FAIR WARNING ON FIREWORKS We know how those hot summer nights can go. An evening of barbecue, a couple of beers, a couple more and then your neighbor pipes up that he has fireworks left over from July 4 last year, and then it’s a race to start lighting fuses. It may have become much easier (and legal) to buy fireworks in recent years, but remember, one major rule hasn’t changed: It is still illegal to set off fireworks within 150 feet of any structure, or on any part of public property in Mt. Lebanon. If you know a little something about most Mt. Lebanon yards, that pretty much rules out most places.
There’s a good reason for this: Last year someone launched fireworks, and some of them landed on a garage and set it on fire. You probably have a lot of things in your garage that would be problematic if on fire.
Fireworks are better left to the pros. Use the money you would have spent to buy better beer and have a bigger barbecue.
FIRE SAFETY Speaking of fires, nothing makes a summer night cozier than a fire pit, but there’s a safe way to do it. Remember you are not allowed to burn trash or yard waste under any circumstances. You also should always have some way to douse the fire if it gets out of hand (extinguisher, hose, dirt/sand, etc.). And have some courtesy toward your neighbors; make sure your smoke isn’t blowing into their windows. Here are some tips:
Chimineas, portable outdoor fireplaces and portable outdoor fire pits These are allowed if you use them according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Don’t overload them with logs or other fuel. Always stay with the fire until it is completely out.
Campfires The burn area must be three feet or less in diameter and the fire can’t be taller than two feet. Make sure you are at least 25 feet away from buildings and things that could catch on fire (trees!). It’s not smart to have campfires if the weather has been dry or if the winds are kicking up.
Bonfires and open burns These are prohibited unless you get a permit from the Mt. Lebanon Fire Department and the Allegheny County Health Department.
BAFFLE THE BURGLARS As you pack for summer vacation, remember to ensure your house isn’t a target for burglars. Mt. Lebanon Police say the best thing you can do is make it look like you’re home. Set timers for lights so your home isn’t dark. Have a neighbor pick up any mail, packages or newspapers, and set up the doorbell camera kit you’ve had around since you got it as a Christmas gift. You can also stop by the Mt. Lebanon Police Department, in the public safety center, 555 Washington Road, to fill out a vacation form. That will let police know you’re out of town and provide them with a number where you can be reached should they need to contact you about your home. (For example: your garage door has been open for two days or they note suspicious activity.)
CANINE CAR Our furriest officer, K9 Snieper, will be getting a new patrol car this summer. His specially equipped car, which includes air conditioning, automatic windows and other technical features to keep the dog and public safe, replaces his current ride, which is at the end of its useful life. K9 officer Ben Himan also has to be happy the new car will likely smell somewhat better than the current unit … at least for a few weeks.
TECH TALK The police department continues to upgrade its tech capabilities. By this summer, all patrol cars will be outfitted with new Axon dash cameras that will interact with officers’ body cameras to give more complete video coverage during events and investigations. The cars’ laptops will also be upgraded to all-in-one units. The previous computers had CPUs in the back of the car, separate from the screen and additional units for barcode scanners to scan data on licenses. Now all that will be integrated in the front of the car, on the screen, with the scanner built in.
New cameras are going in at the intersection of Cedar Boulevard and Morgan Drive, on new traffic light poles installed as part of that intersection’s traffic signal upgrade. Like other intersection cameras, this set will feed video back to police headquarters for use in investigations. Cameras at other intersections have played integral roles in solving crimes and documenting evidence.
To learn more about the cameras in public areas of the municipality and on officers’ chests, read: lebomag.com/eye-on-you.
LOOK UP LEBO Protect your noggin! Wear a helmet if you are riding a bike (or scooter or skateboard or Rollerblades or anything else that moves). State law requires anyone under 12 to wear one. But why stop at 12? You don’t get another head.
And remember—while you can ride a bike or scooter on the sidewalk in the neighborhoods, you can’t ride on the sidewalks in the Central Business District, on Washington Road. Violators are subject to a citation and fine.