Thursday, December 12, 2013

Please Shovel Your Nearest Fire Hydrant

After snow and ice storms, fire hydrants may be unavailable for firefighters in the event of a fire.  Please take a few minutes to shovel in front of and three feet around the fire hydrant closest to your home or business.  In the event of fire in your neighborhood the time saved could by vital.  In most cases in our area, hydrants are located within 500 feet of one another, either on your side of the street, or the opposite side.

The fire hydrant is something often taken for granted or even loathed (when looking for a parking space).  In our community they are marked with a four foot high red and white stripped fiberglass flag.  In some cases that flag is nearly buried under the snowfall and the residue from our plowed roads.  

Example of a fire hydrant covered by snow.

Example of a properly cleared hydrant after a snow event.

Unfortunately, many homeowners do not dig out their closest fire hydrant from our last snow fall.  In fact, some homeowners and their plowing contractors go so far as to actually bury these important resources in the snow that they are clearing from sidewalks and driveways; this is a violation of New York State Law.  Residents should remove the snow and give clear access to the hydrant within 24 hours of the end of any snow storm.  This is not a service that you receive from your local municipal government.  In some areas of high life risk, the hydrants have been cleared by the members of the Vigilant Fire Company.

The last thing anyone wants to do after clearing their driveway and sidewalk of snow is dig out another 4 foot square of white snow - especially the extra heavy snow that our plows have left for us.  The life you save could be your own.  Please help our community by clearing the snow from in front of and around the fire hydrant nearest your home in both directions.

Thank you.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Fireworks Safety Advisory

From our friends at Nassau County Police:


The Fourth of July, our nation’s birthday, is meant to be a fun and safe holiday.  County Executive Edward P. Mangano and Commissioner Thomas V. Dale would like to remind the residents of Nassau County that fireworks awareness and prevention are important issues to discuss with your family.  It is important to mention that all fireworks are illegal in the State of New York.  The possession, use, or sale of fireworks, including sparklers, is a violation of New York State Penal Law, and may be punishable as a misdemeanor or a felony.  Parents should talk with their children about the destructive outcomes that can occur from playing with fireworks. 

All fireworks including sparklers can be extremely harmful. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Fireworks statistics show that…

In 2012, an estimated 8,700 people were treated in emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries in the United States and six were killed. 

60% of these injuries occurred during the month surrounding July 4th.

·    Over half of these reported injuries involved burns to the hands, head and face.
·    Over 12% of all consumer fireworks injuries were caused by sparklers burning hands and legs, with the majority of these injuries occurring to young children.
·    About 1,000 reported injuries involved sparklers and bottle rockets, fireworks that are frequently and incorrectly considered safe for children.
·    Most of these injuries happen at the victims’ homes.
·    Fireworks can cause life threatening residential fires.

There are many licensed professionals that perform fireworks presentations for the public.  Attending a fireworks display is a fun and safe way to enjoy the holiday.  County Executive Mangano and Commissioner Dale would like to wish the residents of Nassau County a happy and safe July Fourth holiday.

For more information about fireworks safety visit

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Car Plunges 20 Feet, Sunday Morning Before Morning Coffee

On Sunday, June 2, around 7:20 AM while most were still in bed preparing for another scorcher of a day a Toyota Prius took a 20 foot swan dive from an elevated parking structure in Great Neck Plaza. Landing about 10 feet short of the NYC-bound LIRR tracks on the Port Washington Branch.

The Vehicle landed on its roof, the driver was able to open his door and climb out with minor injuries. All Photos Courtesy of M. Glucksman

The driver stated that the accelerator had been stuck in the open position and he could not stop the car. Luckily, the driver removed himself from the vehicle and was able to climb up the embankment with minor injuries.

About 10 feet from the LIRR tracks the driver was very lucky the car did not slide in front of a moving train.
Courtesy of M. Glucksman
What made this incident complicated and interesting was the proximity to the LIRR tracks in Great Neck. Working with local Nassau County Police, Emergency Services Unit, MTA Police and the Nassau County Fire Marshal's HazMat Team, a local tow truck driver was able to drag the vehicle up the embankment and onto stable ground. LIRR service between Port Washington and Bayside was suspended while the rescue and recovery operation was underway.

The Skill of the tow truck operator guided by NCPD ESU was clear as they lifted the vehicle back onto level ground.
Courtesy of M. Glucksman
Thankfully, for the driver the car stopped approximately 2/3 of the way down the hill before it landed on the LIRR tracks possible in font of a Westbound Train.
Courtesy of M. Glucksman

Had the car been any larger or heavier the LIRR would have most likely needed to use a track mounted crane to pick up the car off of the hill and remove it to a safe area.

