Radon Detection Canisters Available

The Bernards Township Health Department has radon detection canisters available for Chester Borough residents in single-family homes who would like to test their homes for radon gas. The kits are $10 each, and must be picked up at their office at 262 South Finley Avenue, Basking Ridge, NJ.

Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that comes from the breakdown of naturally occurring uranium in soil and rock. Radon gas moves up through the soil and finds its way into homes through cracks in the foundation and openings through pumps, pipes, and drains. Studies have shown that prolonged exposure to radon may cause lung tissue damage in a way that can eventually lead to lung cancer. Any home might have elevated levels of radon even if neighboring homes do not. Testing your home is an easy method of detecting high radon levels, and homes with high levels can be mitigated. Winter is the best time of year for testing radon since it is heating season and all windows and doors are closed.

For more information, contact: ckomline@bernards.org or call (908) 204-3069 or click here.

Openings on Chester Borough Commissions

Chester Borough has openings on the following committees / commissions. Open to Chester Borough residents only.

Shade Tree Commission
Board of Health
Library
Water Resources and Sewer
Environmental/Open Space

If you are interested in serving on any of these committees, please contact Mayor Hoven at jhoven@chesterborough.org

There are also openings on the Recreation Commission. If you are interested, please contact Recreation@ChesterBorough.org

Gas Safety Tips from PSE&G

With the arrival of frigid weather, PSE&G offers tips to help you stay safe from carbon monoxide poisoning, stay warm and save energy.

For safety’s sake: remember that carbon monoxide (CO) is odorless, tasteless and can be deadly. CO poisoning is more common in cold weather when fuel-heating appliances are in use.

  • The first line of defense against CO poisoning is to make sure all fuel-burning appliances operate correctly and are maintained properly. These appliances include furnaces, water heaters, ranges, space heaters, and clothes dryers. Improperly vented fireplaces and charcoal grills can also give off CO. Never use ovens or clothes dryers to heat the house.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors. CO alarms can provide an early warning before CO builds up to a dangerous level. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends placing a carbon monoxide alarm in every area of your house or business. If just one alarm is installed, it should be placed near the sleeping areas of the house. Check the batteries regularly.
  • Do not allow vehicles, snow blowers or any gasoline-powered engine to idle in a garage, basement or any enclosed space. CO can drift into the living space and create a hazardous situation.
  • Be prepared: In your mobile phone, program the emergency service line of your natural gas provider. PSE&G’s emergency service line is 1-800-880-PSEG (7734).
  • If you think high levels of CO are in your home or business: Go outside! If there is a medical emergency, such as someone falling unconscious, get the person outside to fresh air and call 911. Then call PSE&G’s emergency service line. Wait outside, or go to a neighbor’s home, until help arrives.
  • Symptoms of poisoning include headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. Symptoms can occur immediately or gradually after long-term exposure. People who are sleeping can die from CO poisoning before ever experiencing any of these warning signs. It affects people of all ages, but infants and children are even more susceptible than adults.

Stay warm and save energy:

  • Lower your thermostat by just one degree, which may reduce your heating bill by up to 3 percent. Save even more by lowering your thermostat 2 degrees during the day when you are home, and 5 to 10 degrees when you are away and at bedtime, if health conditions permit.
  • Change thermostat batteries once a year, or when the low battery indicator appears on the digital display.
  • Close fireplace dampers when not in use.
  • Move furniture and drapes away from heating registers, radiators, and baseboard element covers. Open any register or baseboard dampers.
  • Open your curtains and blinds that face the sun on sunny days to warm your home, and close them at night to keep the warm air inside.
  • Use weather stripping or caulk to seal up cracks and prevent drafts in windows and doorframes. Beneath doors, install draft guards available at hardware stores.
  • Visit PSE&G’s Home Energy Toolkit at pseg.com/toolkit. You can calculate the energy efficiency of your home and find out how to save energy and money on appliances and heating systems.

DEP safety tips on burning wood

DEP OFFERS TIPS ON REDUCING POLLUTANTS AND SAFETY THREATS FROM BURNING OF WOOD DURING COLDER MONTHS

TRENTON – With colder weather and the holidays approaching, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin reminds residents to practice safety and take steps to reduce the impact burning of wood has on air quality in their homes and neighborhoods.

