Norristown Fire Department receives improved Public Protection Classification rating

Norristown Fire Department receives improved Public Protection Classification rating

 NORRISTOWN, PA – The Norristown Fire Department is pleased to announce that effective September 1, 2016 for the first time in 40 years, the community Public Protection Classification (PPC) program has enhanced the municipality’s rating from a 4 to a 3, an improvement of one rating class.  The Municipality joins a distinguished list of only 116 out of 2400 fire departments in Pennsylvania and 3056 out of 48,000 fire department nationwide that have this distinct public protection classification. “This accomplishment directly reflects the commitment, compassion and professionalism members of the Norristown Fire Department display everyday”, said Fire Chief Thomas O’Donnell.

The evaluation completed May 2016 by the Insurance Services Office (ISO), a private firm, rates fire departments on a scale of 1–10, with “1” being exemplary. ISO provides information to insurance companies regarding property/casualty risk through a number of programs, one of them being the PPC Program. Improving the PPC from Class 4 to a Class 3 should favorably affect commercial and residential property insurance rates for all property owners in the municipality by helping insurers identify communities that invest in their firefighting services, “It will hopefully mean lower insurance premiums for some our home and business owners. We urge you to contact your insurance company today and apprise them of this new rating.” said Municipal Administrator Crandall Jones.

The evaluation focused on three main areas of the municipality: emergency communications, fire department and water supply.  In addition a community risk reduction section recognizes community efforts to reduce losses through fire prevention, public fire safety education, and fire investigation.  The PPC program provides a useful benchmark that helps fire departments measure the effectiveness of their efforts and plan for improvements.

For more information on the PPC program or rating please contact Fire Chief Thomas O’Donnell at 610-292-8281.

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Fire Marshal Sweeney Retires


Congratulations to Fire Marshal Charlie Sweeney on his retirement after 25 years of service as Fire Marshal and more than 40 years of service to the Norristown Community as a firefighter and Chief of the Department.

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A Busy 24

Norristown Firefighters along with numerous firefighters from the surrounding area tackled two house fires in less than 24 hours. The first fire in the 1200 Blk of Powell St came in around 11:45pm. Upon arrival, fire was already showing from the second floor windows and extending to the third floor. Firefighters also battled bitter cold temperature where the hydrants froze. Special thanks to Plymouth Community Ambulance, Narberth Ambulance and SEPTA for providing rehab and warming buses.

The second fire occurred on the 200 Blk of Haws Ave. Firefighters were able to contain the fire to a second floor bedroom.

Photos courtesy of Nozzle Nut Photography and Donna Benz

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Two Alarm Fatal Fire

It was a tragic day in Norristown as a young boys runs back into a burning home to find his father. Little did he know his father was able to escape the flames from a second floor window. Please remember to NEVER return to a burning building. Call 911 and let the firefighters handle the emergency with the proper equipment.

This scene played out on the 1000 Blk of Markley Street Friday morning. Norristown firefighters were met with flames coming from most of windows on the first floor. Numerous other firefighters, medics and police assisted at the 2 alarm fire in the searching for the young boy and in extinguishing the fire. Additionally, many other agencies assisted the victims, from the Red Cross to Red Paws.

Photos from Dave Jackson, Carmen Gambone

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Blizzard Safety Tips


With a Blizzard Watch issued for the Norristown Area, residents are urged to take “common sense” precautions to ensure their safety.
• Stay off the roads and park your car in your driveway to allow snow plows and emergency vehicles to pass.
• Clear fire hydrants in your area.
• Stay away from downed wires.
• Keep cell phones and other electronic devices charged.
• Have a battery operated radio and a flashlight ready in case of a power outage.
• When shoveling snow, dress warm in layers and avoid over-exertion.
• If you must drive, make sure your tires are properly inflated and windshield wipers are working properly.
• Keep your pets indoors.
• Check on elderly and infirmed friends and neighbors.
• Listen to the local radio or television news for weather updates and emergency notifications.
• When using a generator, place it outdoors and follow all manufacturers’ safety precautions.

Residents should Call 911 for police, fire and ambulance emergencies ONLY. To report a power outage or downed wires, call PECO at 800-841-4141.

