Show Your Numbers

Friday, 24 July 2015 10:29

Just as everyone has a name, buildings—residences, businesses, and apartments—all have assigned address.  There many ways a person’s name is recorded and recognized. There is no parallel with addresses. Newtown Square Fire Chief Doug Everlof commented, “There are required methods of addresses, yet occupants or commercial owners don’t follow the Township’s standards.”

The Newtown Square Fire Company is familiar with landmarks and the names of the far too many un-numbered structures, what if another emergency service provider is providing “cover up protection?”  These visiting helpers must respond by depending upon posted address numbers.

Without adequately posted building numbers, there could be a delay in services by visiting fire or EMS.

During a daytime or nighttime tour of the streets and roads in Newtown Township there is a common, dangerous observation.  Far too many commercial, government entities, churches, recreational facilities, and homes lack appropriate addresses

A digest of the Newtown Township Codes states the minimum requirements for the building numbering standards says identifying numbers must be a minimum height of 4inches high and a minimum width of one-half inch wide.   Additionally, these numbers must contrast with their supporting background.

In adding a collection of others suggested, Chief Doug Everlof, stressed, “The numbers are an important help to local and standards assisting emergency crews.  Their location must be easily seen from the street and numbers. Reflective numbers contribute an even greater impact”.

Also, any commercial locations having alley access are reminded to post the address on the alley entrances.  This can be help for fire fighters when their response patterns often include access to the rear of businesses as well as to the front.

Newtown Square’s Fire Chief added, “Remember to trim plants and bushes. As they grow, they can hide the numbers.  If former, existing numbers need to be replaced, please DO IT NOW.”

The rural type, post mounted, road side postal boxes, create an even greater challenge to all emergency service personnel. Because the fire, police, and EMS responders do not always travel in the same direction as the post office vehicles, the same size numbers should be posted on both sides of these rural type mail boxes.  Lacking street lig illumination, these numbers should be the reflecting type.

While many people have elected to pay the price to have an unlisted telephone number, the cost for having an unseen address could be priceless.  The Fire Company asks for the cooperation to have all properties adequately identified. “Don’t wait!  Please do this NOW,” stressed Chief Everlof.


Grant Funding Uses

Thursday, 23 July 2015 21:58

The recent, welcomed message from Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) informing the Newtown Square Fire Company of their receipt of a $30,286 Grant helps the near-century old volunteer organization reach an important goal. This funding makes possible the important replacement of an aging, yet valuable tool in in firefighting—large diameter, water transporting fire hose.

There are areas within Newtown Square, as well as in a protected, adjacent segment of Willistown, Chester County, where fire hydrants are either sparsely spaced or non-existent.   A portion of this recently awarded Department of Homeland Security grant will aid in the replacement of 4500 feet of five-inch, water-supplying hose.   In reality, this style and size of hose becomes a temporary, above-ground-water main.  When asked about the age of the soon-to-replaced, large diameter hose, Chief Doug Everlof promptly volunteered, “fifteen years.”

In explaining the reasons for possible failure of this special-need supply hose, age in not the only cause.  Deputy Chief George Guyer added, “This hose must withstand the stress of having an abrasive contact with various types of roadway materials. This constant road contact is similar to rubbing sandpaper on the covering of this hose.”

In addition to the large diameter supply line, this grant will also aid in purchasing 640 feet of 2-1/2-inch fire hose.  This hose that can be used in multiple applications. One use of this size of fire hose is as a high volume attack line for specific, aggressive types of fires.  It also answers the water demands to a collection of daily applications.

This grant-funded supply hose marries well with a collection of changes in fire apparatus as well.  Through a long-range planning program, two aging pumpers, along with similarly aging Aerial Ladder and Rescue were replaced over time with vehicles incorporating high capacity, full-service pumps.

Assistant Chief Joe Certo explained these scheduled apparatus retirements and replacements have also increased the Newtown Square Fire Company’s total pumping capacity.  Certo explained this goal was accomplished by this addition of the full-service pumps to both the replacing Aerial Ladder and Rescue.  The pumps on each of these two pieces of fire apparatus equals the increased pumping capacity—2000 gallon per minute—pump on the single Fire Engine.

The amount of water that can be available with a five-inch hose and a 2000 gallon a minute pump is the equivalent of a transporting a filled bath tub in approximately three seconds.  Large fires demand large amounts of water and this new large-diameter supply line adds good protection in the service areas of the Newtown Square Fire Company.


