Author: Katelyn Goddard

Swansea Fire Department Offers Cooking Safety Tips for the Holiday Season

Swansea Fire Department Offers Cooking Safety Tips for the Holiday Season

SWANSEA — Chief Eric Hajder and the Swansea Fire Department would like to provide safety tips to ensure residents stay safe while baking and preparing their holiday meals over the coming days and weeks.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day, the day before Thanksgiving, Easter and Christmas Eve.

This year, as many families gather after a hiatus in 2020 due to COVID-19, the Swansea Fire Department urges residents to consider taking precautions to limit the spread of the virus, including getting vaccinated or getting tested prior to gathering.

To prevent seasonal cooking fires, the Swansea Fire Department wishes to share the following tips from the NFPA so families can prepare holiday meals without the risk of danger:

  • Never leave anything cooking unattended.
  • The NFPA discourages the use of deep fryers for cooking turkeys, but those who do use one should do so on a flat surface outdoors and at least 10 feet away from structures, including porches. Turkeys should be completely thawed and dried before being placed in the deep fryer to avoid flare-ups.
  • Stand by your pan! If a grease fire starts in a pan, smother the flames by sliding the lid – while wearing an oven mitt – over the pan. If safe to do so, turn off the heat source. Do not move the pan, and keep the lid on until the fire is out and the pan is completely cool.
  • Stay home when cooking your turkey, and check on it frequently.
  • Keep children and pets away from the stove. Kids and pets should be kept 3 feet away from the stove.
  • Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee can cause serious burns.
  • 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.
  • Keep the kitchen and dining room floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags while cooking or handling food.
  • Test your smoke alarms and make sure their batteries are replaced if needed.

If you have any questions about cooking safety, please contact the Swansea Fire Department at 508-672-4305.


Swansea Fire Department Reminds Residents to Change Their Clocks, Check Their Alarms During Daylight Saving Time

Swansea Fire Department Reminds Residents to Change Their Clocks, Check Their Alarms During Daylight Saving Time

SWANSEA — Chief Eric Hajder and the Swansea Fire Department would like to remind residents to check their smoke and carbon monoxide alarms when setting their clocks back for daylight saving time this weekend.

Daylight saving time ends on Sunday, Nov. 7, at 2 a.m., and clocks will move back one hour at that time. 

During this time, residents are encouraged to check their smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to ensure that they are working properly and change their batteries if needed.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), three out of five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms (41%) or no working smoke alarms (16%). In fires in which the smoke alarms were present but did not operate, two of every five (41%) of the smoke alarms had missing or disconnected batteries.

The Swansea Fire Department also asks that all business owners not only change their clocks, but also change the batteries in their smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and replace the batteries on wall-mounted emergency lights and exit signs. All businesses should have emergency backup lighting as a safety feature to provide temporary lighting in case of power failure.

To keep residents’ homes safe and prevent fires or carbon monoxide poisoning, Chief Hajder recommends these safety tips from the NFPA:

  • Test all smoke alarms at least once a month, pressing the test button to ensure the alarm functions properly.
  • Smoke alarms with non-replaceable 10-year batteries are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. If the alarm chirps, warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away.
  • Alarms with any other type of battery need a new battery at least once a year. When you change your clocks, also replace regular batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
  • Smoke alarms have a shelf life of 10 years. Be sure to replace them after 10 years of use.
  • CO alarms should be replaced according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • If the CO alarm sounds, immediately exit the house or building and move outside to an area of fresh air, ensuring each person inside the home is accounted for. Then call for help and await instructions from emergency personnel.
  • Working with each member of the household, create and practice a home escape plan.

The Swansea Fire Department would also like to remind residents that carbon monoxide and smoke alarms are not interchangeable and should never be disconnected. The best practice for checking your carbon monoxide and smoke alarms is to do so monthly.

For more information on smoke and carbon monoxide alarm safety, visit the NFPA website or contact the Swansea Fire Department at 508-672-4305.


Swansea Fire Urges Residents to Consider Safety Tips and ‘Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety’ During Fire Prevention Week

Swansea Fire Urges Residents to Consider Safety Tips and ‘Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety’ During Fire Prevention Week

SWANSEA — Fire Chief Eric Hajder and the Swansea Fire Department are urging all residents to “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety” and to follow several basic tips to help protect their loved ones during Fire Prevention Week, which is being recognized this year from Oct. 3 to 9.

