Gabe Balsamo joined NMVFC as a junior firefighter in 2006. His initial responses were on his bicycle from his residence on Summer Hill. Over the years, the bicycle was replaced with a Jeep, and he now has a home of his own on Dorset Lane, where he lives with his fiancée, Kelsey. Rumor has it that his response time is still the same! For the past 6 years, Gabe has served NMVFC as a Lieutenant and has been a major contributor to the department.
After graduating from Hand in 2009, Gabe went on to attend the University of New Haven. He expanded his education in the fire service by studying Fire Science and Arson Investigation along with a minor in Criminal Justice. Gabe has continued to further his education by taking fire service courses and is currently certified at the Fire Service Instructor 1 level.
In addition to being an active Line Officer, Gabe oversees the company’s fire gear and personal protective equipment, always making sure every firefighter has the proper PPE needed for the job. He also manages the pager program and social media for the department. Gabe brings energy and enthusiasm to everything he does. You know that Gabe is around by his loud voice and laughter that can be heard from any part of the firehouse.
Gabe is an outstanding leader and has a strong passion for the fire service. It shows both on and off the fire grounds. He has taken new firefighters under his wing by showing them the ropes and is always available to answer a question no matter what time, day or night. He is regarded by the junior firefighters as a mentor in fire department related activities and has provided guidance in preparing them for college and life in general. Gabe defines the word dedicated.
This past year, Gabe has responded to over 50% total calls for service that included manning the fire station during the March Nor’easters! For his outstanding dedication and service to NMVFC and the North Madison community, we name Gabe Balsamo as our Spirit of the Company recipient.Read more
Extremely cold temperatures across most of the country means plenty of space heaters are working overtime. Please pay close attention to your space heater’s surroundings. Check out these few tips below for more info.
Facts about home heating fires
- From 2013-2015, an average of 45,900 home heating fires occurred in the United States each year. These fires caused an annual average of approximately 205 deaths, 725 injuries and $506 million in property loss.
- Heating was the second leading cause of home fires after cooking.
- Home heating fires peaked in the early evening hours between 5 and 9 p.m. with the highest peak between 6 and 8 p.m. This four-hour period accounted for 29 percent of all home heating fires.
- Home heating fires peaked in January (21 percent) and declined to the lowest point from June to August.
- Confined fires — fires confined to chimneys, flues or fuel burners — accounted for 75 percent of home heating fires.
- Twenty-nine percent of the nonconfined home heating fires — fires that spread past the object of origin — happened because the heat source (like a space heater or fire place) was too close to things that can burn
These past two Sundays, Santa hopped aboard Engine 10-55 and surprised children throughout North Madison! (He would have flown, but Rudolph and the other reindeer were in for their pre-flight annual vet check-ups and sky shots, and the flying sleigh needed a fresh coat of thermosphere-proof star glitter).
So many wonder-struck neighbors this year—our best year ever! Santa stopped by 102 houses with sirens, flashing lights and loud air horns to spread joy and smiles to 180 children and to thank their parents for their generous support of our volunteer fire company. Participation in our Santa drive was up 40% this year! We drove Santa, his elves and helpers everywhere!
Many thanks to those of you whose generosity and belief in magic keeps Santa—the REAL Santa!—coming to town year after year. He told us to tell you HO HO HO and MERRY CHRISTMAS, and to remind you to clean your chimneys for fire safety and easy self-and-elf access. And make sure all those children to go to bed early Christmas Eve!
HAPPY HOLIDAYS and PEACE, JOY and GOOD WILL TO ALL.
–The North Madison Volunteer Fire Company.
For most, the kitchen is the heart of the home, especially during the holidays. From testing family recipes to decorating cakes and cookies, everyone enjoys being part of the preparations.
So keeping fire safety top of mind in the kitchen during this joyous but hectic time is important, especially when there’s a lot of activity and people at home. As you start preparing your holiday schedule and organizing that large family feast, remember, by following a few simple safety tips you can enjoy time with your loved ones and keep yourself and your family safer from fire.
Thanksgiving by the numbers
- Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by the day before Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. and Christmas Eve.
- In 2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,760 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving, the peak day for such fires.
- Unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths.
- Cooking equipment was involved in almost half of all reported home fires and home fire injuries, and it is the second leading cause of home fire deaths.
Santa Claus is coming to town!
Have your presents delivered by Santa this year.
LT Mark DeCillis One of the recipients of the 2017 Connecticut District Exchange Club’s Salute
to Connecticut’s Bravest Award at the Oct. 20th ceremony
Mark DeCillis joined the fire company as a probationary member on May 29, 2010 and became a regular member in November of the same year. Mark quickly earned his Firefighter 1 and 2 as well as an EMT certification. Since completing his initial training, Mark has demonstrated a deep commitment to the department. Initially, he became an EMS crew leader taking EMS duty once a week. Mark was elected Lieutenant in 2013 and immediately took charge of our SCBA program. Under his supervison, the program has flourished and has ensured that each firefighter has a functioning air pack everytime it is donned. Mark has also taken an active role in the company as one of the leaders of the junior firefighting program. He has served as a mentor to many junior firefighters and as a result, this program serves a deep pool of qualified members. Mark immediately steps in to fill whatever role is required whether it be basic firefighter or incident command. Marks steps up to any challenge and completes the job. He remains one of our top responders, responding to most fire and EMS calls.
