Written by Cynthia Paulis Saturday, 28 December 2013 00:00
The New Hyde Park 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, in 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—nothing left 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 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.
Last Updated (Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00) Thursday, 17 April 2014 00:00
The Village of New Hyde Park Board of Trustees held their 2014-15 tentative budget hearing on Monday, April 7, where a proposed budget of $6 million was presented.
The appropriation represents an increase of $160,512 from the 2013-14 budget and a tentative tax levy of $4.135 million, a 1.8 percent increase from last year.
“Working on this year’s budget was one of the hardest we’ve ever done,” Village Mayor Robert Lofaro said.
Last Updated (Tuesday, 15 April 2014 08:46) Wednesday, 16 April 2014 00:00
Following her uncontested election last month, trustee Donna Squicciarino was officially sworn in by Mayor Robert Lofaro for a one year term on Monday, April 7.
Squicciarino is the second woman in New Hyde Park’s 86-year history to serve as trustee. Florence Lisanti was the first woman to serve on the board, whose term expired in 2001.
“I think it’s great,” said Squicciarino. “We needed a woman at the table with a different point of view. We have a lot of different perspectives that guide the village in the right direction.”
Thursday, 17 April 2014 00:00
Sewanhaka’s boys lacrosse coach Peter Burgess has one rule when it comes to his goalies: make the saves that you’re supposed to make.
Luckily for Burgess, senior Jake Mellen does that and more.
“Once or twice a game he’ll make a save that no one’s supposed to make,” Burgess said. “I’ll look over to my assistant coach and say, ‘Wow, that was a special play right there’”
For three years, Mellen has been making those kind of spectacular saves for the Indians as the starting goalie. Before his senior season started, he was voted captain by his teammates and coaches.
Thursday, 17 April 2014 00:00
Coaching to some can be measured by wins and losses. But New Hyde Park’s head baseball coach Doug Robins measures his success through the success of his players, on and off the field.
Robins has coached the Gladiators varsity baseball team since 1999 and made the playoffs 10 out of those 15 seasons. His teams have finished in second place in their league twice.
Despite his teams on field success, Robins goal is to help his players succeed and receive the opportunity to play college ball.