Fire Prevention Week is organized by the National Fire Protection Association, and has been recognized for over 90 years. The goal of Fire Prevention Week is to educate the public about simple but important ways they can keep themselves and those they live with safe.

This year’s theme of “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety” focuses on beeps, chirps and other noises coming from your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and how knowing what they mean could save your life.

Chief Hajder urges everyone to recognize these common sounds to help you and your family better understand smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

  • A continuous set of three loud beeps—beep, beep, beep—means smoke or fire. Get out, call 9-1-1, and stay out.
  • A single chirp every 30 or 60 seconds means the battery is low and must be changed.
  • All smoke alarms must be replaced after 10 years.
  • Chirping that continues after the battery has been replaced means the alarm is at the end of its life and the unit must be replaced.

The Swansea Fire Department also recommends that smoke and CO alarms meet the needs of all family members, including those with sensory or physical disabilities. The NFPA offers the following tips for those who are deaf or hard of hearing:

  • Purchase smoke and CO alarms that include strobe lights that flash to alert people when the smoke alarm sounds.
  • Pillow or bed shakers can also be purchased and linked to smoke and CO alarms to awaken people from their sleep. These work by shaking the pillow or bed when the alarm sounds.
  • The use of a low-frequency alarm can also wake a sleeping person with mild to severe hearing loss.

For more information on smoke and carbon monoxide alarm safety, contact Swansea Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Officer/Fire Inspector Captain Bruce Antone at 508-672-4305.

To learn more about Fire Prevention Week, click here. To learn more about home fire escape plans, click here.


Town of Swansea to Dedicate New Sept. 11 Memorial Located at Swansea Fire Department Headquarters

Town of Swansea to Dedicate New Sept. 11 Memorial Located at Swansea Fire Department Headquarters

Dedication Will Coincide With 20th Anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001 Attacks

The Town of Swansea’s new Sept. 11 Memorial, which includes two 11-foot lengths of steel rail recovered from the World Trade Center site.

SWANSEA — Fire Chief Eric Hajder would like to invite the community and members of the media to a dedication ceremony for the Town of Swansea’s new Sept. 11 memorial this weekend.

The ceremony will also serve as an opportunity to mark the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.

The memorial is centered around two 11-foot lengths of steel rail recovered from the World Trade Center site following the attacks, and also honors the lives lost at both the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania.

“It’s hard to believe that 20 years has passed since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, but it is important that we never forget the events of that day,” Chief Hajder said. “That is why it is so important to honor the lives lost that day with a permanent memorial that residents are able to see each and every day. We thank the members of our 9/11 Memorial Committee, in particular former Fire Chief Peter Burke, who put in countless hours to design this memorial and make it a reality.”


The dedication ceremony will be held on Saturday, Sept. 11 beginning at 1 p.m.


Swansea Fire Station #1, 137 Main St.

Those wishing to attend are asked to park in the rear lot of the Joseph Case Junior High School, 195 Main St.


Local town and state officials will be on hand, as will first responders from the Town of Swansea.


The Town of Swansea and the Swansea Fire Department will be unveiling and dedicating its new Sept. 11 memorial.

In early 2015, then-Swansea Fire Chief Peter Burke began the process of securing a section of steel from the World Trade Center site in hopes of constructing a permanent memorial in town. In May of 2016, a group of Swansea firefighters traveled to New Jersey to receive multiple lengths of steel recovered from the WTC site and return it to Swansea.

Shortly thereafter, a 9/11 Memorial Committee, consisting of active and retired Swansea Fire members, began informal meetings to explore potential sites and the design of a suitable memorial. The steel was secured at the Swansea DPW and displayed annually at the town’s Public Safety Day.

After exploring a number of locations, the committee agreed on Station #1 to house the permanent memorial. The committee met periodically to discuss design ideas in hopes of beginning construction in 2020. Progress on the design, stalled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, began again in earnest in the spring of 2020 with construction commencing in early summer.