Courtesy of M. Glucksman
This was a true definition of teamwork and interoperability. 2 police agencies, the local fire department, MTA track supervision and the local tow company came together to resolve this unusual incident in less than 2 hours. 

Courtesy of M. Glucksman
Great Neck Plaza Building Inspectors were notified to inspect the damage to the retaining wall and other possible structural damage to the park structure. This was one of 12 calls the Vigilant Fire Company receive during an unusually busy 24 hour period in Great Neck.
Courtesy of M. Glucksman

Friday, May 24, 2013

Barbecue Safety

This weekend marks the unofficial start of summer. In our area, many will light their barbecue grills for the first time since September. Below are some reminders for barbecue safety.

Grilling is one of the most popular ways to cook food. But, a barbecue grill placed too close to anything that can burn is a fire hazard. They can be very hot, causing burn injuries and unwanted fires.

Follow the tips below and you will be on the way to safe grilling.

Safety Tips
  • Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
  • The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.
Charcoal Grills
·         There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel.
·         If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
·         Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
·         There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use.
·         When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.

Gas Grills
·         Check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. 
·         Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles. 
·         If your grill has a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off the gas tank and grill. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If the leak does not stop, call the fire department
·         If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill.

Summer is the peak time for grill fires
  • More than half of home grill structure fires begin on either a courtyard terrace or patio, or an exterior balcony or open porch.
  • Roughly half of the injuries involving grills are thermal burns.

More information about barbecue safety is available at the National Fire Protection Association's page on grilling safety.

The summer is a great time to come together with friends and family; a time to celebrate and share in the joy of community.  With a little extra care together we can make it a safe time to experience these celebrations.  For more information about the Vigilant Fire Company visit or like us on or follow us on Some of this information is provided courtesy of the National Fire Protection Association. Remember, in Great Neck, if you have a fire or medical emergency, you must call your local fire department directly to ensure the fastest response possible.

·         Great Neck Vigilant Fire Company for fire and medical emergencies anywhere north of the Great Neck Railroad Station dial (516) 482-5000.
·         Great Neck Alert Fire Company for emergencies in the Villages of Great Neck, Kings Point and Saddle Rock dial (516) 487-7000.
·         Manhasset-Lakeville Fire Department for fire and medical emergencies south of the LIRR in Great Neck dial (516) 466-4411.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season Begins June 1

A reminder from the Nassau County Police Department:

With the devastation to Moore, Oklahoma caused by a gigantic tornado that touched down on Tuesday May 20 still a major focus of attention, and the memory of the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy in September 2012 still fresh in people’s minds, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is urging people to prepare for the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season. The 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season officially begins on June 1. In addition, the week of May 26 through June 1 is officially designated as National Hurricane Preparedness Week.

More information is available in our 2012 blog post about this as well.

FEMA’s website provides information on how to prepare for hurricanes. They provide the following tips and suggestions:

“To prepare for a hurricane, you should take the following measures:
To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
1)     Know your surroundings.
2)     Learn the elevation level of your property and whether the land is flood-prone. This will help you know how your property will be affected when storm surge or tidal flooding are forecasted.
3)     Identify levees and dams in your area and determine whether they pose a hazard to you.
4)     Learn community hurricane evacuation routes and how to find higher ground. Determine where you      would go how you would get there if you needed to evacuate.           

Make plans to secure your property:
1)     Cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows.
2)     A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install.
3)     Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
4)     Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
5)     Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed so they are more wind resistant.
6)      Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
7)     Reinforce your garage doors; if wind enters a garage it can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage.
8)     Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans, and anything else that is not tied down.
9)     Determine how and where to secure your boat.
10)   Install a generator for emergencies.
11)   If in a high-rise building, be prepared to take shelter on or below the 10th floor.
12)   Consider building a safe room.”

According to, “Hurricanes cause heavy rains that can cause extensive flood damage in coastal and inland areas. Everyone is at risk and should consider flood insurance protection. Flood insurance is the only way to financially protect your property or business from flood damage. To learn more about your flooding risk and how to protect yourself and your business, visit the Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration (NFIP) website,, or call 1-800-427-2419.”

“To learn what you can do to prepare for hurricane season and pledge to prepare, visit You can access the mobile version of the website at, making it easier to access critical information regarding emergency preparedness and what to do before and after a disaster from your smartphone and tablet. You are encouraged to download the FEMA smartphone app, which contains disaster safety tips, interactive lists for storing your emergency kit and emergency meeting location information, and a map with open shelters and open FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers. The app is free to download through your smartphone provider’s app store.”

Learn More
National Weather Service 

Resources from the NHC

According to the National Hurricane Center, the names to be used for hurricanes for the 2013 season are:

For more information about the Vigilant Fire Company visit or like us on or follow us on Remember, in Great Neck, if you have a fire or medical emergency, you must call your local fire department directly to ensure the fastest response possible.