STOW, MA – “Most fatal fires occur at night when you are sleeping. Working smoke alarms give us the extra time to get out of a burning house. This weekend, as you change your clocks, check your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms,” said State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey.
“The pandemic is keeping people at home. Most children are learning at home, people are working from home and doing more cooking. Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and working smoke alarms are key to surviving a fire. This weekend is a good time of year to replace regular batteries in your alarms, to test them, and to check for their birthdates. If they are more than 10- years old, replace the entire alarm,” he added.
Replace Aging Smoke Alarms
“Smoke alarms, like other household appliances, don’t last forever,” said Chief Michael Newbury, president of the Fire Chiefs’ Association of Massachusetts. “Every ten years the entire alarm needs to be replaced, not just the batteries,” he added. “Prevent that annoying chirp of a dying smoke alarm by regularly replacing batteries and testing the alarms,” said Newbury. Carbon monoxide alarms usually need to be replaced after 5-7 years.
Replacement Alarms Should be Photoelectric With 10-year Sealed Batteries
The State Fire Code requires replacing expired battery-operated smoke alarms in older one- and two-family homes with photoelectric ones that have 10-year, sealed, non-replaceable, non-rechargeable batteries and a hush feature. Ostroskey said, “Fire officials hope that if we make smoke alarms easier for people to maintain, they will take care of them. We see too many disabled smoke alarms in fires when people really needed them to work.”
Time Is Your Enemy in a Fire
“Time is your enemy in a fire. Working smoke alarms give you precious time to use your home escape plan before poisonous gases and heat make escape impossible,” said Ostroskey. “Remember: smoke alarms are a sound you can live with.”
Newbury said, “No one expects to be a victim of a fire, but the best way to survive one that does occur is to have working smoke alarms and a practiced home escape plan.” In the average house fire, there are only 1-3 minutes to escape after the smoke alarm sounds. He added, “Take a few minutes to protect those you love by changing the batteries in your smoke alarms this weekend.”
Two hundred forty-eight (248) fire departments across the state have grant-funded Senior SAFE Programs. Seniors who need help testing, maintaining or replacing smoke alarms should contact their local fire department or senior center for assistance. Ostroskey said, “Almost half of the people who died in fires last year were over 65. We want our seniors to be safe from fire in their own homes.”
Halloween Safety during the Pandemic
Halloween activities can be fun but some can increase the risk of getting or spreading Covid-19. Check with your local government to find out what activities will be allowed and read the advice from the Mass. Department of Public Healthon celebrating Halloween during the pandemic.
The 2020 Fire Prevention Week theme has been announced: “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!” Start planning today by visiting www.firepreventionweek.org.
BREWSTER – At approximately 2 PM Thursday, a GMC Sierra pickup truck went off Harwich Road (Route 124) and went down an embankment into the woods. The driver reportedly told Brewster Police he did a round trip to New Jersey Wednesday and was returning from Bourne today when the crash happened. Brewster Fire and Rescue was called for an evaluation but the man declined medical attention.
At 10:42 p.m. on Thursday October 1 Brewster Fire/Rescue was dispatched to a reported structure fire at 49 Byfield Cartway. On arrival Squad 241 Captain Chad Foakes reported the fire involved a semi-attached gazebo located to the rear of the structure. Firefighters quickly stretched a 1 ¾ attack line and began to extinguish the fire. Car 231 (Chief Moran) arrived on scene and assumed command of the incident. All visible fire was quickly knocked down however firefighters had to conduct extensive overhaul of the wood frame structure to eliminate the potential for rekindle. All units were placed back into service at approximately 12:15 a.m. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
The Baker-Polito Administration recently allocated more than $9.6 million in federal Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program (CESFP) grants awarded to the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s Office of Grants and Research (OGR) from the U.S. Department of Justice. More than 100 local and state public safety agencies received this funding for additional resources to further aid in preventing, preparing for and/or responding to the Coronavirus.
With the award, Brewster Fire/Rescue will purchase a mask fit testing machine that will allow the department to conduct annual OSHA mandated fit testing of self-contained breathing apparatus facepieces and N-95 respirators. The remaining capital will be used to subsidize the disinfecting and deep cleaning of fire headquarters and department vehicles.
The Brewster Police Department will use their portion of the award to purchase portable air filtration equipment, additional personal protective gear, and to supplement disinfecting of the police station and vehicles. “These awards to municipal departments and state agencies across the Commonwealth demonstrate our commitment to providing our police officers, firefighters, and other public safety personnel with the necessary tools to effectively serve their communities while continuing to fight a pandemic,” said Governor Charlie Baker.
Eligible municipalities were invited to solicit up to $50,000 in total funding to benefit their police and/or fire department needs. In total, 65 fire departments and 44 police departments representing 94 cities and towns will directly benefit from the CESFP awards. “These grants will help aid local municipalities to purchase the additional safeguards necessary to protect our frontline workers against COVID-19,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Massachusetts has made great strides in slowing the spread of this virus, and we will continue to support our local heroes with the resources they need to protect themselves and their communities.”