What was initially a simple design quickly grew in size and scope resulting in a memorial that will be a fitting tribute to the four separate attacks that took place on Sept 11, 2001:

World Trade Center: The design centers around two 11-foot lengths of steel rail donated to the Town by the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. The rails, which had run beneath the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, were recovered from Ground Zero and made available to numerous public safety entities for display in remembrance of the 9/11 attacks.

Pentagon: The rails stand inside a raised limestone pentagon shape. This honors the lives lost at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia.

Pennsylvania: The memorial is centered on a base of Pennsylvania bluestone pavers. This honors the lives lost in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

A flag pole along with two bronze plaques describing the events of Sept. 11, 2001 will complete the memorial site. One of the plaques reads, in part:

“This memorial is dedicated to the 2,977 Men, Women, Children, members of the Military and First Responders who lost their lives on September 11, 2001 and to the brave men and women who continue to serve today. ‘We Will Never Forget.’”

The design was created by the members of the 9/11 Memorial Committee, including Joshua Coroa, a professional landscape architect who is also a former fire department member.


Swansea Fire Department Provides Severe Weather Safety Tips Ahead of Tropical Storm Elsa

Swansea Fire Department Provides Severe Weather Safety Tips Ahead of Tropical Storm Elsa

SWANSEA — Fire Chief Eric Hajder and the Swansea Fire Department are recommending that residents take the necessary safety precautions to prepare themselves for potentially serious storm impacts as Tropical Storm Elsa is forecast to impact New England late tonight into Friday.

Tropical Storm Elsa is expected to pass near/over southeast New England on Friday as a tropical storm. A Tropical Storm Warning is currently in effect for Bristol County, indicating that tropical storm-force winds are expected within this area during the next 36 hours. Damaging winds and power outages are possible where Tropical Storm Warnings are issued. The peak wind forecast for Swansea is 15-25 mph with gusts up to 55 mph.

A Flash Flood Watch is also currently in effect across much of southeast New England due to the potential for flash flooding caused by heavy rainfall.

Residents are reminded that the forecast can change quickly and at any point and they should monitor the local forecast throughout the day. Stay informed by receiving alerts, warnings, and public safety information before, during and after emergencies.

The Swansea Fire Department suggests that all residents follow tips provided by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) in the event of flooding:

  • Don’t attempt to drive through large puddles or on flooded roads, which could threaten your safety. Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and 2 feet of water can sweep your vehicle away.
  • If there is a chance of flash flooding, move immediately to higher ground. Flash floods are the number one cause of weather-related deaths in the U.S.
  • If floodwaters rise around your car and the water is not moving, abandon the car and move to higher ground. Do not leave the car and enter moving water.
  • Avoid camping or parking along streams, rivers and creeks during heavy rainfall. These areas can flood quickly and with little warning.

MEMA recommends purchasing a generator to maintain electricity despite an outage. Generators should always be kept outside since they emit deadly carbon monoxide fumes that can quickly accumulate if indoors.

Additional safety precautions residents should follow include:

  • Not going out during a hurricane or tropical storm, if possible.
  • Checking flashlights and portable radios to confirm they’re working.
  • Fully charging your cell phone, laptop and any other devices before the storm.
  • If you own a car, making sure its gas tank is at least half full in the event you need to travel. Purchase a car phone charger so that you can charge your device if you lose power at your home.
  • Ensuring that you have an emergency kit that has basic medicine and bandages.
    • Include disinfectants, hand sanitizer and other cleaning supplies that you may need in an emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Setting your refrigerator and freezer to their coldest settings (remember to reset them back to normal once power is restored). During an outage, minimize the number of times you open the refrigerator or freezer door.
  • Preparing your home by securing or bringing in outdoor objects (patio furniture, children’s toys, trash cans, etc.) that could be swept away or damaged during strong winds or flooding.
  • Being prepared by packing a bag with important items in case you need to evacuate. Don’t forget to include needed medications and any valuable personal belongings.
  • Being a good neighbor. Check on family, friends, and neighbors, especially the elderly, those who live alone, those with medical conditions and those who may need additional assistance.

After a storm passes through the area, residents should remain cautious. Heavy rain and strong winds can cause a multitude of problems like power outages, fallen debris and floods that often block roads and emergency vehicles, prolonging damage.

