Biddle's Corner

Smoker Danger

Written by L. James Biddle Tuesday, 12 May 2015 12:48

Chief Doug Everlof has asked that smokers please practice their own fire prevention campaign by paying attention to where and how they discard cigarettes. A common landscaping mulch consists of colored wood chips.

Normal rainfall aid in preventing fires from discarded cigarettes, but this natural fire prevention help can be partially eliminated by long spells of rain-free weather. The thoughtful and proper discarding of individual “spent” cigarettes will help eliminate this documented danger.

Chief Everlof volunteered, "Fire prevention is everyone’s responsibility.  Please change smoking habits.   Don’t just throw a cigarette butt out a window or drop it to the ground. The unseen burning of a cigarette can start a threatening fire. Fire prevention is easy if it is practiced.”


Safety Tips For Home

Written by L. James Biddle Friday, 03 April 2015 15:20

Unlike adults the curious minds of children rarely “see” dangers in and around a home. The Newtown Square Fire Company stresses there are at least four ways to help adults modify a home for the safety of children. The simplest method is crawling on the floor. From this vantage, an adult can view the same world as seen by a child—seeing the temptations created by the curiosity children.

A second method is to watch what children do both in play and general activities. As a father of older children, Chief Doug Everlof remembers, “They are too young to know about the dangers in life.” Often demonstrated by their climbing, children love to explore. Their mountains can be as simple as an open oven door, an easily opened chest of drawers, or a chair that gives access to climbing to see a wanted item.

Newer stoves include methods to anchor them to a wall, preventing them from tipping over. Homeowners can create ways to anchor tippable furniture. Another safety suggestion is remove heavy objects like a television set from the top of a chest of drawers. A similar suggestion is a reminder to place heavy storable items in the lowest drawer.

Chief Everlof volunteered, “According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, every two weeks a child dies in our country from furniture, appliances or TVs tipping over. Each of us can help prevent these tragedies and make our homes a safer place.

A third method may be the most difficult. With maturity, adults see life in different ways than children. Try to ‘look back’ and begin to see life as a child and by returning to the adult world, remove the dangers we as adults have neglected to eliminate.

The final step suggests looking for lists and articles addressing items that need to be changed or eliminated to keep the home safe. One hint is to follow a trend being used in an increasing of stores and public gatherings—adding safety covers to all child-accessible electric outlets.


Walk The Yard

Written by L. James Biddle Sunday, 29 March 2015 13:03

As soon as the last of winter-spring snows melts, common sense dictates a safety requirement of “Walking the Yard” before the weather can produced one of the audible signs of spring—the easily recognized sound of a lawn mower.  This sound has a special safety significance.  This timely notice was explained by Newtown Square Fire Chief Doug Everlof when he volunteered, “It is time to walk your yard.”

Becauseof this year’s end-of-winter snows, the simple tour around the mowing areas can easily produce a surprising collection of items on the lawn. These forgotten and unknowns objects have accumulated between the last mowing between last year final mowing and now.  In explaining the importanceof this safety mandate, Chief Everlof stated, “Each of these objects can easily become a possible fatal or injurious missile when a mower passes over them.”

Even with the minimum possible damage, these flying objects can inflict serious injury, break windows, or dent siding or damage a parked car.  This ritual should not be only a once-a-yearpractice.  Looking before any mowing helps eliminate the possibility of yard items becoming dangerous to people,pets, and the property.  “Before mowing,please adopt this important and simple way of prevention,” urged NewtownTownship’s Fire Chief

Avoid Dangers From Utilities

Written by L. James Biddle Friday, 06 March 2015 13:41

The collection of recent news reports, including police dash-board camera scenes of a home disappearing in a natural gas explosion have helped increase concerns about residential natural gas malfunctions.  Following suggestions by the Newtown Square Fire Company can help eliminate the fears associated with the warning aroma of rotten eggs inside a home.

At the slightest smell of the ingredient added to natural gas as a warning effort, there are strict, yet easy-to-follow instructions for safety. Taking a cell or cordless phone, GET OUT - STAY OUT - CALL OUT from a location that is as far from the building as possible.

Before leaving the structure, avoid the temptation to turn lights either on or off. Both wall switches and lamps are a proven source of the ignition of leaking natural gas within structures;

Using the phone take out of the building, immediately call 9 1 1 and fully cooperate with the call taker or other persons at the Delaware County Emergency Dispatch Center. When outdoors, avoid starting a vehicle either in a garage or near the building.

All utilities—gas, electric, and water—can be sleeping giants. When all is well, they are necessities. When there is a problem, this is when troubles occur.

Addressing these potential dangers, Chief Doug Everlof stressed, “If there are even small concerns about gas or electric dangers, never hesitate to call for help. . Avoid life-threatening events by safely leaving the area or possible dangers and call 9 1 1.”