Marple Fire Sunday July 19

Monday, 20 July 2015 14:51

For many, the activites of the summer have the focus of things to do in the heat of the season.  This might include relaxing in the warmth of the area near water.  Another choice activity could be wearing appropriate clothing for their activities.  Possibly, the list of summer activities on a Sunday could include special beverages.  This collection of activities had similarities for area firefighters after noon on Sunday, July 19.  Their activities at a dwelling fire were active, not relaxed.

While there were these similarities, these near common activities also had challenging difference.  The first alert that began the response of preselected collection of fire and EMS personnel was shared with a preselected collection of emergency providers at 12:44 p.m. This message told of smoke coming from the attic of ranch style home in the 100 block of Thomas Avenue, Marple Township.

The predetermined initial response drew assisting fire apparatus from neighboring communities near the Blue Route segment of the township.  These included Haverford Township fire companies.   With the arrival of the first responding units, the next alert message validated this was a “working building fire.”

The response to this fire by additional crews and apparatus was influenced by the amount of the observed fire,as well as the influences of the energy-sapping near-record temperature and high humidity.  Firefighters routinely pay attention to warnings provided by Weather Service alerts.

Guided by the afternoon’s dangerously high heat and humidy and a companion air qualiy alert added additonal emergency units demanded extra, backup personnel.  Included in these added crews was Newtown Square’s Rescue Pumper.

It was through experience and training that promped Chief William Maguire to initiated the dispatch of added crews.

Include in the responding apparatus was the Marple Ambulance Corps’ Rehab 33…The EMS personnel and their well-equipped,  compact vehicle set up twin portable tents.  This relief area from the heat of the midday’s sun  that permited this group of trained crew to medically evaluate firefighters that were periodically withdrawn from firefighing and also provide some relief from the sun and its heat.  Periods of rest and rehydration are necessary in fires of the intensity facing the interior fire crews in Sunday’s fire.

This relief area, protected  from the heat of the midday’s sun, permited this group of trained crew to medically evaluate firefighters that were being periodically withdrawn from firefighing.  Periods of rest and rehydration are necessary in fires of the intensity facing the interior fire crews in Sunday’s fire.

To provide this type of relief and a rotation pattern, additional fire crews and apparatus were dispatched.  In viewing this relief ;process, a curous onlooker commented this exchange of fire crews was like substitution process done in football.

In addition to the crew from Newtown Square, the collection of fire crews were fire companies from Upper Darby Township’s Upper Darby and Garrettford-Drexel Hill, Haverford Township's Bon Air, Brookline, and Manoa.  Prompted by the possibilty of heat and activity medical needs, there was rotation of EMS units from Marple and Haverford Townships.

The occupants of the home were reached at the New Jersey shore.  They returned to a home that had been the active focus of a collection of emergency service providers.  As is a standard procedure, the origin of this fire is being reviewed by local officials.

After these active firefighting activities, the firefighters had to clean and restore the apparatus and tools to a “ready condition.” Fires are not scheduled; they come unexpectedly.

Newtown Square FireFoto©: A collection of firefighters that left the interior activities at the Sunday, July 19, Marple Township fire are seen being cooled by the shade of a tree in the front yard of the Thomas Avenue home.


Newtown Square FireFoto©: The rotated fire crews were provided a  “cool down” and the review of the effects of the heat and exertion by Marple Ambulance Corps’ Rehab unit.  When a firefigher’s vital signs stabilize, they are rotated back into the interior firefighting pool.


Neighborly Based Safety

Wednesday, 15 July 2015 16:33

There are both personal and neighborhood benefits to the simple, safety-based task of removing the collected debris from a storm drain located near homes.  This suggestion is traditionally one offered in the autumn. The fallen leaves and twigs, along with possible small branches can easily begin a natural dam at the street drains.   Unless removed, this dam can produced unexpected flooding.

Following a recent, sleep-awakening wind and rain storm and its effects on trees, Newtown Square Assistant Fire Chief Joe Certo shared a community plea, “During an exercise walk—either for pet or personal exercise—please pay attention to these often forgotten drains.  If dammed, these closed drains can quickly provide standing water. “

Standing water at a stop-sign equipped intersection can alter stopping distances and contribute to other unexpected problems.  A local firefighter related how. When his car was forced to the curb-edge of a local street by an improperly driven car, the combination of even reduced driving speed, the air flow from the engine’s fan and the water splashed from driving through the standing water of unknown depth forced the vehicle’s serpentine belt off its collection of pulleys.

With the loss of power, both braking and steering were dangerously altered. Similarly affected were the vehicle’s engine cooling and the generating of electricity.  The vehicle was soon not drivable.

The few minutes required collecting and removing storm drain debris is more than neighborly.  This simple task can help in reducing or eliminating preventable dangers and problems—invest a small amount of effort and gain a large amount of personal satisfaction.


