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A Word From Garden City Mayor Don Brudie

Fire Chief Charles Cavarra shares safety tips from the National Fire Protection Association.

United States fire departments annually respond to 250 home structure fires caused by Christmas trees.
United States fire departments annually respond to 250 home structure fires caused by Christmas trees.
A Very Happy Chanukah to Our Neighbors of the Jewish Faith: The village board of trustees and I extend to residents of the village a very Happy Chanukah.

Congratulations to the GCHS Boys Football Team: Congratulations to head coach Tom Flatley (GC ‘57), and his coaching staff; assistant coaches Joe Baccarella, Stephen Finnel, Dave Ettinger and Bob Defliese and the Garden City High School boys football team for winning its fifth Long Island title, their first since 2009. It is truly a testament for all their hard work and dedication this season.

Toys for Tots Program: Once again, the Garden City Police Department has been designated as a gift depository for the United States Marine Corps (USMC) Toys for Tots Program. As we all know, it has been a very difficult year, not only with the lagging economy, but the extra added burden from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy that has affected us all.

There are many displaced families who will not have the resources to provide a gift for their child this year. In the spirit of giving, I ask that if you are able to do so, please drop off an unused, unwrapped gift into the collection box in the lobby of the Garden City Police Department by Dec. 19. Your generosity will be most appreciated.

Holiday Safety: While we enjoy the holidays it's easy to understand that many holiday traditions have the potential to put us at an increased risk for fire, and during the holidays it can be especially challenging to keep fire safety in mind with many other things competing for our attention. By understanding where holiday fire hazards exist, and taking some simple preventative steps to avoid them, people can greatly reduce their risk to fire and keep everyone in good cheer. Fire Chief Charles Cavarra has asked that I share the following tips from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA):

Christmas Trees:

United States fire departments annually respond to 250 home structure fires caused by Christmas trees. Nearly half of them are caused by electrical problems and one in four resulted from a heat source that's too close to the tree. Here are some guidelines for picking, placing and lighting a tree:

  • If you have an artificial tree, be sure that it is labeled, certified or identified by the manufacturer as fire-retardant.
  • If you choose a fresh tree, please make sure the green needles don't fall off when touched.  Before placing it in its stand, cut 1-2 inches from the base of the trunk and add water to the tree stand and be sure to water it daily.
  • Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit and is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, space heaters, radiators, candles and heat vents or lights.
  • Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory and make sure you know whether they are designed for indoor or outdoor use.
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords, or loose bulb connections.  Connect no more than three strands of mini-string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving the home or going to bed.
  • After Christmas, get rid of the tree. Dried-out trees are a fire hazard and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside the home.
  • Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and will extend their life.

Cooking:

According to NFPA, unattended cooking is the leading cause of United States home fire injuries. Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling or broiling food.  Under no circumstances should you throw water on a grease fire to extinguish it as it will explode and spread throughout the room. As most cooking fires involve the stove-top, keep anything that can catch fire away from it and turn off the stove when you leave the kitchen, even if it's for a short period of time. If you're simmering, boiling, baking or roasting food, check it regularly and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking. For homes with children, create a "kid-free zone" of at least three feet around the stove and areas where hot food and drinks are prepared or carried.

Candles:

Candles are widely used in homes throughout the holidays, and December is the peak month for home candle fires. NFPA statistics show more than half of all candle fires start because the candle was too close to things that could catch fire.  Consider using flameless candles, which look and smell like real candles.

However, if you do use traditional candles, keep them at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn and remember to blow them out when you leave the room or go to bed. Use candle holders that are sturdy, won't tip over and are placed on uncluttered surfaces. Avoid using candles in the bedroom where two of five United States candle fires begin or other areas where people may fall asleep. Lastly, never leave a child alone in a room with a burning candle.

Board of Trustees Meeting Schedule: The next regularly scheduled board of trustees meeting is Dec. 20. I encourage all residents to attend board of trustees meetings so as to be thoroughly informed of village issues from a first-hand perspective.

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