Second Chance

Written by L. James Biddle Friday, 06 March 2015 13:34

When Newtown Square firefighters encounter a non-working Smoke Detector, they ask “When was the battery changed? The greatest concern is finding no battery in the battery compartment in these life-saving devices.

When asked why the battery was not changed with the change of clocks, the most common response is either, “I started to do it,” “I forgot” or “I was going to do it tomorrow.”

If the occupant had installed the newer, 10-year Smoke Detector, this problem would have been avoided.

Following the recent “change-of-time,” Newtown Square Fire Chief Doug Everlof has once again stressed, “It only takes a short time to help protect lives by installing a fresh battery in the Carbon Monoxide Monitors or Smoke Detectors. Please do this today. This reminder is the idea behind the Newtown Square Fire Company’s Second Chance Club.”

Motivated by these continuing and unfortunate observations, not everyone follows the simple “change-of-time” reminders. To help everyone forgetting to change these batteries, the Newtown Square Fire Company continues to stress its “Second Chance Club.”

“Please don’t take chance with the lives of your family,” volunteered Chief Everlof. He added, “While a simple job, please make it your number one project. These devices need a power source to provide these life-saving protections. Insert new batteries in each of the home’s Carbon Monoxide Monitors and older style Smoke Detectors. Please do it now!”

Without the protection of these inexpensive and valued safety watchdogs, there may be no SECOND CHANCE.


Serious Accident and Challenging Temperatures

Written by L. James Biddle Friday, 20 February 2015 16:19

While there is a regional stress for an increase in fire prevention because of an escalation in dwelling fires, the Newtown Square Fire Company was spared the torture of fighting fires in the near-record setting low temperatures. However, on Friday morning, February 20, the Newtown Fire Company had an emergency that demonstrated their mastery of rescue and vehicle-extrication skills in torturing temperatures.

The accident scene, the 100 block of Bryn Mawr Avenue, between West Chester Pike and Brookside, prompted the response of the Newtown rescue personnel and the Fire Company Ladder. Because of the position and condition of the car that had sustained extensive damage as it hit a tree and the weather conditions of near record-setting low temperatures, a companion rescue was summoned from neighboring Broomall.

As the patient was being evaluated, rescue personnel began the safety steps of stabilizing the vehicle. This procedure assures there will be no movement of the vehicle, both while initiating the disassembly of portions of the vehicle and the removal of the driver. This stabilization assures there will be no additional injuries that may occur if the vehicle were to move. To access the driver, doors and a segment of the roof were removed.

Aided by the Riddle Hospital crew staffing the Newtown Township Ambulance, the injured driver was carefully removed and prepared for hospital transport.

Deputy Chief George Guyer praised the firefighters from Newtown Square and Broomall for their efficient and profession effort in weather where the temperature was approaching 10 degrees. The temperature was as similarly hampering as the mangled metal the entrapped the injured driver.


Hydrants and Snow Removal

Written by L. James Biddle Friday, 23 January 2015 00:00

Worth repeating:

Each winter, the normal competitive weather forecasting done by the area television stations does not escape the interests of the officers and members of the Newtown Square Fire Company.  Many winter lifestyle changes focus on increase utility bills and possible seasonal inconveniences.  For the local Fire Company members there is a safety concern that these community protectors hopes is shared by the township residents.

With water continuing as the most available and effective tool for extinguishing a fire, a snow-buried fire hydrant is a negative influence.  Addressing this seasonal concern, Chief Doug Everlof stresses, “Removing a large ‘working area’ from around the neighborhood fire hydrant becomes a true, potential life- and property-saving community effort.  Please don’t think a neighbor will remove the snow.  This simple task benefits everyone.”

Removing the snow not only helps in locating a hidden hydrant, the removal of sufficient snow from the general area around the hydrant provides the firefighters with room to connect the water-supplying hoses  between the hydrant and the fire apparatus.

Several times in winter snows, a thoughtful Goshen Road resident went one step beyond the necessary hydrant snow removal.  Shoved into the unusually high amount of snow was a red flag attached to a long pole.  That creative communications was greatly appreciated by the Newtown Square firefighters.

By removing sufficient snow, residents are helping their family as well as the families of the entire neighborhood.

This winter scene demonstrates the greatly appreciated method of removing snow than can hide a fire hydrant.   This snow removal pattern provides a working area for the hose that connects to the fire apparatus.  Newtown Square FireFoto©

Now is the Time for Winter Preparedness

Written by L. James Biddle Wednesday, 26 November 2014 12:00

As the media shares the winter ravages that have shared a new definition of the wrath of Lake Effect Snow that has visited Buffalo, New York, the Newtown Square Fire Company once again shares a weather advisory to local residents.  In a community request, Chief Doug Everlof asked, “Knowing winter is fickle, what steps have residents taken to provide them with bare, life-sustaining necessities?”

