Keeping Ridgewood Prepared

FDNY Rep Details Safety Measures

Fire safety lessons were learned at the Thursday. Oct. 25 meeting of the Farmers Oval Civic Association (FOCA) at Ridgewood Baptist Church.

Fire Lt. Frank Manetta (left) gives FOCA fire safety tips at its Thursday, Oct. 25 meeting in Ridgewood. Seated are FOCA President Dieter Vey (center) and Secretary Alice Kokasch.

Lt. Frank Manetta of the NYPD’s Fire Safety Education Unit came with boxes full of smoke detectors to hand out to residents. He urged residents to install it even if they already have detectors already installed in their home.

“Supplement what you do have with what I’m giving you,” he stated, noting that they should be installed on every level of the home. “The more the better.” He later noted that a detector should be installed not in the kitchen but directly adjacent, so it is not triggered on a regular basis.

He also urged residents to install carbon monoxide detector, noting a recent incident in Ozone Park where a father and his son were killed by carbon monoxide poisoning.

In addition, residents could check their boilers, as “with boiler problems comes carbon monoxide poisoning,” according to Manetta.

Smoke alarms come with either two buttons-a button to test the device and a button to turn the alarm off. Others come with one button that handles both tasks. The alarms can also come requiring a standard 9-volt battery or a 10-year lithium ion battery (this is the version given out to FOCA members).

With the change of the clocks to standard time coming soon, he urged residents who have 9-volt-operated alarms to change the batteries.

He urged residents to test their device monthly regardless of the type of alarm they have, and to replace their alarms every seven to 10 years.

He urged residents who smoke cigarettes to refrain from doing so in their homes, as ash from cigarettes can lead to furniture or carpets catching fire.

As far as kitchen fires, “I’m not a big advocate of teaching people to fight fires with extinguishers and things. I’d rather you guys think about exiting and getting home safe,” Manetta stated.

However, residents who prefer an extinguisher should get an ABC model; Manetta suggested using it to “give yourself a little path” out of a dangerous situation. Use the PASS method with an extinguisher-pull the pin, aim the extinguisher, squeeze the trigger and sweep the area.

Carbon monoxide detectors, on the other hand, should be placed at about waist level, and away from boiler rooms.

He then moved to electrical fire safety, noting that fires are often caused because “things are plugged in that are too powerful for extension cords.”

“Any cord that’s damaged, get rid of it, get a new one,” said Manetta, urging that the cords are bought from a reputable place and that the products have the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) seal. Residents should also refrain from “piggybacking” extension cords with each other.

Space heaters-often used this time of year-should be plugged directly to a wall, four to five feet from anything that could be combustible, said Manetta. Older heaters should be thrown out, as they may lack safety features available on newer models.

In case of emergency, Manetta suggested flashlights instead of candles as alternate light sources; he showed off a model that can be powered by a hand crank. In addition, residents should pick a meeting place for their family to regroup after a fire.

If you see anything in a home or business that could lead to a fire condition, residents call the FDNY complaint line at 1-718-999-2541.

Other news

With Sandy approaching, City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley noted that she has been meeting with Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) officials to determine the status of the area’s sewers and areas such as the Cooper Avenue underpass to anticipate flooding issues. She added that the sewer system, which was built at the turn of the 20th century, was designed to handle 1.5 inches of rain an hour.

“What we really need is a total infrastructure upgrade,” Crowley stated, citing the increased population in the area.

Crowley also addressed rumors of a homeless shelter on Cooper Avenue, explaining that the owner of a nearby building had approached an agency about the possibility of running a shelter but the plan “really hasn’t moved.”

Turning to education, she noted that Maspeth High School is now open, and residents in District 24- including those in Ridgewood-will have seating priority. Having new schools such as Maspeth H.S. in the area “makes our neighborhood a lot more desirable,” Crowley stated.

A Thanksgiving food drive is also being run in coordination with the Ridgewood Older Adult Center. Canned goods can be brought to Crowley’s office at 64-77 Dry Harbor Rd. in Middle Village.

The lawmaker is also looking to plant about 250 street trees in the neighborhood between now and December, and Evergreen Park in Ridgewood is set to be renovated.

FOCA will next meet on Nov. 29, a week later than usual due to the Thanksgiving holiday. They usually meet at the Ridgewood Baptist Church at 64-13 Catalpa Ave. in Ridgewood.