MT. LEBANON FIRE DEPARTMENT
The Mt. Lebanon Fire Department has been an integral part of this community for 93 years. Its mission is: “to serve and safeguard our diverse community through the delivery of professional, efficient and effective service.” A firefighter’s number one goal is to protect life, property and the environment.
Unlike many fire departments, Mt. Lebanon Fire Department has both career (17) and volunteer firefighters (49). They provide a variety of services in six areas: administration; operations and emergency management; training; resource management; community outreach and special operations; fire prevention and life safety education.
“With career firefighters, we are able to put more effort into fire prevention,” Sohyda says. “The services we offer contribute to fewer fires and are certainly an advantage for the community.”
Having career firefighters also increases our Insurance Services Offices (ISO) rating, thus lowering homeowners’ insurance rates. The ISO evaluates public fire protection services and classifies a community’s ability to suppress fires. Thanks to Mt. Lebanon Fire Department’s menu of services and its excellent response time (80 seconds or less), the community’s ISO rating is a Class 3, the second highest in Allegheny County.
Mt. Lebanon Fire Department reached the pinnacle of excellence in March when it earned Accredited Agency Status from the Commission on Fire Service Accreditation International (CFAI). To secure accreditation, the department underwent a rigorous two-year self-examination of its services, procedures and short- and long-term strategic plans. Once the self-evaluation was complete, assessors from the CFAI arrived to conduct their own evaluation. The process helped the department improve its services and focus on areas that needed improvement. Only 160 fire departments out of more than 32,000 nationally have achieved accreditation.
For more information on any of these programs, call 412-343-3402.
Fireplace Inspection Heating-related fires account for more than a third of residential home fires, so be sure to schedule a fireplace inspections regularly. A trained firefighter will conduct a visual safety inspection of your fireplace and wood-burning equipment and will let you know if you need to hire a certified chimney sweep for a cleaning or perform other maintenance.
Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detectors Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are key to keeping you and your family safe, so install these devices, test the batteries monthly and replace the detectors every 10 years. If you need advice on installation or maintenance, call the fire department. Senior citizens and residents with disabilities or residents in need qualify for free detectors, which firefighters will install.
Alarm Operation Permit Homeowners with security systems must purchase a $35 annual permit. When a private alarm goes off, firefighters deploy, take care of the problem and contact the homeowners if they are not home. The fee supports the hardware and software costs and administrative time to update the database.
Home Fire Safety Inspection With this free program, a firefighter will survey your property, provide fire safety recommendations and review a fire evacuation plan. The firefighter will point out risks such as loose rugs and staircases that need railings.
After the Fire The department is there to help even after the fire is extinguished. Through its After the Fire Program, the department will set up a one-night stay at the Crowne Plaza Hotel near South Hills Village, help with insurance issues and assist with the recovery process. A downloadable booklet detailing what you need to address in the first 24 hours post-fire is at mtlfd.org/community-outreach-4/after-the-fire.
Citizens Fire Academy The Citizens Fire Academy provides an inside look at firefighting. In this free 10-week program, participants get hands-on experience—from operating hose lines and using the Jaws of Life to extinguishing fires and performing simulated ladder rescues. Held each fall, the academy is open to all residents and business owners 18 and older. Register at 412-343-3402 or www.mtfd.org.
Campus Fire & Safety Give your graduating senior the gift of a campus safety class, covering fire safety and prevention in dorms, residence halls and off-campus housing. mtlfd.org/life-safety-education/campus-fire-safety/
Fire & Life Safety School Education Twice a year, firefighters visit every elementary school class to teach fire prevention and how to react in emergencies. Fourth graders test their safety skills in the Fire & Life Safety Trailer, where doorknobs heat up and theatrical smoke wafts. A window and fire escape allows the kids to practice an escape. The trailer also simulates extreme weather conditions.
Senior Safety Program Mt. Lebanon firefighters offer fire prevention and safety class for seniors living in apartment buildings and life care communities. Topics include safe cooking, falling and tripping hazards, home heating issues and fire evacuation procedures. www.usfa.fema.gov/citizens/older.
Special Needs Assessment Residents with disabilities or illnesses who need help in exiting a building should sign up for the Special Needs Assessment Program. They will receive stickers for their front door and bedroom window, that, in an emergency, will alert firefighters that someone needing assistance lives there. Specific information about the resident’s situation is recorded in a database, accessible when a call comes in. Download a signup form at mtlfd.org/community-outreach-4/special-needs-program.
Juvenile Firesetters Intervention This nationally standardized program helps children who have a history of playing with fire. Intervention specialists, certified through the Ohio Fire Academy and the Juvenile Firesetter Intervention Program, work confidentially with children and parents. mtlfd.org/life-safety-education/juvenile-firesetter.
Staff Training Firefighters provide fire and life safety training to employees of health care facilities, group homes and other businesses that deal with the public. Topics include how to use fire extinguishers, rescue and evacuation procedures and a review of the building’s fire alarm and fire suppression systems. Book a session by calling 412-343-3402.
Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Want to help? Join the CERT team and assist fire personnel during emergencies and non-emergency community events.CERT team members are trained in disaster preparedness, first aid, CPR, traffic control and missing person searches. Sign up at www.mtlfd.org/CERT.
Station Tours Meet your local firefighters during a station tour. Call 412-343-3402.
Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Find out at mtlfd.org/community-outreach-4/household-hazardous-waste where you can dispose of items such as as drain cleaner, paint stripper and batteries that may not go into the regular trash. Also, the fire department has 20 certified hazardous materials technicians who will respond to emergency and non-emergency hazardous materials incidents.
Since 1912, the Mt. Lebanon Police Department has been protecting and serving the community. With 44 officers, including three detectives, the police department comprises five units: Crime Prevention, Investigative Services, Patrol Services, Records and Traffic Services.