These steps should begin with the one unavoidable necessity for homes having wells and not backup form of electric power—a collection of drinkable water.  Clean, recycled gallon jugs are a simple storage method.  Spare medicines  and for those homes not having a hard-wired telephone, a dependable source of recharging cellular phones, copies of prescriptions, and a standby source of cash are all serious steps to thwarting the problems of snow-based isolation.

Chief Everlof added, “To create a single list for defeating isolation because of snow, downed trees, and other weather problems that fits the needs for everyone is impossible.  Please invest some thoughtful time and create your individual family ‘safety list. This is a good investment at avoiding some possible painful problems.”

Newtown Square firefighters warn that not every comfort can be duplicated in emergency preparedness.  This simple truth must become an ingredient in being prepared.  By ignoring true luxuries, and focusing on necessities, a list of winter-storm preparedness will not be a difficult task.

Many of today’s firefighters had their first introduction of the “Be Prepared’ concept as defined by Boy Scout founder Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts. They learned this is a process that begins with thinking out and practicing how to act on any accident or emergency so as to never be over taken by surprise.  Deputy Chief George Guyer IV stressed, “This concept is fitting advice for everyone . . . . all the time.”


Help The Hungry

Written by L. James Biddle Tuesday, 18 November 2014 09:26

Philadelphia’s  92.5 WXTU is returning to the Newtown Square Fire Company from 3 to 7 p.m. on Monday, November 24.This return visit and its remote broadcast has a special focus—FOOD.   As many in the Marple and Newtown Square area are preparing for the food-feast time of Thanksgiving, many, many more will have little chance of festive-eating in their future. The Newtown Square Fire Company is assisting WXTU in replenishing the diminishing food supplies at the Regional Food Center maintained by St. Marks United Methodist Church, Broomall.  Special items that are being collected from the donations being accepted by the Newtown Square Fire Company –8 North Newtown Street Road (PA 252 near the WAWA) may include cereals, water added pancake mix, canned vegetables (no corn) and health items: toilet paper, toothpaste, bar soap, and shampoo.


Help the hungry and enjoy your own Thanksgiving is a very special way.

Safe Thanksgiving Food Prep

Written by L. James Biddle Monday, 17 November 2014 17:09

The Newtown Square Fire Company has observed the once former Thanksgiving holiday practices—steps that became practices through a continuation of a long list of historical practices—is being challenged in the interest of overall family safety.   The most recent safety challenge to a tradition is a focus on the main ingredient for many Thanksgiving meals—the turkey.

The first precaution begins the bird-safety process. Never thaw the bird on the kitchen counter. This simple precaution lessens the bacteria-contamination process.
The newly-proven safety suggestion deals with no longer rinsing the turkey (this process also applies to chicken) before the working with any bird.  Research has shown the washing/rinsing process is responsible for sharing the dangerous bacteria on to work surfaces, other foods and the food preparer.

In describing these changes, Chief Everlof stressed, “Grandma will be the most difficult person to unlearn the old process. She must learn: DO NOT RINSE YOUR POULTRY.  Look as the layout of the kitchen.  What has been unearthed is the finding that rinsing the bird does not eliminate the dangerous bacteria. Rinsing spreads these dangerous bacteria to all the nearby areas.’

It is the proper cooking that eliminates the bacteria.If the turkey requires any trimming or cutting, remember to use a separate cutting board and knife when working with vegetables or other eaten items.

After working with the turkey and it is on its way to being oven ready, this is the time to clean everything. This cleaning must include everything you touch while preparing food – utensils, towels, the countertop, your clothes, your body, and even the soap dispenser.

This is the time to do the most important washing, the cook’s body parts exposed to the air surrounding the bird. This water and friction process should parrot the soap and water scrubbing techniques seen on television hospital shows—aggressive and through, up above the wrists.  Don’t forget to wash the nose that itched during “bird process.”

Proper timing assures the turkey is cooked at a safe temperature. Do not depend upon the“pop-up’ device that came with the turkey. To be safe, purchase and use aquality cooking thermometer. This also may require finally purchasing a good meat thermometer. All poultry should be cooked to 165 degrees.

If it is a family tradition to cook the holiday stuffing inside the turkey, remember, it also must be cooked at this same, safe 165 degree temperature.  True safety suggestions stress cooking this tasty item outside of the bird.

Concluding this Fire Company Safety Suggestion, Chief Doug Everlof added, “Another often discussed Thanksgiving topic is how long can the Thanksgiving dinner be left out. A simple rule of food safety states keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold.”  It is doubtful many dining rooms have restaurant-style warming trays and buffet servers. After a well-planned social time at the dinnertable, it is was to begin packing up and refrigerating the leftovers within two hours.


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