SFD fall roundup: Dryer fire extinguished, state grant to reduce cancer risks, improved CPR equipment, safety tips and more

by beth on December 12, 2019

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Above: Southborough firefighters posted many of their activities on Facebook to keep the community informed this fall.

Yesterday, I shared an update of what Southborough Police have been up to over the last few months. It’s time to take a look at their brethren (and new roommates) the Southborough Fire Department. Here’s what the SFD has been up to this fall.*

According to Fire Chief Steven Achilles between September 1st and today, SFD personnel have responded to 417 emergency incidents. Their busiest day was Thursday, October 17 with 10 responses. (Looking back, there wa an overnight storm leading into that day with massive winds resulting in a lot of downed tree limbs.)

This week, the SFD responded to a fire in town. Chief Achilles shared:

We responded to a residence on Main Street this past Monday (December 9) in the late afternoon for a dryer fire. The fire was called in by the resident. Crews arrived to find a fire in the basement and smoke coming from windows and doors. A first alarm was transmitted. Thankfully, the fire was quickly extinguished with a hose line from the fire engine and did not extend out of the laundry room. Westborough Fire assisted. Of note, working smoke alarms alerted the homeowner, she immediately called 911, and we arrived early to extinguish the fire.

Recently, the SFD was excited to about new equipment to help them save lives in medical emergencies. They posted:

Lucas Device (from Facebook)SFD has placed in to service it’s first LUCAS device! Studies have found that proper, continuous & uninterrupted chest compressions during CPR on a cardiac arrest patient is vital in survival rates. The LUCAS device automatically provides uninterrupted chest compressions at a consistent depth and proper rate, even while moving the patient. Another huge benefit of the device is that it frees up providers and reduces fatigue, maximizing our limited staff to provide other vital advanced care, greater increasing the chances of survivability.

Of course, doing their jobs often puts firefighters themselves in jeopardy. As I posted yesterday, Southborough public safety officials lined up on 495 last month to show respect for a fallen firefighter:

Respect for fallen firefighter (from Facebook)members of the Southborough Fire Department, Southborough Police Department, and Ted’s of Fayville, Inc. paid respect to fallen Worcester Firefighter Lt. Jason Menard while his motorcade passed on their way to Boston. Please keep Lt. Menard’s family, friends, brother and sister firefighters, and the city of Worcester in your thoughts on this incredibly difficult day.

A story in Wicked Local this week reminds that there are also long term risks that responders face from fighting fires. They are too frequently exposed to cancer-causing chemicals. The article revealed that the SFD was one of 174 departments to receive a state grant to help reduce those risks. It specified that the SFD was awarded a $2,415 grant for purchasing Turnout gear:

The Firefighter Turnout Gear Grant program will provide firefighters in 144 departments with new hoods and gloves for structural firefighting activities. These items will reduce exposure to cancer-causing chemicals in the head and hand areas, which are high-risk areas for dangerous chemicals to enter the body. In total, approximately 3,000 hoods and 3,000 pairs of gloves will be purchased with the $500,000 from this program.

“Replacing old and damaged turnout gear is a financial challenge for most every department in the Commonwealth” said State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey. “These grant awards will ensure that a significant number of firefighters have access to hoods and gloves that will effectively protect them from exposure to dangerous contaminants, and that is one of the best things we can do for them to reduce the risk of a future cancer diagnosis.”

Chief Achilles filled in more details for MySouthborough readers on how the SFD will utilize funds:

contributed image for SFD hoods to be purchasedWe will be purchasing firefighting hoods for all career and call members that provide thermal and particulate protection; reducing burn injuries as well reducing exposure to cancer causing agents. This is an upgrade to current hoods we have. FYI – hoods are worn under helmets, around SCBA masks, and tucked in under collar of firefighting coats.

You can read more details on the state’s announcement in Wicked Local here. (If it makes you concerned that the department didn’t get money under the other grant for cleaning equipment, don’t worry. SFD’s need was covered by equipment installed as part of the new facility.)

Before the first big snow storm this season, the SFD shared some safety tips. Those include avoiding carbon monoxide problems, avoiding injuries/health problems while shoveling, ensuring your car is winter-ready. You can check out those tips here.

On the lighter side, last week, Southborough firefighters combined a cooking event for seniors with important safety tips:

SFD cooking and safety class (from Facebook) for seniorsThis morning we hosted a cooking safety class for our seniors and the Southborough Senior Center. We are fortunate to have an amazing chili cook FF Scott Navaroli to help bring a crowd. Always a fun way to interact with our amazing community.

Over Halloween, the SFA held its annual Costume Parade. They shared a couple of photos from the costume contest, including what appears to be the big winner.

*Today’s roundup is just covering news that I didn’t already share earlier this fall. For previous Fire and Police news, click here.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Re: Lucas December 13, 2019 at 2:38 PM

I’ll say! When I attended CPR training, one of the first things they instructed us to do is to get any bystander to watch you and prepare to relieve you from doing the compressions. The cadence was to follow the beat of the Bee-Gee’s Stayin’ Alive. If you can visualize John Travolta walking down the street in Saturday Night Fever, that’s how fast it has to be! It IS tiring! We had to do it for only 5 minutes to get an idea of how strenuous it can be. The training also stated someone needed to call 911 immediately, even though you’re doing the compressions.

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