Behind the Fire Line

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fireplace-558985_640As the turkey decorations are being replaced by Christmas decorations, and we are gearing up for the Christmas Season, it is important to maintain fire safety within our homes. With all the beautiful ornaments both on the tree and around the house, there is bound to be more stress on electric outlets.

Most fires in the house happen during the winter months. Be sure, if extension cords are used, they are UL (Underwriters Laboratories) rated. Please do not over-load circuits, as this is a common cause of house fires. When leaving a room, blow out candles: it only takes mere seconds for disaster to strike! Unplug Christmas lights both on the tree and around the house, when leaving the house. Even if the tree is artificial, it is safer to unplug it.

Real trees need to be kept moist; watering them every day will slow the drying process and keep them looking fresh and healthy. Do not display them near radiators; this will expedite drying out the tree. A dried tree is extremely flammable! A smoke detector, disguised as an ornament, can be purchased and hung on the tree as a safety precaution.

Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors should be checked regularly.  While the traditional six-month time change intervals are a good starting point, in areas such as near the boiler, and bedrooms, they should be checked more frequently. If the detectors do “chirp” change the batteries as soon as possible. If they do go off, gather your family, leave the house and call 911 from your cell phone or a neighbor’s house. Never call from inside the house, assuming it is a false alarm. The fire dept. will respond, and assess the situation. Be sure to have a “meeting place” outside, and a safe distance away from the house.

Make sure young children and pets are familiar with the sound of the detectors; know what to do and where to meet, if the alarm goes off. If baking/cooking specific food is part of your Christmas/holiday tradition: be sure the oven is clean both before and after. Many fires start from food residue left over in the oven.

The Floral Park Fire Department is composed of volunteer men and women who train to respond to many different emergency situations. There is no need to feel your career path limits you from becoming a firefighter/medical technician. The fire department is made up of nurses, teachers, police officers, fire fighters, accountants, plumbers, painters, sales people: men and women from various careers who reside in Floral Park. The department trains everyone in firefighting/emergency medical techniques.

Those who live in Floral Park and are interested in joining could call the chief’s office at 516-326-6327 to learn more about it. The Floral Park Fire Department is always looking for people willing to learn and make a difference in our village. There is also an Explorers Program for youngsters between the ages of 14-18. This is a great opportunity for teenagers to explore the tools, apparatus, and workings of the Floral Park Fire Department. They meet the first and third Sunday every month at 10 a.m. at headquarters. (The side of Village Hall, opposite to the Police Department)

Please call the chief’s office at 326-6327 for more information.

Have a safe and happy Christmas Season!

—Submitted by Mary Ann Cuite and Floral Park Fire Department

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