Stroke - Grab The Phone

Thursday, 03 September 2015 12:04

The health and quality of life was maintained for an Aston Township area Realtor because of his memory of a newspaper story written by a current Newtown Square firefighter when both lived in southeastern Delaware County. This recalled story provided an advisory minimizing the body’s potential responses to a stroke.  The strongest memory of this story was the phrase, “If there is a suspected stroke, always grab the phone and forget grabbing the keys.”

Feeling his speech had become slurred, the stroke-stricken Realtor summoned his wife.   What she heard and saw prompted her to reach for her pocket book that held her car keys.  She was preparing to take husband, whom she suspected was having a stroke, to the hospital.   His memory of his youthful fire company’s Stroke Instructions were quickly shared with his wife. Instead of driving him to a hospital, he asked her to use the phone and call the Delaware County’s 9 1 1 Center.

In minutes, the Advanced Life Support crew arrived and, following a brief examination, meds were administered and the patient was transported to the hospital.  The early observations and the correct emergency choices were effective ingredients in a prompt return to normal activities.

The Newtown Square Fire Company asks its community to remember the simple instruction suggested by the word F.A.S.T. This verbiage becomes an important, key tool of recovery.  The lessons of F.A.S.T. become a way to remember the sudden signs and symptoms of a stroke or a TIA—a form of a mini stroke.

Face Drooping

Arm Weakness

Speech Difficulty

Time to call 9 1 1

Newtown Square Fire Company EMS-trained personnel have added there may be additional signs of a stroke. They include the following-- sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes, unexplained trouble walking, dizziness, lack of balance or coordination, and a sudden severe headache with no known cause.

Newtown Square Fire Chief Doug Everlof urges remembering the simple instruction. “Grab the phone, not the keys.”  The trained medical attention and appropriate medicines during the home visit and the hospital travel are the key steps in minimizing any residual effects of a stroke.


Back to School Healthy

Tuesday, 18 August 2015 12:02

For many people July and August becomes a time for advertised “Back to School Specials.” For college-bound students, this is time of the year spells the end of summer and possibly a trip to a distant campus.  These students may need some guidance or help in selecting items to take to school. Other students are returning as veterans. Lisa Migliori, a retired Newtown Square Assistant Chief--EMS, has assisted in creating a short list of health items for both groups of students.

Based upon experiences, the number one item of this list continues to be a thermometer. “What type?” is a common response to this suggestion. Then, as now, the answer is, “Use the type used at home. Familiarity helps in its use.”

Other items included in retired Assistant Chief Migliori’s list of simple, off-to-school health items may include antihistamines, decongestants, cough medicine, and throat lozenges. A small collection of the salt packets used at fast food restaurants and a glass of warm water can combine to help irritated, sore throats.

Include a surprise selection of soothing herbal teas. They can be helpful for colds or the stresses of school.

This list of items should include pain relievers for overexertion, headaches, or menstrual cramps. The inclusion of these items may save the student a trip to the “never-nearby” pharmacy.

For scrapes and cuts, other former members of the Newtown Square Fire Company’s , local emergency medical group suggest alcohol for surface cleaning wounds and then hydrogen peroxide or antibiotic creams for preventing infections. The packed ‘cure’ items should also include a collection of adhesive bandages.

A college environment often results in eating almost anytime, anywhere, or anything. A long-proven help for dietary problems are antacids in liquid, tablet, or chewable forms. The Newtown Square firefighters stress, “Experience has demonstrated that whatever works at home should work equally well when away from home.”

Despite a possible reluctance, tweezers may prove to be invaluable for removing splinters, insect stingers, or deer ticks. Also include an anti-itch lotion. This soothing item can create welcomed comfort for bites, poison ivy, or rashes.

There is no better time for family communications than when there is the departure of a student for school. Asking for parental help or guidance will prove to be a healthy help-item.

Another important communications, one with an early priority when arriving on campus is the investing of a few moments to locate the school’s Health Center.  Provide them with health records and any special medical concerns, a list of all prescribed medicines, and over-the-counter medicines before any possible illness or emergency occurs. As a special reminder, Newtown Square’s former EMS leader added, “Don’t forget to list any allergies that your student may have.”

In concluding this partial list of school-health suggestions, the Newtown Square firefighters collectively added, “Hopefully, the home-borne habit of hand washing also goes off to school with the student.  Leaving home and living in a school environment can create many differing challenges.  By being prepared for illness and accidents is one way to help limit any away-from-home problems. Taking a little bit of home to school is always a good help in both cures and prevention.”

There are two very special items that should also accompany the student to college.  A small flashlight may have both medical and safety uses.  If there has been some hesitation in obtaining some form of medical alert jewelry, now is the time to make that purchase. Parents who have traditionally been nearby to share helpful health information will not be going to college with the student.


