#childsafety | Firefighters are Our Heroes! | Yonkers Times


By Eric W. SchoenI was sitting having my coffee at Panera at Cross County when the fire alarm went off earlier this week. Staff evacuated the patrons in the cafe and team members, out into the cold without their jackets. The Yonkers Fire Department, strategically located throughout Yonkers so they can reach most points in the city within 4 minutes were there in less than that.

If you don’t know where the entrances to Panera are located at Cross County, you would have a hard time finding them. The sign for the cafe faces the parking lot, but one needs to go around the corner to enter the restaurant. The back door that faces the parking lot leads to Applebee’s kitchen area. Their is no sign that says that the Panera entrance is around the corner. There should be! In big letters not only for the firemen to see but for the public.

The firefighters tried to get into the Applebee’s door which was locked. They quickly went around the building to the cafe, did their checks and as I pulled my car out of the parking lot I saw the firemen leaving. Thank god it was a false alarm.

Made me think about the terrible fire in the Bronx. 17 lives lost, many injured, you feel for the poor people who have their families, memories, place to live destroyed. I don’t like space heaters. Now you’ll probably say hey Eric, you live in an apartment building that provides good heat. You don’t need a space heater like so many do who are not as fortunate as you. In some closet in my apartment I have a radiator type device that I can pull out if it ever gets that cold in the apartment.

Frankly if it ever got that chilly I would pile on an extra blanket or extra layer of clothes before I would use the radiator type heater that has sat in my closet buried for at least 20 years. Who knows if it works? A friend of mine who is a firefighter years ago told me not to use space heaters. And never ever use your oven to warm up your apartment if the heat is down.

The apartment house I grew up in had those big heavy fire safety doors in the hallways. They were always supposed to be closed, but people would wedge them open. With fires in apartment buildings in the neighborhood over the years we learned to keep the fire doors closed and god forbid you have a fire in your apartment to close the door behind you.

How many of us have at least 1 frayed extension cord in our house or apartment. Or an overloaded extension cord out in the open someone can trip on and cause a fire. Or a smoke detector where the batteries have run out or that simply does not work. When we change the clocks we are supposed to check that the batteries in our smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are working. Be honest, do you really do it?

Fire departments across this country have great resources to help you make your house or apartment fire safe. Most will visit your apartment or house and offer suggestions that at little or no cost can keep you safe. Take advantage of all the resources that are out there. Invite the fire engine to your child’s school, or the fire department to your civic meeting. Firefighters are our friends. Yet for some reason if a child is in a fire statistics show they don’t know what to do and they hide under the bed thinking they will be safe. They must learn that is not the case.

A professional Fire Department is not cheap. But it is like health insurance or insurance for your car. You hope you never have to use your local Fire Department but it is there when you need their services.

Don’t be surprised if you have a medical emergency and a fire engine shows up before the ambulance. In a city like Yonkers with the excellent Empress Ambulance service serving our city there may be 2 or 3 ambulances on duty serving the entire city but we have fire companies with trained paramedics and EMT’s that can reach most points in the city within 4 minutes. Minutes count in many medical emergencies. And don’t let any politician tell you it’s not needed. And if the fire crew comes out on a medical call and does wonderful work, send a letter to this newspaper or the Journal News sharing your positive experience. And make sure to let the Mayor and City Council who allocate the funds for fire service know it to!

The poor people who lost their lives or lost their possessions will never get them back. We have to pray for those involved in the tragic fire in the Bronx and if your pocketbook permits, donate to legitimate charities providing for their needs. Young kids in the prime of their lives dying. People overcome with smoke still being treating in area hospitals.

But remember who you see carrying people out of burning buildings, providing treatment for those who need it and risking their lives as occurred last weekend, oxygen tanks depleted still running in to the fire to get people out.

Our Firefighters. They Truly are Our Heroes! Pray for their safety and for all those whose lives have been shattered at this horrible fire oh so close to home! They are New Yorkers. They came to this country to contribute to its success. We must take care of them in their time of need.

Hot Topics:

If there is a maintenance issue where you live bring it to the attention of the superintendent or maintenance man in charge of your building. In most cases they will be able to handle it but if not call the city, Town or Village inspectors and firefighters anonymously to report your situation.

Scarsdale has enacted a law prohibiting smoking in public places. So should all municipalities in Westchester. Nothing more disgusting than the other day when I was leaving Stop and Shop in Cross County with my food and a lady standing at the entrance to the store blowing cigarette smoke in my face.

It will be very interesting to see how the Biden administration is going to get 8 masks free of charge in the hands of every American over the next month. Remember skip the cloth masks and use a KN95 mask, N95 mask or other minimum 3 layer cloth mask!

If you don’t want to follow the medical advice of Doctors and those involved with protecting our country in this time of crisis, don’t criticize them if you don’t have their credentials

Looking for a clean restroom to wash your hands or use the toilet? There is an App for that! Restroom Finder, Flush, Bathroom Scout, and Sit or Squat are some of the online resources you can use. Don’t forget the 20 second hand washing rule.

My dad did not believe that men should use straws in their beverages. Don’t ask me why, but when I go to use a straw I always think that dad would not want me to do it. Mom did not like the color brown and never wanted me to buys pants or shoes in that color. In New York upon request they will give you a plastic straw but in New Jersey, all straws are now paper. And when you put a paper straw into the plastic lid of a cup, within minutes it disintegrates. Someone has to come up with a solution to this problem. Yes Starbucks has ‘sippy’ cups but before you leave the store make sure they put the little white disk over the whole or the drink will spill all over your car or bag.

I’ve been spending my evenings watching reruns of Betty White in Password and Match Game. So much better than the junk on TV nowadays. She will be missed.

Sidney Poitier. A groundbreaking actor! Dad liked ‘Lilies of the Field.’ I enjoyed as he did the song ‘Amen’ in the movie!

Looking for an uplifting movie? Catch American Underdog with Zachary Levi, Anna Paquin, and Dennis Quaid. Catch it in theaters or on any platform you can!

Reach Eric Schoen at thistooisyonkers@aol.com. Follow him on Twitter @ericyonkers. Listen to Eric Schoen and Dan Murphy on the Westchester Rising Radio Show Thursday’s from 10-11 a.m. On WVOX 1460 AM, go to WVOX.com and click the arrow to listen to the live stream or download the WVOX app from the App Store free of charge.



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