Don't Fall Victim To Carbon Monoxide As You Close Your Windows & Turn Your Heat On

While our entry into autumn has been warm this year, cooler weather is on the way with the change of leaves, and with that we will put away our air conditioners, close our windows and turn the heat on.   With the change of seasons, from warm to cool comes a statistical increase in Carbon Monoxide (CO) Emergencies.

Carbon Monoxide, sometimes referred to as “The Invisible Killer,” is an odorless and invisible gas, undetectable by human senses, that is created when fuels … such as wood, natural gas, propane, methane, kerosene, coal, oil and gasoline … do not completely burn. Carbon Monoxide can result from a number of common household items, such as barbecue grills, water heaters, gas ovens, furnaces, clothes dryers, wood stoves and portable generators.

Every home should have Carbon Monoxide Detectors, or their smoke detectors should be combination Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Detector. While it is the law that each home in Connecticut have a Carbon Monoxide detectors, that doesn’t mean that each house or apartment has one … it is up to you to ensure your house is protected, you are protected, your family is protected.

CO Alarms should be installed in a central location outside each bedroom, and on the entry level of a home.  If possible, each alarm should be linked, so if one sounds, they all sound. 

Once installed, just like a smoke detector, each alarm should be tested each month. It takes five minutes or less and can save your life.

 

If your CO alarm sounds, immediately leave your home for fresh air.  As winter is coming you may choose to relocate to yourself and your family to your car so you may stay warm, that is OK. If you relocate to your car make sure your car is not in your garage. If your car is in your garage, park it outside, in your driveway or the street.

After a snowstorm, clear snow away from your dryer vent, or vents that serve your stove, furnace or fireplace. Snow can trap the CO in your home.

 

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning may include

• Headache

• Dizziness

• Drowsiness

• Shortness of Breath

• Nausea

• Fatigue

 

Extremely high levels of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning can be fatal within a matter of minutes.  Symptoms of severe Carbon Monoxide Poisoning include

• Vomiting

• Mental Confusion

• Loss of Consciousness

• Loss of Muscular Coordination

 

On average, more than 150 people die annually from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in the United States, and Fire Departments respond to more than 80,000 CO emergencies, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Anyone who suspects that they may be suffering from the effects Carbon Monoxide Poisoning, or if their CO Alarm is sounding, should immediately move outside, to fresh air and call 9-1-1-.

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Taking Precautions As EEE Is Confirmed In More Southeastern Connecticut Towns

With mosquitoes testing positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in Groton, East Lyme, Old Lyme, Ledyard and now Montville, along with EEE related fatalities in East Lyme and Old Lyme, those in Waterford and Southeastern Connecticut should take precautions to keep themselves and the families safe.  

While the Ledge Light Health District warnings do not presently include Waterford, the Ledge Light Health District advises precautions be taken in the region.  These precautions include:

• Avoid outdoor activities between dusk and dawn.

• Be sure door and window screens are tight fitting and in good repair.

• While outdoors, wear shoes, socks, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts. Clothing material should be tightly woven.

• Use mosquito netting if sleeping outdoors.

• Consider using mosquito repellent when it is necessary to be outdoors and always use them according to label instructions. The most effective repellents contain DEET or Picaridin. Oil of lemon eucalyptus is also effective for brief periods of exposure.

• When using DEET, use the lowest concentration effective for the time spent outdoors (for example, 6% lasts approximately 2 hours and 20% for 4 hours) and wash treated skin when returning indoors. Do not apply under clothing, to wounds or irritated skin, the hands of children, or to infants less than 2 months. 

• Dispose of water-holding containers, such as ceramic pots, used tires, and tire Swings, clogged gutters.

• Drill holes in the bottom of containers such as those used for recycling.

• Change water in bird baths on a weekly basis.

• Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, and cover pools when not in use.

• Use landscaping to eliminate areas where water can collect on your property.

Along with taking precautions to reduce the risk of EEE, residents of Southeastern Connecticut should also be aware of the symptoms of EEE.

While most people infected with the EEE virus will not become ill, the symptoms do occur the can range from a mild fever or headache to a coma.

Other symptoms of EEE, which typically occur 3 to 10 das after a person has become infected, according to the State of Connecticut Mosquito Management Program, include

• High Fever

• Muscle Aches

• Neck Stiffness

• Fatigue

• Confusion

• Tremors

• Severe cases include inflammation of the brain, coma and death

The State of Connecticut Mosquito Management Program states it is not necessary to limit your outdoor activities, however you should reduce your risk of being bitten by taking personal precautions and reducing standing water in your yard.

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In A Fire Seconds Count : Have Two Ways Out

The warmth of summer is quickly becoming the chill of autumn, a time of year when we take the air conditioners out and turn the heaters on.  As heaters come on, comes an increase in risk for house fires … as such … there is no time like the present to take the time to sit down with your family or roommates and draw up your escape plan should there be a fire in your home.

Planning your escape route, should there be a fire, doesn’t need to take a lot of time, but it does need to be well thought out.  

First off, go through your home and make sure you test each smoke alarm. Yes, it is always best to change the batteries in your smoke alarm when you set your clocks back for daylight savings, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take the time to test your smoke alarms now, today.

After each alarm is tested, draw a map of your home; it does not have to be to scale, or an artistic masterpiece, just a rough map of each room or corridor, with doors and windows, to begin planning how everyone can safely exit the house should there be a fire.

