This year, daylight savings time starts at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 9th. When you turn your clocks ahead an hour, remember to replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Also, take a minute to check the age of your alarms. The Massachusetts Department of Fire Services wants to remind you that carbon monoxide (CO) alarms need to be replaced every 5-7 years and smoke alarms every 10.
Today’s firefighters do far more than fight fires. They are the first ones called to respond to chemical and environmental emergencies ranging from the suspected presence of carbon monoxide to a gas leak. They may be called to rescue a child who has fallen through the ice or who has locked himself in a bathroom. They rescue people from stalled elevators and those who are trapped in vehicle crashes. They test and maintain their equipment, ranging from self-contained breathing apparatus to hydrants to hoses, power tools, and apparatus.
At the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy they learn all these skills and more from certified fire instructors who are also experienced firefighters. Students learn all the basic skills they need to respond to fires and to contain and control them. They are also given training in public fire education, hazardous material incident mitigation, flammable liquids, stress management, confined space rescue techniques, and rappelling. The intensive, 9-week program for municipal firefighters involves classroom instruction, physical fitness training, firefighter skills training and live firefighting practice.
Starting with Class #200, the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy changed its training format from 72 students in an 11-week program to a smaller class size of 24 students that starts every three weeks. There are still 72 students on campus at any one time, but the smaller class size is expected to achieve time efficiencies without compromising learning, and in fact improve education with smaller student/instructor ratios.
Students receive classroom training in all basic firefighter skills. They practice first under non-fire conditions and then during controlled fire conditions. To graduate, students must demonstrate proficiency in life safety, search and rescue, ladder operations, water supply, pump operation, and fire attack. Fire attack operations range from mailbox fires to multiple-floor or multiple room structural fires. Upon successful completion of the Recruit Program all students have met national standards of National Fire Protection Association 1001 and are certified to the level of Firefighter I and II, and Hazardous Materials First Responder Operational Level by the Massachusetts Fire Training Council, which is accredited by the National Board on Fire Service Professional Qualifications.
Seconds Count in an Emergency! That’s why it’s important that your house is clearly marked for emergency personnel. Simply put, ensure that assistance coming from any direction is easily able to identify your house number.
- Protect your family and your property by having large visible house numbers.
- Firefighters, police officers, and paramedics will be able to find you faster when your home is properly marked.
- A visitor, child, or injured person may be unable to give clear directions and rely on your house being properly marked.
- Emergency personnel from a neighboring community may be unfamiliar with your area.
Use Large, Visible Numbers!
- The Office of the State Fire Marshal says “numbers need to be at least 4-inches in height and facing the street.”
- Put the numbers under lighting, and use numbers with a contrasting background so they will be visible at night.
- Attach numbers to the home and NOT a door. Doors can be opened which will make the markings no longer visible.
- If your driveway is long, also post your house number on BOTH sides of a mailbox or sign pole at the end of the driveway near the road.
- Be sure to keep the numbers visible by trimming trees and bushes.
Information obtained through Massachusetts General Laws C. 148, S. 59 & The Office of the State Fire Marshal.
The Human Resources Division is currently accepting applications for both components of the 2014 Firefighter, Municipal Service Examination. The Billerica Fire Department hires firefighters from the civil service list established from this examination. For more information or to apply for the exam, please follow the link below.
The kitchen is the heart of the home, especially at Thanksgiving. Kids love to be involved in holiday preparations. Safety in the kitchen is important, especially on Thanksgiving Day when there is a lot of activity and people at home.
- Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.
- Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
- Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay 3 feet away.
- Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
- Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
- Keep knives out of the reach of children.
- Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
- Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
- Never leave children alone in room with a lit a candle.
- Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.
Information provided by: NFPA and US Fire Administration