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Honolulu Fire Department Chief Manuel Neves gives kitchen safety tips for fire prevention week

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Warren County fire department makes history as all-female interior crew responds to call | Regional

WASHINGTON BOROUGH, N.J. – The Washington Borough Fire Department in Warren County, New Jersey made history last week when its first all-female interior crew responded to a call.

The department recently added three certified firefighters to its volunteer roster; all are women.

Destinee Hartrum, her cousin Stephanie Hartrum and Deanna Harrington said they didn’t plan to join at the same time but wanted to serve their communities. They have spent the better part of a year in fire school training to do so.

“There is over 100 years of fire service in my family, so I kind of felt like it was the right thing to do,” said Destinee.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, fewer than 10% of firefighters are female. Washington Borough Chief Dirk Higgins estimates that number to be even smaller in Warren County.

“We have the ability to have role models that we can showcase to young girls in our community and say ‘hey, you can be a fire fighter too,'” Higgins said.

Deanna Harrington said she spent about five years working in EMS before attending the fire academy. And that while some people in the community may be surprised to see a woman under the gear, the rest of the Washington Borough department is not.

“You hear of stories from other women from other parts of the country but here I’ve never felt treated differently. I just feel just another one of the guys, a fire fighter, you get treated with equal respect. They know you can do your job; you know they can do their job and that’s what really matters,” Harrington said.

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State Farm teams up with Saco Fire Department to serve up kitchen safety

SACO — The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and State Farm Agent Peg Poulin are teaming up with the Saco Fire Department to support Fire Prevention Week, an annual public awareness campaign promoting home fire safety.

State Farm Agents are delivering Fire Prevention Week toolkits to more than 2500 fire departments across the country, including Saco. Each toolkit includes resources for Fire Prevention Week — which takes place Oct. 4-10 — including brochures, magnets, posters and more. The Fire Department will be sharing these resources with schools and communities this fall in support of the campaign.

This year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen” focuses on cooking fire safety. Home cooking fires represent the leading cause of all fires with nearly half — 49 percent — happening in the kitchen. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of these fires.

“The good news is that the majority of kitchen fires are highly preventable,” said State Farm Agent Peg Poulin. “These great kits will help our fire departments spread the news to always stay focused when you’re in the kitchen and never leave the kitchen unattended.”

Key messages around this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign will include the following:

• Keep a close eye on what you’re cooking; never leave cooking unattended

• Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — at least three feet away from your stovetop.

• Be on alert. If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the stove or stovetop.

For more information about Fire Prevention Week and this year’s theme, “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen,” visit fpw.org.

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NTEC Receives Highest Honor for Exemplary Mining and Reclamation from US Department of Interior

NTEC chose to rework marginal, legacy reclamation sites to create a stable landscape, ultimately allowing the land to be returned better than they found it

FARMINGTON, N.M., Sept. 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Today, the US Department of Interior’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) recognized Navajo Transitional Energy Company (NTEC) for their exemplary mining and reclamation work at the Navajo Mine. OSMRE awarded NTEC the agencies highest honor for activities that went above and beyond reclamation requirements to achieve superior results.

NTEC is the steward of the nearly 33,000 acre Navajo Coal Mine on the Navajo Indian Reservation. Traditional piecemeal reclamation began at the mine in 1970. When NTEC, a Navajo-owned company, purchased the mine in 2013 they inherited failing reclamation and unstable landforms, much of which had already been relinquished from jurisdictional oversight. The company immediately saw an opportunity to go above and beyond to correct the situation and do more than required to create a stable, sustainable landscape that mimics the natural erosion and deposition process of the Southwest.

Specifically, one site had been reclaimed to the previous applicable standard and was unnaturally eroding, while another site was lacking soil to shape and fill the area. However, the existing site configuration didn’t allow equipment the access necessary to perform reclamation work. NTEC and Bisti Fuels (NTEC’s contract miner) applied a creative solution to remedy both situations and allow for a watershed reclamation method.

The limiting infrastructure included electric rail structures (necessary to move coal from the pit to the power plant) and a local access road. The Company removed electric rail overhead lines and purchased diesel locomotives, as well as relocated a portion of the road. The new road location served the dual purpose of providing locals safe passage during the weather events. The new

Interior Employees Raise Concerns After Department Celebrates ‘European Heritage Month’

The Interior Department celebrated European Heritage Month in August, an unusual move that has caused some employees to feel uneasy. 

Interior published an online monthly magazine as part of that celebration, which highlighted the history and accomplishments of various European cultures in the United States. While the same publication put out previous issues that focused on other groups such as LGBTQ and Asian Americans, the publication caused a stir among some employees who saw the celebration as insensitive and improperly promoting ideals related to white pride.

Employees at Interior said they could not recall Interior ever recognizing European Heritage Month previously, with one saying the department “made up their own commemorative month.” The publication was put together by the head of “special emphasis programs” at the Interior Business Center, though the magazine is labeled as a publication of Interior’s Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administrative Services. A division of Interior’s Office of Civil Rights, the department’s special emphasis programs website lists nearly a dozen events and groups as part of its observance policy and European heritage is not one of them. There does not appear to be any national recognition of August as European Heritage Month. 

Some Interior workers who were aware of the publication became annoyed and angry about it, one employee said. The message appeared to promote a “white lives matter” ideology, said the individual, who requested anonymity out of fear of retaliation, and was especially troubling “during a time of civil awakening.” 

Steve Carlisle, the editor of the magazine, told Government Executive he had no intention of making a political statement and did not want to “insult anybody or hurt anybody.” He said he and his colleagues gave “a lot of consideration” to the potential blowback of publishing the issue, but ultimately decided it was