Tag Archives: safety

When to Call 9-1-1

911_callA Note From the Chief…

Most people in the United States have become familiar with the 9-1-1 system since it was first implemented in 1968. Today dialing 9-1-1 from any telephone in North America will link the caller to an emergency dispatch center, which can send emergency responders to the caller’s location in the United States and Canada.

When should the 9-1-1 system be used? Our Fire Company recommends that when a fire is discovered, getting out of the building and then calling 9-1-1 early is much better than trying to fight the fire alone.

However… someone called 9-1-1 to check the game schedule for his favorite football team. Another person reported his neighbor’s cat prowling on his front porch. Another called to complain about his utility bill. These inappropriate 9-1-1 calls, which are a misuse of the emergency system, actually happened here in the Lancaster/Harrisburg area.

Prank calls like these tie up the 9-1-1 emergency phone system and can delay response to real 9-1-1 calls. Remember that the 9-1-1 system is intended for use in emergency circumstances only; those types of situations where a quick response from EMS, police, or fire is needed. The 911 reporting system works well – let’s not abuse it.

Written by Chief Lonnie Kauffman

Buggy Accidents Increase in Lancaster County

wwatch_the_horseRecently Lancaster County residents have heard about an increase in the number of vehicle accidents involving Amish buggies. Speed and carelessness are the culprits in almost every case. Carelessness can be the fault of either the car or buggy driver.

Motorists should be aware that even though most horses are trained for the road, they can still spook. When passing a buggy under normal driving conditions, motorists should primarily watch the horse. Watching only the buggy is a mistake. Safe driving requires vigilance and focus by all buggy and motor vehicle drivers.

CAUTION: Avoid Starting Brush Fires on Windy Days

Burning brush on a windy day is a fire hazard that has led to a current rash of wildfires. Careless open burning is a big safety issue that impacts firefighting resources in our area. Firefighters leave their places of work and lose money and company time to fight brush fires.

Wildfires that start on windy days are fires that can be avoided. Use common sense, be patient and wait for a calm, still day to burn brush. Please note that this also applies to residents in townships that prohibit trash fires, but still permit some brush fires and doggie-roast type “ceremonial” fires.

Pedestrians: Stop, Look & Listen

pedestriansChildren learn by doing, so make a game out of these scenarios with your family by setting up a pretend road in your home or yard. Repetition is key to making these points second nature, so practicing over and over is a good thing!

  • Always walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, walk off the road facing traffic (on the LEFT) so that you can see any cars that are heading your direction.
  • Cross the street only at intersections or marked crosswalks. Always stop, look, and listen.
  • If there is a car parked where you are crossing, look to see if there is a driver in the car. Carefully walk to the edge of the car and then stop, look, and listen.
  • While crossing, continue to look for cars. Always walk across the street. Do not run.
  • When walking at night or even dusk, wear a reflective vest.
  • Never run into the street to catch a ball or an animal.
  • Before you cross a street where cars may be waiting, like at an intersection or crosswalk, look at the drivers. If the drivers are looking at you, then walk across quickly and DON’T STOP in the middle of street. Driver and pedestrian eye contact lets you know that the driver sees you.

Tips for Hurricane Preparedness

img289The destructive effects of hurricanes and tropical storms typically occur in our Mid-Atlantic region during the months of August, September, and October. “Much of the preparation for large storms in our area is good common sense,” says Safety Committee Member Ephraim Stoltzfus. “Being diligent about a few simple precautions can help avoid damage by water, trees, and wind.”