  • Call 9-1-1 to report emergencies, including downed power lines and gas leaks.
  • Stay away from downed utility wires. Always assume a downed power line is live.
  • If your power is out, follow MEMA’s power outage safety tips. Report power outages to your utility company. Do not call 9-1-1 to report an outage or to ask about power restoration.


Swansea Fire Department Shares Hot Weather Safety Tips

Swansea Fire Department Shares Hot Weather Safety Tips

SWANSEA — With extreme temperatures expected through Wednesday, Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director Eric Hajder would like to provide residents with the following hot weather safety tips.

Massachusetts is currently under a heat advisory. Temperatures are forecast to be in the mid-upper 90s for the first half of this week in most places. High temperatures, along with high humidity levels, are expected to result in a high heat index, which is the “feel like” temperature. Heat indexes are expected to reach between 98 and 104 degrees at times.

Temperatures are expected to reach the 90s in Swansea both Tuesday and Wednesday this week. To prevent illness and injuries, the Swansea Police and Fire Departments recommend the following safety tips from the American Red Cross and National Safety Council:

Heat Safety Tips:

  • Hot cars can be deadly. Never leave children or pets in your vehicle. The inside temperature of the car can quickly reach over 100 degrees, even on a 70 degree day.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, like water, even if you do not feel thirsty, and avoid alcoholic beverages, drinks with caffeine and large amounts of sugar—these actually cause you to lose more body fluid.
  • Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
  • If someone doesn’t have air conditioning, they should seek relief from the heat during the warmest part of the day in places like libraries, theaters, malls, etc.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays. Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher 30 minutes prior to going out.
  • Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day, which is typically around 3 p.m.
  • Postpone outdoor games and activities if the temperature is too hot.
  • Avoid extreme temperature changes.
  • Take frequent breaks if working outdoors.
  • Check on animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat. Make sure they have plenty of cool water.
  • Click here to learn to recognize and treat heat illnesses.

Additional Tips for Parents:

  • Limit playtime at peak sun exposure time and familiarize yourself with the signs of heat illnesses.
  • Avoid burns. If playground equipment is hot to the touch, it is too hot for your child’s bare skin.

To learn more about summer safety, visit the National Safety Council’s summer safety website here.


Swansea Police and Fire Departments Remind Residents that Fireworks are Illegal Statewide

Swansea Police and Fire Departments Remind Residents that Fireworks are Illegal Statewide

SWANSEA — With summer in full swing and the Fourth of July holiday fast approaching, Police Chief Marc Haslam and Fire Chief Eric Hajder would like to remind residents that the recreational use of fireworks in Massachusetts is illegal and violators will be arrested.

According to Massachusetts State Fire Marshal, fires started by fireworks increased by 180% in 2020 and complaints to local police departments increased significantly as well. This year, State and local law enforcement agencies will be ramping up their efforts to stop illegal firework use and sales in Massachusetts.

“Swansea Police will be conducting heightened beach patrols over the holiday weekend to ensure there is no illegal use of fireworks,” Chief Haslam said. “Our top priority is the safety of our residents, so we ask that everyone celebrates safely and responsibly this Fourth of July.”

The possession, use and sale of fireworks without a professional license is against the law in Massachusetts, and punishable by confiscation, fine or imprisonment. Fines range from $100 to $1,000, and some violations could carry a one-year prison sentence.

In order to cut down on residents purchasing fireworks in other states and transporting them back to Massachusetts, members of the State Police will begin targeted patrols along state lines to enforce fireworks laws.

According to the Massachusetts State Fire Marshal, between 2011 and 2020, there were over 900 reported major fires and explosions involving illegal fireworks. During that time span, 32 people were treated at Massachusetts emergency rooms for severe burns or other injuries from fireworks.

“Illegal fireworks use can cause severe bodily injury, property damage or destruction and even death,” Chief Hajder said. “Those who wish to see fireworks displays are encouraged to leave fireworks to the licensed professionals.”

Residents are encouraged to report any misuse of fireworks they notice in their community to the Swansea Police Department at 508-674-8464. In case of a firework-related or other emergency, always dial 911.


