Submitted by Michelle Ford, KVFC.
(Jan. 26, 2022) — In 2021, the 52 active members of the Killingworth Volunteer Fire Company (KVFC) volunteered nearly 6,400 hours of their time serving the community.
In total, members responded to 424 incidents (13% increase from 2021) including:
- 32 Fires (structures, vehicles, brush/vegetation)
- 220 Medical
- 35 Motor vehicle accidents
- 8 Hazardous material concerns
- 30 Mutual Aid Responses
- 9 Carbon monoxide incidents
- 9 Electrical (wiring problems, downed powerlines)
- 56 False Alarms (detector malfunction, accidental activation, etc.)
- 25 Miscellaneous (animal rescue, severe weather, public service assistance, good intent, etc.)
In addition to over 1,900 hours spent responding to calls, KVFC members dedicated over 2,200 hours honing their skills in training and drills and nearly 2,300 hours inspecting and cleaning the equipment and facilities. “In 2021, our training was focused on hose line advancement and search and rescue,” stated Assistant Chief/Training Officer Michael Carri. “As we are in the early stage of 2022, the Training Division plans to focus this year’s training around firefighter safety and survival.”
This year the KVFC welcomed five new members: Patrick Dooley, Michelle Ford, Logan Morrow, Lisa Sizer, and Matt Herman, an EMT and former Deep River firefighter, all of whom are certified firefighters with the State of Connecticut. In addition to the expanding Company roster, several KVFC members became certified in a variety of fire service skills: Michael Carri (Trench Rescue Technician, Rope Rescue Technician and Fire Service Instructor 3), Ben Chasse (Pump Operator), Patrick Dooley (Firefighter 1 and EMT) whose grandfather was a past KVFC Chief, Michelle Ford and Logan Morrow (Firefighter 1 and 2), Graig Judge (Firefighter 2), and Lisa Sizer (EMR). Several members celebrated anniversaries: Ralph Knockwood (40 years), Andy Kuczma (35 years), Pete Cumpstone (20 years), Paul Jacobs (20 years), and Michael Carri (20 years). The Department mourned the loss of former member David Brown, former member/Fire Commissioner Yale Gordon, as well as former Fire Commissioner Bryan Mahoney. According to KVFC Chief Donnie Venuti, “Like 2020, 2021 was a challenging year, however, we were extremely fortunate to welcome five new members and continue to provide excellent training and services to the Town.”
This year the COVID-19 protocols were constantly monitored as the pandemic continued and most members took advantage of being offered early access to the vaccine. In addition to modifying protocols around COVID-19, first responders are seeing that our Town is not immune to the statewide increase in opioid-related emergencies and continue to carry and administer NARCAN, a life-saving drug which can reverse the effects of an overdose. According to former Chief Dick Bauer, “Our approach to medical response has changed forever. Our protocols have become more stringent and we are more deliberate in how we handle these calls which were previously considered more routine.”
As the year progressed, the KVFC voted in a new chief, career Guilford firefighter and 15-year KVFC member, Donnie Venuti. The KVFC participated in Haddam’s Memorial Day parade, served up breakfast and lunch at the Parmalee Farm artisan market, and participated in the Westbrook Fire Department’s 100th anniversary parade. The KVFC honored long-time member and retired City of Middletown Police Sergeant Paul Schilling with the annual Chief’s award which recognizes one member who has made significant contributions to the KVFC during the prior year. Paul was recognized for his 30 years of service with the KVFC where he has held numerous positions, including his current role as Secretary. Presenting the award, then Chief Bauer noted, “What I appreciate most about Paul is his pride, dedication and leadership; he handles many of our ‘behind the scenes’ initiatives such as the Benevolent Committee, Nominating Committee and is our Department Secretary. He also remains very active with emergency responses, training and maintenance activities – a true asset to the KVFC on multiple fronts.”
Despite significant supply chain issues, the KVFC took delivery of a new brush truck which, once outfitted, should be ready for service by this spring. As approved by the Town, the Company signed a contract to replace the cab and chassis on the 1994 Rescue Truck 8-9 and to retrofit the box which houses all the equipment. The Company hopes to have the new rescue truck in service by mid-2023.
Looking ahead to 2022, the KVFC has established committees to plan a community celebration for the Company’s 75th anniversary and to undertake a long-overdue by-law revision. In addition, the KVFC will continue to work with the Town to revise the member pension plan.
The KVFC is thankful for our residents and businesses overwhelming response to the December 2021 annual mailing, the Town and local advocates for passing an ordinance which meets the maximum tax abatement allowed under State statute, and to the Board of Fire Commissioners, Board of Selectmen, and all agencies which support the organization throughout the year.
The KVFC relies on dedicated volunteers from the community and any members interested in serving are encouraged to contact the department by email at FireChief@TownofKillingworth.com.
Fire Safety Reminder: Please remember to clearly display your house numbers on your house and/or at the end of your driveway so that first responders can quickly and easily identify your property in the event of an emergency. According to the Town of Killingworth’s General Legislation, Chapter 404 §404-2, all residential, commercial or industrial buildings shall have the street number affixed to the building. The numbers shall be at least three inches in height and contrast in color to the building. If the building is more than 50’ from the road, the street number must also be affixed to both sides of the mailbox, post or fence, so that the property can be clearly identified.
Photo credit: KVFC members; except Memorial Day parade photo by Olivia Drake.