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PR- 460-05
December 11, 2005


The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg’s weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, December 11, 2005

"Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

"Last week, the holiday season turned tragic for the Gaston family, when a fire ripped through their home in Elmhurst, claiming the lives of three of their children and an elderly man who was in the same building. But the most heartbreaking part of this story is that the blaze could easily have been prevented: It was started by a barbecue lighter that had found its way into the hands of one of the young Gaston children.

"Unfortunately, a senseless, avertable tragedy like that is an all too common occurrence during the winter season -which is easily the most dangerous time for fires in New York. Even though fire fatalities for recent years are at historic lows…the fact remains that the number of deaths typically doubles in the months between November and February. And more often than not, the factors behind those fatalities are the same: unattended candles… careless smoking… extension cords that are old or overloaded… and smoke detectors that have run out of batteries or never were installed.

"Our goal during the winter is to reinforce the message of fire safety that we spread throughout the year. By exerting a little more care and attention in our homes, we can prevent the horrible injuries and fatalities that sometimes turn what should be a time of celebration into a time of disaster.

"There are some very simple measures every family can take to reduce the risk of a fire this winter:

  • First…never leave candles unattended or near materials that can catch fire.
  • Second…if you use a space heater, make sure it is UL-approved and operating away from your furniture, bedding, curtains, or other flammable materials.
  • Third…if you have a live Christmas tree in your home, water it regularly - and throw it out as soon as it gets dry.
  • Fourth, and most importantly…make sure that there are working smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home. You can buy a combination smoke detector-carbon monoxide detector at most pharmacies and hardware stores.

"Those four simple steps can go a long way towards keeping you and your family safe this holiday season. But they are only the beginning. Additional safety tips are available on the Fire Department 's website, which can be found at, or at any one of our firehouses throughout the five boroughs. The FDNY produces education materials in a number of languages, including Mandarin, Urdu, Russian, Spanish, Yiddish, Korean and Arabic. You can also visit the Fire Zone at Rockefeller Center - the centerpiece of the City's prevention efforts -which is a fun and informative place to get the facts and learn everything you need to know to stay safe.

"When things do go wrong, you can count on New York's Bravest doing what they've been trained to do… but fire prevention begins with all of us in the home. A few minutes of caution are all that's needed for a season of safety.

"This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening - and have a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season."


Edward Skyler   (212) 788-2958

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