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Ranger teaches scouts about fire danger

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HUDSON—State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Forest Ranger Lieutenant Scott Jackson, assistant fire management officer, attended a Columbia County event at the Firefighters Association of the State of New York (FASNY) Museum in Hudson, February 21, according to a DEC press release.

More than 100 people attended the event, with 76 scouts earning their fire safety merit badges. Ranger Jackson taught scouts about the role of human behavior in fire danger, the cost of outdoor and wildland fires and how to prevent them. Ranger Jackson also explained how to set up a campsite safe from fire and demonstrated how to set up and put out a cooking fire and camp stove.—Diane Valden

Spring into safety, change clocks, check smoke alarms

GHENT—Sunday, March 12 (Daylight Saving Time), New Yorkers will set their clocks forward one hour. The Firefighters Association of the State of New York (FASNY) urges everyone to check their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors at that time. Homeowners with alarms that have sealed, non-removable batteries should test the alarms to see if they are functional and check their expiration dates. Alarms equipped with removable batteries should have their batteries replaced and then test the alarm.

New York State currently leads the nation in home fire deaths, with 36 deaths in the first two months of 2023. In an emergency, working smoke detectors are a resident’s first line of defense and can give people critical time to escape. According to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) three of every five home fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms or in homes lacking smoke alarms.

“The additional time a smoke or CO alarm provides can be the difference between life and death. We encourage everyone to check their smoke and CO alarms monthly to ensure that they are functioning properly. In addition, fire sprinkler systems are proven to save lives and these systems should be installed when possible,” FASNY President Edward Tase, Jr., said in a press release.

New York State has banned the sale of smoke alarms with removable batteries. This was an important step to increase public safety, but individuals must also be diligent about installing these more user-friendly alarms and ensuring that they are in working order.

There is legislation awaiting introduction for this session that will allow home life safety products, like smoke detectors, to be tax-exempt. This legislation also includes fire extinguishers, heat, and carbon monoxide alarms purchased for residential use. These devices can mean the difference between life and death, and FASNY supports the elimination of any economic barrier in obtaining these products. The Senate and Assembly should move this legislation without delay.

Smoke Alarm Tips from FASNY and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA):

*Test alarms at least once a month by using the test button

*If you have an alarm with a removable battery, be sure to check the batteries every six months, and change the batteries every year. If a battery is starting to lose its power, the unit will usually chirp to warn you. Do not disable the unit

*Vacuum or blow out any dust that might accumulate in the unit

*Never borrow a battery from an alarm to use somewhere else

*Never paint a smoke or CO alarm.

*Install at least one smoke alarm on every floor of your home, including the basement, and in, or near each sleeping area

*Smoke alarms should not be installed near a window because drafts could interfere with their operation

*Families should also develop and practice a home fire escape plan

*Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for testing smoke alarms and replacing the batteries.

For more information on smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, and other information on fire safety and prevention, visit www.fasny.com and www.nfpa.org.

2022 hunting season ties safest year record

GHENT—2022 hunting seasons tied 2021 for the safest-ever year, with the lowest number of hunting-related shooting incidents since record-keeping began, according to a press release from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos.

DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) investigated nine hunting-related shooting incidents (HRSIs) in 2022, including one fatality.

“It’s clear from these findings that the vast majority of New York hunters follow the state’s stringent safety guidelines and do their part to ensure a safe and enjoyable season. This record year for safety is a testament to the DEC expert staff, volunteers, and local hunting clubs that work collaboratively to teach safety to hunters of all ages. I commend their efforts and for all hunters who safely and responsibly contributed to our conservation efforts this season,” Commissioner Seggos said in the release.

Four of the nine HRSIs that occurred in 2022 involved two-party firearm incidents, while the other five were self-inflicted. The one recorded fatality occurred due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound by a turkey hunter. All identified shooters were experienced hunters with an average of 30 years of hunting experience, emphasizing the need for all hunters to remain vigilant when heading afield. Each incident could have been prevented if those involved followed the proper hunting safety rules.

All first-time hunters, bowhunters, and trappers must successfully complete a hunter, bowhunter, or trapper education safety course before being eligible to purchase a hunting or trapping license or bowhunting privilege in New York State. DEC-trained and certified volunteer instructors have taught hunters and trappers to be safe, responsible, and ethical since 1949. Recently, DEC announced the results of the second year of a pilot program allowing mentored 12- and 13-year-old hunters (www.dec.ny.gov/press/127130.html) to harvest deer with a firearm or crossbow. The results showed youth big game hunters enjoyed another safe, successful and well-attended season afield. Learn more about DEC’s Hunter Education Program at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7860.html.

DEC encourages hunters to remember the primary rules of hunter safety: Treat every firearm as if it were loaded; Control the muzzle, keep it pointed in a safe direction; Identify your target and what lies beyond; Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire; and Wear hunter orange and pink.

More information, including the 2022 Hunting Safety Statistics is available on DEC’s website (www.dec.ny.gov.)

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