As you map your escape routes, make sure that you check each path to ensure no windows or doors are blocked.   If you are on a second floor, remember that you may need a rope ladder or some other way down from a window and plan for that now.

Once you have mapped your escape paths, choose a meeting place outside, in front of your home. A place that is easy for everyone get to, so there is no confusion in the potential chaos of a house fire.  

Once everyone has planned their routes to safety comes the fun part … practicing!

We’ve all had fire drills in school; well everyone should have a fire drill at home as well, ideally twice a year. Plan how you will get out, truly practice the plan, even if it means using a rope ladder and dropping it from your second floor window.   

Make sure each window opens, make sure everyone knows how to open each window and screen, then safely exit not only their room, but every room in the house.

If you have young children or pets, make sure you test your plans with your children and pets, just as you would should there be a house fire.

The time to practice is not during an emergency, but in a time when it is calm, when it is quiet and you can make sure your plan works, not hope your plan works as the smoke fills your house and the flames are licking at your door.

 Do not test your plan until you get it right; test your plan until you cannot get it wrong.  

If you have any questions or need assistance in planning your family’s emergency escape plan, email  publicaffairs@cohanziefireco.org

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Your Neighbors Need Your Help Following Losing Everything In A Fire

The victims of the fire at 127 Fog Plain Rd have effectively lost everything and are in need of things to get back some normalcy, while having lost their home.

At this time, the family is in need of the basics, clothing, undergarments, shoes, pajamas, food, toiletries, things we all take for granted every day. As such, The Cohanzie Fire Company will be accepting donations, primarily gift cards and cash donations, to help this family during their time of need.

We are suggesting gift cards to stores such as Target, Wal-Mart, Stop & Shop, and local restaurants or pre-paid cards, as it is hard to gauge what a family needs when they have lost everything. This allows them to begin rebuilding at the most basic level with a sense of permanence.

Donations can be left at The Cohanzie Fire Station, at 53 Dayton Rd, at any time during the day or evening. We request donations be placed in an envelope with “127 Fog Plain” written on the outside to ensure it is not lost in the paperwork of The Station.

For those across town, The Oswegatahcie Fire Department, at 441 Boston Post Road, will also be collecting donations for this family during their time of need.

For further information, please contact publicaffairs@cohanziefireco.org

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Be Prepared, Hurricane Dorian On Track To Impact Southeastern Connecticut

The following is the 5 day wind speed probabilities forecast for Hurricane Dorian, from the  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  While Hurricane Dorian may be a week away from Southeastern Connecticut, it is highly likely the storm will impact Southeastern Connecticut in some manner with severe weather.

Tropical Storms and Hurricanes are something we cannot prevent, but there are ways to prepare for them.  Some storms pass through quickly with nothing more than a few trees being blown over and others rip through the area causing devastation, because Mother Nature does what she wants, when she wants. 

While the members of Waterford’s Five Fire Companies are here for you when the worst occurs, no matter what, it is always best to be prepared and understand that when Tropical Storms and Hurricanes impact The Town and Region, response times may be delayed for reasons well beyond our control. 

So, without further ado … 

- Be Informed About Pending and Current Weather - 

With so much inaccurate information found online, in various Facebook forums, and websites that are designed to be clickbait rather than real news sources, it is important to know where your information regarding severe weather or a pending storm is coming from.   Rather than looking at your friend’s Instagram feed, or scrolling through Facebook, be sure to use the de facto sources for weather, including the following

The National Weather Service 

The National Hurricane Center 

Connecticut Department of Emergency Management & Homeland Security Weather

Not everyone checks websites during severe weather, which is understandable. You’re busy, you’re working, chasing kids, getting your house prepared for the storm, you want the information sent proactively sent to you, or quickly accessible from your phone.  To have the information sent to you, as you need it, check these handy Text/E-Mail alerts and mobile apps.

State of Connecticut’s Emergency Alerting and Notification System

Connecticut Department of Emergency Management & Homeland Security Weather, Apple iOS

Connecticut Department of Emergency Management & Homeland Security Weather, Android

FEMA Wireless Emergency Alerts

Social Media is an important aspect of alerting for severe weather, but not from your co-workers' Snapchat posts, or your daughter’s boyfriend’s cousin's comedy weather page (unless they are a meteorological stand up comedian, in which case send us a link!), but in times of severe weather, turn to official social media channels for emergency management and weather. For the region the most active social media channels are: 

National Weather Service, Upton, NY 

National Weather Service, Boston 

Waterford Police Department 

Waterford Cohanzie Fire Company 

Old Lyme Emergency Management, Facebook and Twitter 

Above all, the most up to date and failsafe way to keep abreast of severe weather is NOAA Weather Radio. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration‘s Weather Radio first launched in the 1950s, and has been operating continually, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year since 1960. Presently NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts official National Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information from regional stations.    For New London County, and Southeastern Connecticut, we are served by a 750-watt transmitter in Uncasville that can heard on VHF frequency 162.550.  

Typically NOAA Weather Radios can be purchased very inexpensively, and some can be set to be left on at all times and only become active when they received a 1050 Hz alerting tone sent by the National Weather Service.  They can be plugged in, run on batteries, some run on a hand crank should other power sources fail … take a look HERE at some NOAA radios presently available.   

