Monday, April 22, 2024

KVFC 2023 Annual Report

By Michelle Ford, KVFC.

(January 23, 2024)—In 2023, the 56 members of the Killingworth Volunteer Fire Company (KVFC) volunteered thousands of hours of their time serving our community.

Members responded to 444 emergencies including:

  • 33 Fires (structures, vehicles, brush/vegetation)
  • 248 Medical emergencies
  • 35 Motor vehicle accidents with injuries
  • 6 Hazardous material incidents
  • 15 Mutual Aid Responses/Public Service Assistance
  • 22 Smoke and/or carbon monoxide alarms
  • 13 Electrical (wiring problems, downed powerlines)
  • 67 False Alarms (detector malfunction, accidental activation, etc.)
  • 5 Miscellaneous (service call, water problem, etc.)

This year’s top responders, Chief Rick Darin (279), Firefighter (FF) Ralph Knockwood (255), Rescue Captain Graig Judge (219), FF Dan Siegel (144), Captain Matt Herman (135) and Past Chief Fred Dudek (127), all went above-and-beyond to demonstrate their dedication to the community.  In addition to emergency call responses, KVFC members collectively dedicated over 3,900 hours to training, inspecting and maintaining the equipment and facilities. It is important to remember that volunteer departments maintain the same standard for education and training as career departments, which is significant considering that most of the KVFC members have full-time jobs in addition to their service with the Department.    As part of the training program in 2023, the KVFC brought in specialized training on flashover protection, heavy equipment lifting, and over a dozen members received additional certifications in medical, instructional and apparatus operation.

The KVFC is proud to maintain a rich history of former junior members that have stayed with the Company for decades, particularly Past Chiefs Fred Dudek and William Wright, both of whom are celebrating 50 years with the KVFC.  Other anniversaries include Lieutenant Eric Bergman and Assistant Chief Ethan Drain (15 years), Captain Ben Chasse (10 years), and Rescue Lieutenant Kevin Dougherty (5 years).

Unknown to many is the fact that, in addition to fire, hazardous-materials and motor vehicle incidents, the KVFC is also the primary responder to all medical emergencies such as difficulty breathing, slips, trips and falls and more serious incidents like cardiac arrests.   For medical emergencies, since many respond directly from their homes, the KVFC is often first on-scene and responsible for providing patient stabilization until more advanced care can be provided, typically by the Killingworth Ambulance Association (KAA) and/or Middlesex paramedics.  Since medical responses make up over 50% of the Department’s calls, it’s imperative that our members earn and maintain certifications as Emergency Medical Responders (EMRs) and/or Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) which is why medical response training is an important part of the KVFC’s training program.

One of the KVFC’s major initiatives in 2023 was to better manage fire service operations through the use of specialized software for pre-planning, incident documentation, asset management and outreach to our residents.  The recent introduction of Community Connect allows residents provide critical information to the KVFC that may provide beneficial during an emergency response.  Residents are encouraged to enroll in the Department’s Community Connect program at https://www.communityconnect.io/info/ct-killingworth.  The digitization of asset management allows the Department to track equipment condition and budget for replacement and as part of the asset management program in 2023, the KVFC made some significant equipment upgrades including new cold-water rescue gear, updated thermal imaging cameras, purchase of 30 new automatic defibrillators (AEDs) to be carried by members, improved gas detection meters, and addition of three new “Lucas” devices which are used to provide automated chest compressions during cardiac emergencies.

In early 2023, through a generous donation to the Company, the KVFC acquired a Utility Terrain Vehicle, (UTV) with two interchangeable slide-in units: one for combating brush fires and the other for off-road, remote medical emergencies.  Shortly after going into service, the UTV demonstrated its value when it was used to quickly extricate an injured hiker from the woods at Parmelee Farm, a task that would otherwise have required KVFC members to manually carry the individual out.  As the Company acquires additional vehicular assets to enable us to provide service to our residents, we continue to be challenged by significant space constraints at our main station. With the recent arrival of our newest apparatus, Rescue 89, space within the existing station has been pushed to the limit.

“In 2024 we will continue to seek ways to enhance the service that we provide to our town, will intensify our focus on recruiting new members and stay committed to training and education of our firefighters and medical personnel,” said Chief Rick Darin. “Additionally, through outreach with fire prevention and public education programs, we aim to increase public awareness of the importance of fire safety and preparedness at home.”

Although most think of engagement with the Department as being a first responder, Chief Darin asks, “If you can help, there are openings for both first responders as well as those interested in non-traditional roles as administrative and accounting support and serving as fire-police (on-scene traffic control).”    Any residents interested in serving are strongly encouraged to contact the department by email at FireChief@TownofKillingworth.com.

Fire Safety PRIORITY Reminders:  The KVFC continues to be called to homes without their address numbers clearly displayed and asks residents to please 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.  In addition, and especially during the winter, remember the importance of fire safety at home, including having working Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors, sleeping with bedroom doors closed to limit the spread of smoke and fire and ensure windows are functional should escape be necessary in the event of a fire.

As we turn the page to 2024, we would like to take this opportunity to thank the Board of Fire Commissioners, elected officials and all residents of the Town of Killingworth for their unwavering support of the KVFC. Our ability to provide our members with the equipment and resources needed to provide these emergency services would not be possible without your continued support.

Photos courtesy of KVFC

Must Read