KEEP THE WREATH RED! If you take just a few precautions this holiday season, you can Keep the Wreath Red.
What does that mean? Be safe around your home and prevent fires that erupt because of holiday decorating. If Mt. Lebanon stays fire-free from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, the wreath on the front of the Public Safety Center, 555 Washington Road, will stay bathed in red light. If we have a fire during that time? The lights turn white. Don’t let that happen.
How can you keep the wreath red? Avoid the temptation to burn your Christmas tree log or cuttings in the fireplace. Do not burn wrapping paper in there, either. Before you burn in the fireplace, have it inspected by the fire department and cleaned and repaired by a chimney sweep.
Make sure candles are never left unattended and opt for candles in jars, rather than pillars or tapers. Better yet, use battery-powered flickering lights that look just as good as the real thing. Don’t let pets anywhere near candles or fires and make sure holiday boughs and buntings are far from open flames.
Keep live trees watered and make sure Christmas lights are in good condition and that a pet hasn’t chewed any wires.
We know, you’ve heard these warnings before—and we’ve written about them for decades. Funny thing, though, people continue to make mistakes that can cause fires.
So bear with us—we just want everyone to have a safe and happy holiday season!
DRUG DISPOSAL Need to get rid of your unwanted prescription meds? Take advantage of either of the two 24/7 SAFE Lebo drop boxes in Mt. Lebanon. One is at the lower level of the Mt. Lebanon Public Safety Building, 555 Washington Road, and the other is at Medical Rescue Team South Authority (MRTSA) headquarters, 315 Cypress Way. Mt. Lebanon police will empty and incinerate the contents of both boxes. Sorry, but because of safety concerns no needles, including EpiPens, can be accepted. Needles and other sharp medical devices may be dropped off at St. Clair Hospital, 1000 Bower Hill Road, however. Place sharps in a sharps container or other heavy-duty container (coffee can, laundry detergent bottle, etc.); seal and secure them with tape and take them to the first-floor environmental support services office. Sharps containers are available at the hospital. For other locations that accept needles for disposal, visit www.safeneedledisposal.org.
To learn about Mt. Lebanon’s efforts to combat prescription drug abuse, visit www.mtlebanon.org/2167/SAFE-LEBO.
PORCH PROTECTION ‘Tis the season where you might order an awesome new pair of skis for your kid and have the package delivered to your porch, only to lose it to a thief before you get home from work. So it’s a good idea to have all holiday packages delivered to you at work or to a friend or relative who will be home. If that’s not possible, maybe you have a neighbor who could check for it. If none of those ideas work, consider installing a camera at your front door. That probably won’t deter the thief, but at least you will see who ruined Christmas for your kid—and perhaps provide enough evidence to track down the perp.
CRIME MAPPING Want to know if anyone in your neighborhood has been robbed? How many narcotics arrests have happened this month? Mt. Lebanon has a new crime mapping system so you can find out. Go to: http://communitycrimemap.com/?address=Mt.Lebanon,PA and you’ll find a map that’s totally customizable by crime type, date and other data.
BEWARE OF SKIMMERS The next time you slide your debit card into an ATM or gas pump, take a second look. Several neighboring communities have had “skimmers” placed onto cash machines and pumps. When unknowing consumers put their card in, the skimmer pulls the data off the card, including PIN numbers, making it easy for that data to be reused elsewhere. We haven’t had any reports of skimmers in Mt. Lebanon, but several residents have been victimized in nearby towns, such as South Fayette and Castle Shannon.
Police say there are several ways to keep yourself safe from a skimmer. Always choose a gas pump in view of the cashier.; those are less likely to be tampered with. Use well-lit ATMs in public areas. Look carefully at the card slot; nothing should be loose, mismatched or out of place. Try to wiggle everything. If it moves, move on. And it always bears repeating: make sure you cover the keypad with your hands when entering your PIN so no one can film you on a nearby cell camera.
LOOK UP LEBO The last thing you probably feel like doing when it’s freezing out and you’re trying to get to work or taking the kids to karate is spending extra time outside cleaning the snow and ice from your car. But that’s exactly what you need to be doing, especially since new state laws are in effect that call for fines if the snow or ice comes off your car and causes injury or death to another driver or pedestrian.
Make sure you can see out of all windows and that all ice and snow is gone. Otherwise, if you cause an accident by a flying chunk of frozen moisture from your moving vehicle, you could end up with a $200 to a $1,000 fine.