Look HERE for a NOAA Radio you can take with you or leave in your vehicle that will automatically alert when the National Weather Service has triggered an alert

Now that we have addressed how to stay abreast of approaching severe weather, on to the important topics … 

- What Should You Do Before A Hurricane or Tropical Storm - 

As a storm approaches you should take some basic preparedness precautions. Storms along the Connecticut Shoreline are a time of uncertainty. You’ll never know if power goes out, and if it does for how long it will be out. Roads may be closed or roadways flooded. Your basic preparedness should include the following two important factors

 A Storm Kit: You must be prepare yourself and your family to be fully self sufficient for at least three days.  This Storm Kit should include foods that do not require any refrigeration or require an external heat source to prepare.  Stock up on bottled water, canned foods, dry snacks, and pet food if you need it.  For hot meals consider self-warming Meals Ready To Eat that have a heating source activated by water.   You’ll need flashlights, batteries, USB power banks for your mobile phones, and a full tank of gas.  Consider a power inverter for your vehicle to have access to standard electrical outlets.   These supplies should be stocked long before a storm approaches so you are not caught in the mass hordes ravaging the supermarket shelves 24 hours before the storm. 

A Storm Plan: This plan should include evacuation plans. A place to go should you be unable to return home.  Out of state or out of region emergency contact information, and a rally point to be reunited should you and your family gets split up. Know where your local shelter is, it may not be in your town. 

Your Kit and Plan should include a battery operated radio. This radio is vital to ensuring you can stay current on conditions and alerts if all power goes out.  You cannot plan further without vital information. 

Many areas within Waterford, and the surrounding towns are located in a High Risk Area, Low Laying area, coastal areas, the shoreline, mobile homes, are all extremely vulnerable to the strong winds produced by a tropical storm or a hurricane. If you live in these areas, consider evacuating before a Shelter-in-Place warning is issued, as you may become trapped and unable to evacuate later. 

- Preparing Your Home - 

Following the devastation experienced throughout Florida following Hurricane Andrew, in 1992, experts determined four areas that must be secured during a storm, as these four areas had to the structural failure of homes during the storm. These four areas that are vulnerable to strong winds are Doors, Windows, The Roof and Garage Doors. 

Doors: If you have double entry doors, and one door is in actively in use and the other door is not used, check to see how the unused door is secured both at the top and bottom. The bolts that secure these inactive double doors are often not strong enough to withstand hurricane force winds.   As well, keep in mind that doors with windows need addition protection to secure them from flying debris. 

Windows: Installing storm shutters over all of the exposed windows has proven to be the easiest and most effective way to protect a home from a Tropical Storm or Hurricane. Should storm shutters not be an option, temporary homemade plywood shutters, if installed and secured properly, offer a high level of protection for all windows, while offering a protection that can effectively be installed on all types of homes. 

The Roof: The roof of a home is the most vulnerable to damage from the winds proceed by a Tropical Storm or Hurricane. Proper roof construction is absolutely vital, and can save a home thousands and thousands of dollars in repairs due to damage. 

The connection between a roof and the walls must be strong enough to resist the effect of “uplift winds” produced by a devastating storm.  Roof trusses or rafters should be properly tied to the exterior walls with metal hurricane connectors. These connectors are specifically designed to attach the roof to wall places, which are already connected to wall studs. 

For homes with a Gable End Roof, these are the most susceptible to the effects of high winds, rather a flat or hip roof. 

Garage Doors: Garages designed with a doublewide, or two car, door pose a unique problem during Tropical Storms and Hurricanes. Due to the large exterior surfaces of the doors they often wobble in the high winds and collapse or pull off their tracks due to the pressure exerted on them. Retrofit kits are available for many of these doors to strengthen them. 

Mobile Homes and Manufactured Homes present a unique challenge when facing the high winds of a Tropical Storm or Hurricane.   Should you have a Mobile or Manufactured Home consider the following:

- Anchor your home with over the top, or frame, ties

- Residents of Mobile or Manufactured Homes are most likely to be ordered to evacuate in advance of other area residents, due to the dangers presented by these homes in high winds. Be ready to evacuate before the order comes, when you know there is an impending Tropical Storm or Hurricane approaching. 

- Before you evacuate install hurricane shutters or plywood over your windows 

- Remove and secure awnings, folding furniture, trashcans and loose outdoor objects 

- Shut off your utilities and disconnect your sewer and water lines. 

- Secure exterior propane tanks and leave them outside 

- Pack breakage items in boxes and store them on the floor 

- Remove mirrors after you tape them, wrap lamps and mirrors in blankets and place them in the tub. 

- What To Do When A Tropical Storm or Hurricane Is Approaching - 

We live in New England, and New Englanders tend to be a little blasé about severe weather. You hear blizzard and you think “Hey, we survived that nasty storm back in March 1888 and again in January 2005.” When many New Englanders hear a Hurricane is coming they think “Well my house is still here after Irene and Sandy” and go about there day … after buying every can of canned corn and roll of toilet paper from the supermarket … but the reality is YOU NEED TO PAY CLOSE ATTENTION.

If a Tropical Storm or Hurricane is possible you must stay tuned to the local news for weather updates, along with your local Weather and Emergency Management sources.  Your State and Local public safety officials closely monitor the National Hurricane Center for forecasts, and it allows them to make decisions quickly in regard to providing updates and instructions, as well as when to issue evacuation orders. 

