Written by: Firefighter Brendan Collins
~ Aren’t you mostly getting cats out of trees?”
When I first mentioned to people that I was becoming a volunteer firefighter with the North Madison Volunteer Fire Company these were the types of questions I heard frequently. Truthfully, they’re questions I had asked myself at one point. (Side note, to date I have not rescued a single cat.)
Contrary to the levity such questions suggest, becoming a volunteer firefighter is in fact serious business. At times, life and death serious.
Thankfully “working” fires are a small percentage of our calls for service. We also respond to car accidents, carbon monoxide alarms, and theoretically cats stuck in trees.
In addition, a good deal of time is spent connecting with the community and sharing comradery with fellow volunteers. All of these factors contributed to my desire to join and serve our community in this way.
As a prospective volunteer balancing a career, family and other commitments it was initially a challenge. My father has been a volunteer firefighter for more than 50 years so I knew about the late night alarms, and frequent need to leave work or the dinner table when a call went out. What I found out is there is much more to this role I’ve chosen than responding to emergencies.
The first step in becoming a firefighter is to take the state Fire 1 course. This is an introduction to firefighting as well as interior firefighter certification, Hazardous Materials Awareness and Operations.
Passing this course requires a significant time commitment but one that is justified when you consider the risk involved. What was surprising to me is firefighting isn’t as simple as putting water on the fire.
During Fire1 volunteers learn everything from carrying and throwing a ladder, to fire attack and search and rescue. The instructors introduce you to countless acronyms and terms such as LDH (Large Diameter Hose), IDLH (Immediate Danger to Life and Health), the “Irons” (Halligan tool and Axe) and positive pressure ventilation (blowing fresh air into a structure to remove toxic gasses and smoke.)
Then there’s the equipment, trucks, tools and protocols. Learning about all these seemed quite daunting at the outset, but I have come to learn that the fire department is full of people who want to help. When I’ve had questions about how things work or what needs to be done there is someone willing to lend a hand.
Being a volunteer firefighter isn’t all lights and sirens, it is ultimately about people. I have met some inspiring members that truly give more than they will ever receive. From doctors, lawyers, sales people, landscapers, engineers, and even professional firefighters they all come together to help serve the community. This extends beyond the firehouse doors as well. I’ve personally witnessed our “neighbors helping neighbors” motto materialize countless times in my brief tenure so far.
In short, becoming a North Madison firefighter has enriched my life in more ways than I can express here. It has fulfilled a need for teamwork and comradery previously filled by organized sports and has given me the opportunity to become an active member of my new community,
When the call comes across the pager that there is someone in need of help, our volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel are part of a team that willingly leaves the comfort of their homes to help others.
These are people I want to know.
For the sixth year in a row, CT shoreline fire departments will host a one-day food drive on Sat. April 8th from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to collect non-perishable food for shoreline residents in need.
At a time of year when food donations are low, this food drive will help to restock the pantries and ensure that everyone in our local communities will have a place at the table. The Soup Kitchens’ five pantries distributed over 1 million pounds of food last year to needy residents. Only 40 percent of this food comes from the CT Food Bank; the remainder must be either purchased or donated, so every item is appreciated. Last year’s drive brought in close to 4,000 pounds of food, and this year’s goal is 6,000 pounds.
Please join the effort by donating food on Saturday, April 8, 2017. North Madison Fire will be stationed outside Roberts Food Center from 9-1p Please do not drop off food before that date.Read more
An article from our most recent newsletter “Getting to know us Volume 2, Issue 2”
10-55 Engine Replacement: In Progress
By Donald MacMillan
The North Madison Volunteer Fire Company (NMVFC) is in the process of replacing 10-55, our 24-year-old pumper.
To provide the best fire protection to the residents of North Madison we need two pumpers, each custom built to fulfill its mission.
Our primary pumper, 10-57, is specifically designed and employed to attack fires, while 10-55 serves as a water source pumper. Since North Madison does not have water hydrants, we rely on mutual aid water supply and the water we have in our underground water tanks. We use 10-55 to get the water from the tanks and to serve as the primary piece of apparatus we send to other towns in need of assistance.
Many towns use bonding to purchase apparatus, and although this method is effective the overall cost over the life of the bond issue remains high.
