From the Mayor: Need for Smoke Alarms and Hiring Reputable Contractors Among Important Home Safety Recommendations at Building Safety Day Print


Mary C. Marvin, Mayor, Village of Bronxville

May 22, 2019:  Led by our new building department supervisor, Paul Taft, the village instituted a Building Safety Day, which took place last Saturday on Palumbo Place. It was so well attended and residents found it so informative that we plan on making it an annual event.

Home safety, be it electrical, structural, water-related, or fireproofing, is critical not only to the well-being of your family but that of your neighbors. It is especially important in a village such as ours, where 40% of the residents live in multifamily units and one’s neighbor's unsafe remodeling could directly impact your home safety.

Some of the major takeaways from the event included:

  • The need for smoke alarms on every floor and inside each bedroom. They should be tested on a monthly basis.

  • Electrical cords should be regularly inspected and, if cracked or frayed, thrown away immediately. They should also never run under rugs or across doorways.

  • Carbon monoxide alarms should be outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home and tested monthly.

  • All emergency numbers and medical needs for everyone in your family need to be posted in an obvious place such as a refrigerator door or a bulletin board. This also helps the EMTs should there be an emergency.

  • Plan a location away from your home in the event of any fire or gas emergencies. By meeting at a designated point, it will become quite clear who is or is not safely out of the house. Also, have a plan as to pet rescue.

The importance of hiring a very reputable and skilled contractor is paramount to ensure the safety of any construction project. Issues to clarify with a prospective contractor include: 

  • Verify that the contractor is properly licensed for the work to be undertaken.

  • Check how many building permits the contractor has obtained in the jurisdiction in the past two years. This is important, as contractors familiar with local building code requirements and permitting processes always have a better understanding of the requirements. 

  • Require proof of general liability insurance and workman’s compensation insurance before signing documents.

  • Ask for a list of past clients.

  • Check whether subs will be involved and their competency, agree on a payment schedule, and designate a point person as the project supervisor.

  • Ask for a pre-project meeting with the building department so you are fully versed as to what building permits will be required. Permits are always needed, even for small projects if related to plumbing, electrical, and mechanical changes.

Aside from overseeing major construction or rehab projects, our building department also handles the day-to-day household needs as they arise.

The following were the most frequently asked questions at our Building Code Expo:

1. Do garbage and recycling need to be curbside? Garbage does not need to be at the curb but recycling does. The garbage men will come onto your property to pick up your regular garbage. Recycling needs to be brought to the curb by 7:00 am Wednesday morning. If you have scheduled a bulky waste pickup, the bulk items need to be curbside by 7:00 am on the day of your pickup (Thursday/Friday). 

2. What days do I schedule my bulky waste pick up? Bulky waste pickups are always scheduled for the second day of your garbage pickup. If you fall under the Monday/Thursday garbage pickup schedule, your bulk waste day is Thursday. If you fall under the Tuesday/Friday garbage pickup schedule, your bulk waste day is Friday.

3. Do you need a permit to take down a tree? If the tree is a privately owned tree, there is no permit needed to take down the tree. If the tree is a village tree and you think there is an issue, please contact the village.

4.  How do I report potholes/street lights that are out? Go to our website, www.villageofbronxville.comunder the public works link to report potholes and street light issues.

5.  Do I need to get a permit for a dumpster? If the dumpster is going on your own private property, no permit is needed. If the dumpster is going to be on village property, a permit is required. The application is on our website,, under the public works link.

6.  Who is responsible to maintain sidewalks? As a homeowner, you are responsible to maintain your property from your house to the street, including the sidewalk.

7.  How do I dispose of yard waste? Yard waste should be placed in biodegradable bags and placed at the curb. Bags of leaves cannot be mixed in with sticks and twigs. The sticks and twigs must be bundled/tied and put out separately.

8. Does the village pick up paint cans? The village picks up paint cans as long as the cans are completely dried out and the lids are off of the cans.    

Paul Taft, our building department supervisor, asked me to reaffirm small things that can often mean life or death in building safety. He encourages us to spend those extra $40 and buy the proper quantity of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. The potential benefits so far outweigh the costs. Last, put a number on your house and make it visible. When there is an emergency, time is of the essence and emergency vehicles are guided by the numbers.

Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff.