Branford’s Assistant Fire Chief Shaun Heffernan can say, that despite the devastation Branford endured, he’s happy that most residents took the warnings to evacuate the shoreline, seriously.
“By so many people heeding the warnings and taking an example from what we saw in Irene, people were prepared.” More people boarded their houses for this storm, he said, than Irene.
When the Sandy struck Monday night and the tidewaters rose, flooding many neighborhoods along the coast, Heffernan and Chief Jack Ahern said they were waiting for the 911 calls to come in from people stating they were trapped. Luckily Branford didn’t get any of those calls, they said. Nearby towns, however, they said, did.
But the Fire Department hasn’t been bored either. Since Sandy they’ve responded to more than 200 calls; recently the majority being calls for potential carbon monoxide poisoning. Heffernan said that responders have been through at least 50 homes where the carbon monoxide levels were elevated. Generators, he said, are the culprits.
The exhaust of generators should be pointed away from homes and the devices should be placed in a well-ventilated area, he said. Never place a generator under a deck, added Heffernan.
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All appliances should also be in the off position, warned Heffernan, in anticipation of the power coming back on. A resident of a condo complex in town left a pizza box on the stove not realizing that it was on. When the power was restored the box caught on fire, said Heffernan. CL&P anticipates power to be back on for many residents by the weekend – as of last night, 29 percent of Branford CL&P customers were still in the dark.
All the career and volunteer firefighters and fire police have been working around the clock to keep Branford safe, including a very dangerous task of evacuating Hospice during the storm and bringing more than 30 patients back yesterday. Heffernan said, while the move was trying, it was something Branford was very well-prepared for and anticipated after they almost had to evacuate during Irene.
“We learned a lot form Irene,” said Heffernan, “and we used what we learned.”
The volunteer stations will continue to be staffed 24-7 said Heffernan and working to get Branford back to normal.
The last warning Heffernan said is for residents to treat all downed power lines as if they are live. So far there have been no incidents of electrocution and they would like to keep it that way.