Biddle's Corner

Don't End The Holiday With A Preventable Fire

Written by L. James Biddle Friday, 20 December 2013 16:27

Christmas is a special, happy time of the year.  One group of visitors that are not wanted are firefighters. The busy holiday activities many times have the possibility of dulling the lessons of home fire prevention.  Chief Doug Everlof stressed, “The dangers of fire never take a holiday.”

The collection of unwrapped gifts and the visits by friends and families may possibly mean smoking in the home.   If so, remember to either designate smoking are away from the remnants of the holiday.  Also, large, spill proof ash trays help reduce the dangers of fire.

Chief Everlof added, “Because there are more hours of family time, the longer times of all electrical holiday use can challenge the limits of the often used extension cords”

Newtown Square fire chief added, “Don’t be fooled by the size of the Christmas lights.  While small, far too often no attention is given to the total load that is challenging safety.”

The local firefighters remind residents to never second guess safety.  Immediately shut off and unplug appliances that sputter, spark or emit an unusual smell. Have them professionally repaired or replaced.

The men and woman volunteers staffing the Fire Company wish for their community to be fire-safe during this holiday time of the year. They add the special message to remember to add water to the Christmas Tree.


Santa will come to Newtown before Christmas

Written by L. James Biddle Thursday, 19 December 2013 15:07

The weather related rescheduling of Newtown Square’s Annual community Christmas Tree lighting provided an answer to the question, ”Will Santa come to Newtown Square in time for the yearly, pre-Christmas tour of the Township?” Very cheerfully, Santa answered, “Of course I am going to continue this long-time tradition.”

The days for this year’s visits are Friday, December 20 and Saturday, December 21. The Friday tour of the southern part of the Newtown Square will begin at 5:30 p.m. On Saturday, the tour of the northern part of the Township will begin at 4:30 p.m.

Following this year’s Christmas Tree lighting Santa told the local volunteers they were to share with the children and their parents a simple safety rule. He said, “When Santa comes to the neighborhoods, all children must stay on the sidewalks and lawns. Stay away from the street.” The North Pole visitors added, “The firefighters will come to the children.”


Dig It Out

Written by L. James Biddle Friday, 13 December 2013 19:16

It may have been a surprise to television weather watchers when the news that the two recent back-to-back snowfalls was a record.   The amount of snow that harassed local drivers and upset many local and regional activities was greater than the annual total snow falls for the two previous years.  Newly selected chief, Doug Everlof stressed, “Snow is not a friend of the Newtown Square Fire Company.”

Chief Everlof’s comment has its foundation in the reality that when driving conditions are eroded by snow, the number of accident responses increases.  Equally important is the danger that drifted or collected snow often hides the neighborhood fire hydrant.

Far too often the phrase “Let George do it” results in neighbors often thinking someone else will dig out the nearby fire hydrant.   These valued, life- and property-protecting firefighting sources of water are painted with aluminum paint that normally aids firefighters locate them. “In the snow, the ‘silver’ hydrant can almost disappear,”-warned Chief Everlof.

The local firefighters urge Newtown Township residents to locate their nearby fire hydrant or hydrants and remove the snow.  The seconds taken to locate and the time needed to remove the hindering snow robs firefighters of time. This time that can better be used to perform a rescue and extinguish a fire.

This wintry safety campaign has been successful in the past.   During a previous record-setting snowfall, a creative Goshen Road neighbor helped protect not only his family and home, but those of his neighbors and a nearby school. Commenting on this neighborly act, Chief Everlof volunteered, “In addition to the snow being removed, the placement of a red flag ‘went the extra mile.’  That is a good neighbor!”

One good neighbor’s time spent in removing the snow helped protect the family home and those of his neighbors as well.  The red, warning flag was a welcomed, added extra effort.  Newtown FireFoto



Second Chance Club Helps Protect Lives and Property

Written by L. James Biddle Friday, 01 November 2013 07:40

The Newtown Square Fire Company continues to learn that people tend to take short cuts when it comes to safety. The unpaid professionals providing the local emergency services share a single hope. When the nation was recently reminded that the clocks were changed in their return to Eastern Standard Time, there was another subject in these announcements. This event becomes the suggested time to change batteries in both Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide monitoring devices.

In discussing a bad habit that never seems to go away, Chief Doug Simpson stressed, “Each year emergency service providers remind residents that these warning devices do save lives. There is one problem. Unless there are fresh batteries and these life-saving are properly mounted and maintained, there is no assurance they will work.”

Based upon news reports sharing unfortunate observations, not everyone follows the simple “change-of-time” reminders. To help these procrastinators, the Newtown Square Fire Company has renewed its invitation to become a member of the “Second Chance Club.”

“Only cats have nine lives,” volunteered Chief Simpson. He added, “We humans have only one life. Because the Second Chance Club has worked in the past, the Newtown Square Fire Company hopes it will once more remind people who have forgotten to change these inexpensive, easily replaced batteries. Please do it now!”

Every time the local firefighters go into a fire they hope they are welcomed by the shrill warning wail of Smoke Detectors. When that sound is missing, they look for these warning devices. Far too often the sight of an open lid or non-working batteries greets them. No power – no protection.

Chief Simpson quickly stressed, “It only takes a short time to help protect lives by installing a fresh battery in the Carbon Monoxide or Smoke Detectors. Please do this today. This is the idea behind our Second Chance Club.”


