Start Thanksgiving Safety Early

Wednesday, 11 November 2015 19:28

The Newtown Square Fire Company has a long and successful history of pre planning.  With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, the firefighters urge its community to copy the pre-planning practices concept.  Fatigue, inexperience, and the distractions of guests in the kitchen, along with cell phone use, and alcohol consumption all contribute to an increase in stove and oven fires on Thanksgiving. Before Thanksgiving Day locate and keep in mind the location of the kitchen fire extinguisher.

A common fire that has extreme danger is in a pot on the top of the stove.  Mentally practice the simple use of large lid or cooking sheet way to smother a stovetop fire.  Apply the smothering lid or cookie sheet as if it had a hinge at the edge of the burning container nearest the person extinguishing the fire.

Begin the extinguishing-smothering by beginning the covering of the fire in slow pattern lower the smothering surface to cut off the air.  “Never try to carry a pot that is burning to the sink.  Let the fire smother and avoid the temptation to peek to see if the burning has stopped,” urged Newtown Square Fire Chief Doug Everlof. He added, “Be patient and be safe Looking too soon can be dangerous.  Remember, avoid the temptation to peek and see if the fire has “stopped.”

Small spills often go unnoticed.  In time they collect both on the stove top and in the oven. Even small collection of spills can cause a fire.   Never combine mixtures of oven cleaning materials.  Read and follow the printed instructions.   Chief Everlof added, “Between now and the busy coking day, provide sufficient cleaning of the stovetop and oven of any additional built-up grease.

On Thanksgiving Day, keep the number of people in your kitchen to a minimum, especially children. Crowded kitchens cause confusion and this can result in burns.

Once the cooking begins remember to turn pot handles on the stovetop toward the center of the stove. Carefully position dishtowels and oven mitts away from stovetop elements. Pay attention to which burner is turned on and don’t forget to turn it off when you are done. Use a timer as a reminder when a dish is done.

If there is an oven fire – close the oven door and turn off heat. Once the oxygen has been depleted the fire will go out. Wait until the oven has cooled before opening the door again. This also applies to microwave ovens as well. If you are not able to extinguish the fire, evacuate everyone to your Emergency Assembly Point and call 911 from your cell phone

Newtown Square firefighters add “Being safe is not an accident.  Throughout this year’s holiday experiences, safety must be a partner.“


Climbing For Health

Thursday, 05 November 2015 19:18

The next time any Newtown residents climb several levels of steps, they can be reminded of the stair climbing done on October 31 by two of the community’s firefighters.  Instead of going to the basement with some heavy items, Deputy Chief George Guyer IV and Lieutenant Eric Harper accepted a unique challenge—climbing up 22 flights of stair.

This American Lung Association event—Flight for Air Climbs—took place in the tallest building in Delaware. This challenge of climbing a 22 story fire escape with its 503 steps was also impacted by these two volunteers wearing complete firefighting gear and the weighty, back-worn air pack and mask. This “work” attire added approximately 50 added pounds to Guyer and Harper.

The two Newtown Square firefighters were a part of group of 11 firefighters that were promoted by the Fire Fighter 5 Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes and supports heathy living and exercise for first responders.

In addition to the motivation from the foundation for this event, there was a competitive mood between the two Newtown Square firefighters.  Finishing second place-in the firefighter category, Harper, with a physique resembling a running back, outpaced Guyer with a physique more like a football lineman.

When Deputy Chief Guyer was asked if he and the others retraced his climb at the end of the event, he volunteered, “We took the elevator.”

Newtown Square Fire Company’s Deputy Chief George Guyer IV (left) and Lieutenant Eric Harper  look relaxed, yet satisfied following their 503 steep climb following their October 31 American Lung Association event—Flight for Air Climb.  They were relieved to shed the protective bunker coat, helmet, and self-contained breathing apparatus following this event. Newtown Square Fire Company supplied photo


Dryer Safety Often Ignored

Saturday, 31 October 2015 17:59

It is not uncommon for busy people to forget or ignore one or more of potentials in their daily activities. In asking Newtown Square residents, “When was the last time the home dryer vent was cleaned?” Fire Company Assistant Chief Joe Certo was touching on an often home maintenance topic.

Most drying activities begin when the last clothes item is inserted and the dryer door is closed. While the interior lint filter may be periodically cleaned, there is excess lint that moves in the exhaust path. This result in an unseen buildup of lint and debris; unless corrected, this could be a safety reminder.

In the interest of safety the Newtown Square firefighters remind their neighbors this collection of lint and debris can build up in your clothes dryer duct system and cause the dryer to exhaust at less than optimum efficiency. In addition to the possibility of a fire, the normally exhausted carbon monoxide may not all make it to the outdoors. This odorless toxic product of combustion is a known killer.

Assistant Chief Certo stressed this life-threatening possibility contributes to the reason why there must be a working Carbon Monoxide Detector in the residence.   Another motivation for a properly exhausted gas-fired clothes dryer is the venting system also expels moisture outdoors.  Moisture buildup within the structure can cause damage to drywall, wallpaper, ceilings and other building materials.

The Fire Company hopes remembering these dangers, including fire and possible fatal consequences, will prompt the cleaning of the debris and lint in the exhaust system.  Your life and happiness depend on this possibly overlooked responsibility.


Leaf Safety Time Is Here

Friday, 23 October 2015 16:06

Leaves on trees are green in the spring continue to grow before falling in the fall with a colorful flare.  The Newton Square Fire Company crews have their own focus they share with fallen foliage—they are potentially dangerous this time of the year.  Through a new Newtown Township service, some of these dangers may be lessened.