Mt. Lebanon police officers are dedicated to closing cases, as proven by the department’s high clearance rates.
“We are staffed by highly trained, highly skilled officers, and we work in a town where citizens are cooperative,” says Cpl. Jamie Hughes.
Mt. Lebanon police officers must be graduates of a both a four-year college and a police academy that meets the Municipal Police Officer Education and Training Commission’s (MPOETC) statewide standards. In addition, they need to pass a physical agility test, a psychological test, a written exam, an extensive background check and an interview by a three-person panel made up of the deputy chief and two residents. The final hurdle is an interview with the chief.
Mt. Lebanon police officers are a visible part of the community. In addition to traditional policing, they attend local events and block parties and sponsor events and fundraisers such as the Classic Car Show and Street Fair on Washington Road, which raises money for the drug and alcohol educational programs. Officer Scott Kunz says the variety of services and programs the department offers is just one of the many things that distinguishes the Mt. Lebanon Police Department.
Police officers are here to help. You are not bothering them if you call to report something suspicious. If your gut says something is not right, call 911. If it turns out to be nothing, it’s no big deal; if it turns out to be something, you could be the hero who saved the day.
For more infomation about any of these programs, call 412-343-4068.
Child Car Seat Inspection According to Safe Kids USA, 84 percent of child car seats are installed improperly. Car seats are complicated, and the cargo they carry is too precious to risk, so let a Mt. Lebanon police officer certified in child car seat installation help. During this free one-hour appointment, the officer will check that your child’s car seat is in compliance with Pennsylvania law and manufacturer regulations and give you some tips on travel safety. Details at
Vehicle and Home Lock Outs Locked yourself out of your car or your house? Call 911, and an officer will lend a hand. You will need to show your ID.
Residential and Commercial Surveys Protect yourself from break-ins with a free security survey of your home or business. An officer will walk your property and provide tips about ways to thwart burglars. Here’s a preview of what you’ll learn: Keep an updated inventory of your valuables with descriptions and serial numbers. Checklists are available at the Public Safety Center. Never indicate on your answering machine, Facebook page or blog that you are away from home. Always lock the door to an attached garage. Don’t rely on your automatic garage door for security. Don’t hide keys in mail boxes, planters, fake rocks or under doormats. Give an extra key to a neighbor you trust.
Child IDs In less than 15 minutes, you can get a photo ID of your child. If your child ever goes missing, the ID can be used to help bring your son or daughter home quickly and safely.
Firearm Safety and Gun lock Distribution Officers are available to speak to groups about firearm safety. If you own a firearm, pick up a free gun lock at the public safety building.
Animal Control South Hills Cooperative Animal Control (SHCAC) responds to calls about both wild and domestic animals. If you have unwanted critters in your yard or house, animal control officers can drop off a trap and show you how to use it or suggest exterminators and other services that will help you deal with infestations. Call 911 for immediate help or the non-emergency number at 412-531-5300. The Pet Find program, pd.mtlebanon.org/petfaq.htm, helps reunite lost pets with their owners. Pictures and information about strays picked up and housed at the kennel are posted at www.mtlebanon.org.
Citizens Police Academy If you love CSI, then you’ll want to enroll in the Citizens Police Academy. The classes, free to residents and local business owners, are held weekly for nine weeks. In class, you will learn how the department operates—from weapons and search and seizure procedures to the K-9 Unit and criminal laws and court proceedings. Hands-on sessions include fingerprinting, pistol target practice (no live rounds are used) and a mock crime scene. Registration forms are available at www.pd.mtlebanon.org.
School Programs On average, Mt. Lebanon crime prevention officers teach 575 classes per year to students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Topics include: safe walking, Internet safety, cyber ethics, 911 and stranger danger. sexual harrassent, drugs and alcohol, self-esteem, decision-making and ways to say “no,” high-risk behavior, bullying, safe dating/relationship and driver’s education.
Health & Safety Fairs The police department hosts safety fairs throughout the year and in conjunction with community events. The fairs, which educate the public on safety topics and precautions, generally have a theme or focus—safety for seniors, kids safety, etc. For a list of fairs and events, check the calendar at mtlebanon.org/CurrentEvents.aspx.
Police Station Tours Learn about the local police department, meet the police officers and get important safety tips in a 40-minute station tour. Call 412-343-4068.
Motor Vehicle crashes If you are in a crash, regardless of how minor the damage to your vehicle, call 911. An officer will assess the situation, help you get the correct information and supply you with a copy of the report. “It is five minutes that will make a big difference when you call your insurance company,” Kunz says.
Identity Theft An estimated 9 million Americans fall victim to identity theft every year. Identity theft can ruin your credit and take years to clear from your record. If you are a victim of identity theft, place a fraud alert on, close any compromised accounts and then file a report with MLPD by calling 911. You should also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-IDTHEFT or at www.ic3.gov. Check your credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com.
Fraud Educate yourself about common scams at www.fraud.org and www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud. Scams including telemarketing and Internet schemes, false charity solicitors, home improvement and repair tricks and “pyramid” franchise investment fraud. It is best to ignore anyone who contacts you; instead, research the organizations you want to support and the companies you want to hire. If you suspect fraud, call 911 or the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General at 717-787-5211.
Theft from Vehicles When you leave your car doors unlocked, it takes only a moment for someone to grab whatever money, valuables or personal information you have left in your car. Preventing this is simple: lock your car, even in your own driveway. “It is easier to keep your iPod locked up than it is for us to find it,” says Hughes. If you see people lurking around cars in your neighborhood—call 911. If you are the victim of a car burglary, report the theft immediately to the police department because evidence is important for the recovery of your belongings.