By State Rep. Anita Kulik
I have been a member of the Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee since being elected to the State House. The members and leadership of this committee work in a bi-partisan manner to further the causes of our military and emergency personnel.
Our district is comprised of 13 municipalities, and we are protected by 13 volunteer fire departments. Scott and Robinson townships each have three departments, and the other departments are based in Carnegie, Kennedy, Stowe, Coraopolis, Neville, Ben Avon and Emsworth.
These departments serve their respective communities, but many also serve communities that do not have their own departments. There is also ample cooperation among neighboring departments to assist each other when needed. There is significant training involved for our volunteers, and several of our departments are trained in swift water rescue, as much of our district runs along the Ohio River.
Our fire departments are staffed by our family members, friends and neighbors. We owe it to them to make their jobs easier by using good fire safety practices in our homes and businesses.
Pennsylvania recently recognized Fire Safety and Prevention Week. Many of our local departments hosted open houses with activities for families aimed at teaching safety protocols.
The office of the state Fire Commissioner works hard to promote safety in our homes, schools and businesses. Each season we encounter different challenges, and in the upcoming fall and winter months we need to be more aware of potential hazards. Candle burning, furnaces, space heaters and wood burning stoves pose risks. Simple, common sense measures can prevent disasters. Bonfires and fire pits should likewise be used with all precaution.
As we enter the winter months, take time to make sure your home is properly equipped with working smoke detectors, carbon monoxide monitors and fire extinguishers. Use common sense when using fireplaces or burning candles. Help keep fire hydrants clear of debris, ice and snow. Teach children how to call 911 in an emergency and practice escape routes from your home in the event of a fire.
We must do what we can to keep ourselves and our families safe as well as doing what we can to aid and protect our first responders.
More information on fire safety and other resources can be found at www.osfc.pa.gov or by contacting your local fire department.
A Kennedy resident and attorney, State Rep. Anita Kulik has served Pennsylvania’s 45th House District since 2017.