Viewing posts categorised under: General

Status Update: Fund Drive

by admin in General

Below is an article from our latest company newsletter “Winter, Christmas, and Safety Volume 1 Issue 2”

In recent months, information was mailed to each residence in the community asking for financial support for operations at the North Madison Volunteer Fire Company. Of the 3,300 households in the community, 360 have stepped up to show their support for building a safe community. For those that have donated, we cannot thank you enough for your contributions. Although the efforts made by current donors are sincerely appreciated, we need the help of more households to ensure that the Fire Company continues to fortify the safety and well-being of the community. The North Madison Volunteer Fire Company is comprised solely of volunteers who do not receive compensation for their service. As such, every donation made to the department is directly reinvested in the community through equipment, training, and events to promote safety. If each household in the community contributed $50 we could reach full funding for the fiscal year. For those that can contribute please consider making the North Madison Volunteer Fire Company your organization of choice this year. Donations can be sent in by mail or electronically via NMVFC Donate Now.


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An Overlooked Danger: Chimney Fires

by admin in General

Below is an article from our latest company newsletter “Winter, Christmas, and Safety Volume 1 Issue 2”

As the cold of the winter months begins to bear down, many of us will take comfort in the warmth of a wood stove or fireplace. These devices, in one form or another, have been around since the 12th century. Fireplaces and stoves are typically accompanied by a chimney to remove the byproducts of combustion. This system of heating is efficient; however it can also be dangerous if efforts are not made to properly clean and inspect a chimney each year. Creosote and other debris which can build up in the chimney over time can present a dangerous situation which can result in fire, damage to the home, and in the worst case scenario, injury or loss of life.

Most chimney fires are caused by creosote. This compound forms when the residue from combustion travels up the chimney and attaches to the walls of the structure. Chimneys are often much cooler than the wood stove or fire place, allowing for quick cooling and condensation. Over time, creosote particles can line the chimney, creating a significant fire hazard. Creosote Build-up in a Chimney Preventing chimney fires can be accomplished through regular inspections of the structure by a certified professional. In addition, there are several steps that you can take to help prevent the buildup of creosote in the first place. For example: Start fires with dry kindling or newspaper. Gasoline or kerosene should never be used. Do not burn wrapping paper, cardboard boxes, or Christmas trees. When possible, burn large logs rather than small branches.

Have the chimney inspected annually and have any creosote removed from the chimney walls to ensure safety. When it comes to chimney safety it is important to remember that clean chimneys do not catch on fire. Preventing creosote and having your chimney cleaned on a regular basis will provide protection from this often overlooked danger.


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Safe Winter Driving Tips

by admin in General


Below is an article from our latest company newsletter “Winter, Christmas, and Safety Volume 1 Issue 2”

Winter can be one of the most beautiful times of the year. Unfortunately, it can also be one of the most dangerous. Snow, ice, and wind can impact driving, vehicle performance, and visibility making it difficult for even the most skilled drivers to remain safe while on the road. Because most of us must operate a vehicle even in inclement weather, it is helpful to consider some basic tips to ensure safety. Safe winter driving can be accomplished through the three P’s: Preparation, Protection, and Prevention. Below are some actions that you can take to safely navigate during wintry conditions.

Preparation: Prepare for winter driving by ensuring that your vehicle is capable of withstanding weather conditions

1. Check your battery, tire tread, and windshield wipers.

2. Check antifreeze levels and regularly refill the no-freeze fluid in the windshield washer reservoir.

3. Keep a flashlight, jumper cables, shovel, ice scraper, flares, and blankets in your care at all times.

4. Plan your route based on the weather conditions. Make sure others know your arrival time.

5. Practice winter driving in parking lots. Learn how to stop on ice and how to steer into a skid.

Protection: Once you are in the car, there are several steps that you can take to protect yourself and loved ones before your journey begins.

1. Use your safety belts and ensure that children are properly secured in car seats.

2. Ensure that children under the age of 12 ride in the back seat.

3. Never place a rear facing infant in front of an air bag.

Prevention: Prevention involves some basic precautions that you can take while on the road.

1. During inclement weather, slow down and increase your distance from the cars in front of you.

2. Remain alert; do not drive while fatigued.

3. Stop every three hours and, when possible, rotate drivers.

4. Do not drink and drive; if you plan to drink identify a designated driver.

Even though this time of year can be challenging on the roads the three P’s can help you arrive safe even in the most dangerous conditions.

