Interesting and applicable Public Service Announcement...
From the Office of the State Fire Marshal • www.mass.gov/dfs • (978) 567-3380
to the Professionals
Enjoy supervised professional fireworks displaysLocal fire departments supervise fireworks displays all over the Massachusetts. Unfortunately, children and adults continue to set off illegal fireworks that start fires and cause serious injuries to themselves and others.
Fireworks can be deadlyA 45-year old Gloucester woman died in a December 22, 2003 house fire when someone threw fireworks and ignited a Christmas tree in the living room. Three other people were injured. On May 20, 1997, a 26-year old man from Watertown was killed while he was lighting fireworks in a hallway. A 27-year old Framingham man was killed on July 4, 1993, when backyard fireworks exploded in hisface. On July 4, 1992, fireworks fatally injured a 30-year old man on a Fairhaven beach.
All fireworks are illegal in MassachusettsThe possession and use of all fireworks by private citizens is illegal in Massachusetts. This includes Class C fireworks which are sometimes falsely called “safe and sane fireworks.” Class C fireworks include sparklers, party poppers, snappers, firecrackers, spinners, cherry bombs and more. Sparklers burn at 1800ºF.
It is illegal to transport fireworks into Massachusetts, even if they were purchased legally elsewhere. Illegal fireworks can be confiscated on the spot.
Do not purchase fireworks through mail-order or online catalogsThe distribution of mail-order catalogs that clearly state that fireworks are illegal in some jurisdictions cannot be prohibited. State and local police regularly confiscate illegal shipments of fireworks into Massachusetts. Many unhappy consumers have lost both their money and the fireworks trying to circumvent the law.
Set a good example for childrenChildren imitate adults. If you use fireworks, children will copy you, not realizing how very dangerous fireworks are. Sixty percent of fireworks-related burn injuries reported by hospitals to the Office of the State Fire Marshal in 2013 were to children under age 18. Over one-quarter (27%) of the victims were children under age 10.
Fires caused by fireworks
In the past decade (2004-2013) there have been 802 major fire and explosion incidents involving illegal fireworks reported to the Massachusetts Fire Incident Reporting System (MFIRS). The incidents caused 14 civilian injuries, two fire service injuries, and an estimated dollar loss of $2 million, which is high considering most fireworks fires are outdoor brush fires.
Burns caused by fireworksIn the past decade (2004-2013), 49 people were treated at Massachusetts emergency rooms for severe burn injuries from fireworks (burns covering 5% of more of the body) according to the Massachusetts Burn Injury Reporting System (M-BIRS). Seventy-two percent of the victims were children and youths under age 25. These victims are scarred for life.
Fire officials give advice for safe home heating in frigid weather
By Edward Damon, North Adams Transcript
NORTH ADAMS -- Local fire officials are offering advice on ways Northern Berkshire residents can stay safe and warm this winter.Chimney fires, freezing pipes and carbon monoxide are some of the dangers local fire officials identified.
North Adams Fire Director Stephen A. Meranti said Thursday the city fire department responded to 10 chimney fires last winter."If you have the proper installations, most chimney can sustain a chimney fire," he said. "But after a fire, it has to be clean and inspected by the building department. ... We've had chimney fires in the past that have extended into the house." Burning seasoned wood -- that's been left out for about a year -- will prevent creosote buildup that could cause a chimney fire, he said. "If you're installing a woodstove into your house, a building permit should be applied for," Meranti said. A three-foot area around a heating source, like a fireplace or space heater, should be kept clear, he said. New space heaters now turn off when they are accidentally tipped over, he added. But there's still a lot of old space heaters out there that people pick up at tag sales," Meranti said. "And an electric space heater should always be plugged directly into an outlet, not an extension cord."
Adams Fire Chief Paul Goyette said having a licensed professional service a furnace can prevent dangerous situations. "We respond to furnace blowbacks because they haven't been serviced," he said. "Some people can't afford to have a licensed professional to come in and do that." Goyette also reminded residents to check batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. "We're in the time of year when people take the batteries out of the devices so they can put them in their children's new toys," he said. "Then they forget to put them back in."
Meranti warned against using blowtorches to defrost frozen pipes, which he said could catch cobwebs or even insulation on fire. Hair dryers can be used, he said, as long as it isn't left on unattended. When in doubt, homeowners should call a licensed professional, he said.
Carbon monoxide detectors typically last between five and seven years, Goyette said, and a beep every 30 seconds may signal it needs to be replaced. Manufacturing dates are printed on the back, he said.
Meranti noted that property owners are responsible for the installation and maintenance of both smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Vents for home furnaces, hot water heater, and dryer vents should be kept clear of snow to prevent flue gases from backing up into the home and causing carbon monoxide poisoning, Meranti said. "If you're do lose power and you running a generator, run it outside, not the garage or basement," he said. Meranti also warned against plugging a generator into a wall outlet. The practice, known as "backfeeding," can cause an electrocution risk to utility workers. Instead, plug an appliance directly into the generator, he said, or use a heavy-duty, outdoor rated extension cord. "If you do lose power, consider going to a relative or friend's house who does have power," he added.
Other tips that Meranti offered include adopting a fire hydrant in front of your home to clear during a snow storm and making sure house numbers are visible from the street.
Beat the Beep: Replace Aging CO Alarms – They Don’t Last Forever
Carbon monoxide (CO) alarms have been required in nearly every residence since March of 2006. The life expectancy of carbon monoxide alarms is 5-7 years, depending on the alarm manufacturer. Many CO alarms installed after the state’s CO law was passed are now reaching the end of their useful life and need to be replaced. No home appliance lasts forever.
The life of a CO alarm begins once it is first powered up. Most CO alarms have a date of manufacture stamped on them, which can be used as a guide if the activation date was not recorded.
To learn more about your CO alarm, contact your manufacturer for more information.
Signs the CO Alarm Needs Replacing
One of the signs that a carbon monoxide alarm has reached the “end of life” stage will be a “chirping” that does not stop until the unit is powered off. For models with a digital read out, it will have an “ERR” or “EO9” or “END” message. Another sign could be if it makes the low battery signal even after brand new batteries are installed. That’s the main reason behind the Beat the Beep campaign.
Beat the Beep - Don’t Go Without Protection from the Invisible, Odorless Killer
The purpose of the Beat the Beep campaign is to alert families that their CO alarms may be reaching the end of their lifecycles and should be replaced BEFORE the beeps indicating end of life. This also provides better protection against possible CO poisoning and reduces the number of false alarms to local fire departments and emergency service providers.
Many Lives Saved by “Nicole’s Law”
Since Nicole’s Law took effect in 2006, we know of many people who have been saved from CO poisoning. The CO alarms notified them that something was wrong at the earliest possible stages with low levels of CO detected. There have still been deaths from CO poisoning, but in most cases those homes had no CO alarm installed yet.
The new custom department T-shirt designed by Dave Lennon has been finished and has been sent to Bob Callahan of First Call out of Gilford, NH for proofs.
Shirts will be navy blue with a one color representation consistent with work shirt logo (company or FD) on the left chest. The back will have a two color, white and red custom design featuring the Mt. Greylock War Memorial.
Sign up sheets for both the t-shirts and polos are posted downstairs and will remain up until Wednesday August 7 (day after August's meeting).