Fire Prevention Weeks

Written by L. James Biddle Friday, 25 October 2013 18:41

The youngest of the Garrett’s Way children that were a part of the recent Newtown Square Fire Company’s visit are eager to demonstrate the Stop-Drop-and Roll burn-prevention practice.

The Newtown Square Fire Company’s annual Fire Prevention program has again expanded well beyond the nation’s October 6-12 emphasis. In the past decade, the local Fire Company’s year-long program has been capped with the autumn-based, multiple visits to area schools.  Again, this year the national week-long programming has not been sufficient for the many student-based visits presented by Lieutenant Bill Rankin and the local firefighters.

Commenting on the current program’s successes, Lieutenant Rankin volunteered, “Because of the parent – student review of the school days activities, we are told many of the small, but important lessons we teach the students has become a source of renewed or new education for the parents and grandparents."

One of recent, third week of Fire Prevention visits was done at the well-attended Garrett’s Way.  Their impressive program draws a large number of children, with many of these being younger.  These younger ages does not reduce the message being taken home.   All children enjoy practicing the proven “Stop-Drop- and Roll” message for parents.  This life-saving message applies to all ages.

One message that does not go home is the importance of replacing older Smoke Detectors with the newer, 10-year battery powered units.  The successes of this new concept assure this special battery is not “robbed” from the life- and property-saving Smoke Detectors.  In describing this newer generation of Smoke Detector, the Newtown Square Fire Company’s Rankin stressed, “While the initial cost may be a bit higher than the older style Smoke Detectors, the overall cost of replacing the older battery during the 10-year efficiency of these older generation safety devices.”

Saving money and saving lives is a wonderful bargain.
A message the local firefighters urge be remembered.

Safety at Halloween

Written by L. James Biddle Friday, 18 October 2013 12:19

This is the time of the year when of the pace of the remainder of the year’s events seems to dramatically increase.  The Newtown Square Fire Company advises the community that the one common ingredient of all events is the need for increased safety.  This vigil begins with the nearest event, Halloween.  This children-oriented event has focuses on sweet treats and the challenge for having the “best costume.”

Newtown Square Fire Chief Doug Simpson has offered an invitation to start making safe choices for both give-away treats and the choice of safe costumes.

The goal of finding the best identity-hiding apparel often neglects the need to assure good sight and the elimination of possible injuries from tripping and falling.

When purchasing costumes, there is one common concept that is ignored. That safety guideline stresses the material used in the construction of the costume. Look for flame retardant material.  If a made-at-home costume becomes the choice for Halloween, make sure the fabric carries the label that identifies the material has been treated with fire retardant.

In a practice of sensitive example of safety based diplomacy, parents should incorporate adult guidance while at the same time letting a child make a costume selection “on their own.”

Kids Costume Tips

Stay away from items that can cause a fall. Avoid features such as high heels or dangling parts of the costume. Both can promote falls and injuries that will mar the otherwise fun time.

Only costume-carried props made of a flexible form of plastic are safe. The use of non-bending, rigid swords or other costume parts is an invitation to an injury.

Unless the costume has sufficiently large eye holes that permit sight without having to constantly adjust the mask make eye holes that are larger. If this new eye opening creates a complaint from the wearer, consider the use of costume ‘greasepaint’ to cover potentially exposed skin.

Candles are never safe.  Carrying a flashlight is a safety tool. Purchase and install reflector safety strips and give the holiday beggar a light stick for increased visibility.

In addressing the topic of costumes, Chief Doug Simpson added a simple, but practical suggestion, “If you have more than one child, save costumes from this and past years for family reuse or for an exchange with friends. The simple addition of an extra accessory or other minor changes can create a whole new look in future years.”


Summer heat dangers have arrived

Written by L. James Biddle Friday, 22 June 2012 00:00

Summer has arrived as have the oppressive seasonal temperatures. With the
increasing possibilities of breaking temperature records, the Newtown Square Fire
Company stresses the importance of keeping comfortable and avoiding the dangers of
these dangerous temperatures.

Read more: Summer heat dangers have arrived

Don't become a turkey

Written by L. James Biddle Friday, 15 June 2012 00:00

People do not in any way resemble a turkey. In a seasonal weather statement,
the Newtown Square Fire Company’s retired Assistant Chief for EMS, Lisa Migliori,
commented, “In the summer, many unknowing people treat themselves like a holiday
bird that is placed in a convection oven.”

Read more: Don't become a turkey


Smoke Detectors

Written by L. James Biddle Friday, 25 May 2012 00:00

This is the time of the year when many families, friends, and neighbors share in the joy of a graduation.
Newtown Square Fire Chief Doug Simpson has shared a timely collection of observations, “Home
safety and graduation have many concepts that are common to both.”

Read more: Smoke Detectors

Hidden Fire Hydrants

Written by L. James Biddle Thursday, 17 May 2012 00:00

With the warmer weather and the seasonal rains, the Newtown Square Fire Company finds
itself sharing a safety concern that traditionally is a winter and snow topic. The unusually
accelerated growth patterns of this year have challenged winter’s snow in hiding fire hydrants.

One recently seen area hydrant was already on its way of being hidden by green growth. Chief
Doug Simpson shared the dangers in hard-to-see fire hydrants when he explained, “Newtown
Square firefighters are aware of the locations of the Borough fire hydrants, but if a neighboring
fire company were to assist Newtown Square, they don’t have this familiarity.”

Read more: Hidden Fire Hydrants


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