A Welcomed Rescue

Monday, 17 August 2015 16:55

The joys of the welcomed weather experienced by Newtown Square, with its lower humidity and temperatures were not the topics of discussion by a pair of stranded workers at the Newtown Square’s M-Golf. They wanted to get down.  Their working area—an elevated ‘bucket” truck working at an elevation of approximately of 50-feet—was unable to be controlled.

A summoned repair mechanic was not able unable to bring the workers down  from the upper edge of the protective net at the sport complex in the 4000 block of West Chester Pike.  The Newtown Square Fire Company was summoned, but the location of this challenge was not reachable by the Fire Company’s 100-plus feet aerial ladder.

The responding firefighters had a “Plan B.”  Knowing a member of the Newtown Square Fire Company was working in the region, a cell call to Peter Williams provided the way back to earth for these two workers.   With the arrival of Williams’ tree service truck, the hopes of the elevated workers were realized.

Mr. Williams’ two rescue relief trips up to stranded workers ended a mid-day series of stressful events for these workers.  Being able to know possible resources and their availability once more proved to be a valuable element of the ongoing training for the members of the Newtown Square Fire Company.

Newtown Square FireFoto/Brian Mc Neill, Jr: As Newtown Square Fire Company member Peter Williams’’ tree service truck is seen being maneuvered into a rescue position posture, the hopes of two stranded workers were elevated.  With their transfer to the rescue vehicle, these two workers were lowered from their isolation.


Good Safe Beginning

Tuesday, 11 August 2015 13:25

Parents, drivers, and students have been invited by the Newtown Square firefighters in the pre-school year plans.  In a recent surprise, impromptu poll of elementary students by one of the volunteer firefighters yielded a collection of surprises.  When asked if they were looking forward to returning to school, an impressive percentage answered they are ready for their classroom experiences

The Newtown Square Fire Company hopes the area drivers are beginning their own plans for the school-based changes in their driving practices.  In case drivers are unaware of how soon schools will be beginning, one possible reminder may the early reappearance of school buses.  Many schools prepare for the school year by having bus drivers learning new routes or new drivers preparing for their driving role for this school year.

Before the school year begins, drivers are encouraged to start their own preparations. A simple safety precaution encourages allotting sufficient time during personal morning and afternoon drives. Newtown Square Deputy Chief George Guyer IV suggests starting early and being fully aware of student taking short cuts to “make the bus” as the return to school patterns.

Safety is a TEAM EFFORT. Parents must remember to provide ongoing suggestions in student safety.  Children must understand there are real dangers from careless behaviors.  Drivers must cooperate by constantly being “on the lookout” for dashing, dreaming, and distracted school students.  Deputy Chief Guyer added, “One way for drivers to practice their responsibilities is avoid their own distractions of texting and other activities that provide challenges to safe driving.

The best introduction to a new school year is starting school with safety.


Late Summer Safety

Wednesday, 05 August 2015 21:20

August is a month where the number of days before schools reopen is counted and the hopes of extending the enjoyment of the earlier summer continue.  Included in the recreational enjoyment is the continuing of an American favorited pastime--outdoor cooking. Much of the annual summer safety concerns have had the focus of gas-fired cooking.  As the warm weather continues, the Newtown Square Fire Company reminds these traditional amateur chefs of some of the precautions when cooking with charcoal.

For those outdoor cooks who continue to use charcoal for the cooking, this is the time to review long-established, safety precautions. In this cooking safety reminders, Chief Doug Everlof stressed, “Unless special steps are taken starting a charcoal fire has a many dangers.”

When cooking with charcoal, the backyard chef must remember charcoal is “sneaky.” Until the briquette begins to goal, there is a danger that is associated with impatience. The local firefighters remind cooks to avoid the temptation of trying to accelerate the establishing of a proper cooking fire by making a second application of starter fluid.  This can become an explosive event.

The hidden heat in one or more briquettes can ignite this new application of the petroleum liquid.  In a flash-back of fire that travels up the stream of lighting fluid to the container is extremely dangerous. This results in an explosion or a flash of uncontrolled fire. “Begin by initially applying the proper amount of fluid before attempting to initially start the cooking fire,” urged Chief Everlof.

Equally dangerous cooking problems occur during the cooking as well as after the meal are prepared. Never cook inside a garage or under an overhead porch or deck. The carbon monoxide from cooking can enter the home and become a potent killer. The local firefighter add the heat from cooking inside a garage can ignite fumes from stored items,

Charcoal dangers continue after the meal preparation. Each year, firefighters are called to fires starting from the unsuspected heat left in what were thought to be “dead briquettes.” After the outdoor cooking, safely deposit the used charcoal in a metal, not a plastic container; then leave it alone. Water in the container is an added safety step.

Burying spent charcoal that has been started with a petroleum fluid is very environmentally dangerous act.

Newtown Square’s fire chief advised outdoor cooks a good meal must include in its ingredients, a healthy dose of safety. He added, “Enjoy your outdoor charcoal cooking, but please do it safely.”


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.


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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.