An updated website for EVFC #1

We have a new Website! It is implemented on a current web platform. The look is modern and the platform takes care of security updates and maintenance. It should be much easier to update than the preceding site and perform better on mobile devices. Look it over and let the webmaster know what you think! 

Here are the boring semi-technical details :-)

The EVFC website has gone through a number of transitions. This is to be expected given the ever-changing nature of the medium.

If I recall correctly the site was originally composed using Microsoft Office Front Page extensions. From there we moved it to a straight HTML/CSS site using Dreamweaver. The next version was implemented under the content management system Drupal 6. All these sites were hosted on commercial hosting providers. After a disastrous Drupal 6 hack destroyed our inadequately backed up site I took the opportunity to move everything to Drupal 7 on a virtual host under my direct control. This allowed me to back up the host machine (a Linux VM) in total at will, a very nice capability to have.

Unfortunately any web platform needs constant updating to keep up with security issues and stay current. As much as I'd like to play with Drupal 8, that migration doesn't make sense. My time is limited - I don't have time to hack away at D8, and I wouldn't have time to maintain the infrastructure properly - updates applied, security threats monitored, etc. We needed somebody else to do all that. Furthermore I wanted something that was easier to interact with without extensive configuration and tweaking on my part. Thus it made sense to explore the new "easy to use" web platforms and see if one of them fit the bill. Hopefully my choice works out.

Remembering Natalie

An Open House celebrating Natalie Friedman's life will be held at the Easton Firehouse on Saturday, June 13th from 12:30-3:30 PM.

A Beautiful Life Remembered by Denise Sherwood

If asked to name notable community members, people like the First Selectman, the Police Chief or the Superintendent of schools may come to mind. However, in the Town of Easton one of the most notable citizens that come to mind is the lovely Natalie Friedman. For four decades Natalie influenced the children of our small town through her various positions at Samuel Staples Elementary School and welcomed patrons of the annual Easton Fireman's Carnival with an infectious smile.

Natalie was genuine, fun-loving and dedicated to everything she was involved in. In addition to being a dedicated wife and the loving mother of four children, Natalie found time to volunteer in the community with her involvement in the Siren Aide Ladies Auxiliary of the Easton Fire Department.

Once her children were old enough to attend school, Natalie began working part-time at Samuel Staples Elementary School as a lunch aide. Soon after, she was promoted to secretary by her high school friend and colleague, former Principal William Daly. Natalie was an essential member of the school community ever since.

Despite the advancements in technology over her forty year career, Natalie kept up with the changes and remembered the most important part of her job, making each child feel special. Natalie never failed to remember a name or share a hug when it was needed. Former coworker and retired school psychologist, Bob Herrick, remembered Natalie as "honest, generous and kind to the core." On one occasion the computers were down and all of the parents had to be reached for an announcement. While the rest of the office staff was wondering what to do, Natalie calmly said, "We'll do it the way we used to," and she pulled out a rolodex with all of the names and numbers and started dialing.

Although Natalie attended Smith College and the Whitney School of Art with plans to become an Art Teacher, her life took her in another direction, but her love for art never faded. Many people were fortunate enough to have received hand-drawn greeting cards, hand-sewn baby gifts, butterfly and waxed leave pictures or glass-topped trays, and even some tutelage in the arts. Amy Borofsky Merriman, a former SSES student recalled Mrs. Friedman giving her sewing lessons when she expressed interest. Natalie offered her expertise and time as a favor to help Amy learn the skill. This is just one example of the positive influence she had on the former students she had contact with. In addition to her private instruction, Mrs. Friedman taught summer art camp at the Jewish Community Center.

Natalie epitomized the virtues of loyalty, respect, honesty and strength. Natalie rarely missed a day of work despite having medical issues that would have kept less dedicated employees out of work. She rarely complained and never wanted to be the center of attention. Even in her retirement, she waited until the very last minute to let the word out so she would not distract from the Assistant Principal's departure for a different position in a neighboring school system. Former co-worker Eileen Hepp said

"Natalie had a contagious enthusiasm for life, whether sharing stories of her family, the children at school or events she was involved in. I was very blessed to have known her."

Current Samuel Staples Principal, Kimberly Fox-Santora said, "The many ways in which Natalie Friedman contributed to SSES over her 40 year career cannot be measured. She was our ambassador, historian, cheerleader, and friend. Her warmth and compassion for everyone, especially the SSES students, was unparalleled. We will be forever grateful for the many years of service Natalie provided to our school and the Easton community."

For one week in July the children from SSES and its former graduates could visit Mrs. Friedman at the Annual Fireman's Carnival. She frequently worked in the evenings selling baked goods at the event after spending the entire day preparing meals for the Carnival patrons. Each child that visited her in the bake tent got the same reaction, a loving, friendly smile and sincere questions about how they were doing. Each visitor was made to feel like they were the most important person in the world for that moment.

As members of the Easton Fire Department, Natalie and her husband of 61+ years, Ira, met many people with whom they made lasting friendships. Close family friends, Jack and Justine Johnston, recalled Natalie's hostess abilities and her willingness to include everyone at the gatherings they hosted. She was known to throw amazing parties for all occasions which was no surprise since another passion of hers was cooking for loved ones.

