From the Firehouse: August 2017

By Jack Halchak, Past Chief H.F.D.

The Hurleyville Fire Department is always looking to recruit new members. You can stop in the firehouse on any Monday evening at 7 p.m. to get an application or see what we are all about. If you don’t want to fight fire we can use fire police or people to work behind the scenes and support the front line fire fighters. We do more than just fight fire. We even provide all of your gear, and training is free.

It is on a sad note that I announce that my dad, a Past President and 57-year member of the Hurleyville Fire Department, passed away on June 27. As we do for all of our departed members the firehouse is draped in purple bunting and the name is put in the large red ring in front of the firehouse. There will be a celebration of his life, firematic service and a military service on Saturday, Aug. 12, at 1 p.m. at the firehouse.

It has been a relatively calm summer so far as far as calls go. Since the last article we have not been to the Morningside Four Corners. Maybe people heeded my advice.

In the county the trouble spot has been on State Route 17 by exit 112 in Wurtsboro. There have been quite a few accidents there, especially on Friday nights and Sunday afternoons.

I know it is hot, even very hot the last few weeks, but now is the time to start thinking about your winter heating situation. If you are burning wood, now would be the time to get seasoned wood stacked and ready for the winter. Make arrangements to get your chimney inspected and cleaned.

Right about now you might be ready to fill your propane tank for your Bar-B-Que. If you are filling a tank make sure you take it to a reliable fill station. They should weigh it (it is called a 20 pounder when full for a reason) and make sure the tank is in good condition. If a tank is over filled and the sun heats it up it will vent itself. Because the sun will heat up a tank they are painted white or silver to reflect the sunlight (heat). I have seen people paint them different colors even black. A black tank will absorb the sun light and heat the tank causing it to vent itself. It can be good that the tank vents for safety reasons but if it is near an open flame it could be disastrous. The other option is to just exchange the tank.

Propane doesn’t have an odor of its own. What you smell at a propane leak is most likely Mercaptan, and that smells like rotten eggs. The Mercaptan is added to the propane to act as an indicator of a leak. Propane is heavier than air and will settle close to the ground. In many cases it will settle in the basement. And this is where it could find an ignition source such as the furnace or hot water heater. Many houses use propane to heat them, cook and/or to heat hot water. Should you have a propane emergency get out of the house and call 911. You may have that rotten egg smell and you may hear a hissing sound of the gas leaking.

What can you do if you suspect a propane leak?

-CALL 911

-get out of the house

-put out any open flames

-do not turn any electrical devices on

-turn the propane tank off

-you may need to call a gas technician inspect your system

Once you are out of the house, do not go back in. The fire department will advise you when and if it is safe to go back in. Know who your gas provider is in case they have to be called.

Propane emergencies are dangerous and should not be taken lightly.

You may or may not believe this, but as I was finishing up this article I went on a call to guess where?

Morningside Four Corners. It was a two-car motor vehicle accident. It appears that one of the cars ran the red light. Thankfully there were only minor injuries.

Be careful at Morningside Four Corners.