Biddle's Corner

Super Bowl safety suggestions

Written by L. James Biddle Thursday, 21 January 2010 00:00

Super Bowl Sunday, February 7 will once more become a concern of emergency service providers through out the United States.  Responding to this annual event that spawns the dangers of impaired driving, the Newtown Square Fire Company has announced alternatives to the traditional party plans that are associated with this championship gridiron game.
Just as the two football teams include special planning for this festive affair, everyone planning a viewing party should give special focus to their gathering.  The local emergency service providers stress this attention must address the potential problems that have become associated with this special football game.   The first step is one that establishes steps that prevent alcohol-consuming guests from driving.  Other special plans must focus upon alternate drinks, food, and timing for partying events.
Both party goers and party givers must recognize that Super Bowl Sunday is one of the year’s most dangerous days on America’s roads. This unwanted image results from impaired driving.  Safety steps being with passing vehicle keys to a sober, designated driver before the party and the Super Bowl game begins.
Adapting a long-standing safety slogan, the Newtown Square Fire suggests, “Fans don’t let fans drive drunk.”
National statistics point to males, ages 21 to 34 are the most likely to become involved in automobile crashes, to drive while impaired and also to be the least likely to wear their safety belts.  Unfortunately, this same group of drivers is also the core of participants in Super Bowl parties.
Chief Doug Simpson reminds everyone holding a Super Bowl party of a possible unknown or forgotten reality, He stressed, “You can be held liable and prosecuted if anyone being served alcohol at your party becomes involved in an impaired driving accident.”
In addition to an enforced designated driver program or arranging for taxi trips, the simple steps of providing large selections of food and non alcoholic beverages are good steps for a safe game and trip home.
Following a program used at sports stadiums, establish a ‘no more alcohol’ cut off time. After this cut-off time, began serving coffee and dessert.
Party attendees are reminded they should avoid too much alcohol too quickly.   Additionally, enjoy the available food, as well as switching to non-alcoholic beverages.
To help in providing alternate, non-alcoholic beverages, the Newtown Square Fire Company has provided a long list of easy-to-make and tasty beverages on their Web page,
Party givers are reminded to never let a guest leave your sight if you think they are about to drive while they are impaired. Concluding the Newtown Square Fire Company’s Super Bowl safety primer, Chief Simpson stated, “Remember, Fans Don't Let Fans Drive Drunk.”.

A clean oven is simple fire prevention

Written by L. James Biddle Friday, 15 January 2010 00:00

While not primarily noted for his cooking expertise, Newtown Square Fire Chief Doug Simpson has volunteered a cooking safety suggestion.  The special focus for this timely topic was the prevention of oven fires.
Chief Simpson’s suggestion was fostered by the possibility of  one or more forgotten spills in the oven that may have occurred during the holiday entertaining. Other spills can add to the previously dried spills.  In time, these items can ignite and become the uninvited source of a fire.

Newtown Square fire crews are well aware of the embarrassment that accompanies the arrival of fire apparatus. "Add to that form of embarrassment, there is a true fire danger that can expand beyond the oven," continued Newtown Square’s fire chief.
The cleanup of any spilled residue from the bottom surface of the oven or ovens is a good start in home fire prevention.
As a companion preventive suggestion, Chief Simpson added the hint that a carefully placed layer of foil on the bottom of the oven is one way to add time between oven cleanings. 
Whenever there is a cleaning of an oven, there is also a temptation to speed up the process.  Describing that danger, Chief Simpson commented, "The best first step is to read the label.  The instructions should be followed and never yield to the temptation to use more than suggested in the instructions and never mix more than one product to accelerate the process.  Also, heed the instructions about proper ventilation."
These simple suggestions will help in assuring a safe entertaining and normal famly meals.  "Practicing fire prevention is one way to prevent an unexpected and unwanted visit by the Newtown Square Fire Company," volunteered Chief Simpson.

New heating dangers

Written by L. James Biddle Saturday, 02 January 2010 00:00

During a recent Newtown Square Fire Company training session, one of the unpaid professions, an experience weather watcher commented, "I would rather trust a weather report than a weather forecast."  This comment seems to become popular whenever the local, television weather forecasters provide a long term winter and snow forecast.    
In a year when the first measurable snowfall began before the arrival of winter, there may be increased doubts about the frequency and amount of snow this winter.   Regardless of the forecast, the Newtown Square Fire Company has issued a seasonal concern.   A concern that is dependent upon observations, not a forecast.

With an increasing move toward heating systems that have increasingly high levels of efficiency, there have been some changes from traditional furnace features.   Today’s newer heating systems incorporate vents to the outside of the building.  Gone are the once-universal uses of a chimney venting and the intake of air from within the structure. 
These larger diameter, plastic pipes supply and remove air from the heating system.  What may have been forgotten is a safety feature incorporated into these furnaces.  When internal sensors detect the lack of air, the furnace is shut off.
What can be easily forgotten is the need to make sure that no snow has drifted or been shoveled onto these plastic pipes. Newtown Square Fire Chief Doug Simpson stressed, "After every snowfall, special attention must be given to make sure that both the intake and exhaust vents are clear of any snow or ice."  Continuing this warning, he stated, “Because most vents are plastic, don't use a shovel to clean them off; instead, use a broom. When removing any ice or snow, being gentle is important."

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