Public Safety

MLFD firefighters participated in a stair climb on September 11. The climb, 2,200 steps, one for each stair in the fallen World Trade Center, commemorates the 343 New York firefighters who lost their lives during the 2001 terrorist attack.

SPREAD OUT The streets aren’t getting any wider, but fire vehicles have been getting bigger. As you park your car on the street, try to envision what the scene would look like if an emergency vehicle eight or 10 feet wide had to negotiate the street. Some things to keep in mind:

• Park as close to the curb as possible
• Don’t park within 15 feet of a fire hydrant.
• Park at least 20 feet from intersections so emergency vehicles can make the turn onto the street
• Don’t park directly across from another vehicle. Instead park in a zigzag pattern, which allows more room for emergency vehicles
• If you’re having work done on your house, ask the contractors to park off-street when possible. If that’s not possible, look for a spot that will keep a clear path open for through traffic.


LIVE AND LET FRY If this is finally the year you decide to go ahead and deep-fry that turkey, remember to take some safety precautions. Keep the fryer outside, away from the house and off decks or porches. Don’t use too much oil—it can spill and start a fire. Make sure your turkey is thawed. Putting a frozen or partially frozen turkey in a fryer will cause steam to expand and push the oil out, which can burn you or start a fire.


FIRE PIT SEASON Some warm cider and a well-maintained fire can take the chill off a November evening. Of course, like anything else, there are some rules to follow to keep everyone safe.
• Fires should be no bigger than 3 feet wide by 3 feet long by 2 feet high.
• Fires must be at least 15 feet from your neighbor’s house, or from streets, sidewalks or other public areas.
• Backyard burning is prohibited on Air Quality Action days declared by the Allegheny County Health Department.

Jerrod Withrow, shown here second from left in a photo from last year’s No Shave November, is the beneficiary of this year’s Mt. Lebanon Police Department fundraiser. Withrow is battling Stage IV colon cancer.

JOIN JERROD’S FIGHT As part of their uniform requirements, Mt. Lebanon male police officers must be clean shaven. But over the past few years, the officers have participated in No Shave November, when they could let their beards grow if they made a donation to fight cancer.

This year, the department is tripling its effort. Those who wanted to participate could skip shaving in October, November and December. Funds raised will go to help the family of Jerrod Withrow, a Mt. Lebanon police officer battling Stage IV colon cancer. Withrow was diagnosed this summer and since then, the department, and Withrow’s family and friends, have banded together to raise money with events like spaghetti dinners and T-shirt sales. They started a Facebook page called “Join Jerrod’s Fight” that includes information on how to help.

In the Withrow family and in the Mt. Lebanon Police Department, no one fights alone.


LOCK IT UP Police made a couple of arrests following two break-ins, nine recent thefts from cars and one theft of a car in Sunset Hills. No windows were broken and no doors were damaged, because everything was unlocked. A thief isn’t going to hang around. As a rule, they don’t enjoy puzzles or locked-door challenges. If you lock everything up, thieves will look for an easier target.


SURGE PROTECTOR SAFETY As the holiday decorating season ramps up and more stuff gets plugged in, it’s easy to overload power strips and surge protectors. They’re not designed to handle heavy electrical loads. Better to plug appliances directly into a wall outlet, and if the outlet or the appliance cord is hot to the touch, disconnect it.


LOOK UP LEBO Now that Daylight Saving Time has gone away, plunging us deeper into the gloom and darkness of oncoming winter, remember to wear bright, reflective or illuminated clothing while out walking. Even if it’s just a short walk with the dog on a side street, drivers need to see you.