The officers and members of the North Madison Fire Company would like to extend a BIG thank you to EVERYONE that attended the 2017 open house! It was a great success thanks to the dedication of our members and the fantastic showing from the community!!
Today as part of the 2017 Fire Prevention Week children from a local nursery school stopped by the firehouse to thank us for visiting their school to talk about fire safety. They surprised us with fresh flowers, a beautiful handmade card and a huge, delicious plate of homemade brownies! (We will be appreciating those brownies during our monthly clean-up and business meeting tonight). Many thanks to all of them for their thoughtful gifts. What a generous community we live in. Truly neighbors helping neighbors!
The North Madison Volunteer Fire Company will hold its annual open house on Sunday, October 15 from 11AM to 2PM, at the end of Fire Prevention Week. The all-volunteer department provides a full range of fire, rescue, and EMS first-responder services to all of Madison north of The Pines, and works closely with its downtown sister department, Madison Hose Company #1, as well as the Madison Police Department and Madison EMS, to provide a high level of public safety to the community. Roughly 50 North Madison company volunteers respond to just over 400 calls per year.
The department’s annual open house will include a number of fun activities for the family, including a chance for kids to run the hose and put water on a simulated fire, and for adults to practice with fire extinguishers. “The weather forecast for next weekend looks terrific,” observes Company President Paul Harris, “and we hope for a great turnout. We can answer any questions you have about the department, and even take a membership application or a donation.” While the fire trucks and nearly all of the company’s firefighting and EMS equipment are paid for by town funds, the department is not a town agency, and relies on donations to support a number of its activities. The trucks and all of the department’s equipment will be available for inspection by visitors, and company members will be on hand to answer questions and demonstrate some of the gear carried on the trucks.
This year’s national Fire Prevention Week theme is “Every Second Counts – Plan 2 Ways Out.” At about 1:30 p.m., the fire company will host a live burn in a simulated room of a house, to demonstrate just how quickly a fire can spread indoors. “In a house fire, the focus has to be on getting out – not on retrieving your cell phone or laptop, or grabbing the checkbook, but getting out. Today’s synthetic furniture components burn very hot and very fast,” notes fire chief Dave Cone, “and running back in, or delaying exiting even briefly, can be fatal.” Courtesy of the Branford Fire Department, a fire safety trailer will be on hand to allow for safe practice of some key fire survival techniques. A number of brochures and posters will also be available for visitors to take home.Read more
Lieutenant Gabriel Balsamo
You and your family are fast asleep when the smoke alarm sounds: Do you know what to do?
October 9, 2017 — Consider this scenario: It’s 2 o’clock in the morning. You and your family are fast asleep when you awaken to the smoke alarm sounding and the smell of smoke. What do you do? If you and your family don’t have a plan in place, it could jeopardize your safety, or even prove deadly.
In a typical home fire, you may have as little as one to two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds. That’s why home escape planning is so critical in a fire situation. It ensures that everyone in the household knows how to use that small window of time wisely.
“Developing and practicing a home escape plan is like building muscle memory,” said David Cone, Chief of the North Madison Fire Company. “That pre-planning is what everyone will draw upon to snap into action and escape as quickly as possible in the event of a fire.”
This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme, “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” works to better educate the public about the critical importance of developing a home escape plan and practicing it. The North Madison Fire Company is working in coordination with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the official sponsor of the Fire Prevention Week for more than 90 years, to reinforce those potentially life-saving messages. Fire Prevention Week is October 8-14, 2017. We will be ending the week with our annual open house on Sunday, October 15 from 11-2pm!
“Home escape planning is one of the most basic but fundamental elements of home fire safety, and can truly make the difference between life and death in a fire situation,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy.
In support of Fire Prevention Week, Lt. Balsamo encourages all Madison households to develop a plan together and practice it. A home escape plan includes working smoke alarms on every level of the home, in every bedroom, and near all sleeping areas. It also includes two ways out of every room, usually a door and a window, with a clear path to an outside meeting place (like a tree, light pole, or mailbox) that’s a safe distance from the home.
NFPA and the North Madison Fire Company offer these additional tips and recommendations for developing and practicing a home escape plan:
- Draw a map of your home with all members of your household, marking two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.
- Practice your home fire drill twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home, and practice using different ways out.
- Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
- Make sure the number of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find.
- Close doors behind you as you leave — this may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.
- Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.
For more information about Fire Prevention Week or to learn more about this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out” and home escape planning, visit firepreventionweek.org.