High Winds…

  • Bring in outdoor furniture, garbage cans, and other items that are not tied down
  • Have a tarp and 2x4s ready to temporarily fix roofs

Rainfall Flooding…

  • Move valuables up out of places that are flood-prone
  • Clean out debris from rain gutters & downspouts
  • Check condition of hoses, sump pumps and generators
  • Check fuel supplies
  • Do not drive around barricades and through high water

Fallen Trees…

  • Keep trees and bushes well trimmed to improve wind resistance
  • Remove dead trees & limbs before a major storm
  • Check chainsaws and fuel
  • Do not work on trees that touch electric wires

Loss of Power…

  • Collect a three-day food and water supply
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer closed as much as possible
  • Keep battery-powered lights and radio and extra batteries on hand

There are many common-sense safeguards that each family can put into place to deal
with a pending natural disaster. It is important to prepare your home and family. But
here in Bird-in-Hand it is equally as important to be prepared so that you can help your
neighbor be safe and recover from the storm’s effects too.

A Note From the Chief…Being Safe

Recently a technician serviced the fire extinguishers at my day job. A coworker of mine remarked, “A number of the workers here are firefighters, and they’re picky about their fire extinguishers!”

My response was, “Fire can strike anywhere, anytime – it is common sense to be prepared.” A recent fire here in Bird-in-Hand is a prime example. A normal workday ended with a very large fire that was sparked by an electrical malfunction within a wall.

In everyday life we take many safety precautions. We wear seat belts while driving and helmets while playing baseball. We also need to take precautions in our homes, such as installing fire extinguishers and changing the batteries in our smoke detectors. Teaching our families how to call 911 and how to exit our homes safely during a fire is one of the most important safety precautions of all.

Family Safety Day

Saturday, October 19, 2013

INCLUDED: Lunch & dessert • Age-appropriate activities for children and youth • Special Junior Program for toddlers & preschoolers through 2nd grade) • Goody bags

img167 Grandparents, parents, children, and all those who care about safety in the Bird-in-Hand area – mark your calendars with a big red check for Saturday, October 19! Along with many hands-on educational experiences for children, there will be specific seminars for adults. For example, a session for grandparents and parents about the latest in car seat safety (including how to install them!)


img248Time for dessert and socializing from 2:00-3:00 pm will wrap up this special day that is planned for our local families and friends.


Note: This is a fun activity for grandparents and grandchildren to enjoy together!

The Day the Fire Truck Came to Our House

On May 2, 2013 The Hand-in-Hand Fire Company honored two of Nathan and Martha Bange’s children, Kendall and Larisa, for submitting their family’s Escape Plan. They had read about the activity in the Children’s Corner of the Fire Company newsletter and completed the project as part of their home-school studies. Here is the photo story of their surprising prize!

The fire truck turned on its siren as it came down Meadow Lane and stopped at our house. Four brave firefighters greeted us Bange children: Kristal (13), Kendall (11), Larisa (10), Angelica (8), and Anita (5).


We hurried to our bedrooms to practice our Escape Plan. Here Larisa crawls through the upper hallway. he is headed to the safety of our meeting place outside by the telephone pole.


What fun to tour the fire truck! We learned about the equipment and how it fights fires. Chief Lonnie helps Kendall strap on an air pack.


Anita and Angelica pretend to be firefighters with coats and hats. They waited patiently while we older children circled the block on the fire truck, siren blaring.


Everyone loves ice cream and whoopie pies! It was a part of our prize for making an Escape Plan. Our parents say that the firefighters were great! They treated us to much more than our family ever imaged or expected.

Have You Made Your Escape plan?


Step 1:  Draw a floor plan of your home.

Step 2:  Mark all windows, doors, and smoke alarms.

Step 3:  Show 2 ways out of each room in case your main route is blocked by smoke or flames. Make sure windows can be opened easily.

Step 4:  Agree on an outside meeting place where everyone waits for the fire department. Draw and write “meeting place” on your plan.

Step 5:  Get your family together to practice the escape plan. It only takes 5 minutes!
Step 6:  Mail a copy of your plan to the Hand-in-Hand Fire Company with this info: First & last name, age, address, phone number & parent signature verifying that you practiced the  exit plan. We’ll call you when your prize is ready!plan