First responders share safety tips at National Night Out

Volunteers from the Grand Island Fire Company demonstrate the truck for a young visitor.

Sat, 06.08.2022 07:00 a.m

By Alice Gerard

The fire engines at the National Night Out held on Tuesday drew a lot of attention. People of all ages were eager to get a look inside the fire trucks, and members of the Grand Island Fire Co. were on hand to facilitate the tours.

According to Dominique Brennan of the Grand Island Recreation Department, the event “has grown in size over the years. It went really well. The community enjoyed the cover band KISS.”

City Recreation Director Joe Menter said the event, organized by the city’s Road Safety Advisory Board, was a good event. “Kids like the fire engine, the school bus and the police.”

The event, which honored Grand Island’s first responders, featured a variety of activities. These activities included a concert by Wicked Lew’sers (Grand Island’s KISS cover band), various groceries for sale, and an art activity provided by the Orange Poppy Art Studio. In addition to the fire brigade, several first aiders were also represented at the event with exhibits. They also gave safety tips to the public.

Mike Paternostro of the Grand Island Police Department mentioned the recent rash of car break-ins on Grand Island. “First of all, lock your car doors and don’t leave the key inside. If you are not at home, leave a house light on. If you see a potential problem or anything suspicious, call the police. Don’t wait until it’s too late.”

Erie County Deputy Sheriff Brad Ballantyne added: “Don’t leave anything of value in your car, especially here on Grand Island. It amazes me that people leave all these things in an unlocked car.”

As a member of the K-9 unit, Ballantyne answered the question people often have when they see a police dog. “When you see us, always ask if you can pet the dog. There are two types of police dogs. Single purpose dogs only perform detection (drug detection or bomb sniffing) and can pet them. The rest of the dogs are dual-purpose dogs. They are detectors and patrol. They track and catch bad guys. Don’t pet these dogs. They don’t know what these dogs perceive as a threat.”

Ballantyne’s dog, Deimos, is a 4-year-old German Shepherd. The dog not only works with Ballantyne, he also lives with him. “He’s like a family member.”

Deputy Sheriff Brad Ballantyne and his canine companion Deimos.


New York State Trooper James O’Callaghan said when you’re driving your car, the most important thing you can do to stay safe is “buckle your seat belt, don’t drive while distracted, and don’t speed.” These are the three main causes of all collisions and fatal accidents.”

Omar Sortino, deputy chief of the Grand Island Fire Co., shared some tips for keeping people safe from fires. He said people should maintain working smoke detectors. You should test the detectors and replace the batteries twice a year. “Always keep an eye on the cooking. Don’t overload your electrical system. Do not use extension cords for high-power devices such as B. Air conditioners, space heaters and some fans. Don’t use a flashlight if your pipes are freezing. Do not pour water on an electrical or grease fire.”

He also suggested putting the Grand Island Fire Co. phone number on the fridge and programming the number into your cell phone. That number, 716-773-7508, is the fastest way to reach the fire department, he said.

Although Relay For Life and the American Cancer Society are not considered first responders, event co-chair Lynn Dingey had a recommendation for everyone. “We recommend that everyone gets their screenings. The earlier they detect the cancer, the greater the success of the treatment.”

Hybrid Defense’s owner, who identified himself as Sensei Derek Staubitz, was there to offer people a chance to practice “a few punches and a few kicks.” He teaches self-defense using a combination of karate and an Israeli technique called Krav Maga. “It’s designed to help people protect themselves in their community, at home and, when necessary, in the military at war.” It’s a very simple system that can be learned in six weeks. It is fun. It’s great for getting energy out and relieving stress. It’s good for kids and anti-bullying, about when we should hit and when not.”

When asked if old people can do martial arts, Staubitz said, “If you can climb a flight of stairs, you can easily do martial arts. It’s great for your joints, it’s great for your muscles and it’s great for your longevity.”

Those interested in classes at Hybrid Defense can call Staubitz at 716-807-5372. “We’ll arrange free private lessons so you can get to know me a little, I can get to know you, and then we can just go into group classes.”

The dunk tank, which drew crowds, featured city dignitaries ready to be dunked in a pool of water. According to Councilman Tom Digati: “Someone has to do it, right? We’re just motivating the community to get out there and have fun. All proceeds from the dive tank go to the Neighbor’s Foundation.”

Beth Boron, Board Member of the Neighbors Foundation, said: “Our goal is to reach more people. So anything we can do to reach more people and help more people, we’ll do whatever it takes.

Cheryl Chamberlain, an economics teacher at Grand Island High School, is dunked into the dip tank in grand style.

Grand Island KISS cover band Wicked Lew’sers performs at the town pavilion.

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