LACONIA — Fire Chief Ken Erickson says that the Laconia Fire Department would like to take this time to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
He also issued the following tips for Christmas tree safety.
It is that time of year when Christmas trees are brought into our homes. Christmas time is a wonderful time of year however it can also be very dangerous.
The Christmas tree is probably one of the most recognized seasonal symbols in the world. Unfortunately, a Christmas tree, if not properly cared for, can create a very dangerous fire hazard. Normally, Christmas trees are harvested starting in October. They are then transported throughout the country for sale to the public. By the time you purchase a tree and bring it home the tree could be several months old. Obviously if you cut your own tree it is as fresh as possible. However, once you place the tree indoors the drying process accelerates - Christmas trees must be watered daily.
It is a typical December with cold temperatures. The dew point though has been very low. That is the level of moisture in the air. Our homes are much dryer than normal. This means that a Christmas tree is losing moisture even faster. As soon as you get your tree home place it in a bucket of water. Let it absorb as much water as possible. Be sure you first cut the butt off so there is fresh wood exposed. Most good tree dealers will do this for you.
Every year there are thousands of home fires involving Christmas trees. Every year the damage is in the millions and 30 to 40 people will die in fires as a result of Christmas trees catching fire. Fortunately, the number of home fires related to Christmas trees is steadily declining. This is primarily because of awareness, early detection of fires, and the use of artificial trees.
Christmas trees are a very short term hazard and do produce a high proportionate loss. When a Christmas tree is ignited, the resulting fire is very hot and intense. Fire will spread rapidly and devour the room it is in just seconds. If the tree is near a stairway the fire will spread up the stairs in seconds preventing escape. Any person upstairs will not be able to come down this stairway.
Fortunately, there is an easy way to reduce the risk: water. A Christmas tree needs to be adequately watered every day. The moisture content of the needles will determine how fast a tree can be ignited and then burn. If a tree is baled after cutting this will help retain moisture. Once the wrapping is cut and the branches open up the tree will quickly start to dry out.
When picking a Christmas tree bounce the tree on the ground. If needles fall off then the tree is already too dry. After you pick your Christmas tree it is very important that you make a fresh cut on the bottom of the trunk. A straight cut is all that is needed. This allows water to travel up through the rings of the tree. Put the tree into a large stand as soon as possible. Keep the stand filled with water at all times. A large tree may soak up to 3 quarts of water per day; especially in the first few days when the tree attempts to rehydrate itself. It is very important to keep a tree adequately watered. If the tree dries out beyond a certain point, it will not rehydrate.
According to experts it is best to use plain ordinary tap water. There are a number of additives for sale that claim to reduce the flammability of Christmas trees. There is no evidence that validates these claims. The best solution is plenty of water. You may need to fill the basin 2 or 3 times per day.
Try to keep your tree away from doorways and stairways. Never place a Christmas tree near a fireplace or other type of heating unit. This will cause the tree to dry out regardless of the amount of water in the tree stand. Check your Christmas lights to make sure they are in good shape. If the wire is worn or frayed throw the lights away and buy new lights. Never use candles on or near a Christmas tree. Always put the lights out if you're leaving the house and before going to bed.
After Christmas remove the tree as soon as possible. It will definitely be dried out by then. Store the tree away from the house. Never store it in the garage, in the basement, or on the porch.
Please heed our advice and you and your family will have a safer holiday season.
Last Updated on Thursday, 19 December 2013 11:34
TILTON — The NH Community Development Finance Authority (CDFA) has approved awards to fund five planning grants for community development projects around the state. The feasibility studies, funded by the federal Community Development Block Grant program, will allow local officials to assess the likelihood of success for these job creation and public facilities efforts.
"Planning grants are intended to offset any cost to local taxpayers for conducting feasibility studies for potential Community Development Block Grant projects," said Kevin Flynn, Communications Director for CDFA. "These include activities from market or income surveys to engineering evaluations of failing infrastructure."
