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Wayne Alarm: Be safe in your apartment

SAFETY TIP OF THE DAY

SPONSORED BY WAYNE ALARM AND HONEYWELL.

Apartment fire are much more common than we all might like to think, which is a little frightening to think about. Whether your residence is a single-family home or an apartment, it’s important to take the calm and proper steps that can save your life. The majority of fire are results of kitchen/cooking, heating equipments such as space heaters, and even arson which includes children at times playing with fire.

So you might ask yourself: Well, I live in an apartment. What can I do if I’m ever in this situation?

Performing a fire inspection and ensuring that everything is up-to-code can make a big difference. Here are some tips to ensure you are prepared and safe in case of any fire emergency:

Make sure all exit and stairwell doors are marked, not locked or blocked by security bars.
It’s very important to know the locations of all exit stairs from your floor level, in case you need to get out in an emergency.
If there are not a number of adequate working smoke detectors and fire extinguishers, contact your landlord.
If ever stuck inside your apartment and you can’t find any exit, try to stuff wet towels or sheets around the door and vents. This helps to keep the smoke out.
Here are some ways to ensure that you stay safe on a daily basis throughout your apartment:

Don’t leave cooking food unattended
Always ensure that your stove or oven is off if you’re not in the room or leaving your apartment. It’s also very, very important to never use your oven as a source to heat your home.
Make sure there’s a three feet distance with household combustibles from heating equipments: space heaters, fireplace, or wood stoves. In addition turn portable heaters off when leaving a room or going to bed.
Replace any worn electrical cords. Use power strips if additional outlets are needed.
If using an electric space heater, use a heavy-duty cord of 14-gauge wire or larger. Otherwise, avoid using one at all cost.
Test smoke alarms at least once a month.
Unless specified, don’t use electric space heaters in damp, wet areas.
It’s very important to always be aware of using the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.

In case you ever do find yourself in a fire:

Always check doors before opening them. If the door feels cool, open it slowly and stay low to the ground and leave the building as soon as possible. If the door is warm, use wet towels or beddings to seal the door and vets. Proceed to a window, and if there is no smoke outside, signal for help. If you are able to, call 9-1-1 and make them aware that you are trapped in the building.

Don’t ever use an elevator during a fire. Always use the stairs!

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Swampscott awarded for use of green power

SWAMPSCOTT — Swampscott has been recognized as a top user of green power, as only one of two Massachusetts municipalities to appear on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Communities list.

The town appears for the first time on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) list at No. 37, town officials said. Wellesley is the other Massachusetts town.

Swampscott is using nearly 17 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually, which represents 24 percent of its total power needs. Swampscott’s choice to use green power is helping to advance the green power market and support clean renewable energy alternatives, officials said.

“I’m extremely proud of the direction our town is taking to move toward a greener future,” said Naomi Dreeben, chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen, in a statement. “It’s exciting to not only see Swampscott gain this recognition, but more importantly that we’re leading the way. Swampscott is currently one of only two communities in Massachusetts to receive the designation.”

The town’s green power use is through the community’s electricity aggregation program, Swampscott Community Power. The program was developed with support from the consulting team of Bay State Consultants and Peregrine Energy Group, approved by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities in 2015, and the first electricity supply agreement to provide greener power to residents and businesses started in January 2016, officials said.

Let’s hear it for Jim Hughes

The program, a town electricity program that gives residents and businesses an electricity supply alternative to National Grid, while also helping to support the town’s sustainability efforts, provides 100 percent green energy and ensures that customers have choice because of a three-tier structure and transparency in the supply costs, officials said.

The community power program is an electricity aggregation, a form of group purchasing where a municipality selects an electricity supplier on behalf of its residents and businesses. The program impacts the electricity supply charges on their National Grid bill, officials said.

“Swampscott is proud to be recognized by the U.S. EPA for our green power use,” said Peter Kane, director of community development, in a statement. “Town Meeting members agreed with our desire to bring price-reliable electric supply in 2012 and we married that with the community’s focus on greenhouse gas reduction by developing the aggregation program.

“By making the choice to use clean, renewable energy, our community becomes more sustainable, while also sending a message to others across the United States that using green power is a sound business and community decision. It’s an important tool in reducing one’s carbon footprint in the fight against climate change.”

Green power is zero-emissions electricity that is generated from environmentally preferable renewable resources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, eligible biomass and low impact-hydro. Using green power helps build demand for the development of new renewable energy capacity nationwide and helps users reduce their carbon footprints, officials said.

Town officials cited stats from the EPA that shows Swampscott’s green power use of nearly 17 million kWh is equivalent to the electricity use of nearly 2,000 average American homes annually.

Power outage in Lynn

Wyoma Square and surrounding areas experienced a power outage Sunday. According to National Grid, the outage began at 8:46 p.m. due to a malfunctioning overhead power line and affected over 4,000 customers at its peak. Restoration was completed by 11 p.m.

Here comes the sun in Malden

COURTESY PHOTO
Pictured is a view of the solar energy panels atop the roof of Malden Catholic High School.

By STEVE FREKER

MALDEN — While many public and private schools have started or expanded programs with the notion of “going green,” Malden Catholic High School appears to be going all in.

Over the past six months, the 525-student regional, parochial school has transitioned to a more energy efficient, schoolwide lighting system and expanded its recycling system across campus.

Unveiled last Thursday by school officials and city leaders, the extensive solar energy system essentially covers the school’s roof and takes “green” to a whole new level.

