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Branford Fire Department, Thank You

They kept us safe during and after Sandy and we’re grateful. We chat with Assistant Chief Shaun Heffernan about their response during storm and the ongoing recovery efforts.

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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Did you know you can follow Branford Fire Department on Facebook?

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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.

Did a firefighter help you during or after Sandy? Thank him or her here. 

Bill Keane November 02, 2012 at 12:22 PM
Thanks for the fine work! Contrary to common conception, FEMA is not a 1st responder. In every community and state, first response is a very local dynamic, and we here in Branford are very fortunate.
bball fan November 02, 2012 at 12:44 PM
I think you may want to say "contrary to common perception". Common conception is a totally different website.
Morgan Hepburn November 02, 2012 at 12:47 PM
These men and women are our heros. I don't believe that Branford residents truly realize that they are the best trained in the state, it is mandatory for each of them to be paramedics; further saving lives. They put their lives on the line and leave their own families during these storms, natural disasters, etc... All to help others. Nothing can compare to that. They saved a woman's life on East Main Street along with the Police Department when a tree came down and crushed her, using chainsaw, everything possible ( along with the Police Department) to save her life and did so. Many of the Firefighters I know personally and am still in awe of what they do and sacrifice for our community. I have to give a shout out to the Police Department too, they have been wonderful and risk their lives daily, yet seem to get a bad rap for no reason most of the time. Rememeber, these are both the departments we depend on to save our lives, property and protect us, Next time you see one, Thank them, buy them a coffee, show them your appreciation.
Michael November 02, 2012 at 06:52 PM
The police department used to get a bad rap for reasons known to many, however, if you don't know then you don't know and I surely will not talk about that here. With many of the old retiring and them bringing in new recruits I believe Branford police have become much better and everyday changing the perception people had due to many of those old retirees finally getting out.

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