public safety

BE A COP (KIND OF) Do you want to know why the police act the way they do on a traffic stop? Do you wish you could ask someone how accurate those TV police portrayals are? Then you should sign up for the Mt. Lebanon Police Department’s Citizens Police Academy running 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., starting Tuesday, March 5. This nine-week course will give you insight into the various duties Mt. Lebanon police officers perform daily. You’ll will learn about crime scene processing, crime prevention programming, firearms and use of force and will get an overview of the criminal justice system. The best thing is the police officers leading the class are willing to answer just about any work-related question. The course also includes hands on activities and informative lectures about the department’s different units. Registration forms are available at the public safety building and the municipal building’s customer service center as well as online at

GOOD PRESS Mt. Lebanon Fire Department’s preplanning program was the focus of a feature article in the October issue of FireRescue, a national magazine that presents vital solution-oriented news and skills for firefighters. The article praised the department’s use of CAD Zone’s First Look Pro, a software that allows them to enter information about every house in the community—zone map, cross streets, closest fire hydrants, a photo of the house and its location on the street and special needs of the residents. The software is available in the fire station as well as on computers in every vehicle. The fire department used Mt. Lebanon and Allegheny county’s GIS systems to input information into the system. The article also mentioned how Mt. Lebanon firefighters inspect apartment and commercial buildings in the community to gather data—such as location of stairwells, sprinkler systems, special hazards and floor plans—to be used in the preplanning system. The article says that many fire departments struggle to provide such detail on a fraction of their commercial buildings and refers to Mt. Lebanon’s level of detail on all its buildings and houses as “astonishing.” Well, we knew our fire department was tops, now fire departments across the country know too. To read the article, go to

PUT IT OUT There’s nothing better than curling up by the fire on a cold evening, but in the last few months, Mt. Lebanon Fire Department has responded to several fires caused by improper handling of ashes from fireplaces and chimineas. Although ashes may seem cold just a few hours after the fire has been extinguished, the core can stay hot and smolder for days. Please leave ashes in the fireplace for at least a couple of days, then place them in a metal garbage can and set them outside at least 10 feet from structures and flammable items (such as a leaf pile). Do not place them in your garage, shed or other indoor space. A good dousing of water from a hose won’t hurt either.

BE SAFE If the holidays had you too frazzled to find time to schedule a fireplace inspection, make it a resolution to call 412-343-3402 and set up an appointment. A firefighter will come to your home and inspect your fireplace and any wood burning equipment. If problems are found, the firefighter will recommend you hire a certified chimney sweep for a cleaning and more thorough check. The firefighter also will test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they are in working order. Firefighter Chris Switala says this past fall a family was encouraged to install a CO detector after a fireplace inspection. A few weeks later the detector went off and the family summoned the fire department. “In this case the CO detector truly made a save,” Switala says.