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Vol. 2 • No. 1 • November 2003

What's new for November 2003

Cold Weather: Keep Warm and Safe

The ABC's and More oF Skin Surveillance

Spouse/Partner Outreach Forum




With the cold weather, we retreat to our homes for warmth and comfort. Keep your home environment safe for you and your family. Here are a few tips:

Carbon Monoxide can be an unseen danger. Every home needs a carbon monoxide detector as well as a smoke detector in the house. Check the batteries to ensure that these detectors are functioning properly.

Since carbon monoxide is both colorless and odorless. Levels can build up causing illness and even death. Check heaters such as your furnace, gas water heater or portable heaters for leaks.

It’s fun to prepare special recipes and sit by a warm fireplace, but make sure your stove and fireplace are properly vented. Before you throw anything into the fireplace, think about the fuel source. Treated woods, painted woods and printed papers can be toxic. Do not heat your house with a gas oven. Generators should not be run in an enclosed space.

Space heaters require special caution. Make sure that they are not too close to walls, draperies or combustibles. Be careful with children crawling or running near these heat sources. Newer models have automatic shut off and timers that give added safety to these devices. Remember kerosene space heaters are illegal in New York City. UL rated extension cords must be used. Make sure they are not frayed or worn.

Place fire extinguishers on each floor of your home and in the kitchen. Make sure to use an all-purpose extinguisher in the kitchen so it can be used on grease and electrical fires. Keep them out of the reach of young children.

Use the indoor winter months to practice home fire safety. Create your home fire escape plan, marking all doors and windows and the location of each smoke alarm. If windows or doors have security bars, equip them with quick-release devices. Review the plan with your family. Get them involved in making that plan. Locate two escape routes from each room and mark them on the plan. Choose a meeting place a safe distance from your home and draw it on the escape plan. Create your escape plan now.

It's never too soon to teach fire safety education to your children. Children should know how to exit a fire immediately. Teach them not to hide in closets or under beds. Discuss the home escape plan, which exits to choose and how to stay low and go. Remind all your family members to get out and never go back for pets and belongings.

Candles create a festive environment and set the mood for fun. Unfortunately candle fires continue to be a growing problem. Never leave a candle burning unless you are in the room. Be cautious with candles near children. Decorations can be become fuel for fire in a moment when candles are burning.

Keep your home environment cleaner and safer by making it a smoke free space. Getting rid of cigarettes and cigars keeps the air fresher , the occupants safer and everyone much healthier.
Keep your home and your family safe this winter. Protect your most precious assets, your family and loved ones.

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Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer. More than one million people in this country this year will be diagnosed with some type of skin cancer Fortunately it is the most curable, especially if caught early.

The best way to find skin cancers early is to keep an eye on your skin, especially moles. The ABCDE rules can help you remember what to look for when you are checking the moles on your skin. If you notice any of these signs, talk to your doctor right away.

The ABCDE rules for signs of skin cancer are:

A: for ASYMMETRY: a mole that when divided in half doesn't look the same on both sides.

B: for BORDERS: a mole with edges that are blurry or jagged

C: for COLOR CHANGES: in the color of a mole including darkening, spread of color, loss of color or the appearance of multiple colors such as blue, red, white, pink, purple or gray.

a mole larger than ¼ inch in diameter (larger than the head of a pencil)

a mole that is raised above the skin and has an uneven surface.

These rules can help you as you examine your skin. Sun exposure remains a risk factor, so avoid sun and wear sun block. When you examine your skin look at the sun exposed as well as the less exposed areas of your skin, even your toes and webspaces. Don't assume because you have had a mole for a long time that it must be fine.

Take the time to look at your skin and the skin of your family members. Early detection saves lives.

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Spouse / Partner Outreach Dates

Come to The Other Side of the Firehouse's Spouse/Partner Outreach Forum and meet others who love and live with firefighters as well as listen to guest speakers examining topics relevant to you and your family's health.

In November, come find out about the help that is available to firefighters and how the Counseling Service Unit can better serve you and your family.

In January, February, and March we focus on teen drinking, children issues, and couples' dynamics. We will also examine coping with stress, depression, and anxiety in order to increase personal wellness.

The topics for April and May will be determined by your suggestions !

All counseling and public education services are provided free of charge. Project Liberty is funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Center for the Mental Health Services. This series is presented in collaboration with the IAFF, UFA, and UFOA.

Please RSVP prior to each meeting so we can be sure to accommodate everyone:

Jason Leahey


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Service Connected injuries that require treatments, specialized testing, physical therapy etc require an authorization prior to treatment. Members are advised that when they obtain authorization(s) for treatment, they must present the authorization to the vendor before treatment is rendered.
Keep in mind that authorizations must be submitted with the bill from the vendor. Vendors who fail to submit authorizations with bills risk substantial delays in Compensation payments.


This issue of Health Connections represents the 1st anniversary of the newsletter issued by the Bureau of Health Services (BHS) in collaboration with the Counseling Services Unit (CSU). We are very interested in hearing comments about prior issues or ideas and suggestions about topics for upcoming editions. Health Connections is issued monthly. Please submit any ideas to:

Mary McLaughlin
Director of the Bureau of Health Services


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Dr. Kerry Kelly
Chief Medical Officer

Dr. David Prezant
Deputy Chief Medical Officer

Malachy Corrigan
Director, FDNY CSU

Mary T. McLaughlin
Director, FDNY BHS

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