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Madison’s Annual Christmas Parade, Sunday, December 6th

by admin in General

Christmas Lighting

Photo by Judith L. Barbosa/The Source

“Madison’s Annual Christmas Parade, Santa visits and Tree Lighting will take place on Sunday, December 6th.  The parade will begin at 2pm and proceed from the former railroad station parking lot on Bradley Road, continue down Wall Street, turn onto the Boston Post Road and end at the Cafe Allegre.  Santa will then be available for children’s visits from 2:15 to 4:30pm on the porch of the Cafe Allegre.  Neighborhood groups, scouts, sports teams and businesses are encouraged to march in the parade to help usher Santa into town.  Participants may start at the beginning of the parade route or join in the fun along the way, and pets are welcome, too!  Hayrides, letters to Santa and bake sale for Mad about Madeline at RJ Julia’s, DHHS Girls Hockey team wrapping presents at Tony’s barber shop,, gingerbread house displays, face painting, cookie decorating, great shopping, free cocoa, cider & cookies by GSB, Coldwell Banker and Morgan Stanley and live music are on order for the day, and it’ll be a won at the wonderful family-friendly way to usher in the Holidays in town.

Coordinated by the Madison Chamber of Commerce, the parade and activities are generously sponsored by the following local businesses:  Santa (Major) Sponsors:  MDJ Home Improvement, The Walz Team at Morgan Stanley, and Connecticut Water.  The Star Sponsors this year areThe Source Newspaper, Watrous Nursing Center and Bridgepoint Mortgage.  Angel Sponsors include:  Kearney Insurance, Child & Adult Orthodontics, and Guilford Savings Bank.

After Santa’s visits, head down to the Green for the lighting of the town Christmas Tree, sponsored by Madison Beach & Recreation.   Caroling and cocoa will accompany the tree lighting, and the Madison ABC Concert will take place at the Fist Congregational Church on the Green after the tree lighting at 5:30.”

For more information, please contact the Madison Chamber of Commerce: 203.245.7394 or


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Firefighter Amanda Bernier Honored at Salute to Connecticut’s Bravest

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Amanda Bernier, center, received the 2015 Connecticut District Exchange Club’s Salute

to Connecticut’s Bravest award. The North Madison Volunteer Fire Company member

was joined by (from left) Denise Bernier, Chris Bernier, Tim Herget, and Jeff Pumm

at the Oct. 15 ceremony.


Amanda Bernier, the Madison firefighter battling ALS while raising her newborn daughter with husband and fellow firefighter Chris Bernier, was one of this year’s honorees at the Connecticut District Exchange Club’s Salute to Connecticut’s Bravest, an award that recognizes outstanding firefighters from cities and towns throughout the state. The event, held on Oct. 15 at the Aqua Turf in Plantsville, honored a woman whose continuing fight has inspired so many in the local community and beyond.

Raised in a family of firefighters, Amanda joined the Lancaster, New York Volunteer Fire Department as an explorer when she was in high school and eventually became a senior member. In 2006 she joined the North Madison Volunteer Fire Company, and in 2011 she began work as an emergency medical services responder with Madison Ambulance.

Shortly after becoming pregnant in 2014, 30-year-old Amanda was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that causes the deterioration of motor neurons, loss of voluntary muscle movements, and eventually death. Patients lose the ability to move their limbs and to talk, swallow, and breathe. Amanda’s ALS was a particularly aggressive form that had taken her mother’s and grandmother’s lives.

Although she did not know whether she would survive her pregnancy long enough to meet her baby face to face, Amanda and her husband welcomed daughter Arabella Grace on Nov. 4, 2014, and will soon be celebrating her first birthday.

Since Arabella’s birth, Amanda has earned national recognition for her efforts in raising ALS awareness. This year, despite losing her ability to both move any part of her body except for her eyes and breathe without a ventilator, she has written honestly and poignantly—via an eye-tracker—about her experiences as an ALS patient. Thousands have read and been inspired by her stories, shared widely on Facebook.

Local media outlets have featured stories about her work on behalf of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge., and a host of additional online publications picked up her inspiring narrative about overcoming the challenges of breast-feeding Arabella after it went viral.

 As a firefighter and EMT, Amanda learned firsthand the skills and mindset required to deal with the unpredictable, dangerous, and unknown.

“There are no routine calls,” she says.

She recalled a life-alert activation call, for instance. Normally such a call is a false alarm, nothing really, as people often set it off without knowing. Amanda and her partner, however, arrived on scene to hear an elderly man calling from the roof, where he’d fallen face-down after slipping on the moss in an attempt to clean his gutters.

“My wife can’t find out about this!” he told her repeatedly.

Amanda and her partner climbed on the roof and helped him back inside through his bedroom window.

 Then there was the Christmas-time call, an accident on Route 80. The car had been going too fast around a curve, veered into the woods, and bounced back into the road. The father on the passenger side was dead. His semi-conscious son, suffering from double-femur fractured legs and a severe head injury, was pinned inside. Amanda crawled inside the vehicle, over his father, to stabilize the son’s head and give him oxygen. The son lived.