“Burning of wood – whether in fireplaces, wood stoves, or outdoor wood boilers – can help reduce energy costs and add a cozy ambience to any home as the weather turns colder,” said Commissioner Martin. “But wood burning also emits small particles and other air pollutants that can be significantly reduced with some common-sense practices, better protecting your health as well as your neighbors’ health and creating the climate for a safer and more enjoyable season.” For some people, even short-term exposure to wood smoke can aggravate lung or heart conditions. Children, teen-agers, older adults and people with lung diseases such as asthma and COPD, or heart conditions are most susceptible to the effects of wood smoke.

The DEP recommends following these guidelines for burning wood at home:

  • Allow wood to season before burning it. Seasoning means allowing the wood to sit outdoors for at least six months. Seasoning allows moisture to evaporate from the wood, making it burn more efficiently Seasoned wood is darker, has cracks in the end grain and sounds hollow when smacked against another piece of wood.
  • Use a wood moisture meter to test the moisture content of wood. Wood burns most efficiently when its moisture content is below 20 percent.
  • Stack wood neatly off the ground with the top covered to protect the wood from rain and snow. Store wood that is to be used in the house a safe distance from fireplaces or stoves.
  • Start fires with newspaper and dry kindling and keep them burning hot.
  • Regularly remove ashes to ensure proper airflow.
  • Never burn garbage, cardboard, plastics, wrapping materials, painted materials or pressure-treated wood in your stove or fireplace.
  • Keep anything flammable – including drapes, furniture, newspapers and books – far away from any wood-burning appliance. Keep an accessible and recently inspected fire extinguisher.
  • Have chimneys cleaned annually by a certified chimney-sweep. Nearly seven percent of homes fires are caused by the buildup of creosote in the chimney. These fires can spread extremely rapidly, and are often signaled by flames leaping from the chimney or a low rumbling sound reminiscent of a freight train or airplane.
  • Consider using an indoor air HEPA filter in the same room as a stove or fireplace. These filters can reduce indoor particle pollution by as much as 60 percent.
  • State regulations and some municipal ordinances prohibit the emission of visible smoke from outdoor wood boilers. Wood boilers heat a fluid that is circulated in homes and buildings for heating purposes. Under state regulations, these boilers may only emit visible smoke for three minutes every half-hour to allow for start-up.

If you plan on burning wood as a major way to heat your home this winter, the DEP recommends upgrading to a U. S. Environmental Protection Agency-certified wood stove or fireplace insert. The newer equipment will reduce air pollution and is much more energy efficient.

For more information on wood burning in New Jersey, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/baqp/woodburning.html

For more on the EPA’s Burnwise program, visit: http://www.epa.gov/burnwise/

Flu Shot Clinics Offered for Boro Residents

The Bernards Township Health Department has scheduled five dates for 2016 Seasonal Flu Shots in October. All clinics are open to those 4 years old through adults and no appointment is needed.

Four clinics will be held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on:

  • Wednesday, October 12th at St. James Church, 184 S. Finley Ave. in Basking Ridge;
  • Thursday, October 13th, at the Mendham Area Senior Housing (MASH) located at One Heritage Drive in Mendham;
  • Friday, October 21st at the Peapack-Gladstone Municipal Building, 1 School St. in Peapack; and
  • Saturday, October 22nd at the Bernards Township Community Center, 289 S. Maple Ave. in Basking Ridge.
  • The fifth clinic will be held from 3:30 pm to 5:30 on Tuesday, October 25th at the Bernards Township Community Center, 289 S. Maple Ave. in Basking Ridge.

The cost of the flu shot is $25 for residents and $30 for non-residents; they are also available for no charge for those with a valid Medicare Part B card. Participants should consult with their doctor before receiving the flu vaccine. Clinical services are provided by the Visiting Nurse Association of Somerset Hills.

Parents should note that New Jersey law requires that children up to 59 months of age attending any licensed child-care center or pre-school facility, must receive at least one dose of influenza vaccine between September 1st and December 31st of each year.  To assist parents in obtaining this vaccination for their pre-school child, the Bernards Township Health Department has scheduled our Seasonal Flu Shot clinics to include children who are age 4 and older in addition to administering flu shots to adults.

For additional information, call the Bernards Township Health Department at (908) 204-2520.

The Bernards Township Health Department is the contractual health agency for Bernards Township, Bernardsville Borough, Chester Borough, Long Hill Township, Mendham Borough, Mendham Township, and Peapack and Gladstone Borough.