New Canaan fire officials are drafting agreements with bordering municipalities in order to ensure that trained firefighters are getting to more potentially serious scenes even faster. As it is, the New Canaan Fire Department has automatic mutual aid with agencies in towns such as Wilton and Vista, N.Y. when it comes to structure fires. Yet in responding to other calls—such as residential fire alarms or reports of a possible carbon monoxide illness, the town’s response time to far-reaching corners of the town often exceeds the National Fire Prevention Association’s requirements, according to New Canaan Fire Chief Albe Bassett.
“The travel distances are too far,” Bassett told members of the Fire Commission during their regular meeting, held Tuesday night at the firehouse on Main Street. With an automatic mutual aid agreement in place, trained firefighters from neighboring departments such as Stamford and Pound Ridge, N.Y. could get eyes on scene several minutes faster—an often critical window. Bassett said he studied NCFD’s response times and identified four “quadrants” of the town where help is needed, and that he’s “actively looking to get agreements with Pound Ridge, Vista, and Stamford to provide an automatic mutual aid engine for any emergency response.”
He provided the example of West Cross Road in New Canaan, which is located below the Merritt Parkway at the town’s southwestern border with Stamford.