You must listen for official instructions. Instructions are immediately sent to The Day, local TV news and radio stations and published on social media channels such as the Waterford Police Department's Facebook, as well as the Cohanzie Fire Company’s Facebook page. 

As you await the official instructions with an approaching s storm consider the following: 

Ready your Storm Kit

Review your Storm Plan 

Shelter In Place

Continually monitor local media, and keep your essential devices plugged in and charged

Stay away from windows 

Keep your flashlights handy 

If the power goes out, turn off all major appliances in case of a power surge when the electricity comes back on 

Be prepared to evacuate … this means have the pets ready to go also!

- What To Do After Tropical Storm or Hurricane Has Passed - 

When a Tropical Storm or Hurricane has passed, listen to NOAA Weather and check online National Weather Service maps to see if the storm has really passed.  Often time people think a storm is over when in reality they are only in the midst of the eye of the storm. The eye of the storm is a false lull before the devastating effects of the weather return again. 

Once a storm and its danger have departed, and if you have evacuated, only return home following authorities advising that it is truly safe to return home.   Continue to monitor local media, and trusted social media sources, such as that of the Town, Police, Fire Department and Emergency Management for updates that ill be vital to your safety and well being. 

As you begin to make your way around town you must be vigilant about the following: 

Downed power lines are common. Following a storm it is likely some will be submerged and many will not yet be secured or taped off by the Fire Department, Police or Eversource. You should report these downed power lines immediately to 911 and not approach them. 

Be aware of flooded roads, especially at night or in low visibility. It is easy to find yourself stuck in your vehicle trapped in high water. Washed out roads, or worse washed out bridges, can be deadly. 

Be cautious as you reenter your home.  Very cautious 

- Open windows to ventilate your home and dry it out 

- Do not use candles or open flames, as there is a risk of a gas leak following the storm. Instead use flashlights 

- Beware of snakes, animals and insects that may have taken shelter in your home during the storm 

- Check your refrigerator for spoiled or rotten food, even if you do not believe you lost power. 

Inspect your home’s utilities. If you are unsure, contact Eversource or the Fire Department … and then BE PATIENT … thousands of other people are in the same situation you’re in. 

- Look for signs of damage to your electrical system. Do you see sparks or frayed wires? Do you smell the aroma of burning rubber or burning insulation? Immediately turn off power to the home. If you have to step in water to reach the electrical panel, lead your home and call 911. 

- Check your home for gas leaks. If you smell gas, or hear the hissing sound of blowing gas, open your windows, turn off the gas at the valve outside the home, then call 911. 

- Take detailed photographs of all damage in daylight for your insurance claims. Photograph every side of the house, all around the house and each room from multiple angles. 

Be in contact with your family. Let them know where you are and if you have returned home, or if you cannot stay in your home. 

Listen to the radio and local news to determine if you may be eligible to apply for state or federal assistance.

This is by no means a complete list or detailing of how to prepare for an impending or Tropical Storm or Hurricane, but is intended to be a basic reference point as Waterford and the Connecticut Shoreline are prone to severe weather given our location on the shoreline, proximity to the Long Island Sound and Atlantic Ocean, and of course the many waterways within the Town and Region. 

The Waterford Fire Department serves those within Waterford, as do all the Fire Departments for those within their respective towns, but be you must be aware that during a time of such an emergency, we get quite busy.  Response times are delayed due to multiple calls, closed roads, blocked routes and having to prioritize calls, so the most you can do to prepare yourself and keep yourself safe, the better off we all are. 

Hopefully Hurricane Dorian will pass by the Connecticut Shoreline uneventfully and quickly. 

Enjoy the summer everyone!

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Waterford Firefighters Battle Heavily Involved House Fire On Fog Plain Road

Yesterday morning, Sunday, the 1st of September 2019, Waterford Emergency Communications received multiple calls for visible flames showing for a home on Fog Plain Road.   At 11:52am Firefighters were dispatched to 127 Fog Plain Road, and on arrival declared a working structure fire, for a house heavily involved in fire.

All five of Waterford’s Fire Companies went to work, aided by the New London Fire Department, and the Groton SubBase Fire Department’s FAST Team.   Units began to clear the scene approximately four hours after the initial dispatch.

There were no injuries reported at the fire. The residents of the house were not home at the time the fire was reported.

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Fire Safety For Those Headed Off To College, Living On Or Off Campus

While Waterford may not have a college, kids from Waterford are presently heading out to begin their Fall Semesters at colleges all around The Country, and college programs located within Waterford are gearing up for the semester.  As students return to dorm life or off campus apartments shared with friends, it is important that students living both on campus and off campus understand the fire risks and the importance of fire safety measures. 

With the number of reported college housing fires increasing by nearly 25% between 2003 and 2013, and Fire Departments around The Country responding to an average 11 college dorm fires per day, there are a number of common factor often associated with fires involving college students, some within the control of the students and some outside of their control, but basic fire safety can help reduce these risks.  

While students may not have any control over a lack of an automatic sprinkler system, missing or damaged smoke detectors or others carelessly disposing of smoking materials, students and their parents should aware of these factors and the risks they pose.  


What students do have in their control, to help prevent fires, includes: 

• Students can purchase their own smoke detectors, just to be cautious. 

