Chief Francis Jones: new developments won’t affect fire services

Fire Department Chief Francis Jones is confident that the new developments in town won’t affect his staff’s ability to assure the city’s safety.

Residents have been anything but shy when voicing their concerns about the 121-acre Shelter Ridge project that is to be presented to the Planning and Zoning Commission on April 27 during their public hearing.

Aside from concerns of the already pesky traffic conditions along Bridgeport Ave worsening, residents have voiced safety concerns that would fall in the hands of the local fire departments if the plan is approved as presented.

At a recent informational hearing for Shelter Ridge held by the site developers, as well as on our Facebook page, residents said they were also worried about the increase of hazards that could be a result of the increase in traffic. One resident asked whether or not it would cause a need for the city to hire more firefighters.

The Shelton Fire Department currently has a volunteer force of 258 men and women providing services to the community, which work in conjunction with the departments ancillary staff of Chief Officers, Fire Marshals/Inspectors, and Apparatus Maintenance Staff to provide fire/rescue services to Shelton 24/7.

Chief Jones said his department actually plays an active role within the planning process.

“As developments are being considered we ensure that our resources both manpower and equipment can meet any demands and/or challenges from such proposals,” said Jones. “We provide input and make recommendations in regard to ensuring these developments have adequate water supply, sprinkler and standpipe protection, fire alarms systems and accessibility for equipment.”

Jones went on to say an increase call volume is also considered as to how it may impact the department, but he predicts the Shelter Ridge proposal, as well as the Long Hill Ave. proposal, will only slightly increase this volume. His prediction is based on, “similar development/building call rates currently in place within our community.”

Chief Jones also said the department is in support of further developments taking place within the city.

“While some people see progress in a negative effect, our department views progress and these proposed residential developments as an opportunity to enhance our recruitment efforts, and the added commercial development allows our cities leadership to continue to provide funding, and high quality equipment and apparatus to further support the fire department and those men and women serving while still maintaining a stable tax base for the community.”

The Public hearing for the Long Hill Ave. condo proposal will continue Tuesday, April 12 at 7 p.m in City Hall.

The public hearing for the Shelter Ridge proposal is on Wednesday, April 27 at 7 p.m at City Hall.