By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
NEW BALTIMORE — Keeping safe was the order of the day in the first Health and Fire Safety Day since before the COVID-19 pandemic began.
The event, hosted by the New Baltimore Fire Department at Cornell Hook & Ladder on Gill Road, was held May 14. It was the first time Health and Fire Safety Day was held since 2019 due to the viral outbreak.
From the fire department to the sheriff’s office to EMS, first responders and other safety officials brought information and tips to increase awareness and help keep the community safe.
“Today we brought in all kinds of health and fire safety entities — public health, mental health, paramedics, the ambulance, obviously the New Baltimore Fire Department, forest rangers — just bringing information to the public that they might not know is out there or new programs that the county is running as a benefit to the community,” said James June, EMS captain and event coordinator for Health and Safety Day.
The event was launched in 2018 and was held for two years before the COVID-19 pandemic put everything on hold for a couple of years.
“This is our third year,” June said. “We didn’t do it the last two years due to COVID, so we are very happy to be back and doing it again this year.”
In addition to multiple exhibits from county programs and first responders, there were raffles and fun activities for the kids, including a bounce house.
A fire truck was also on hand for a “Touch the Truck” event, giving kids the chance to see a fire truck up close and learn the ins and outs of firefighting.
For adults, a “Shed the Meds” exhibit was on hand collecting old or unused medications, and a shredding program was offered by state Sen. Michelle Hinchey, D-46, to enable local residents to securely dispose of unwanted personal, legal or sensitive documents.
There were also giveaways, including face masks and at-home COVID-19 tests.
The health and safety tips offered by first responders aimed to increase awareness of everyday steps we can all take to stay safe.
Assistant Chief John Wallace from the New Baltimore Fire Department offered some key tips to prevent home fires.
“Number one, make sure you have very good smoke detectors,” Wallace said. “Try to have home fire extinguishers placed where you can use them in your home and in your garage. Those are the biggest things.”
And with lawn mowing season upon us, Wallace advised caution in how gas cans to fill up those mowers are stored.
“Don’t store gasoline where it can be ignited,” Wallace said. “Don’t keep it in the sunlight because it expands and if the vapors come off, it can ignite.”
Wallace said he was glad to see a good turnout of local residents for the event at the firehouse.
“I’m glad a lot of people came out today,” Wallace said. “We just want to keep everyone safe.”