• Everyone should aware of littered smoking materials and ensure they are extinguished. 

• Parents, get your kids flameless candles operated by batteries rather than lighting real candles. 

• Students should not leave the kitchen while cooking, as cooking equipment is involved in more than 85% of reported college housing fires.  

• Everyone in a dorm should ensure they know their fire escape route out of their dorm or building. 

• Roommates should talk about a safety plan and a meeting place outside to meet up, and ensure everyone is out, accounted for and safe should a fire occur

• Never remove batteries from a smoke detector

• Everyone should always clean dryer lint traps; lint is a frequent cause of structure fires. 

• Students should keep food handy that does not require cooking … cooking if you’ve had too much to drink increases the likelihood of mistake being made a fire being started … yes parents, you didn’t want to read that one. 

• Do not pinch electrical cord under desks or beds, this destroys the wires and can cause a fire

• Always buy durable extension cords, use surge bars and do not overload outlets 

• Do not run any wires through a door hinge point, pinched wires cause fires

• If using a space heater keep it far away from everything; make sure it has plenty of breathing room.

Statistically college dorm fires are more likely to occur between 5PM and 11PM, as well as on weekends, however students should always be aware that fires do not watch a clock or read a calendar. Fires can start any time of day or any day of the week. 

On average 6 out of 7 college dorm fires are started by cooking. It is OK to watch cooking shows, but it is not OK to use a blowtorch to make Crème Brule in the dorm. 

Finally for those living off campus and thinking, “I am safe, I’m not in a dorm” … every single campus related fire fatality in the past five years has occurred in off campus housing.  This is because there is little to no fire prevention oversight off campus. You should be that fire safety oversight!

Whether you live on campus or off campus, follow basic fire prevention rules, be safe, be aware and enjoy the school year! Winter break is only around four months away. 

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Clutter In Your Home Can Kill You & Those Who Come To Save You

As summer comes closer to an end and fall cleaning begins, keep this in mind … clutter in your home can kill you.

Not only can clutter cause trip and fall injuries for you and your family in a home, as well as increase a fire’s ability to grow quickly, it can also make a firefighters’ job of rescuing you and saving your home twice a difficult.

Clutter in a home blocks your escape route to safety and impedes a firefighter’s route into your home.   

As you begin your fall cleaning consider storing collectible items that take up floor space safely in a garage or shed.  Clearing routes through your home opens up space for your safety and the safety of those who may need to enter your home and rescue you.

With the change of seasons coming, and the transition to turning on the heat, cluttered items, especially stacks of mail and newspapers, become significant fire hazards.   Electrical wires can become worn from the weight on top of them, spark and ignite whatever is resting on the sparking wires. Space heaters and candles are extremely dangerous around loose papers, and should be stored neatly away from these sources of heat and flames.

If you believe a home may have hoarding conditions, let your local Fire Department know, as those homes can be deadly to not only the occupants, but also firefighters that may need to enter those homes.

 

 

 

 

 

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HEAT ADVISORY : Through August 19 2019

WEATHER ALERT: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has issued a Heat Advisory for The State of Connecticut, including Southern New London County, effectively through 8:00pm, Monday, August 19 2019.

As the Heat Index remains elevated over the next day, the Center for Disease Control has a number of suggestions for staying cool and avoiding the impact of the heat on your body.

• Stay Hydrated. Dehydration is a leading cause of heat related medical issues.

• When possible, stay in an air conditioned building.

• Limit your outdoor activities during the midday, when the sun is at its hottest.

• Avoid using a stove in your home as it raises the ambient temperature in your home, unless you have the air conditioning on.

• Wear and reapply sunscreen throughout the day if you are going to be outside.

• Wear loose, lightweight, light colored clothing

• Never, for any reason, leave your children or pets in vehicles, unless the vehicle is running and the air conditioning is all the way up, with vehicle interior temperature cool.

• For those of you who like to work out, perform your outdoor workouts in the early morning, or evening, when the temperatures drop.

• If you start to feel over heated, stop what you are doing, and seek shade. If possible, take a cool shower to cool your body.

Being aware of those around you, and their potential symptoms for Heat Exhaustion or Heat Stroke is also important. Being aware can help save a life.

When in doubt, if you or someone else is experiencing a medical emergency, do not hesitate, call 9-1-1.

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What To Do If You Encounter An Active Shooter Event

With the news of multiple mass shootings over the past weekend, in El Paso, Dayton and Chicago , dominate the headlines, The Connecticut State Police have released a basic guide for the public to keep in mind should they ever encounter an Active Shooter Event.


Sadly we live in a world where everyone, adults and children alike, must be mindful of such events that transpire in major cities as well as rural America.


As upsetting as it may be to consider an active shooter event might be something you encounter, please take a moment and review the three options you will likely have to instantly consider.

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Cohanzie Fire Co Open Offer To All Candidates For Office In Waterford

The Officer and Members of Waterford’s Cohanzie Fire Company would like to offer any and all declared candidates for office within The Town of Waterford the use of our meeting room or pavilion to meet with the residents of Waterford.

This offer to any candidate is irrespective of political party, or political ideology. We, at the Cohanzie Fire Company, believe that all voters should be well informed before casting their ballot, and that each candidate deserves the opportunity to meet with their potential constituents.

