Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Join CERT, Prepare to Serve Your Community in Times of Disaster

On Wednesday, March 21st a free six series course preparing individuals interested serving on a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) will begin at the Atlantic Hook and Ladder Company of the Port Washington Fire Department located at 25 Carlton Avenue in Port Washington, New York.  The course will convene from 7 – 10 PM weekly for six weeks ending on May 2nd

This is a countywide program designed to train those interested in disaster response and recovery skills.  Instruction will be lead by the Nassau County Office of Emergency Management.  Topics covered will include fire safety, search and rescue, team organization and disaster medical operations.

The Community Emergency Response Team concept was developed and implemented by the Los Angeles City Fire Department (LAFD) in 1985…

The training program…furthers the process of citizens understanding their responsibility in preparing for disaster. It also increases their ability to safely help themselves, their family and their neighbors. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recognizes the importance of preparing citizens. The Emergency Management Institute (EMI) and the National Fire Academy adopted and expanded the CERT materials believing them applicable to all hazards.

The CERT course will benefit any citizen who takes it. This individual will be better prepared to respond to and cope with the aftermath of a disaster. Additionally, if a community wants to supplement its response capability after a disaster, civilians can be recruited and trained as neighborhood, business, and government teams that, in essence, will be auxiliary responders. These groups can provide immediate assistance to victims in their area, organize spontaneous volunteers who have not had the training, and collect disaster intelligence that will assist professional responders with prioritization and allocation of resources following a disaster. Since 1993 when this training was made available nationally by FEMA, communities in 28 States and Puerto Rico have conducted CERT training.
(from the Citizen Corps Website

For more information about this program and to sign up for this important opportunity visit Nassau County's Community Emergency Response Team.  Thank you to Emi Endo from Newsday for sharing this article about the event.

For more information about this or other ways the Vigilant Fire Company can help you and the Great Neck community prepare contact us at

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Great Neck’s Bravest Rescue Unconscious Person in a Great Neck Plaza Store

Vigilant Fire Suppression units arrived
within minutes of the alarm.
On Thursday, January 19, 2012, at approximately 1:10 PM the Vigilant Fire Company was alerted for a person having a seizure at 34 Middle Neck Road, Bruce’s Bakery in Great Neck Plaza.  Upon arrival Captain Justin Sachmechi & EMS Corporal Joe Oginski found the person unconscious in the basement.  Simultaneously, they noted elevated carbon monoxide levels on their CO meters.  A carbon monoxide meter is carried into every call that the firefighters and EMTs respond to.  Immediately, Captain Sachmechi requested that a General Alarm be transmitted to investigate the hazardous material that was found.  While the fire suppression apparatus was responding, Captain Sachmechi and Corporal Oginski assisted by EMT Ken Bleck and others from the store evacuated the store and removed the unconscious victim to the street level.

Engine 8314, Rescue 834 & Ladder 8312 responded, under the command of Second Assistant Chief Josh Charry. The building was evacuated and searched for other victims, the gas supply to the building was shut off by National Grid and the building was thoroughly ventilated until all there was no residual carbon monoxide.  Adjacent buildings were also checked for the odorless, colorless, poisonous gas.   

Three people were transported to local hospitals for evaluation. 9 others were treated at the scene and released.  Mutual aid was provided by the Manhasset-Lakeville Fire Department’s ambulance unit & Nassau County Police Department Ambulance Bureau. All units returned to service at 2:27 PM.

Vigilant Ex-chief and Engineer Ed Canfield (left)
and Assistant Foreman Brian Morris at the
scene of the incident.
This incident is the 2nd in the last 10 days where multiple people were sickened by carbon monoxide.  It should serve as a good reminder to service your heating equipment annually and ensure that you have working carbon monoxide and smoke detectors in your home monthly.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

January 2012 - Carbon Monoxide Safety

Carbon Monoxide Safety
In light of a recent incident at the United States MerchantMarine Academy at Kings Point in Great Neck, where 39 people were taken to area hospitals for evaluation after Carbon Monoxide exposure.  We wanted to share information about the dangers of CO and how to best avoid the situation that occurred.

Carbon monoxide (CO), often called the silent killer, is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas created when fuels burn incompletely. Extremely high levels of Carbon Monoxide can be fatal, causing death within minutes.

General Safety about Carbon Monoxide
• Have fuel-burning heating equipment and chimneys inspected by a professional every year before cold weather sets in.
• When using a fireplace, open the flue to ensure adequate ventilation.
• Never use your oven to heat your home.
• If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Do not run a vehicle or other fueled motor indoors, even if garage doors are open. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not covered or blocked with snow or another obstruction.
• During and after a snowstorm, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow build-up.
• A generator should be used in a well-ventilated location outdoors away from windows, doors and vent intakes.
• Only use barbecue grills — which can produce CO — outside.
• Use battery-powered lights in tents, trailers and motor homes and motor boats.
• CO alarms are not substitutes for smoke alarms.
• If the CO detector alarm sounds, immediately move to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door. Make sure everyone inside the home is accounted for. Call for help from a fresh air location and stay there until emergency personnel arrives to assist you.

CO Detector Tips
• Install CO detectors inside your home to provide early warning of carbon monoxide.
• CO detectors should be installed in a central location outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes or standards. For the best protection, interconnect all CO detectors throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
• Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement and mounting height.
• Combination smoke and CO detectors must be installed in accordance with requirements for smoke detectors.
• Choose a CO detector that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
• Call your local fire department’s non-emergency number 516-487-1086 to find out what number to call if the CO detector alarm sounds.
• Test CO detectors at least once a month; replace them according to the manufacturer’s instructions (usually between 5 and 10 years of the manufacture date stamped on the back of the detector).
• If the audible trouble signal sounds, check for low batteries. If the battery is low, replace it. If it still sounds, call the fire department.

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