It was for all these reasons that a brick was donated in her honor during the construction of the new Samuel Staples building. The brick reads "In Honor of our Cornerstone, Natalie Friedman." Natalie truly was the foundation of the school community for years through her contact with the many families. Principals and teachers came and went but Natalie was there, a constant, a comforting reminder of good times and the important things in life. Perhaps it was something she learned growing up hearing stories of her ancestors during the holocaust, but whatever it was, Natalie always knew and tried to convey what she believed, that people and relationships were the most valuable gifts in a person's lifetime. Through this philosophy and her genuine goodness, Natalie radiated joyfulness to all she met.

Natalie cherished her family and friends and every student she ever came across. She was genuine and beautiful inside and out. She was never afraid to dress up for Halloween, put on her work clothes to get a job done or show her elegance and poise when she was out for a celebration.

A woman of many talents, sincerity and love, Natalie's memory will live on the hearts and minds of many Easton residents. For this reason an Open House celebration of her life will be held on Saturday, June 13th from 12:30-3:30 p.m. at the Easton Fire Department, 1 Center Road.

Easton mourns the loss of Firefighter Russ Neary

Fire Chief Jim Girardi regretfully informs the public of the passing of LT Russell F. Neary, 55, President of the Easton Volunteer Fire Company. LT Neary died in the line of duty on Monday October 29, 2012, having served the department for 10 years. LT Neary was clearing tree debris from a roadway when another tree fell and struck LT Neary.

The Easton Volunteer Fire Company and the Easton Fire Department are making preparations for the line of duty death services honoring Lt Neary. Details are as follows: Memorial service: Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 11 AM at the Notre Dame church in Easton Connecticut. Lt Neary leaves behind his loving wife Maryanne and two beautiful daughters Caitlin and Cara. He is also survived by his brother, Peter, the fire marshal for the Easton fire department. Donations in Russell's memory can be made to Russell Neary Memorial Trust Fund to benefit Joel Barlow High School’s Girls Cross Country & Track and Field Teams and The American Red Cross. Donations may be mailed to: Russell Neary Memorial Trust Fund, 30 Far Horizon Drive, Easton, CT 06612

Details for the line of duty death funeral for Lt Russell Neary, Easton Volunteer Fire Company # 1 are as follows. A service will be held at Notre Dame Church, 655 Morehouse Road, Easton CT, Saturday November 3rd at 11 am. Firefighter’s who are planning to attend should park at Samuel Staples Elementary School, 515 Morehouse Road, Easton CT. Please do not bring fire apparatus to the service in order to minimize the traffic in front of the church. Please use Banks road to access Morehouse Road. Banks Road is off of CT route 59, accessible by exit 46 off of the Merritt Parkway or Route 25 in Trumbull. Banks road originates in front of the Easton EMS.

Please plan on Gathering no later than 10 AM. Buses will be provided to transport guest from Samuel Staples to the Easton Country Day School directly across from the Notre Dame Church. Once at the school fire fighters will be directed by the CT Honor Guard as where to line up.

After the service there will be a reception downstairs at the Easton Volunteer Fire Company located at 1 Center road, Easton CT. Phone number is 203-268-2833. If Samuels Staples Elementary School is full overflow parking will be provided at Silverman’s Farm , 451 Sport Hill Road (CT RT 59) Easton, CT


Easton FD busy as snow melts

As we all know, Easton had a lot of snow this winter. Those massive white drifts translated into some busy weeks for the Fire Department as melting snow flooded numerous basements. On March 7th alone the EFD responded to 10 separate locations to pump out flooded basements. On that day firefighters and apparatus responded simultaneously to as many as three locations. The last call of the day was for a potentially serious motor vehicle accident. It came hard on the heels of several pump out calls.

This illustrates a key point: We will always do our best to respond to citizens in need. But we have to prioritize. There will always be limits on how many pumps and firefighters we have available. We simply are not able to respond to every pump out call. And when we do respond we may have to depart in a hurry leaving the job unfinished.

We ask that you  look at the results of this winter and consider installing appropriate water control systems where necessary. Doing so will go far toward protecting your home. A pre-installed solution can often keep up with incoming water, preventing water levels that can cause serious damage. This is certainly a case where an ounce of prevention can be worth gallons of cure. We will always do our utmost to answer every call for help. But when we get inundated we won't be able to help everyone as quickly as we'd like. Help protect yourself and your neighbors by installing a system that can control or prevent basement flooding.

Hydrants need shoveling too!

After a snowstorm most of us are concerned about shoveling our walks and driveways.

The Fire Department has an additional concern - clearing snow from hydrants!

So how do those hydrants get cleared? By our Firefighters of course!

After a heavy snow out people will spend time scouting and clearing hydrants.

Why do we do this?

We don't want to have to do this during a fire response when seconds count. Thus our Firefighters - career and volunteer - spend time clearing hydrants of snow as a preventative measure after heavy snowstorms.

 After a lot of shoveling - the hydrant is clear.

After a lot of shoveling - the hydrant is clear.

Fall is time for Hose Testing at Easton FD

Each year, Easton firefighters test every length of Large Diameter Hose (LDH) used by the department.


This year we were fortunate to have perfect weather for the task. Here Easton firefighters have laid out LDH from an engine bed and are preparing to fill the capped lengths of hose with pressurized water.

This process involves laying out every section of LDH, filling it with water pressurized to 200 psi, and then examining each section carefully for leaks, abrasions, and other defects.

Not much fun, but it has to be done. Each year some lengths are found to be in need of replacement.