Fire Officials Ask Residents to Clear Hydrants of Snow, Ask Snowplow Drivers Not to Bury Them

On the heels of yet another heavy snowfall before what’s already down had a chance to melt, New Canaan fire officials are urging homeowners to clear the areas around fire hydrants fronting their properties. Fire Marshal Fred Baker also said it’s important for homeowners to ask their private snowplow operators not to bury the hydrants. “It’s very, very critical,” Baker said. “We have flags on many hydrants that stick up in the air, but we may not be able to dig them out at a fire—the guys will just go to the next one unless it’s a mile away.”

Fire Chief Jack Hennessey said it’s crucial not to lose precious seconds at the scene of a fire because a hydrant is not immediately available. “It’s been an ongoing battle,” Hennessey said of the consecutive snowstorms that have blanketed the town and region in snow that quickly “turns to concrete,” the chief said, in this winter’s extreme cold.

Saving Precious Minutes: Public Safety Officials Urge Residents to Register with Smart911

Public safety officials are urging New Canaan residents to register with a free local website that’s designed to bring critical information to emergency responders. By creating a secure “Smart911” safety profile online and updating information on it, New Canaanites will help police, firefighters and EMTs do their work more efficiently, potentially saving lives as well as property. Officers typically have “limited information” when they respond to an emergency call, said Police Chief Leon Krolikowski. “If a resident is unable to speak, or often times, too emotional to remember, even the simplest of critical details, a ‘Safety Profile’ provides that information,” Krolikowski said in a press release. “For example, a photo of a child can give police a timely advantage in the event of a missing child.”

Smart911 is a national safety database designed to bolster public safety services.

New Canaan Fire Officials Urge Locals to Check Home Fire Extinguishers following Recall of 4.6 Million Kidde-Brand Units in U.S.

New Canaan fire officials are urging residents to check their home fire extinguishers following revelations that some 4.6 million units representing 31 models are being recalled. Fire Chief Jack Hennessey said locals should replace the Kidde-brand plastic valve disposable extinguisher if they have one. “This is a very popular extinguisher that will not function in an emergency,” Hennessey said. According to the U.S. Consumer Safety Protection Commission, the recalled models were manufactured in Mexico between July 2013 and October 2014. “A 10-digit date code is stamped on the side of the cylinder, near the bottom,” the federal agency said.

New Canaan Firefighter to Main Street Motorists: ‘Hang Up the Phone and Pay Attention to the Rigs’

New Canaan firefighters returning to the Main Street fire house from life- and property-saving calls say they face another, immediate danger in trying to back trucks back into their bays: distracted, hurried and aggressive drivers. What happens is this, firefighters say: In returning to the station from either direction, trucks in order to back into the garage must nose out across Main Street, blocking both lanes of traffic. Those driving the fire trucks pull in front of the firehouse lengthwise first, allowing passenger firefighters to hop out with a stop-sign paddle and halt motorists so that the trucks can safely nose toward Vine Cottage and then back in. But drivers often do not wait for that process to unfold, Fire Chief Jack Hennessey said. “Either way they come up here, guys dismount the truck and try to stop traffic and as they are doing that, people will try to drive around the truck,” Hennessey said, adding that he’s seen his men nearly clipped and heard reports about it happening.

After Resident Petition, Town Eyes Traffic-Calming on Parade Hill Road

Town officials are collecting data on cars’ speeds on Parade Hill Road and plan to enforce selectively the 25 mph limit there after residents said that pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers are at risk because trucks and other motorists travel and take blind turns too fast. Parade Hill is a popular cut-through between Routes 124 (Oenoke Ridge Road) and 123, including for commercial traffic on Interstate 95. Residents this spring petitioned the town to slow down the vehicles that use it. On Tuesday, members of the Traffic Calming Work Group agreed to put up speed sentries and, with hard data in hand, selectively enforce the 25 mph speed limit there. Parade Hill Road resident Mary Maechling said vehicular traffic seems to be getting increasingly fast, especially on weekdays, and that she sees many near-misses up near a blind curve toward the top of the road.