Brewster Fire Rescue and the Brewster Police Department are grateful to the Baker-Polito Administration for the opportunity to apply for this competitive grant and for the awarded funding that will be used to support the health and safety of our firefighters, rescue personnel, and police officers as we continue with our response to Coronavirus related incidents.
HYANNIS – Governor Charlie Baker has named September as Emergency Preparedness Month in the Commonwealth.
Residents and organizations in Massachusetts will be encouraged to develop plans of action should a natural disaster or emergency situation impact the state.
The state will also highlight the work done by front line workers during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as a part of the campaign.
Brendan, a recent graduate from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is one of the newest members of the CapeCod.com NewsCenter team. When not on the beat, you’ll probably find him watching Boston sports.
STOW, MA – State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey reminds us that September is Campus Fire Safety Month. Massachusetts has a large population of college students that fire officials and college leaders want to be fire safe whether they live on-campus, in Greek housing, or in private off-campus housing. State Fire Marshal Ostroskey said, “Students come to Massachusetts to learn from around the country and the world, and not all of them have received the same great level of fire education in elementary and high school as our students do through the Student Awareness of Fire Education or S.A.F.E. Program.” With COVID-19 related issues, fewer students will be arriving this year, but fire officials want every student to be safe and live to graduate.
Make Fire Safety a Priority When Selecting Housing
The Department of Fire Services is joining forces with The Center for Campus Fire Safety, Boston Town and Gown Association, and the U.S. Fire Administrationduring the month of September to urge college students and their parents to make fire safety a priority when selecting housing, whether they live on- or off-campus.
Keeping College Students Safe in On- and Off-Campus Housing
State Fire Marshal Ostroskey stated, “We need the help of both students and their parents to make sure smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are still working and exits are still clear three months from now. If you’re old enough to live on your own, you’re old enough to take responsibility for the fire safety of everyone in the building.” Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms may be working on move in day, but disabled later by tenants, putting everyone at risk.
It Could Happen to You
In the last five years (2015-2019) there have been 3,019 fires in Massachusetts student dormitories, fraternities, and sororities, with two student deaths, five civilian injuries, five fire service injuries, and an estimated $1.4 million in damages. These tragic deaths occurred in substandard and illegal off-campus housing where there were no working smoke alarms, no working carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, and victims were trapped in rooms that had only one way out.
Ostroskey said, “Parents, talk to your adult children about fire safety, and look at their housing choices, especially if you are footing the bill. Contact the local fire department about any safety issues the landlord won’t address immediately, but don’t leave your child in a home without working smoke alarms for a single night.”
Best Roommates Evah! Smoke Alarms and Two Ways Out
In 2016, a group of fire chiefs, building officials, college safety officials and campus fire safety advocates met to share strategies for enforcing fire and building codes in off-campus housing. They launched a public awareness campaign about the importance of working smoke alarms and two ways out, called “Best Roommates Evah!” Go to www.BestRoommatesEvah.org for more information.
In a Fire Seconds Count
“In a fire, seconds count,” says Ostroskey. “Working smoke alarms can alert students to a fire before it spreads, giving everyone enough time to get out, if they have two ways out and a practiced escaped plan.”
“Remember says Ostroskey, “Best Roommates Evah! Smoke Alarms and Two Ways Out.”
On Tuesday September 1 at 1:25 p.m. Brewster Fire/Rescue was dispatched to assist a hiker who suffered a foot laceration while walking the trails in the Punkhorn section of Town. Due to a lack of cleared paths and overgrowth which limited their ability to reach the victim on foot, members of the fire department launched their Zodiac rescue boat from a landing on Seymour Pond. This enabled rescuers to quickly reach the victim who was found in the woods approximately 100’ from the southeast shoreline of the pond. Firefighters assessed and stabilized the injury and moved the patient back to the landing via the rescue boat where an ambulance transported the individual to Cape Cod Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
EASTHAM – Fire broke out in a garage in Eastham late Monday afternoon. Firefighters were called to the area of 95 South Sunken Meadow Road shortly after 5 PM. Because of multiple calls, mutual aid from Orleans and Wellfleet responded to the scene. No injuries were reported.
Eastham Fire tells Cape Wide News that they received a 911 call for smoke coming from a large, 2 story gambrel style garage. Police arrived soon after and reported a fire on the first floor with an apartment above.
Due to numerous calls going on at the time and the hot, humid conditions, mutual aid was requested. This brought the assistance of Orleans, Wellfleet, Harwich and Brewster with an ambulance from Truro.
Crews quickly knocked down the bulk of the fire but had a hard time exposing small pockets of fire in the walls and the upstairs apartment. Crews remained on the scene for approximately 2 hours until the fire was declared out. No injuries were reported.
The cause remains under investigation.