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Fire Departments Talk Holiday Safety

The Hicksville Fire Department was among the companies present last week, when a living room, complete with gifts under the decorated tree, turned into a roaring inferno that enveloped the Cape-style home in a matter of minutes.

While usually springing into action to save lives and property, is the case, the firefighters just stood by, taking it all in.

This was part of a training exercise at the Nassau County Fire Academy in Bethpage.

The lesson: While there is nothing more beautiful than a real fir tree decked out with lights, ornaments and tinsel, there also is nothing more deadly.

With a short from an electrical circuit, the fresh Christmas tree started to smolder. Within seconds, it ignited, falling onto the couch. Minutes later, the entire living room was burning down to the studs—leaving nothing but ashes.

On average, one of every 40 reported home fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in death, compared to one death for every 142 home fires, according to county fire officials, and electrical problems were factors in one third of Christmas tree fires.

The demonstration marked the inaugural burn of two mocked-up homes at the training center.

John Murray, chief instructor of the Nassau County Firefighters Museum and Education Center, standing before the burned-out house, offered tips on preventing such disasters.

“Use fresh-cut trees, as fresh as possible,” he said. “Shake the tree, bounce it on the ground, and run your hand along the needles, making sure they do not fall off excessively. If they do, don’t buy it.”

Cut a few inches off the bottom, and if you are not going to put it in the house right away, soak the trunk in a pail of water outside, protected from snow and ice.

“Use ‘Prolong,’ a wetting agent that you can get at any garden or box store,” Murray said. “It helps take the water up in the tree and it preserves it longer.”

In the house, don’t place the tree near heating units, fireplaces, staircases or points of egress, he said. After all, if the worst happens, you want to be able to get out.

“The tree should be hydrated every day, and check to make sure the water is being taken up by the tree,” Murray said. “The tree shouldn’t be in the house for more than one and a half weeks.”

As for lights, Murray stressed the importance of insuring that they are properly working and the wires aren’t frayed. Any issues, throw them out and buy new.

“It should say UL-rated on the box,” he said. “Don’t buy the cheapest ones you can. Your family’s safety is not worth saving a few dollars.”

He also warned against overloading outlets, and said the rule of thumb is one plug in one outlet. Turn the tree lights off at night, unplugging them before heading to bed or leaving the house.

“Have working smoke detectors on every level of the house,” he said. “If one goes off, leave the house immediately and call the fire department from outside the house.”

The museum’s website—www.NCFireMuseum.org—has more information on fire safety.

News

There’s a lot you can do in 99 minutes. You could cook dinner, play a non-stop soccer game, watch a romantic comedy or hang out with Odysseus, Achilles and Hercules. If you chose the last option, Hicksville High School’s upcoming theatre production of The Iliad, The Odyssey, and All of Greek Mythology in 99 Minutes or Less  is the place for you.

The mouthful of a title says it all. The cast will take on over 80 characters as they speed through all of Greek mythology, including popular tales such as The Iliad and The Odyssey, in a little over an hour and a half.

Due to what appears to be a colossal error on the part of the Nassau County Assessor’s office, or perhaps an errant interpretation of state law, more than 600 military veterans and Gold Star families in Hicksville will have to wait for their tax break until next year.

Hicksville is one of several local school districts that recently approved resolutions extending the exemption to local veterans, even though budgets and Albany’s tax cap make it a tough choice. On Feb. 26, with a contingency of veterans in the audience, the board voted to provide a school tax exemption for veterans living in the district, starting with the 2014-15 school year.


Sports

Cantiague Park Senior Men’s Golf League had its first tournament on Thursday April 4. Twenty golfers came out on on a crisp but sunny morning. Charlie Hong was the only man to score under a 40, with a 38 and won for low overall score. Jim O’ Brien  scored a 41, and won low overall net in a tie-breaker with Mike Guerriero.

Competition on the nine-hole course is divided into two divisions. Flight A is for players with a handicap of 13 or lower. Flight B is for players with a handicap of 14 or more. The league is a 100 percent handicap league. Any man 55 years or older is eligible for membership. We have many openings for this year, and you can sign up anytime throughout the the season.

This November, Hicksville resident Marlo Signoracci will head to Florida for Ironman, a demanding, long-distance triathlon that includes biking, running and swimming. Here, she shares her story as she prepares for one of the most physically challenging athletic events out there.

Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you. They are supposed to help you discover who you are.


Calendar

American Legion Meeting

April 21

HS Theater in the Round

April 24-26

Science Fair

April 26



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