Later that same night, Amanda responded to another call that took her past the evening’s earlier accident scene. She steered around the spot into the opposite lane, unable to drive over the place where the father had just died.

“That was my worst call,” she says.

Determined to hold her own as a female firefighter, Amanda constantly trained and conditioned.

“The fire does not care if you are male or female,” she says.

Exercising was important to her job performance as a firefighter. On a personal level, she also exercised in case she had inherited that ALS gene that had taken her mother and grandmother. Maybe she could turn it off or delay its expression by staying fit and healthy.

Within months after running road races, however, she was unable to climb into a fire truck on her own. She turned around to her husband, behind her as she climbed the steps.

“My legs,” she told him.

Though she didn’t yet know it, gene mutation SOD1 had begun its course. That familial ALS known to her ancestors since the 1700s as the “Underwood Disease” had awakened in Amanda, whose family name is Underwood.

Amanda continues her work on behalf of ALS while writing letters and preparing gifts for Arabella to read on her birthdays, her wedding day, and other milestone occasions.

And she continues as a first responder, listening to radio communications and answering calls in the only way she can: prayer. Nevertheless, she adds, “If it’s your time it’s your time.”

Whether a routine lift-assist or the worst of calls, she is present and helping, still, at the scene.



Article and photo by Mary Elliott

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Change your clock, change your batteries

by admin in General



North Madison Fire would like to remind all residents to change the batteries in their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Taking this simple step can save the lives of you and your family.

Many fatal fires occur at night while the victims are sleeping. A working smoke alarm can double the chances of survival by increasing the amount of time a person has to escape a fire in their home. Fire safety is as simple as making a habit of changing your smoke detector batteries when the time changes in spring and fall.



Remember these tips about smoke alarms:

Have smoke alarms on every level of your home, especially outside sleeping areas—and preferably inside bedrooms as well.

Test them at least once a month

Replace all detectors after 10 years.

Place smoke alarms according to manufacturer’s directions.

Clean the outside ONLY of a smoke alarm by gently going over the cover with the brush attachment of your vacuum cleaner. Never paint a smoke alarm.

Whenever a smoke alarm beeps, take it seriously. It might just be a false alarm from cooking, temperature changes, or dust—but you can’t afford to ignore the alert. Everyone in the family needs to react immediately.

Develop and practice a home escape plan. Make sure your family knows two ways out of each room, a safe meeting place outside, how to call 9-1-1 once they’re out, and why they should NEVER go back into a burning house.

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Halloween Fire Safety

by admin in General



There are 10,300 fires during the three-day period around Halloween. These fires cause about 25 deaths, 125 injuries and $83 million in property loss.

North Madison Fire would like to help our community  be safer during Halloween by sharing a few fire safety tips with our residents:

  • Choose a costume without long trailing fabric. This can cause a child to trip or may touch flames in jack-o’-lanterns or other decorations.
  • If you make your own costume, use materials that won’t catch on fire easily if they come in contact with heat or flame.
  • Give your children flashlights or glow sticks so they can see where they are walking.
  • Keep decorations away from candles, light bulbs or heaters.
  • Consider using flameless candles or glow sticks in your jack-o’-lantern.
  • Keep exits clear of decorations.

For more information about Halloween fires and fire safety, check out the U.S. Fire Administration’s website, where you can find Halloween social media cards to share and the Halloween fire data snapshot.


safety_tips_Halloween_message1.1200x900 safety_tips_Halloween_message2.1200x900

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2015 Open House: Photos Wanted

by admin in General

North Madison Fire would like to extend a big thanks to all of the residents and visitors who attended this year’s open house, it was a great success! Photos from the todays events will be available later this week. We would like to see some of your photos, please send them our way!


Bedroom Burn Box 2015

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How old are your smoke alarms?

by admin in General

Do you know how old your smoke alarms are? Like many products you use on a daily basis, smoke alarms don’t last forever. Manufacturers recommend that you replace them every 10 years. To check the date your smoke alarm was made, look at the back of the alarm or inside the battery compartment. If it’s time to replace your alarms, consider buying ones with ten-year lithium batteries.

For more information on smoke alarms, the U.S. Fire Administration .

US Fire Admin Smoke Alarm

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Message from the Chief: Fund Drive Letter

by admin in General

As part of our annual fund drive we mail out a request for donations and this year was no different. Unfortunately, due to technical issue, many of you may have received an envelope that was improperly addressed. On behalf of the entire company I would like to apologize for inconvenience or confusion this may have caused and assure you that we are working diligently to correct it. We hope to have it resolved shortly.  You may open the letter and donate if you wish by mail or on our secure website. If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me at:

-Chief MacMillan

Fund Drive Letter:

Donation Letter Fall 2015


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