Fire Marshal Issues Cold Weather Fire Safety Warning

Fire officials issued a fire safety warning as we enter a weekend of extremely cold weather, perhaps the coldest in years. “This weekend will tax our heating and electrical systems as we try to stay warm, so a little caution can help you make you it safely through the extreme weather,” said Gloucester Fire Chief Eric Smith.

Make Sure Smoke Alarms and CO Alarms are Working
“One of the simplest steps for safety you can take is to make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are working. They will give you the earliest possible warning that something is wrong so you can escape safely,” said Chief Smith.

“Keep thermostats set at the lowest comfortable temperature as furnaces may struggle to keep the house warm; wear warm clothes and put an extra blanket on the bed,” said Smith. “If you run out of oil, or lose power, consider going to the home of a friend or relative who has heat rather than relying in alternative heating sources,” he added.

Space Heaters
“Cold snaps like this is when we tend to see space heater fires and one of every seven space heater fires in the past five years has caused a fire death,” he said. “Space heaters need space, so use them in a 3-foot circle of safety, free of anything that can catch fire.” He added, “Space heaters are not designed to replace your central heating system, they are only designed to provide a little extra heat on a temporary basis. So be sure to turn them off when you leave room or go to bed at night.”
Overloaded extension cords cause many space heater fires. It is best not to use extension cords with heat producing appliances, but if you must, make sure it is rated for the same wattage as the appliance and use only one.


Wood, Coal and Pellet Stoves
“Already this winter heating season we have had numerous serious fires from the improper disposal of ashes from fireplaces, wood and pellet stoves,” said Smith. “A single ember can remain hot for days, so put ashes in a metal container with a lid away from the house, the garage, the deck,” he added. Several recent fires in the State started with ashes put into plastic bags, cardboard boxes, and plastic trash bins, in the garage, or under the deck.

“Don’t over fire your woodstove this weekend. An overtaxed woodstove can easily start a chimney fire taking advantage of creosote build-up or minor cracks in the flue or causing a breakdown in the chimney liner,” said Smith. Heating appliances are the leading cause of carbon monoxide in the home and the risk increases when they are working harder. For more information go to

Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
“Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is a great risk at times like these,” said Smith. “Using propane or charcoal grills or generators inside the garage – even with the door open – poses a serious risk of CO poisoning,” he warned. For the same reason, never use a gas oven for heat.

Generator Safety
Use generators outdoors away from windows, doors and vents with the exhaust pointed away from the home. Don’t use them inside the garage, basement or partially enclosed areas no matter how well ventilated. Never plug a generator into a wall outlet. This practice known as “backfeeding” can cause an electrocution risk to utility workers and others served by the same transformer. Plug appliances directly into the generator or use a heavy-duty outdoor-rated extension cord. Make sure the entire cord is free of cuts or tears and plug has all three prongs including the grounding pin. Fire officials recommend placing the container on the ground to avoid any static electrical charge igniting vapors.

Gasoline should be stored outside the home in small quantities in approved containers. Remember to allow equipment to cool before refueling to prevent vapors from ignited.

Clear Snow from Furnace and Dryer Vents
Keep outside furnace, hot water and dryer vents clear of drifting snow, to prevent flue gases from backing up into the home and creating a carbon monoxide hazard.

Clear Snow from Vehicle Tailpipes
Last winter, two children from Boston died from carbon monoxide while sitting inside a running vehicle where the tailpipe was clogged with snow. Doctors from the Boston Public Health Commission have created an educational video on CO poisoning that addresses this particular risk. (

Use Flashlights and Battery-Operated Candles
Use flashlights and battery-operated candles for safety. If you must use flame candles, remember to burn them inside a one-foot circle of safety free of anything that can burn. Place them on a non-combustible surface or in the sink; blow them out when you leave the room or go to bed; and use jar candles or place a globe over stick candles. Keep pets and children away from candles.

Prevent Freezing Pipes
Let water drip a trickle to prevent pipes from freezing and open cupboards under sinks to let heat circulate around the pipes.

Consider Going to a Shelter to Charge Up Cell Phones for Emergency Calls
Many people may lose the ability to make emergency calls when cell phone batteries and the battery-backup for fiber optic telephone/cable/Internet services become depleted. “I would urge people without lights and heat to consider staying with friends and family have power or go to an emergency shelter for a short while, even if it’s just to charge up cell phones, get a hot meal and warm up,” Coan said.

For more information on safety go to click on fire safety topics then Storm Safety or

Sunbathing ~ Seal Style!

Seal Brace Cove Gloucester ©Kim Smith 2014Seals Sunbathing in Winter at Brace Cove

I counted a half dozen seals having a rumpus of fun sunbathing  on the rocks at Brace Cove this past week. They were clearly enjoying themselves–all that blubber must keep them well-insulated against the frigid air temperatures!