As The Fire House is politically neutral territory, we ask is that no campaign signs or banners be placed on the property of The Cohanzie Fire Station.

For those interested in utilizing The Cohanzie Fire Station, for meeting with the residents of the Cohanzie Fire District and Town of Waterford, please call the Station at 1(860)442-0456 or email publicaffairs@cohanziefireco.com

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Cohanzie Jr. Firefighter Named 'Honor Cadet' by Connecticut Fire Academy

Junior Firefighters Elijah Roque and Evan Donnellan, of the Cohanzie Fire Company, complete their training at The Connecticut Fire Academy’s Introduction To The Fire Service, culminating in a graduation ceremony and live demonstration of the skills they had learned, Saturday, July 20, 2019, in Windsor Locks, CT. Jr. Firefighter Roque was awarded the coveted title of 'Honor Cadet,' the third consecutive Jr. Firefighter from the Cohanzie Fire Company to be awarded this title. Jr. Firefighter Donnellan was selected to serve as the Officer of Truck 2 during the ceremony's live demonstration.

Gentlemen, you made us proud just like we knew you would.

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Staying Safe & Avoiding A Medical Crisis During The Excessive Heat Warning

The  National Weather Service has placed a Heat Advisory in effect for Waterford and the region from today, the 19th of July 2019 through Sunday, the 21st of July 2019, at 8:00pm. Due to the ‘Excessive Heat Warning’ , it is imperative that everyone to be aware of the significant health dangers related to the current weather. 

While the Waterford Fire Department and Waterford Ambulance Service are always available to assist those in need of emergency medical care, being aware of your health, and the health of those around you, can prevent medical crisis situation from arising. 

As the Heat Index remains elevated, and temperatures are expected to soar to above 95º F during this coming weekend, the Center for Disease Control has a number of suggestions for staying cool and avoiding the impact of the heat on your body. 

• Stay Hydrated. This one should be obvious, but dehydration is a leading cause of heat related medical issues. 

• Avoid using a stove in your home, unless you have the air conditioning on, as it raises the ambient temperature in your home. 

• When possible, stay in an air conditioned building. 

• Limit your outdoor activities during the midday, when the sun is at its hottest. 

• Wear and reapply sunscreen throughout the day if you are going to be outside. 

• Wear loose, lightweight, light colored clothing 

• Never, ever, leave pets in vehicles, unless the vehicle is running and the air conditioning is all the way up. Even then, consider just leaving your pets home, where they can be nice and comfortable in a climate controlled environment. 

• Do not  leave your children in vehicles. 

• For those of you who like to work out, perform your outdoor workouts in the early morning, or evening, when the temperatures drop. 

• If you start to feel over heated, stop what you are doing, and seek shade. If possible, take a cool shower to cool your body. 

Being aware of those around you, and their potential symptoms for Heat Exhaustion or Heat Stroke is also important. Being aware can help save a life. 

When in doubt, if you or someone else is experiencing a medical emergency, do not hesitate, call    9-1-1

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Connecticut's Bipartisan & Vital PTSD Legislation Ignores EMS ... Help Make Sure EMTs and Paramedics Aren't Left Behind

As the month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month, it is hard to not applaud the Connecticut State Legislature’s bipartisan proposal unveiled this past Monday, the 13th of May 2019, to offer Firefighters and Police Officers up to one year workers compensation coverage for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).   

PTSD is a very real, and an all to often ignored or overlooked fact of life for too many first responders.  As law makers have worked on the issue of PTSD impacting first responders in Connecticut for nearly six years, it is now known they plan to enact this new mental health care benefit for first responders before the 2019 Legislative Session closes on the 5th of June. 

While this bipartisan support can be a national standard, authorizing benefits for Firefighters and Police Officers, who have been diagnosed with PTSD following one of the six qualifying events: 


Viewing a deceased minor 

Witnessing the death of a person 

Witnessing an injury that causes the death of a person shortly thereafter 

Treating an injured person who dies shortly thereafter 

Carrying an injured person who dies shortly thereafter 

Witnessing an incident that causes a person to lose a body part, to suffer loss of body function or that results in permanent disfigurement 

… Connecticut’s Legislatures have left out the first responders who are most likely to be impacted by these traumatic events, those working in Emergency Medical Services (EMS).  Yes, it is important that Firefighters and Police Officers, be covered, and have their PTSD evaluation period expanded from 30 days to 180 days, but those most likely to have their hands on these situations, be most involved in these incidents are Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and Paramedics, who are not included in this this legislation.

This PTSD Treatment Plan is vital to all first responders, Volunteer or Career, it cannot be enacted soon enough, but it must include those serving in EMS. 

When there is a deceased body, the pronouncement of death is most often called by an EMT or Paramedic on scene.  

When a death is witnessed, an EMT or Paramedic most commonly witnesses it, often with their hands on the victim trying to save them. 

When a person has an injury so severe it causes death shortly there after, the last person to touch them in the field is usually an EMT or Paramedic


When a victim is treated and dies shortly there after, more often than not the person treating that victim is an EMT or Paramedic

When a victim is carried out of whatever situation they are in, and then dies, they are usually being carried to an awaiting ambulance, and those working on that victim are EMTs and Paramedics. 