The planning grants approved include:
· $12,000 to the Town of Tilton to explore the feasibility of adding ten new manufactured homes at the Gaslight Village Cooperative. The study will also examine recommended improvements to the existing water supply and whether the co-op's wastewater distribution system can be tied into the town's system. The facility's water infrastructure is more than 50-years-old and is leaking.
"All of these planning studies will help the projects determine whether they'd qualify for a future CDBG grant. Municipalities could receive up to $500,000 in federal funds from HUD to implement the work," said Flynn.
Other objectives of CDBG planning study grants are to determine whether at least 51% of the intended beneficiaries will be of low or moderate income. Eligible activities include income surveys, preliminary architectural and engineering design, cost estimates, and market analysis.
Last Updated on Thursday, 19 December 2013 11:20
GILFORD — The Arthritis Foundation bestowed to Dr. Jonathan Lee the Major Gift Leadership Award at its annual meeting on November 22 in Nashville, Tennessee. The award is among the Arthritis Foundation's prestigious volunteer awards that honor those who have made major contributions to the Foundation's mission and values.
Dr. Lee, an Orthopaedic Specialist with Advanced Orthopaedic Specialists (AOS), a department of LRGHealthcare, secured a $1 million gift for the Arthritis Foundation to fund a grant that could revolutionize future treatment for osteoarthritis and ignite a new era in drug discovery.
The $1 million donation was given by Drs. Henry and Marsha Laufer, long-time friends of Dr. Lee who also have backgrounds in science and technology. The Laufers each have osteoarthritis (OA), and were familiar with Dr. Lee's previous research using MRI to study worsening arthritis in guinea pigs.
"It was a perfect confluence of things coming together," says Dr. Lee. "Henry and Marsha wanted to learn more about the Foundation's goals and priorities. We had this very compelling ACL initiative that dovetailed so well with my previous research and needed funding, so it was easy for me to call them and share my excitement about it."
Dr. Lee asserts that the space between the Foundation's goals and the contributions needed to achieve them shortens when there is an understanding of the potential for achievement. "We need more people who are equally willing to understand our goals, to appreciate what it will cost to achieve them, and to provide the support that will enable the subsequent, necessary steps to take place," emphasized Dr. Lee.
The study will use MRI technology to look at ACL tears in the knee, a major risk factor for developing OA, and potentially discover tools and treatments to detect and reverse OA before symptoms ever appear. This could alter the course of the disease, preventing thousands of cases of post-traumatic arthritis that are diagnosed each year.
The Arthritis Foundation is committed to raising awareness and reducing the unacceptable impact of this serious and painful disease, which can severely damage joints and rob people of living life to its fullest.
Last Updated on Thursday, 19 December 2013 11:11
LACONIA — Prescott Farm is kicking off its Winter Program series on Saturday, January 4, 2014. Snowshoe Fitness Walks, Adventure Hikes and Sledding Parties are just some of the programs being offered.
Every Saturday from January 4th through February 8th these programs will take place. Snowshoe Fitness Walks begin at 9 a.m. and are faster/fitness paced for adults. Snowshoe Adventure Hikes start at 11 a.m. and are slower paced for all ages. Sledding Parties begin at 1 p.m.
Full Moon Snowshoe Walks will be held on Thursday, January 16 and the other on Friday, February 14 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Programs that require snowshoes, snowshoe rental is included in the program fee. Members of Prescott Farm get a free snowshoe rental.
"If you have never tried snowshoeing, Prescott Farm is the perfect place to start," says Kimberly Drouin, The farm's Director of Marketing & Administration. The groups are small and the staff are great. They take the time to help you get started and make sure you have the best experience possible.
Registration is required for all of the programs and they fill up quickly. To register for one or more of these programs call 366-5695. For more information about these programs including pricing, please visit www.prescottfarm.org.
Last Updated on Thursday, 19 December 2013 11:04
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