Seal Brace Cove Gloucester  -- ©Kim Smith 2014.3Seal Brace Cove Gloucester -3 ©Kim Smith 2014.

Beautiful Black and White Kitty Lost from Old Penzance Road Neighborhood

My friend Michele writes that her kitty escaped last night and has not returned. She lives on Old Penzance Road in Rockport. If you have seen this sweet little black and white kitty, please comment in the comment section or email me at Her family is very worried. Thank you.


Ocean Alliance Looking For Some Dough

Hey Joey!

We’re back in the Ocean Alliance office at the Paint Factory, working on raising money to start work on the second brick building this year. Anyone is welcome to stop by and have a look at the work so far, the offices are generally open 9-5. Lots of exciting projects and local partnerships coming up this year. 

Here’s a shot Iain took yesterday of the Paint Factory in the fog.


Amy Kerr

Ocean Alliance

photo 1

Community Stuff 1/11/14

Docksiders Winter Holiday Breakfast Concert: Saturday, January 25th, 9am to 11am – pancake breakfast concert with Disney characters – bring your cameras! Gloucester High School Cafeteria. $10 per person. $25 for family of four (add $5 for each additional family member).





Ocean View Private  Spiritual and Intuitive Readings @ Good Harbor Beach (1/24 – 1/26)
The Blue Shutters Beachside Inn , Gloucester, MA is hosting private  Individual and Group Spiritual Sessions with Julie Ann  on Friday January 24, 2014 from 2:00 PM – 8:00 PM , Saturday January 25, 2014  from 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM and Sunday January 26, 2014 from 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM.  This tranquil and most beautiful location is beloved by many all over the country. Have a refreshment and snack, enjoy the gorgeous view and walk the beach before and after your session(s). Gloucester’s wonderful Restaurants are close by as well.
To schedule your appointment with Julie Ann call 978-387-5306 or email You may choose to stay over at The Blue Shutter’s Beachside Inn for the weekend as well. To check out rates and room availability visit Mention that you are coming for a reading and receive a discount! Innkeepers Ann Marie & Eddie Comer , Patty & Anthony Sapienza encourage all to stop by, relax, and enjoy the view.
Julie Ann:
Julie Ann is a gifted Psychic Medium, Trance Channel and Healer. She  holds sessions at the Blue Shutters Inn on a regular basis, is one of the Core Readers atCircles of Wisdom in Andover MA and holds sessions regularly at her Londonderry NH office: New Hampshire Metaphysical. When scheduling your session you can choose to spend your time in one or a blend of the following four areas: Mediumship, Psychic/Intuitive, Trance Channel or Healing. All sessions can be recorded on a CD that you leave with. For more information on Julie Ann check out her website: or visit her page on The Circles of Wisdom website,

            Prices: 15 minutes- $35, 30 minutes- $65, 45 minutes- $100, 60 minutes $125.

Today! The Eastern Coyote in New England Sponsored by Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary Sat, Jan 11, 2014

I hope Kim Or Paul or both go to this and get some interesting info to share.

This is what I know about coyotes:
If there was a child attacked by a coyote the news media would blast it all over the place but you don’t hear about those incidents so that gives me a little comfort.

On the other hand if you have a pulse and can see then you have most definitely seen an uptick from no coyote sightings 10 years ago to weekly sightings today.

I understand there are people who would rather see people’s pets eaten rather than take some type of action. I just hope that the current trends of seeing them more and more during the day and seeing them more often doesn’t end up turn into something where people can’t even go for a walk.

Maybe the answer is to walk around with a tazer? “Don’t taze me bro!”

The Eastern Coyote in New England
Sponsored by Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary
Sat, Jan 11, 2014 10:00 am – 11:00 am

Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, Topsfield

Christine Schadler – Wild Canid Ecologist and New England representative for Project Coyote, a national group promoting coexistence with coyotes.


Adult $8.00

Adult $10.00
The howling in New England has returned! Since 1900, when the eastern wolf retreated into southern Ontario, our woods have not known a top predator. Since the 1940s, however, the bark and howl of the eastern coyote has resonated from pasture to mountain. Today, thousands of coyotes occupy New England, but unlike their smaller western cousin, our coyotes are part wolf, can hunt in packs to take deer, and are filling the niche of the wolf. Come learn about the natural history of this adaptable mammal and get answers to any questions or concerns you may have from an expert. How we rethink our woods as a domain to be shared will ultimately determine our success in adapting to life with this amazing predator.

Make it a day – bring a bag lunch and sign up for Tracking Predators with Bob Metcalfe in the afternoon from 12:30-4:30 pm.

Instructions and Directions:

Meets in the Barn.
Registration is required.
Call to register 978-887-9264.
Register by mail: program registration form (PDF 66K)

For your own security, DO NOT send credit card information via email.
For more information, contact:

Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary
87 Perkins Row
Topsfield, MA 01983