Athlone Town Council is commissioning a public art sculpture of John Count McCormack, the world famous tenor from Athlone, County Westmeath
Take care at Christmas
Christmas time is a great time of family and togetherness, but it can also be a time of tragedy. Most of us increase the chance of fire occurring in our homes by introducing such items as paper decorations, Christmas trees, temporary lighting and large amounts of wrapping paper and boxes, etc. The chance of a fire occurring is often further increased by larger than normal numbers of people in the home, and the inevitable consumption of alcohol.
Fire does not respect Christmas and it is a certainty that a family somewhere in Ireland, if not Westmeath itself, will have a serious fire over the festive season. These few simple precautions can dramatically reduce the risk of fire, particularly during the Christmas period.
Have your chimney cleaned before the holiday season. Most chimney fires occur when deposits of soot which have accumulated in a chimney are set alight by flames or sparks from an open fire. Most solid fuels produce some soot which will build up without regular cleaning.
We recommend that chimneys are cleaned at least twice a year, once at the beginning of the cold weather period and again in the new year. Do not rely on chemical cleaners, there is no substitute for a sweep’s brush.
Remember a chimney fire can cause damage to the flue and cracks through which sparks can travel and cause a fire elsewhere in the house.
If you have a chimney fire, please take the following advice
•Place a spark guard in front of the fire to stop hot soot from falling out.
•Gently pour water over the fire to extinguish it and keep a supply of water nearby.
Call the fire brigade (dial “999” or “112”).
•After a chimney fire have the chimney checked by a builder and carry out any necessary repairs
Other tips for open fires
•Always use a spark guard when a fire is left unattended.
•Use a properly secured fire guard when children are in the room.
•Do not place a mirror over a fireplace.
•Purchase a non-shedding tree. Check the tree for freshness before purchase, fresh needles will bend, dry needles will break. Needles should not fall off if you bang the trunk on the ground.
•As soon as you get home cut at least 25mm (1 inch) off the trunk, this exposes fresh wood. Immediately place the tree in a bucket of water and if you are not setting up the tree for a few days keep it outside standing in a bucket of water.
•Avoid placing the tree close to a fireplace or radiator. Be careful not to block a door with the Christmas tree or the re-arranged furniture.
•The tree should be mounted in a sturdy stand. The trunk of the tree should stand in a container of water and the water should be kept topped up. Tall trees should be secured at the top.
•Ensure lights comply with a safety standard (look for a “CE” or “BS” mark on the packaging as this will ensure that the lights have met some safety standards). Check lights for frayed or exposed wires. Do not attempt to repair a worn set of lights, replace them. Replace broken bulbs only with similar bulbs. Do not leave lights on for prolonged periods and always switch off lights at night and when leaving the area unattended. Always use indoor lights indoors and outdoor lights outdoors!
•Decorations should preferably be non combustible.
•Turn off the heat in the room at night to slow the drying out of the tree.
•Remove the tree as soon as possible after Christmas. It is recommended that the tree should not be kept indoors for more than two weeks. Dispose of the tree at a bring site/ recycling centre. Never burn a tree in a wood stove or fireplace.
•Artificial trees should be flame retardant, check the label, again check for the “CE” or “BS” mark on the packaging
•Place candles in a secure holder and locate them where they cannot be easily knocked over.
•Do not place candles on a Christmas tree. Do not go near a Christmas tree with any naked flame, lighter, matches or candles.
•Never leave lighted candles unattended and never place them close to combustible decorations or to curtains.
•Put tea candles and night lights on a suitable heat resistant container. Never put them directly on a combustible surface e.g. onto the television or table.
•Use a spark guard at all times.
•Never hang Christmas cards or decorations directly over a fireplace.
•Do not throw wrapping paper onto the fire.
Other Safety Tips
•A competent adult should fit toys, which are powered from the mains, with a safety plug.
•Do not overload sockets. Keep cables tidy and avoid a trip hazard.
•Only use certified outdoor lights outside. Use proper watertight connectors on outdoor lights. Secure outdoor lights against wind damage and locate light strings and power cables where pets cannot chew or become entangled in them.
Last thing at night
•Unplug lights and other electrical equipment
•Put a spark guard in front of the fire
•Check for any smouldering cigarette ends in furniture.
•Check the kitchen and switch off all appliances.
•Close all room doors.
As a final message, check your smoke alarms NOW !!. If you don’t have a smoke alarm, get one!
Westmeath Fire & Rescue Services would like to wish everyone a peaceful and Happy Christmas and a safe New Year.
Due to a burst watermain, customers in Garrycastle,Retreat,Old Dublin rd, Clonbonny,Fardrum,Irishtown,|Golden Island and surrounding areas will experience disruption to the water supply today 9/12/13 A water repair crew are currently on site carrying out repairs Westmeath Co Council apologies for any inconvenience caused by this disruption
Westmeath County Council
Westmeath County Council has introduced a text alert system to which members of the public can subscribe to receive text alerts in respect of Council services in their area.
This service is free.
In order to avail of the service, simply text either the word MULLINGAR or ATHLONE to 50124. Once you’ve subscribed you will automatically receive text alerts to your phone in respect of service outages, road closures, weather events that affect Council services.
- Subscribing to MULLINGAR covers the Westmeath North area.
- Subscribing to ATHLONE covers the Westmeath South area.
In the space of 24 hours, Nicola White’s book In The Rosary Garden went from unpublished manuscript to award-winning novel. Here’s how it happened… If you are lucky, your novel gets published. If…
check the library : http://goo.gl/IrnJfk
The former South African president died today at age 95. Remember him through his uplifting and revolutionary words.
RIP Nelson Mandela
- Blue Peter Best Book with Facts shortlist
- Marvellous Maths by Jonathan Litton & Thomas Flintham
- The World in Infographics: Animal Kingdom by Jon Richards & Ed Simkins
- Tony Robinson’s Weird World of Wonders: World War II by Tony Robinson & Del Thorpe
It all began with one of those impossible childhood questions when I asked him one day, ‘What does a tickle look like?’
Public vote to decide Costa short story award
Six short stories are being put anonymously to a public vote to decide the winner of the Costa short story prize 2013, which will be awarded next January.
All six of the 2013 shortlisted stories are available for the public to download from the Costa book awards website, and people have until Friday January 17, 2014 to cast their votes.