When a victim has lost a body part, or is severely disfigured, those working on that patient, to get them from the scene to the hospital are EMTs or Paramedics

No one is begrudging Firefighters and Police Officers their PTSD treatment and coverage, but it is a travesty that Legislatures have entirely ignored the people who have the most hands on contact during these six qualifying events, the men and women, paid or volunteer, who serve their communities in the Emergency Medical Services. 

Those in EMS cannot be forgotten. 

Contact your Elected Officials in Hartford and demand that EMTs or Paramedics be included in the State’s PTSD Treatment Legislation.  Unsure who your elected representatives are or how to contact them? Click HERE

Help protect those who protect you.

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Waterford Firefighters Battle Multi-Alarm Blaze In Niantic

Firefighters from East Lyme’s Niantic and Flanders Fire Department’s, along with Waterford’s Jordan and Oswegatchie Fire Companies, Old Lyme Fire Department and Old Saybrook Fire Department, battle a multi-alarm commercial structure fire, at 87 West Main Street, Guy’s Oil, shortly after 12:30am, Sunday, May 5, 2019, in Niantic, CT. The fire, contained to a three bay truck garage, due to quick and aggressive firefighting operations, took more than an hour to knock down. In addition to the multiple fire departments battling the blaze, HazMat and Foam Units from the City of Norwich Fire Department, Pfizer Fire Department and Old Mystic Fire Department were operating on the scene.

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The Most Blunt Volunteer Fire Department Recruiting Message You'll Hear ... Join, Or Die

While recruiting requires some finesse, the Fire & Rescue Services are not known for their subtlety. With the blunt nature of the Fire & Rescue Services in mind, today we reach back to one of the first political cartoons in American History to illustrate the serious message for recruiting new members needed to give of themselves, and serve their community.  

JOIN, OR DIE.

While Benjamin Franklin’sJoin, Or Diepolitical cartoon, from May 9th, 1754, depicting a severed snake, represented the American Colonies, the message rings true for the Volunteer Fire & Rescue Service.

When there is an emergency in Waterford, or any community served by a Volunteer or Combination Fire Department, those in the town have every expectation rescuers will come to their aid. When you pick up your phone and dial 911 you are in need of assistance, and you need it immediately … but what happens when fewer and fewer people are willing to give of themselves and give back to their community?  When happens then when you call 911?

 Firefighters and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) are masters of improvising, and doing more with less. No matter the hurdle, a solution is found, leading to lives and property being saved.  But, as masterful as any person, or organization, can be in doing more with less, manpower is vital and is always needed.

 Citizens must give back to their community, in some way, to ensure that every time a Fire Truck or Ambulance is dispatched it gets out the door. Every Fire and EMS Department that relies on volunteers, not only in Southeastern Connecticut, but everywhere in the United States, is seeing fewer and fewer people willing to stand up, give of themselves, and volunteer. Fewer and fewer people are willing to help serve their community, to help save the homes of those around them and save the lives of their neighbours. 

Many people cite their time constraints, families, school or demanding schedules as why they cannot volunteer. We get it, those of us who volunteer wake up, and go to work. Many of us get our kids off to school, and have to make sure the laundry is done before we go to bed … but never the less … we have embraced “Join, or Die” to serve our community and protect others in our community.

The Fire and Rescue Services are a matter of life and death.  Maybe not always the life and death of us, the members of your local Fire Department, but they are absolutely matters of life and death for those whom we serve.

 We need you. We need your sister. We need your cousin. We need the guy across the street from you … yes … even him … and we need the people who live next door.

 Join, Or Die is not rhetoric.

 Join, Or Die is reality.

 When you call 911 you expect your local volunteer Fire Department or Ambulance Service to respond. Join us, because if not you … then who?

For more information on joining any of Waterford’s five Fire Companies, or the Waterford Ambulance Service, whether you live in Waterford or not, send an email to publicaffairs@cohanziefireco.org

Interested in joining a different Fire Department, but you’re unsure how?  Drop an email to publicaffairs@cohanziefireco.org and we’ll help you get in touch with the Fire or EMS department you’re interested in joining.

 Help Us To Help You and Join us.

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Autism Awareness and Public Safety : Some Tips for Autism Awareness Day

While today may be Autism Awareness Day on the calendar, for many they need no reminder, and they are aware every day, all day, however for the rescuers there are a number of ways to be more aware.

Each call a 911 Dispatcher takes is different; just as every run a Firefighter or Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) takes is different. 

 

911 is typically the first point of contact for most emergencies, and the vast majority of callers to 911 can speak and comprehend functionally, however many with autism cannot. The speech and cognitive deficits impacting many on the autism spectrum pose some unique challenges in dispatching aid to those calling.

 

For Firefighters and EMTs, encountering someone on the autism spectrum becomes even more of a challenge, whether the call is for a routine medical situation or they are pulling a person with autism from a burning building.

 

So, for today, Autism Awareness Day, there are some tips for first responders to keep in mind, so they can be more aware of encountering those with autism  

• Listen to how a caller may be speaking.  They may seem impaired, as many with autism speak differently. A person with autism may seem impaired or incoherent.

• Those with autism may focus on one word and repeat that one word, or repeat a phrase, unable to stop themselves.

• Getting the basics from a caller, who, what, when, where and how can be very challenging, and requires extra patience. Consider breaking the questioning down to asking what they are afraid of, and use short instructions, with no room for interpretation. Many with autism are very ‘black-and-white’ in their thought process.  