In this inaugural program, Newtown Township has initiated the use of well-placed advisory signage announcing the impending neighborhood removal of near-street foliage collections.  Incorrectly stored leaves continue to create safety concerns that occur this time of the year.

Addressing one season concern, Newtown Square Fire Chief stressed, “Dry leaves piles sitting on the road surface can be ignited by the heat of a vehicle’s catalytic convertor.” Everlof explained, “The collected heat from a travelled vehicle or one idling for some time will start a hard-to-see fire.

A secondary danger occurs when children ignore parental safety suggestions and play in piles of leaves.  Drivers not seeing a leaf-buried child can innocently injure a leaf-hidden child.

As the daylight begins to become shorter, that is not the time to take short cuts.  Avoid creating dangers by piling leaves in the street. Prepare safely, grass-stored leaf pile for the upcoming season’s removal schedule.




Simple Halloween Safety Suggestions

Tuesday, 20 October 2015 10:35

This is the time of the year when children enjoy costumes and the exercise of collecting Halloween goodies. The vigil for this children-oriented event has focuses on sweet treats and the challenge for having the “best costume.”  Do not forget safety.

Newtown Square Fire Chief Doug Everlof 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 must also make sure the costume proves unhampered vision and also makes sure there walking is safe, preventing falls and injuries.

When purchasing costumes, look for a label identifying the material used in the construction is flame retardant materials. If a made-at-home costume becomes the choice for Halloween, search for fabrics carrying a label that identifies the material has been treated with fire retardants.

In a practice of the sensitive example of safety- based diplomacy; parents should include adult guidance, while at the same time, giving the child some input in the costume selection.  This safety guideline can be an invitation for the accompanying adult to also wear costume.

Kids’ Costume Tips:

  • Stay away from items that can cause a fall. Avoided features such as high heels or dangling parts of the costume. Both can promote falls and injuries that will mar an otherwise fun time.
  • Only costume-carried props made of a flexible form of plastic are safe. The use of on-bending, rigid swords or other costume parts are invitations to injuries.
  • Unless the costume has big enough eye holes that permit sight without having to constantly adjust the mask, create 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 Everlof 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.”

The use of face paint is a simple way to create this holiday change of identity.

Another Halloween safety suggestion stresses all candy and other packaged Halloween treats must be inspected a home for safety before the snacking on the goodies begins.


Lessons Go Home

Friday, 16 October 2015 21:30

Each year firefighters in the United States set aside one week to stress the importance of fire safety.  Newtown Square Fire Company’s Children Fire Prevention programs are shared by visits to church groups, and schools, as well as the children visiting to the fire station.

During a recent visit to Newtown Square’s Kids Stop, the children learned a firefighter wearing the breathing mask and full protective clothing is not monster-looking, but instead a friend. Firefighters have learned that during real-time rescues, children are scared by the unfamiliar sight and sounds of someone who has come to take them to safety.

Firefighter Joel Certo helped show his young audience firefighters are not what some children have described as a strange-looking monster.  A child seeing a firefighter in a non-emergency setting helps prevent their hiding from rescuer in an emergency.

In an emergency, the unfamiliar sight of this Kids Stop visitor, a young, yet educated rescuer wearing the protective clothing, the full-face breathing mask, and the sounds of the breathing device during a rescue activity can be upsetting unless a child is familiar with these sights and sounds.

This Newtown Square firefighter remembers his own child-experiences.   Joel Certo is not a stranger to firefighting activities.  He is a third generation member of the Newtown Square Fire Company,. Both Certo grandparents (deceased)  and his father, Assistant Chief Joe Certo, have earned Life Member status.

Fire Prevention Lieutenant Bill Rankin has learned these safety lessons learned by children are shared with parents and grandparents.  This helps make fire safety a family affair.

Newtown Square FireFoto/Guye: Newtown Square firefighter Joel Certo shares safety lessons that he learned as a student with children attending Newtown Square’s Kid Stop.  The local firefighters have learned these activities foster the sharing safety lessens at home.


Now Is The Time to FALL Behind

Thursday, 15 October 2015 20:32

The Newtown Square Fire Company reminds residents that while the October weather continues to produce roller coaster weather patterns, there will nevertheless be a seasonal-based change in the time standards on November 1.  As s hint, spring ahead and fall back the time ion clocks and watches is the simplest reminder.

The local firefighters suggest this is also the time to make safety changes.  With several weeks before this seasonal safety reminder occurs, Chief Everlof has suggested investing a short amount of time to inspect each of the home’s Smoke Detectors. Begin by inspecting the manufacture date

Any Smoke Detector older than 10 years is not sufficiently effective.  These safety devices should be replaced.  The new, current Smoke Detectors employ a very effective 10-year battery.

In addition to a renewed scale of safety provided by the Smoke Detectors having the 10-year battery, there will be a dollar saving during the new, 10-year life of this newly designed Smoke Detector.

If the existing Smoke Detector is less than 10 years old and there is reluctance to upgrade to the newer style device, invest a small amount of time to do some simple Smoke Detector maintenance. Begin by removing any lint or dust from the interior of the Smoke Detector. This helps assures the device will sense and warn of any smoke should there be fire.

Fire Chief Doug Everlof urges residents to perform this simple life- and property protecting activity now—do not wait until November 1.  This early effort helps in preventing forgetfulness and aids in continuing to live and sleep in safety.


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Run Statistics

Run Statistics

2015 Calls
January: 50
2014 Total 689
2013 Total 685
2012 Total 728
2011 Total 755
2010 Total 707
2009 Total 582
2008 Total 616
2007 Total 547



Latest Biddle's Corner

Smoker Danger

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

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.