Summer Travel Safety Hints

Wednesday, 15 July 2015 14:33

Summer is a time when families often “take to the road.”  These travels may have grandchildren visiting grandparents and other “older” family members.  The Newtown Square Fire Company shares a reminder--when a child is visiting, safety may have to take on a new meaning.

While parents have installed “safety inserts” on the home electric outlets, this practice may not have been done by grandparents and other hosting senior family members. Chief Doug Everlof stresses, “To assure young visitor safety, the small investment to purchase and installation of these simple safety items helps assure no young minds and fingers will be tempted to play with receptacles away from home.”

While senior family members may have the practice of placing their medicines in convenient and memory-jogging locations, this habit must be changed with curious children arrive.  The natural curiosity of children, when fueled by easy access, can become ingredients for a dangerous “eating” of what may appear to be candy.

The natural vision paths of an adult are far about the sight levels of children. Newtown Square’s fire chief volunteered, “One way to help assure possible dangers are identified and removed is to inspect the living area of the entire living area from the level of a child.”

If loving grandparents and other senior family members want to take young visitor to a treat, any trip in a car must be done with the installation and use of a child-protecting safety seat or restrain device.  Even the shortest travel without this mandated method of safety travel is both dangerous and not legal.

Grandparents and all caring senior family members must ignore the temptation to think, ”We didn’t have to do these things when our children were younger!” Times and regulations foster by current research have created these safety steps.

If the family vacation includes hotel/motel visits, a “handful” of electric safety inserts and a family’s portable night light used in a bathroom all contribute to travel, vacation safety.

To help assure there is fun in the activities of “Summer Fun,” the Newtown Square Fire Company reminds all family members, “Safety must never take a vacation.”


Ramp Repair and Fund Drive Appeal

Friday, 10 July 2015 10:20

The residents of Newtown Township, as well as the day-visitors working in the community, are being given the opportunity to see a rare, expensive, and currently necessary event.   Just as the 2015 Newtown Square Fire Company is mailing the annual funding request, the local firefighters are undertaking the expensive, yet necessary project in the front of the local fire station.

The fire station’s ramp—the short, but important “roadway” between the interior storage of the organization’s emergency apparatus and the driving surface of PA 252—was close to total deterioration. It was beyond any more quilt-like patching.

In describing this necessary project, Newtown Square Fire Company President Josh Potter stressed, “The local volunteer firefighters are hoping when people see this project they will provide funding help.  When they think of their own driveway, sidewalk or curb projects they will appropriately respond with a generous response to this year’s Fund Drive appeal.”

This project is being completed in several stages.  The existing concrete in each segment is first demolished, removed and the ground prepared for the delivery of the concrete.  This produces a surface that is capable of withstanding the daily activities of fire and emergency responses.  Not to be forgotten is the necessary delay for the curing of the cement.

The firefighters have had to make some changes in the storage patterns with the aging fire station. The interior parking has had to be altered to provide “close parking.”  This is necessary so all the apparatus can respond via one half the ramp footprint during each stage of the work.

The local firefighters ask when residents pass the Newtown Square Fire Station, their memories of this necessary fire station upkeep will motivate a generous response to the Newtown Square Fire Company Fund Drive.

Newtown Square FireFoto/Guyer: Shown at the top is the replaced, ready-for-use section of the cement project at the Newtown Square Fire Company.  The lower segment, the better portion of deteriorated “driveway, is awaiting the process of demolition, removal and replacement. When this second section is cured, the emergency response patterns will return to normal.


July 4 Accident With Injuries

Thursday, 09 July 2015 15:04

With the annual July 4 Parade shared by neighboring Marple and Newtown townships completed, many neighbors were preparing for the food events of the afternoon. This part of the holiday's activities was abruptly interrupted for members of the Newtown Square Fire Company.

The 3:30 p.m. Saturday dispatch reported a vehicle accident on Bishop Hollow Road, near its intersection with Hempstead Circle, Newtown Square. This alert message provided additional information; the vehicle had made contact with a utility pole and there were wires down on the ground. The message also added these wires were "sparking."

The arriving emergency crews, exhibiting safe practices, investigated found a safe path to the car and aided in the removal and transport of the injured occupant to Paoli Hospital. The combination of pole damage and the downing of multiple utility lines resulted in a prolonged closing of Bishop Hollow Road.

Newtown Square FireFoto/Guyer: The mid-afternoon accident on Saturday, July 4 resulted in the occupant of the car seen resting in the wooded area adjacent to Bishop Hollow Road. The supporting poles, utility wires, and the vehicle's occupant sustained injuries.


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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.