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police & fire

Norwalk Police, Fire, Intensify Partnership

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk's emergency response time was on the mind of Norwalk's newest police chief just minutes after he was sworn in.

Chief Thomas Kulhawik said he had lunch with Fire Chief Denis McCarthy, Deputy Police Chief David Wrinn and Assistant Fire Chief Lawrence Reilly after his promotion ceremony to "establish a regular channel of communication to work more closely together."

One of the first results was a Wednesday morning meeting of Norwalk fire and police administrators, where Fire Capt. Al Basset discussed hazmat operations. Sgt. Art Weisgerber, head of the crime scene identification unit, mentioned the destruction of evidence in a raging fire and the resultant cascade of water, offering to help fire marshals investigating arson.

"You guys are usually pretty good about handling your flammable evidence; you've put them in containers and stored them," he said. "What we can do sometimes in support of that is, if we have a structure that still has some integrity to it we can see if there's a point of entry (the arsonist used)."

The departments should consider doing tabletop exercises to reduce the risks to responders, McCarthy said.

Each of the administrators explained their roles and responsibilities, and the units that work together regularly were discussed.

There is more to come, Kulhawik said. "It was the first in what we hope to be a regular schedule of meetings perhaps quarterly in which we can work together and discuss operational issues as well as plan joint training and tabletop exercise to improve the service delivery to the citizens," he said in an email. "It also will help establish open lines of communication at all levels of our organizations so that we have a better understanding of each other's needs at incident scenes.

"The improved relationship will allow for a more seamless delivery of services, a safer environment for all first responders and perhaps prevent duplication of services."

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