NMVFC purchases a major piece of apparatus every 6-7 years generally costing $400,000 to $1,000,000. An expenditure of this magnitude can have a significant impact on the town budget. To prevent budget fluctuations funds have been put aside every year in a capital account to be available when needed. Since the town put aside the cost of our new truck we were able to save $20,000.
We are often asked about the fate of old apparatus. In the past we have donated fire trucks to needy rural fire departments. Our two previous engines found new homes in rural New Hampshire, replacing 40-year-old apparatus. We are very fortunate to have the resources to provide relatively modern equipment to towns that do not share our fortunes.
The fire department and the town are committed to providing the highest level of fire protection to all residents. Your continued support of the North Madison Volunteer Fire Company is greatly appreciated.
Many thanks to our Sponsors:
More fires happen in the winter months than any other time of the year. During the cold months, we spend more time indoors and use different methods to heat our homes.
It is important to keep fire safety in mind when you are heating your home.
If you are using a portable heater:
- Make sure the heater has an automatic shut-off so if it tips over, it shuts off.
- Keep anything that can burn such bedding, clothing and curtains at least 3 feet from the heater.
- Plug portable heaters directly into wall outlets. Never use an extension cord or power strip.
- Turn heaters off when you go to bed or leave the room.
If you are using a fireplace:
- Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace to prevent embers or sparks from jumping out and starting a fire.
- Do not burn paper in your fireplace.
- Before you go to sleep or leave your home put the fire out completely.
- Put ashes in a metal container with a lid. Store the container outside at least 3 feet from your home.
If you are using a wood stove:
- Have your chimney inspected and cleaned each year by a professional.
- Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet from the stove.
- Do not burn paper in your wood stove.
- Before you go to sleep or leave your home, put the fire out completely.
When heating your home, you need to be aware of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide, also known as CO, is called the “invisible killer” because it’s a colorless, odorless, and poisonous gas. More than 150 people in the U.S. die each year due to accidental CO poisoning from generators or fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, stoves, water heaters and fire places. Breathing CO at high levels can kill you.
Put CO alarms inside your home to provide an early warning of increasing CO levels. These alarms should be placed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home.
As always, make sure you have a smoke alarm on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Test your alarms every month. Have a home fire escape plan and practice your plan at least twice a year. Make sure everyone knows how to escape your home if there is a fire.Read more
Many thanks to the participants, friends and volunteers who made our 2016 Santa fundraiser a huge success! On two Sundays in December, the Nomads were honored to help Santa Claus and his elves deliver gifts to 70 families in North Madison. Children and adults alike were amazed when Santa hopped off the firetruck at their very own door! (Santa’s sleigh was still in the shop for routine service before its annual Christmas Eve flight). Even when foggy weather hit, Santa and the Nomads delivered a surprise gift to every child on their nice-kid early-bird list despite the absence of Rudolph, who’d wanted to come but had his annual buff-and-wax nose-shine appointment. We look forward to continuing with this popular and joyous event next year, and we’re deeply grateful for the continued, widespread community support of the North Madison Volunteer Fire Company. Ho-ho-ho and Happy New Year to all!
It is fun to decorate for the winter holidays, but holiday decorations can increase your risk of a home fire. As you deck the halls this season, be fire smart.
When you’re decorating with live trees, make sure you keep the tree watered. If a dry tree comes in contact with a flame, it can catch on fire in fewer than 10 seconds and spread quickly throughout your home. Take a minute to watch this video which shows the difference between a dry and watered tree, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZk4vIXCnc8
Here are a few tips to keep your holiday decorations bright and safe:
- Choose the freshest tree you can find. Check to see if the needles stay when you gently pull on a branch.
- After making a fresh cut on the trunk and placing the tree in a stand, fill the stand’s water basin. Make sure you water your tree every day. Keep electrical cords and lights away from the water.
- Choose holiday decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.
- Choose holiday lights with a label from an approved testing laboratory, such as UL, and throw away any frayed or damaged light strands.
- Place your tree at least three feet from heat registers, space heaters, and fireplaces.
- If you decorate with candles, make sure they are at least three feet away from anything that can burn.
- Consider using battery-operated flameless candles, which can look, smell and feel like real candles.
