clinton for a bit, before returning to Westbrook. Asked his favorite part of living in Westbrook, Gregg doesn’t hesitate.
“It’s the people,” he says. “We all keep close.”
Gregg also says the town has a “fantastic school system” and is proud to report his children have gone through the public school system in town.
While Gregg’s work keeps him busy, he does joke that “occasionally I take four-hour naps.” When he has time with himself, Gregg says he likes to spend time with his kids, Meghan, Lindsey, and Gregg III.
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