HOLIDAY SAFETY While the holidays are often associated with warmth, family, friends and good food, one can never predict when an accident may happen. Medical Rescue Team South Authority has a few tips for keeping kids safe.
Children are curious by nature. Items such as small toys, batteries, string lights and house plants can be hazards that pose serious risks. If a child receives a small toy as a gift, err on the side of caution when permitting them to play with all the pieces. Small pieces can be a choking hazard. Call 911 immediately if a child has swallowed something and appears to be having difficulty breathing, or is wheezing, coughing, or turning cyanotic (blue).
Batteries are another choking risk, with the extra concern of chemical burns to the esophagus, stomach, and digestive tract. If you are positive a child swallowed a button battery, immediately transport them to the hospital in your personal vehicle or call 911. Do not delay transport, and refrain from inducing vomiting. More information here.
String lights, tinsel, garland and banners can also be tangle or tripping hazards for children. Be mindful of the placement of electrical cords, string lights and other decorations that children can become accidentally entangled in.
Some holiday plants are poisonous when ingested and should be kept away from children and pets. Plants such as mistletoe, holly, bulb seeds (can be mistaken for onions), Brazilian pepper, Jerusalem cherries and amaryllis are all harmful when ingested often causing nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramping. Poinsettias, despite popular belief, are not really poisonous. They can cause irritation to the mouth or stomach, but many cases reported are mild and strong evidence on toxicity is not available. Evergreens and Christmas cactus are not poison concerns, but both possess characteristics that make them choking hazards. Evergreens, like pines, have needles that can become lodged in the esophagus and the Christmas cactus possesses spikes to the perimeter of its leaves that may cause it to get stuck if ingested.
SAFE PACKAGE DELIVERY With the holiday season quickly approaching, online shoppers likely have a lot of orders arriving at their homes. That means it’s peak package theft season. Mt. Lebanon police ask that you pay attention to packages on your neighbor’s porches and report any suspicious activity. Don’t let the boxes pile up outside and, if you’re planning on heading away, be sure to have a friend or neighbor take your packages inside until you return.
VACATION CHECK Planning to go see grandma and pap over the holidays? If you have to travel to see them, the Mt. Lebanon Police Department is happy to check on your home while you’re traveling. Officers will provide a vacation check at your request. Stop by the Public Safety Building to pick up a form you can fill out on the spot or mailed in. If you have any questions, call 412-343-4143.
ARRIVE ALIVE If you’re planning to indulge in a few adult beverages while visiting with loved ones over the holidays, remember to use ride share services so that you can arrive safely to your destination. Don’t drink and drive!
FRYING IT UP Planning a menu with a deep-fried turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy this year? Keep the fryer outside and away from nearby structures. Be careful how much oil you use. It can spill and start a fire. And never, ever, drop a frozen turkey into a fryer.
911: MYTH VERSUS FACT Myth: You should only call 911 if you’re seriously injured or your house is on fire. Fact: 911 will connect you with police, fire and even animal control, no matter the situation. If you need to make a police report—call 911. If you need to report a fire—call 911. If you need help with a wild animal that’s attacking your dog—call 911. Any situation that requires an in-person visit from a first responder—you guessed it. 911.
SEE CRIME? TEXT IT! Did you know that you can text tip411 (847411) with an anonymous tip to the Mt. Lebanon Police Department? In the text, type out MLPDTIPS plus your tip. All sender information will be stripped out of your text. Simply submitting a tip does not signify that a criminal investigation will be conducted. Be sure that your text includes the who, what, when, where and how you know.
LOOK UP LEBO! The dark of winter is quickly approaching. If you’re walking the kids to school, or taking the dog for a walk before sunrise, be sure to wear bright, reflective colors or carry something that lights up.
FAREWELL TO SNIEPER On October 1, the Mt. Lebanon Police Department suffered a loss. Snieper, a Belgian Malinois, died of natural causes at the age of 9. K9 officers and their handlers from several South Hills departments came together for a memorial salute, and members of the community were given a chance to say their goodbyes.
Snieper began training with his partner, Cpl. Ben Himan, in 2013 and became a full member of the department the following year. He was Mt. Lebanon’s third K9 officer. His keen sense of smell was often called into service to find missing persons, drugs and items a suspect may have tossed during a chase.
Snieper was a welcome visitor in schools and at public events such as First Fridays and the recreation department’s public safety camp. He lived with Himan and his family, who are grieving his passing.
The police department is accepting donations to purchase a new K9. Send to: 710 Washington Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15228. Send a note with the check to put toward the MLPD K9 Fund.