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The Santa Express Rolls into Norristown

The Santa Express rolled into Norristown Saturday, and with the help of a bunch of elves from the Norristown Fire Department and the Norristown Eagles Football Team, smiles stretched across the faces of the Children of Norristown

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Thanksgiving Day Fire Safety Tip


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Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires. The average number of home fires on Thanksgiving Day is normally double the average number of fires in homes all other days. So help keep our community safe by sharing these safety tips:


• Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking – frying, broiling or boiling -  at high temperatures.
• Move things that can burn away from the stove. Turn pot handles toward the back so they can’t be bumped.
• Watch what you’re cooking. Use a timer when roasting a turkey or baking.
• Be prepared. Keep a large pan lid or baking sheet handy in case you need to smother a pan fire.
• Stay awake and alert while you’re cooking. If you see smoke or the grease starts to boil in your pan, turn the burner off.
• Prevent burns. Wear short sleeves when you cook, or roll them up. Don’t lean over the burner. Use potholders and oven mitts to handle hot cookware.

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  • Keep outdoor fryers off decks, out of garages and a safe distance away from trees and other structures.
  • Make sure the turkey is thawed and dry before cooking. Ice or water that mixes into the hot oil can cause flare-ups.
  • Watch the weather. Never operate a fryer outdoors in the rain or snow.
  • Place the fryer on a level surface, and avoid moving it once it’s in use.
  • Leave 2 feet between the tank and the burner when using a propane-powered fryer.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid overfilling. Oil can ignite when it makes contact with the burner.
  • Choose a smaller turkey for frying. A bird that’s 8 to 10 pounds is best; pass on turkeys over 12 pounds.
  • Never leave fryers unattended.
  • Purchase a fryer with temperature controls, and watch the oil temperature carefully. Cooking oil that is heated beyond its smoke point can catch fire. If you notice the oil is smoking, turn the fryer off.
  • Turn off the burner before lowering the turkey into the oil. Once the turkey is submerged, turn the burner on.
  • Wear goggles to shield your eyes, use oven mitts to protect your hands and arms and keep a grease-rated fire extinguisher close by.
  • Skip the stuffing when frying turkey, and avoid water-based marinades.
  • Keep children and pets away from the fryer at all times.
  • Once finished, carefully remove the pot from the burner, place it on a level surface and cover to let the oil cool overnight before disposing.
  • Opt for an oil-less fryer. This uses infrared heat, rather than oil, to cook the turkey.



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Norristown’s Newest Firefighter

Norristown’s newest career firefighter, Andrew Stiteler, was sworn in at the November’s Municipal Council Meeting by Council President Sonya Sanders. Andrew was a volunteer member of the Fairmount Engine Company No. 2 in Norristown and previously worked for the Pottstown Fire Department. The Norristown Fire Department congratulates Andrew and wishes him the best in his new career.

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FIDO Bags Donated to NFD


Firefighters Lee and Spitko and “Kindle” display the FIDO Bags donated by the Fetch Foundation to the Norristown Fire Department. The FIDO Bag’s program supplies firefighters with lifesaving tools to administer medical attention to your pets at the point of rescue. Our firefighters now have the tools to save ALL family members! The Norristown Fire Department thanks The Fetch Foundation for their generous donation.

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Teacher’s Guide

Sesame Street Fire Safety Program for preschool children

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More than half of child fire deaths are among children age four or younger – making them an important audience for fire prevention and education. If you’ve ever visited a preschool classroom to discuss fire safety, or have met with older toddlers during community outreach activities, you know they can be a tough crowd to reach.

That’s why the U.S. Fire Administration has collaborated once again with Sesame Workshop to update the Sesame Street® Fire Safety Program program for preschool kids. The program shows educators how to empower children ages 3–5 with essential fire safety information and skills that can make a big difference in case of an emergency.

The program includes easy-to-use lessons, games and activities to help reinforce important fire safety messages and show children what to do if there’s a fire and ways to prevent fires from starting. And children’s lovable, furry Sesame Street friends will help engage children each step of the way! By sharing this information while children are young, you instill lifelong fire safety habits!

The Sesame Street Fire Safety Program curriculum for preschoolers is available in both English and Spanish. The curriculum includes an educator’s guide for teachers, a CD of songs and stories, a family guide, a coloring and activity booklet, and a poster.

Teachers can order the kit by visiting:  http://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/ss_safety_program.html

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