• First and foremost people on the autism spectrum cannot be identified by their appearance. People with autism look like everyone else.   People autism, children and adult alike, are identified by their behvaiour.

• Expect the unexpected. Yes, this can be said for any run, but those with autism are likely to be injured and unable to accurately describe even where the pain is. Those with autism may ingest something totally unaware of what they have ingested, with no ability to recall where it was they even got into something to ingest.

• If a parent, caregiver or guardian is on scene with a patient with autism, ask them what level of support your patient needs. Find out how verbal they are, what triggers they may have, and any tips they may have for working with the patient.

• When encountering a patient with autism be aware that it is common for them to have sensory issues. The feel of tape, or certain sounds, could increase anxiety or aggression

• It is common for those with autism to move slowly and have trouble following instructions. As you examine a person with autism, explain everything you are doing, slowly, with short phrases, avoid being vague. As you perform your exams go from distal to proximal. Working with your patient in this manner may help reduce aggression, anxiety and avoid involuntary outbursts.

• It is not uncommon for adults with autism to act in a childlike manner, or have childlike tendencies. If you carry stuffed animals on your rigs, consider one for an adult with autism to calm them and give them something to focus on.

 • When possible, remove a patient with autism from a scene, to a quiet area. Removing the patient to a quiet room, or the back of an ambulance with the doors closed, may help with not only patient safety, but in reducing their level of distraction. If possible show your autistic patient what you will be doing step by step on another person or possibly a stuffed animal, if kept on your rig.

• Be aware that many people on the autism spectrum do not have what would be considered a normal range of sensations. Your patient may not feel pain, cold or heat in the manner in which you’d expect.  It is not uncommon for those with autism to fail to acknowledge that they are in pain, despite what you can clearly see evident from an injury.  Some patients with autism may respond to pain in a manner such as striping off their clothing, humming or laughing.

• People with autism often cannot control their own body movements. It is common for those with autism to flap their arms, or beat their own chest, among other involuntary body movements. Be aware for not only your own safety, but that this typical physical movement may be baseline for your patient.

• In a fire situation be aware that an adult with autism is just as likely to hide as a child.  Even if there are no known children in a home, an autistic adult is likely to hide in a closet, behind furniture or under a bed.

• Those with autism often have significant comprehension deficits, making them unaware of the extreme danger of a situation. With the comprehension deficits of autism, a victim might become aggressive and resist being restrained as they are rescued.

• When it is necessary to restrain an autistic victim during a fire-rescue, be aware that many with autism have a poorly developed torso, and are likely to lower their head and neck. If steps are not taken to account for this, they can suffer positional asphyxiation.

• When encountering a person with autism, use clear and succinct phrases, such as “Sit Down”, “Wait Here” or “Get In.”  Do not give your victim any room to misinterpret what you are stating to them.  Those with autism often take longer to respond to directions, this can be because they cannot comprehend what is being asked of them, and their language processing skills are slower. This, coupled with fear, makes the reaction times even slower.

• Those with autism, children and adults, are an extreme flight risk after being rescued. It is imperative that a victim with autism must never be left alone. If you must leave them, you must leave them in the care of someone else.

While people with autism present indications across a wide spectrum of verbal and body language cues, following these basic awareness tips not only makes situations easier for your patents and their caregivers, but for you as their rescuer as well.

Autism Awareness is not something we should be aware of one day out of the year, but rather something we must be aware of each and every day.

… as for the photo selected for this post?  #AutsimLovesTowerLadderW55

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Rest In Peace Past Chief Henry Beebe Sr. We'll Take It From Here

It is with deep sadness that the Officers and Members of Waterford’s Cohanzie Fire Company #5 announce the passing of past Chief and Life Member Henry M. Beebe Sr., at the age of 99, who served as Chief from 1967 to 1973.  Past Chief Beebe’s dedication and service to the Cohanzie Fire Company, lives on through his son, Henry Beebe Jr., who continues to service as President of the Board.

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Waterford's Five Fire Company's Provide Mutual Aid Citywide Fire & EMS Coverage to City of New London

Yesterday evening, Tuesday, the 12th of March 2019, Waterford’s five Fire Companies responded to the City of New London, providing citywide mutual aid Fire and EMS coverage, with the Cohanzie Fire Company staffing the New London Fire Department’s North Station, Oswegatchie Fire Company covering New London Fire Headquarters, Goshen Fire Company covering New London’s South Station, and both the Jordan and Quaker Hill Fire Companies providing coverage from their own stations, as the New London Fire Department battled a 2nd Alarm on arrival structure fire, in a large three story vacant brick marina warehouse, with fire through the roof, at 100 Trumbull Street, shortly before 11:00pm. The Cohanzie Fire Company took in a medical run, while covering New London’s North Station, and was released shortly after 1:00am.

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International Women's Day & The Woman Who Answer The Call To Save Lives

With today being International Women’s Day, the Cohanzie Fire Company would like to take a moment and recognize the women who call our Fire Station home. These Firefighters and EMTs proudly serve the community, answer the call and make a difference saving lives.

As the Cohanzie Fire Station is also proudly home to Girl Scout Troop 63433, hosting the Troop every Thursday evening, we’d like to remind all of Girls in and around Waterford that they can be anything they’d like to be … including Waterford Firefighters and EMTs.

 

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