Columbia Memorial deals with burst pipes

A Hudson firetruck pictured outside the Columbia Memorial Hospital emergency room entrance, January 16. Photo by Lance Wheeler

HUDSON—Hudson firefighters were called to Columbia Memorial Hospital (CMH), 71 Prospect Avenue, for a reported broken pipe on the second floor above the ER and an odor of electrical burning January 16 at 5:42 a.m. Greenport and Stottville firefighters provided mutual aid and Germantown, Claverack and Catskill firefighters provided standby coverage.

CMH officials issued a press release that said, “An area wide power outage last night resulted in cold air infiltrating a mechanical area above the imaging unit and emergency department. This cold air caused a sprinkler head to freeze and burst, dispersing water to some ceiling tiles in a small number of bays in the ED and in the adjacent CT imaging suite. Staff disengaged power from the impacted areas and have begun replacing the saturated ceiling tiles.”
An alternate CT suite was made available “for any emergent needs.” Ambulance traffic was temporarily redirected, though the ED remained open and available for emergency walk-in care. Impacted areas were expected to be back in operation later that day or the next.

Firefighters were back in service at 9:02 a.m.

Farewell to longtime firefighter. A long line of fire companies and their apparatus took part in the funeral procession for fallen firefighter Thomas Shumsky January 15. Fellow firefighters are pictured standing outside the Becraft firehouse as Columbia County 911 transmitted a final call for Greenport Fire Department Second Assistant Chief Shumsky, who also served with the Stottville and Livingston fire companies during his 44-year career. A complete obituary for Mr. Shumsky may be found at or in The Columbia Paper’s January 6 print issue. Photo by Lance Wheeler

FASNY applauds chemical flame retardant ban legislation

ALBANY—The Firefighters Association of the State of New York (FASNY) applauds Governor Kathy Hochul for signing legislation that bans carcinogenic flame retardant chemicals in household items, furniture and electronic enclosures.

FASNY has made this legislation part of its proactive agenda for the last eight years. The legislation, sponsored by Senator Todd Kaminsky (D-9th) and Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-4th), passed both houses of the legislature earlier this year.

Flame retardants are in everyday items such as TVs, phones, and mattresses because it was believed that they slowed or prevented the start or growth of a fire. Despite their stated purpose, these flame retardants are not effective at preventing or slowing fires. Further, when burned, they emit extremely toxic smoke and fumes which endanger both firefighters and the people they are working to save as they inhale them. In infants and pregnant women—who ingest these chemicals through normal everyday dust—links have been found to serious health effects, from cancer and reproductive issues to developmental disabilities.

“Firefighters are regularly exposed to flame retardant toxins in the line of duty, resulting in far higher cancer rates than those in the general population. By signing this legislation, Governor Hochul is protecting both the states’ citizens and firefighters. We are pleased to see New York State take an important step forward in eliminating harmful and hazardous chemicals from the environment,” FASNY President John P. Farrell said in a press release.

“Nothing is more important than protecting the health of our children and firefighters from cancer-causing chemicals. By banning these toxic substances from everyday items in our homes, such as furniture and mattresses, we will be taking a major step in keeping our communities safe. I was proud to lead the fight to put our families and first responders’ lives ahead of corporations’ profits—and that is precisely what this law will do,” Senator Kaminsky, chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, said in the release.

Under the Family and Firefighter Protection Act, the use of certain flame retardant chemicals in furniture and mattresses and the use of certain flame retardant chemicals in electronic casings is banned. Similar bans have been enacted in states such as California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Rhode Island. The European Union has banned them from electronics.

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Space heaters need space

ALBANY—New York is well into the winter months and residents have been doubling up on the heat–bringing out their space heaters and curling up next to their fireplaces on top of their heating.

The Firefighters Association of the State of New York (FASNY) reminds everyone to follow some simple tips when preparing their homes for winter.

With more people staying home for longer periods due to the Covid-19 pandemic, New Yorkers may face an increased risk for home fires. Heating is one of the leading causes of fires in the United States. According to data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), half of all home heating fires occur in December, January and February. Fire departments across the United States responded to an estimated average of 48,530 fires involving heating equipment each year from 2014-2018. These fires resulted in 500 civilian deaths, 1,350 civilian injuries and $1.1 billion in direct property damage. As of this week, New York State is fifth in the nation in fire deaths for the year with 105.

Space heaters and fireplaces can increase the risk of a home fire when used improperly. Homeowners should check that all their heating equipment is functioning properly and double check that their carbon monoxide and smoke detectors have fresh batteries.

“Always make sure your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms are operational and have fresh batteries. We recommend everyone place carbon monoxide alarms outside of sleeping areas in the home. It is also important that they check the exhaust pipes of their heating units as they could become blocked with snow or debris. We want all New Yorkers to be fire-safe this winter and remember—if your smoke or carbon monoxide alarm goes off, get out quickly, stay out and call 911,” FASNY President John P. Farrell said in a press release.

Here are some home heating tips from FASNY and the NFPA:

*Keep anything that can burn at least three-feet away from heating equipment

*Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters

*Never use your oven to heat your home

*Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions

*Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional

*Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed

*Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters

*Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home

*Test smoke alarms at least once a month.

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