Senator Len Fasano Notification of Group Homes

February 9, 2011

“It’s not meant to be discriminatory; it’s a matter of public safety.”

Hartford, CT – “There is a huge communication gap between first responders and group home providers and we must do something about it.”  State Senator Len Fasano is deeply concerned about the lack of information shared with first responders when a group home moves into a neighborhood.

At a public hearing on Tuesday, Sen. Fasano said, “The communication lapse is a matter of safety and we must inform fire and police departments in advance of any plans to open a group home in the community.”

North Haven’s Fire Chief echoed Senator Fasano’s sentiment, “”We want to know where clients are and how we can keep them safe.”  Fire Chief Vincent Landisio says Connecticut fire code does not apply to group homes where there are three or fewer clients.  This puts public safety at a disadvantage.

“We find the homes when we are called to them for medical emergencies or fire incidents.  There are 25 group homes in North Haven. We welcome them. This is not a NIMBY (not in my backyard) issue,” added Landisio “This is a public safety issue.”
Chief Landisio added, “The danger is that persons who are not capable of providing for themselves either physically or mentally, are not being afforded the same fire protection features as those clients living in a registered setting with four or more persons.”

Senator Fasano said, “I recognize group homes serve a tremendous purpose in society and group home employees do a tremendous job, but information about those homes is essential in achieving the safety of all involved.”  In the end Senator Fasano believes lawmakers will take what was learned from the hearing and narrow the measure to focus on safety concerns.

The bill is before the General Assembly’s Planning and Development Committee.