With 1,512 solar panels, the rooftop system makes Malden Catholic one of the few schools in Massachusetts to rely on solar power for nearly all of its energy needs.

Malden Catholic officials expect to shave approximately $40,000 annually off the school’s $125,000 National Grid electricity bill.

The bill is about $125,000, but should be reduced to about $85,000 with the new system.

“We feel an obligation to our families, our donors and our community to act responsibly,” Headmaster Thomas Doherty said. “Installing solar has both environmental and financial benefits.”

Malden Catholic has signed a 20-year agreement with Solect Energy of Hopkinton, which will bill the school directly for power use. Doherty noted the contract will save the school the cost of rate hikes which may have been made by traditional power providers.

Congressman Moulton gets an earful in Lynn

Doherty said Malden Catholic is also expanding to an even more thorough recycling program. He announced the school has completed its conversion from print to a wholly-digital marketing system for its admissions and advancement operations. This change supports the school’s initiatives, while “minimizing the environmental impact,” he said.

Teachers also plan on establishing the solar energy conversion as part of their curriculum; this way, students can get a hands-on look at a substantial solar panel setup on the roof.

“Solar is environmentally effective, enabling us to be a good steward of natural resources and reduce Malden Catholic’s carbon footprint,” Doherty said. “Solar is also cost effective, enabling us to be a good steward of the financial resources we receive through tuition payments and through donations to the school.”

“From every angle, it’s the right thing to do,” he said.

Storm topples tree onto Swampscott home

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Power lines were downed after a tree fell onto a single-family home at 14 Roy St.

By GAYLA CAWLEY

SWAMPSCOTT A large tree toppled onto a Roy Street home on Tuesday afternoon, causing major damage to its front awning and roof, downing power lines and knocking out electricity on the street, but the residents weren’t injured.

Firefighters and police responded to the scene at 14 Roy St., shortly after 3 p.m.

Swampscott Fire Capt. Graham Archer said it looked like the tree may have been compromised, which may have contributed to it coming down, along with snow weight and wind from Winter Storm Stella.

“I guess the age of the tree and the wind brought it down,” Archer said.

Lester Otero, 35, said he lives there with his family of five, including his three children. He said he was home when the tree came down, and that it scared him and his family. He said they were waiting to learn whether they could remain there or would have to find somewhere to go for the night.

“Everything’s OK,” Otero said. “Nothing happened inside the house.”

Parking ban up at 12 a.m.; no school Wednesday

Archer said the tree caused structural damage to the single-family home. He said the roof and awning were taken out by the tree, but it didn’t appear to go through any part of the home. He said the side of the house, apart from the awning, was still intact, along with the rest of the dwelling.

“We do have the building inspector coming down for his assessment, but as far as we’re able to see, the house should still be able to be occupied,” Archer said. “The damage doesn’t look that bad.”

Gino Cresta, department of public works director, said about two hours after the incident that National Grid came and took the wires. The street was also opened up. He said DPW crews would be able to clean up the tree by Thursday, as they also have to work to clear out from the rest of the winter storm damage. He said it was a relatively healthy town tree that came down, but there had been no issues or complaints about it before.

The tree damaged several electrical services to homes, and knocked out power in the immediate area. Archer said he expected power to be restored within several hours of the crash.

In addition, Archer said the car in the driveway of 18 Roy St. was also heavily damaged, when the tree toppled on top of it. The residents, a couple living with their young son, declined to give their names or comment, but did say their car was the one damaged.

Jeremy Clay, 40, a neighbor, said he was upstairs in his home when he heard a pole crack. He looked out the window and saw it coming down.

“I just heard a loud crack here and then I heard some scratching and saw all of the wires coming down and hit the front of this building here,” Clay said about the Otero home.

He said the power went off, and predicted that it would be out for three days. He said the tree had been an issue before it came down.

“This tree is rotted out,” Clay said. “It’s rotted all the way to the center. It shouldn’t even have been there. I think the city should have cut it down before now.”

In Revere, no school Weds.; parking ban stays

Neighbor Belkis Cabrera, 59, said she was hoping the trunk of the tree could be moved so crews could fix the wires. Luckily, she said, the power outage wasn’t an immediate concern for her and her family.

“Our computers were charged and our laptops,” she said. “We’re watching movies for now. Thank God I cooked early because we have an electric stove, so I cooked early, being a grandma. It’s kind of scary because it’s dangerous.”

Earlier in Lynn, about a three-minute drive away, a large tree branch fell onto a two-family home at 26 Melvin Ave., puncturing the roof and going into the attic, according to Lynn District Fire Chief Tim Collier. The incident occurred around 2:30 p.m.

District Fire Chief Stephen Archer said two second-floor residents were home, a man and a woman. The first-floor residents were not home at the time, he said.

Stephen Archer said the building inspector was notified and the tree would have to be removed before a determination could be made on whether the building is habitable.


Gayla Cawley can be reached at gcawley@itemlive.com. Follow her on Twitter @GaylaCawley.

Are you experiencing a power outage?

SCREENSHOT FROM NATIONAL GRID
Pictured is a screenshot of National Grid’s Massachusetts Power Outage Map.

Update: As of 8:08 p.m., the map shows that power to the Salem area has been restored.

There appear to be some power outages in the North Shore area as of around 8 p.m. Tuesday. According to National Grid’s Massachusetts Power Outage Map at 7:53 p.m., crews are dispatched to the Salem area where they are approximately 42 customers affected. In Nahant, less than five customers are affected, the map says.