Put Your Focus on Safety, Wellness this Winter

By Harry Barrett, Fire Prevention and Life Safety

The Fire Prevention and Life Safety Committee under the leadership of Bob Sutton is gearing up for 2015. Sutton has scheduled monthly phone conferences, which have been very productive. We will kick our agenda off at a mini conference in January in Albany. We are hoping to go to Montour Falls in May and possibly have a mini seminar at the August Convention.

The applications for Fire Safety Educator of the Year and the Teacher of the Year awards are out and must be submitted by March 15. Both can be downloaded from the FASNY website. The committee was really disappointed with the number of applications received for both awards for 2014. We only had a handful of applications. With the number of fire departments in the state, there should have been many more applications. With many having outstanding programs, the individuals who spearheaded the program should be recognized for Fire Safety Educator of the Year. The same goes for Teacher of the Year. Every department has a school in their district. Many teachers have gone above and beyond to do a year round fire prevention program not only for students but also for the community. They should be recognized.

The application tells of their programs and will passed on to others who have difficulties establishing programs in their department and or schools. Please consider entering those special individuals for an award. With winter upon us, it’s a good time to pay attention to heating source safety. Does your department have a home heating safety program with proper installation of woodstoves and chimneys?

Are kerosene heaters and portable electric heaters UL certified?

You may want to consult your code enforcement official as some areas have stricter codes for woodstoves.

Do you have a safe holiday program with proper use of trees and decorations? Are all extension cords UL safe? Candles are a big thing for the holidays. Last year, too many home fires were caused by candles, many with injury or death.

Hunting, fishing and winter sports are big in New York and we must stress life safety. Is the ice safe, what do you do when someone goes through the ice. When a hunter goes down or someone is injured doing winter sports in remote areas, who do they depend on? The volunteer firemen.

On a side note, FASNY is offering a class called “YOU …

Safety and Wellness = Survival,” part of which stresses the health and physical fitness of firefighters. We can’t help others if we are not capable ourselves. Although these classes are done for the fall, many will be scheduled in the spring throughout the state.

In closing, the committee wishes you a happy New Year and hopes that winter is short. Remember we, the fire service, are the direct link to the community for Fire Prevention and Life Safety and it is a year round project.