Swansea Fire Department Reminds Residents that Open Burning Season Will End on May 1

Swansea Fire Department Reminds Residents that Open Burning Season Will End on May 1

SWANSEA —Chief Eric Hajder and the Swansea Fire Department would like to remind residents that the 2021 open burning season will end on Saturday, May 1, at 4 p.m.

The Commonwealth’s annual burning period spans from Jan. 15 to May 1. Residents are able to burn brush, cane, driftwood, tree pruning and other forestry with a permit granted by the Swansea Fire Department.

Chief Hajder would like to remind anyone who plans to use the remaining days of open burning that they must call the Swansea Fire Department at 508-672-4305 each day after 9:30 a.m. to activate their permit if conditions are acceptable and burning is allowed.

Also, remember that open burning must be done at least 75 feet from all buildings, never leave a fire unattended and keep fire extinguishing materials handy while burning.

Chief Hajder would like to thank Swansea residents for their commitment to ensuring another safe open burning season this year.


Swansea Fire Department Recognizes Dispatchers During National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week

Swansea Fire Department Recognizes Dispatchers During National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week

SWANSEA —Chief Eric Hajder, on behalf of the Swansea Fire Department, wishes to recognize Swansea’s public safety dispatchers during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week.

During the week of April 11-17, public safety agencies take time to reflect on the critical role telecommunications professionals play in supporting first responders. The week, sponsored by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International, honors the thousands of men and women across the country who respond to emergency calls, dispatch first responders and equipment, and render life-saving assistance to residents.

Swansea’s Emergency Telecommunicator professionals are specially trained and handle thousands of calls for service every year. While their work is done outside of the view of the public, they are an essential resource for first responders and the public alike and serve as the first point of contact for members of the public seeking help in an emergency.

“I would like to personally thank all of our telecommunicators here in Swansea,” Chief Hajder said. “Our telecommunicators are invaluable assets as they are the first point of contact during an emergency. Without fail, our telecommunicators keep their calm and stay level-headed while providing the critical service of obtaining information from callers and then relaying it to first responders during an incident.”

About APCO International

APCO International is the world’s oldest and largest organization of public safety communications professionals and supports the largest U.S. membership base of any public safety association. It sponsors National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week each year.

It serves the needs of public safety communications practitioners worldwide — and the public welfare – by providing complete expertise, professional development, technical assistance, advocacy and outreach.


Swansea Fire Department Awarded State Grant for Safety Equipment

Swansea Fire Department Awarded State Grant for Safety Equipment

SWANSEA —Chief Eric Hajder is pleased to announce that the Swansea Fire Department is one of nearly 300 fire departments across the state to have been awarded a grant as part of the Department of Fire Services Fiscal Year 2021 Firefighter Safety Equipment Grant Program.

The $14,820 grant awarded to the Swansea Fire Department will be used to purchase two Rapid Intervention Emergency Air Supply packs (RIT-Pak) that are used as supplemental air supply for firefighters that are injured, lost or trapped.

We are grateful to have been awarded this grant, and would like to thank the Baker-Polito Administration and the Department of Fire Services for their continued support,” Chief Hajder said. “Grants such as this one provide us with the opportunity to use state funds to purchase safety equipment for our department, which in turn benefits our community.”

This program enables fire departments to purchase a variety of equipment that will make firefighters’ jobs safer. The $4 million awarded to departments statewide is part of a $25 million bond bill filed by the Baker-Polito Administration to support firefighter health and safety over the next five years.

Fire departments in Massachusetts were able to apply to this program for 114 different types of eligible equipment, including personal protective clothing, gear washers and dryers, thermal imaging cameras, assorted hand tools and extrication equipment, communications resources, hazardous gas meters, fitness equipment and more.

“Investing in the short-term and long-term health and safety of firefighters has been a hallmark of the Baker-Polito Administration,” said State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey. “I am grateful that we are able to continue supporting this initiative and make sure that firefighters not only go home safe at the end of every shift, but also that they maintain their health during and after their careers. This funding couldn’t come at a better time either. With the financial challenges that COVID-19 has brought to so many Massachusetts municipalities, this grant funding will mitigate critical budget gaps in many departments.”

A complete list of the awards by department can be found here.