Learn more at USFA website.Read more
As you plan your Thanksgiving menu don’t forget about fire safety.
Did you know Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires? The number of home fires double on Thanksgiving. So, let’s add a pinch of fire safety to the menu.
Keep these safety tips in mind as you prepare your meal.
If you are roasting your turkey, make sure you set a timer. This way, you won’t forget about the bird as you watch the parade or football.
If you are frying your turkey,
- Use a fryer with thermostat controls. This will ensure the oil does not become over heated.
- Thaw your turkey completely. Ice on the bird will cause the oil to splatter.
- Don’t overfill the pot with oil. If you do, the oil will overflow when you add the turkey causing a fire hazard.
- Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the fryer.
- Also, always use the fryer outdoors.
Stuffing and Potatoes:
Stand by your stove when you are boiling your potatoes or frying onions for stuffing. It is best to stay in the kitchen when you are frying, boiling or broiling. If you are in the kitchen, it is easier to catch spills or hazardous conditions before they become a fire.
- Keep the area around the stove clear of packaging, paper towels, and dish cloths; anything that can burn.
- Be sure to clean up any spills as they happen.
- Be prepared. Keep a large pan lid or baking sheet handy in case you need to smother a pan fire.
- Turn pot handles towards the back of the stove so you don’t bump them.
By following these safety tips, you will have a delicious and fire safe Thanksgiving. Let the firefighters have dinner with their families, not yours.Read more
Santa Claus is coming to town!
Have your presents delivered by Santa this year.
This year, the North Madison Volunteer Fire Company, and Madison Hose Company No. 1 have teamed up again to bring Santa to deliver presents to your door in a fire truck!
Santa will be delivering presents on two days. Sunday December 11, and Sunday December 18
Please note, this year we will be delivering presents during two windows of time: 9am-12pm and 1pm-4pm. For scheduling purposes, we ask that you please choose a window of time rather than scheduling an exact time for delivery. If neither of these windows of time work for you, please let us know and we will try to accommodate you as best as possible!
Presents can be dropped off at the North Madison Volunteer Fire Company prior to the delivery dates. Once you have registered, we will be in touch to let you know when you can drop off your gifts.
Payments of 25$ per gift can be made when you drop off your gift(s) at the fire department.
This is sure to make your little firefighter’s holiday! Or for some, your big firefighter’s holiday! Happy Holidays to all, and we hope to see you soon!
North Madison Volunteer Fire Company
Madison Hose Company No. 1Read more
by LT Gabe Balsamo in General
Photos and Article By Zoe Roos, Staff Writer Zip06.com
Published October 18, 2016.
The North Madison Volunteer Fire Company invited residents to the firehouse on Oct. 16 to recognize National Fire Prevention Week. Firefighters held several demonstrations including a fire extinguisher demo, a Jaws of Life demo, and a live car fire demo.
October is fire prevention and awareness month. Each year, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) chooses one issue to focus on, and this year it is smoke alarms. According to the NFPA, smoke alarms need to be replaced every 10 years at least.
North Madison Volunteer Fire Company President Paul Harris said the department hopes to raise awareness about proper use and inspection of smoke alarms.
“We have actually had, not in this department, but we have had people buy smoke alarms, put them in their closet, and then they don’t understand why they don’t work,” he said. “They never take them out of the box and they go well I had it in my bedroom—there is a little more to it than that.”
Fire Lieutenant Gabe Balsamo said in a statement that smoke alarms can be the difference between life and death.
“Time and again, I’ve seen the life-saving impact smoke alarms can have in a home fire, but I’ve also seen the tragedy that can result when smoke alarms aren’t working properly,” he said. “That’s why we’re making a concerted effort to educate Madison residents about the overall importance of smoke alarms, and that they do have a life limit.”
Overall, Harris said Madison residents do a pretty good job of properly maintaining their smoke alarms.
“I think our community is pretty conscientious compared to some of the other towns and cities,” he said. “When we have responded, I would say in a majority of incidents the smoke alarm was doing its job.”
Lots of young children attended the demos held by the department. Harris said it is a good opportunity to show kids what firefighters really do out in the field.
“We are hoping to get them excited about it and maybe they will want to become future firefighters because we are always looking for the next generation to step in and take over,” he said.