By Ron Kanterman-July 2014
Some of you have heard that for some reason when you get to the third time of anything, it’s a charm. It’s true. As a boss, I’ve been blessed throughout the years with being around good and great firefighters. Being the Chief at Merck in New Jersey and then for the Mohegan Tribal FD in South East Connecticut were wonderful experiences. They were wonderful because of the officer cadre and the folks on the line as well. (If some of you chiefs haven’t figured it out yet, it’s your people who make you who you are.) So here I am, third time out as a Chief and I land in Wilton, Connecticut. (For you non-geography majors, Wilton sits on the CT/New York line, even with Westchester County, N.Y. Fran and I moved to back to New York when I got the spot, noting that it took us 28 years to get home. We are both originally from Brooklyn. Ahhh, the pizza is crispy and the Italian bread is crumbly again!)
So here I sit, 4 weeks into my new gig. Again, the good Lord smiled upon me and blessed me with a dedicated, well trained and experienced fire department. The officers are savvy and the troops are well versed in all aspects of firematics. We have an aggressive training program and an aggressive Fire Marshal’s office as well. To me, these are the two aspects of having a strong fire department. Good prevention programs and a strong training component. An unbeatable combination. It’s apparent that the Town supports the Fire Department as well, from the highest levels of government to co-workers and associates in other municipal departments. The Town’s departments have a good working relationship and support each other where and when needed. The way it’s supposed to be.
So, last week we got a little work. Upon arrival at about 11:00 PM, we had a two story barn/garage attached to a large private home. Fire was showing around the eves with a good smoke condition. (The north side of town has no hydrants so as they left quarters, the Shift Captain called for three additional tankers/tenders). They hit it “hard from the yard” and gave it a knock with a fixed gun and a portable blitz line. Then a 1 ¾” line for mop up etc. No extension to the house. Smart defensive tactics and good use of water on arrival did the trick. The Department runs with a 6 man shift. When we discussed transitional attack and the new UL/NIST research my first week, my guys practically took credit for it. “We’ve been doing that for years due to limited staffing” and they been very successful at it too.
I look forward to my time in Wilton. The members have already showed me what they got. In fact our Dive Rescue Team went to work just before I arrived on Memorial Day. My first call from a mutual aid Chief on my first day was high praise for the team. The 3rd time’s a charm.
Take care, be well, stay well, be safe,