When your house is on fire, every second counts. A locked door presents an obstacle to firefighters that can add minutes to the rescue effort. The ability to breach the door quickly makes a world of difference.
“This is a perishable skill,” said Lt. Christopher Meyers. “One that we need to practice repeatedly. Unfortunately, not a lot of people have doors they’re willing to let us break down for practice.”
Late last year, the fire department purchased a training tool from Firehouse Innovations that allows firefighters to keep their skills fresh. The Multi-Force Door forcible entry simulator is built to accommodate a number of scenarios—single or double door, inward or outward opening, left-hand or right-hand hinge and adjustable resistance levels, determined by adding chunks of wood to the door lock.
“We go through a lot of two by fours,” said Deputy Chief Rodger Ricciuti.
CALL 911 The fire department has been fielding a rising number of calls on its non-emergency line that would be better directed to 911. Deputy Chief Rodger Ricciuti asks residents to consider the number, 412-343-3402, as a business line, used for scheduling appointments. Anything else should be a 911 call.
“Some people think calling 911 automatically means lights and sirens,” Ricciuti said. “It doesn’t. Our response is predicated on the information we get from the dispatchers. If life and property are at risk, we’ll use the lights and sirens.”
NEW ADDITION Alex Illar has been hired as a lieutenant with the Mt. Lebanon Fire Department. Illar, a Navy veteran with more than 20 years of volunteer and paid firefighting experience, comes to Mt. Lebanon from Canada. He served 11 years in the Calgary Fire Department, where as a firefighter and training officer, focusing on technical rescue. Illar was instrumental in the development and creation of the Calgary Fire Department’s Technical Rescue Team. He holds a bachelor’s degree in fire science management from American Military University.
WELCOME Sara Moore has joined the Medical Rescue Team South Authority (MRTSA) staff as an emergency medical technician (EMT). Moore, a native of Cleveland, received her EMT certification from Lorain Community College in Ohio, and is working toward becoming a nationally registered paramedic. She comes to MRTSA from LifeCare Ambulance in Elyria, Ohio.
BECOME A MEMBER Joining Medical Rescue Team South Authority can save you some pretty serious money. A $60 individual membership covers a portion of the cost of emergency ambulance service expenses for the rest of the year. An extra $20 covers everyone in your house, whether they live there or are just visiting. If you own a business, $20 more, total of $100, covers all of your employees. Considering the cost of a visit from the medics could be in the thousands, $60 to $100 could be the best money you spend all year. For more information, visit www.mrtsa.com.
NEW ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER Monica Slate is the newest addition to South Hills Cooperative Animal Control. Slate, who has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and legal studies from the University of Pittsburgh, comes to SHCAC from Humane Animal Rescue, where she served in several capacities, including adoption manager and manager of HAR’s behavior and training program.
She also ran HAR’s prison dog program, where inmates at SCI Fayette worked to help train shelter dogs to become more adoptable, and instituted a program to help shy rescue cats become more outgoing and more adoptable.
OUTSTANDING OFFICERS The MLFD honored Deputy Chief of Operations and Emergency Management Chris Buttlar as the 2020 Fire Officer of the Year. Buttlar received the award in recognition of his coordination of the COVID response efforts for the municipality. Firefighter/Operator Christopher Brown received the 2020 Firefighter of the Year award. Brown is the first volunteer firefighter in many years to complete the apparatus operator program. Operators must have a commercial drivers’ license, complete the Pennsylvania Emergency Vehicle Operator course, complete operator programs with the State Fire Academy and with the Mt. Lebanon Fire Department, log supervised driving and operation hours, and then pass tests on each of the department’s three engines, rescue truck and ladder truck.
DISABILITY AWARENESS If you or someone you love has autism or an intellectual disability that might not be apparent to first responders, the Mt. Lebanon Police Department’s crime prevention unit can provide you with stickers for your home or vehicle, to alert first responders. The stickers are also available from the Mt. Lebanon Fire Department and from Medical Rescue Team South Authority. At press time, access to the public safety center is limited, but you can receive the stickers by calling 412-343-4068.
BEAT THE RUSH Running late often makes for distracted driving. Allow yourself some extra time if you’re driving in bad weather or if your trip takes you through some road construction. Living where we do, you can pretty much count on one or both of those conditions to be present every time you leave the house.
GET THE WORD Life-threatening situations don’t happen every day, but when they do, good, solid information is worth more than gold. Get time-sensitive alerts wherever you go, with LeboEmergency, a customized notification system that lets you pick how you receive alerts about dangerous conditions, such as active shooters, gas leaks, evacuations, missing persons, chemical spills and potentially deadly weather. Sign up by texting LEBO to 99411 or go to www.mtlebanon.org. Both methods will lead you to a registration page where you can select the kind of alert you’d like to get (text, email, call or TTY) and where you’d like to get it (landline, cellphone or email addresses). If you need help using a computer, call the fire department during business hours at 412-343-3402 and someone will help you with the registration.