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Fire Prevention Week

Late one night, when we were all in bed,

Old Mrs. Leary left a lantern in the shed,

And when the cow kicked it over, she winked her eye and said,

“There’ll be a HOT time on the old town tonight.”

Fire prevention week.

That verse is supposedly how the great Chicago fire began and is probably not true, but the fire was in the first week of October and hence is designated “Fire Prevention Week.” Many terrible fires have occurred since then, and it is hoped we learned from them. During the Coconut Grove night club fire, (My favorite Cowboy Star Buck Jones died in it) we learned that public building doors should open out and paper decorations should not be used in public places. The Triangle Shirt Waste fire in New York caused the death of many, many young women, but because of this fire we have a Labor Union for Garment Workers, no blocked exits and safer working conditions. Hopefully, we are more “fire aware” these days.

Our fire department goes to schools during this week, and this event gives important lessons to our young scholars. I hope us old folks still practice: good “fire awareness” and fire prevention.

It would be good to remember a few things:

1) When a fire occurs: GET OUT! and STAY OUT. Remember: it only takes 3 minutes for a room to be engulfed in flames. A fire can be started by anything from a small spark from an appliance to a similar, simple event. BUT—— in burning all oxygen is being used up (In California, residents could not start their cars to escape the forest fire because of no atmospheric oxygen) and the environment is filled with toxic gases from all our plastics etc. in the home. NOTHING! NOTHING! should make you go back into a burning building except to save a life. Money ashes can be replaced. In fact, most objects can be replaced. Remember, if you go back into a fire, you are endangering yourself and others who will try and rescue you.

2) Do not overload circuits and put electric cords under rugs. Fireplace ashes cause many rubbish fires which spread to homes. So be careful.

3) Fireproof yourself—leave deadlock keys in locks—get the “Good Stuff” off the stairs and away from the furnace. Change your smoke detector batteries and have a family fire drill with an assembly place.

4) Practice good safety. The “Great White Concert” caused many deaths because of paper decorations and pyrotechnics. We did not learn from the “Coconut Grove.”  There were many cars parked in the FIRE LANES!!! The firefighters could not reach the fire. Please observe if you notice this to prevent other tragedies. Broken glass can start a forest fire or even a yard fire, along with 9-volt batteries which can cause sparks.

5) Always remember when you go to a new place, look for 2 or 3 ways out, sometime exits are blocked (I found furniture piled up in a stairwell in a hotel). Maybe even bring your own smoke detector when you travel.

6) Smokey The Bear has good advice, but change it a little to: “Only you can prevent all fires.” Stop at the firehouse this Friday, October 6, 2017 at night and learn a whole lot more!!!

A.J. Massopust

Perth Amboy City Historian and a Level II Fire Instructor

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WED. Sept. 27
• City Council, Regular,
7 p.m.
City Hall, High St.

THURS. Sept. 28
• Historic Preservation Commission,
7 p.m.
City Hall, High St.

MON. Oct. 10
• City Council, Caucus,
4:30 p.m.
City Hall, High St.

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South Amboy Calendar

WED. Oct. 4
• City Council, Business,
6 p.m.
City Hall, N. Broadway

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