public safety

SUMMER OF SAFETY How much would your kid like to hang out with firefighters and police officers and see first-hand what they do? Mt. Lebanon Recreation Department is adding a weeklong safety camp, 9 a.m. to noon, July 30 through August 3, to its popular summer camp lineup. Mt. Lebanon firefighters, police officers and Medical Rescue Team South EMTs will teach the class to campers age 9 to 12 as a way to reinforce the classes they teach in the schools during the school year.  “We meet kids all the time in a formalized setting. This will allow the kids to meet us in a setting that is educational and fun,” says Police Cpl. James Hughes. Some of the topics to be covered are bike safety, fire hose usage, CPR and first aid. In addition, the kids will see vehicle rescue and rope rescue lowering demonstrations, learn how to be safe during severe weather in the weather safety trailer and meet Sundi, the K9 police dog. Fire Lt. Ed Davies says every class will start with some calisthenics. For information about cost and registration, go to and click “recreation.”

SAFER STREETS Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) sounds rather bland, but it could save your life. The program’s goal is to reduce crashes and incidents involving commercial vehicles such as delivery trucks and construction vehicles, which the community will surely see more of now that the high school renovation project is underway. Three Mt. Lebanon police officers are MCSAP trained (another will be trained in April) and will periodically set up check points in Mt. Lebanon and cooperatively with neighboring communities to inspect commercial vehicles to ensure they are not overweight, that loads are tied down correctly and securely, that brakes and lights work and that the vehicle has been properly inspected. Police officers will pull over any unsafe-looking vehicle at any time.

DRUG TAKE-BACK DAY While doing your spring cleaning, clear your medicine cabinets of all expired or unneeded prescription and over-the-counter drugs and drop them off at Medical Rescue Team South Authority,  315 Cypress Way, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, April 28. Last fall, Mt. Lebanon police officers collected more than 300 pounds of drugs as part of the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day sponsored by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). No toothbrushes or items not containing medicine. Questions, call 412-343-4068.

CAMPUS SAFETY There are enough reasons to be worried when your teen goes off to college. Don’t add safety issues to the list. Mt. Lebanon police officers and firefighters will teach a free college safety class, 7 p.m., Wednesday April 18, at Mt. Lebanon High School. The class is directed at parents, but students are welcome to attend. The two-hour class covers ID theft, date rape, substance abuse, fire exit strategies, smoke detectors and other issues parents should be aware of for both on and off campus housing. The class repeats the same time and place on Thursday, April 19. Questions? Call 412-343-3402.

CARS AND FLOODS DON’T MIX They say April showers bring May flowers, but too many showers, regardless of the time of year, can be dangerous. Remember the flash flood last August on Allegheny River Boulevard that claimed four lives? Over the past few years, Mt. Lebanon firefighters have had to rescue several stranded motorists from flooded roads. So if you encounter a flooded roadway, remember there is no way to determine the depth of the water; turn around and find an alternate route. As little as six inches of water will stall your car, a foot of water can carry off a car and two feet can sweep away an SUV or pickup truck. Play it safe.

ROOM TO RESPOND, PLEASE On-street parking has always been an issue in Mt. Lebanon, and now that rescue vehicles are getting wider, it’s becoming a hazard. Mt. Lebanon has some narrow streets—many between 22 and 24 feet wide. Because of emissions standards, fire apparatus has increased in width from 96 to 99 inches. Add in the side view mirrors and you’re talking a truck that’s almost 11 feet wide. Mt. Lebanon firefighters are asking residents to be considerate when parking and consider how an emergency vehicle would maneuver down the street. As part of this Room to Respond initiative, firefighters will pass out informational fliers on problem streets, asking people to park close to the curb, park on one side of the street, and not park across from another vehicle. Firefighters will leave fliers on vehicles that do not conform to the initiative. If the vehicle is in violation of Mt. Lebanon vehicle code, they will call the police to have the driver cited. And if a house is on fire and your car is in the way, well, let’s just say, they’ll get to the fire.

Below are some tips for safe parking:

1)   Park as close to the curb as possible.

2)   Never park directly across from another vehicle. Instead park in a zigzag pattern, which allows more room for emergency vehicles.

3)   If you have a large number of guests, try to park as many vehicles in your driveway as possible even if doing so may cause some minor inconveniences as guests leave.

4)   If vehicles cannot be parked off-street, ask guests to park only one side of the road.

5)   If you have construction workers or repair people at your house, ask them to park off-street when possible. If they cannot, ask that they select a spot that will keep a clear path open for through traffic.

6)   Remember that the vehicle code requires you park at least 20 feet from intersections so emergency vehicles can make the turn onto the street.

7)   Do not park within 15 feet of a fire hydrant.