Important Connecticut Fire Safety Alert

Rash of Fire Fatalities throughout Connecticut
In the months of January and February 2007, the state of Connecticut saw an alarming increase in fatal fires. “In these two months, there have been 6 separate fatal fires in our state,” stated Jeff Morrissette, State Fire Administrator, “and this is in addition to numerous other fires where individuals are injured.” In fact, three of these fatalities happened in a two- day period with fires in Waterbury, Westbrook and Meriden.

Nationally, a quick check of media reports for just the first 19 days of February revealed 77 house-fire fatalities. Thirty fatalities were single or double fatalities, and 46 deaths resulted from 15 fires and were counted as multiple fatalities (three or more individuals).

Winter is the worst season for fires due to reliance on heating systems and use of supplemental heaters.  Another common problem during the winter is carbon monoxide incidents. Carbon monoxide commonly known as CO , can be generated from any fuel-burning appliance. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is not detectable by smell or taste.  Carbon monoxide accumulates in the human body over a period of time, so an extended exposure to a small concentration can be as devastating as a high concentration over a short period of time.  “In a two day period of February, 13 people were hospitalized in two separate carbon monoxide incidents in Ansonia and Newington,” said John Blaschik of the Sate Fire Marshal’s Office,  “Improper use of supplemental heaters and the improper disposal of hot ashes are common causes of winter time fires and other emergencies that often lead to injuries and fatalities.”  

The Connecticut Fire Chiefs Association (CFCA) is equally concerned about the rash of fire fatalities and injuries suffered by Connecticut residents. “Local fire departments are responsible for providing public fire education to its residents and rising fatality rates have local Chiefs concerned,” stated Chief Jamie DiPace of the Avon Fire Department and Vice President of the CFCA. “Residents need to be vigilant about fire safety in their homes and workplaces and the effort needs to be a family affair,” stated DiPace.
The Connecticut Commission on Fire Prevention and Control in partnership with the Connecticut State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Connecticut Fire Chiefs Association ask you to follow these simple winter fire safety rules;

Check smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to be sure they are
  working properly.
Have an escape plan with a meeting place, and practice it. Each room
  in your house should have two ways out.
Once you exit your home, DO NOT return. Too many people lose their
  lives going back into a burning home.
Stoves are not made for heating homes. 
Supplemental heating devices should be used and maintained in
  accordance with manufacturer recommendations. Keep combustibles
  clear, at least 3 feet away. Do not leave supplemental heating
  devices unattended.
If you are burning wood in your fireplace, make sure your chimneys
  are properly maintained.
Be sure to dispose of fireplace ashes in a closed metal container,
  away from your house. Ashes can retain their heat for hours, even
  days, and can cause nearby combustibles to ignite.
Have your entire heating system checked for proper
  operation annually.
During winter storm power outages, candles often cause fires.
  Be sure to burn candles in a sturdy base that won’t tip over and
  never burn candles unattended.

If everyone follows these safety rules, we can dramatically reduce the incidence of fires in our state and prevent family tragedies. The State Fire Marshal’s Office is part of the Department of Public Safety and is responsible for investigating fires in the state of Connecticut.  The Connecticut Fire Academy is the teaching arm of the Connecticut Commission on Fire Prevention and Control. Part of their mission is educating the public in fire and burn prevention. The Connecticut Fire Chiefs Association is responsible for promoting the position of Chief Fire Officer in Connecticut and serves the community through continuing education, unity in the fire service, safety, and professionalism.

IAFF Local 3059 Thompsonville and Hazardville Professional Firefighters Union Participates in Black History Month and Honors Chief Raymond

In 1854, Chief Raymond, an African American, was appointed to the city department. In 1862, he left to join the Federal Navy and fight in the Civil War. Nine years later, in 1871, he was appointed the first black chief engineer (chief) in the United States. He assumed command of an integrated city department featuring 75 drivers, engineers, telegraph operators and firefighters.

By the end of his tenure in 1879, Chief Raymond tripled the budget, added two new engine companies and built three new stations. He went on to become a member of the Executive Board of the International Association of Fire Engineers (now the International Association of Fire Chiefs) and was a charter member of the Logan Post Grand Army of the Republic Veterans in Boston.

The IAFF Local 3059 Thompsonville and Hazardville Professional Firefighters Union is proud of the important role Chief Raymond played. Representatives of the Union have visited schools in Thompsonville, donating the book "Hold the Flag High," about the Massachusetts fifty-fourth regiment. During their visits, they also talked with 5th graders about diversity in the fire service and everyday life.

Fire Officer IV Certification Recipient

John Alexander, a member of the Hazardville Fire Department, has recently been awarded Fire Officer IV Certification by the State of Connecticut Commission on Fire Prevention and Control. Certification at the Fire Officer IV level is the pinnacle of the upward progression through the certification process.

In addition to participating in approximately 40 hours of classroom group discussion and lecture, Mr. Alexander completed numerous in-class projects on such topics as human resource management, community and government relations, budgeting, and emergency service delivery. He finished his coursework and certification preparation by developing a comprehensive strategic plan that can be used by his department. The certification process culminated with Mr. Alexander participating in an oral interview panel consisting of a town manager, fire chief and a senior fire service instructor.

The Commission on Fire Prevention and Control is the State Agency with the responsibility to train and certify members of Connecticut’s Fire Service.

  Operation E.L.F.

The crew of Thompsonville Engine 23 visits with Governor Rell, Representative Simmons and Senator Kissel at Westfield Mall
during the annual Firefighters Union (local 3059) Toy and Fund
Drive for Operation E.L.F.

Enfield Fire Department, 200 Phoenix Avenue, Enfield, CT 06082 • (860) 745-1878 • EMERGENCY CALL 911