Chief Eric Smith and the Gloucester Fire Department wish to remind residents of important summer safety tips.

"Summer activities such as grilling and swimming are great ways to enjoy the outdoors during these uncertain times," Smith said in a prepared statement. "We encourage residents to take note of the following safety tips to ensure they and their loved ones remain safe this summer."

The Gloucester Fire Department reminds all residents that, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, people should be continuing to practice aggressive social distancing by keeping a 6-foot distance between others, and wearing an appropriate face covering whenever possible if walking outdoors. 

Grilling safety

The state Department of Fire Services has several tips for grilling safely:

* Propane and charcoal grills should only be used outdoors.

* Place grills away from the house, deck railings and out from under eaves of overhanging branches.

* Grills should only be used on first-floor porches, decks, or patios if there is an outdoor stairway to the ground, or if the porch is at ground level.

* Keep children and pets at least 3 feet away from the grilling area. Children should never play near grills or propane cylinders.

Gas grill safety

* Make sure the lid is open when you light a gas grill. Propane can build up inside and when ignited, may blow the lid off.

* Check that all connections are tight before turning on the gas.

* Clean the grease trap every time you grill.

* Check the propane tank hose for potential leaks by applying a light soap and water solution to the hose using a brush or spray bottle. See if any bubbles appear around the hose. If no bubbles appear, the grill is safe to use.

* If you smell gas while cooking, turn the grill off and move away from it. Call 911 from a safe location. Do not move the grill.

* Store propane cylinders upright in an outdoor, shaded area. Cylinders should not be used, stored or transported where they can be exposed to high temperatures.

Charcoal grill safety

* Use only charcoal starter fluid. Never used gasoline or kerosene to start a fire in a grill and never add lighter fluid to burning briquettes or hot coals.

* Always use charcoal grills in a well-ventilated area. Charcoal briquettes emit carbon monoxide, which can be deadly.

* Properly dispose of grill ashes. Allow the coals to burn out completely and then cool for 48 hours before disposal. If you must dispose of ashes before they are completely cooled, thoroughly soak them in water before putting them in a metal container.

Pool Safety

According to the American Red Cross, 10 people die daily due to unintentional drowning and approximately 20% of those people are under the age of 14.

Pool safety tips from the American Red Cross include:

* Per Massachusetts regulation, pools should be surrounded by a 4-foot-high barrier that encloses the pool and has an access gate that self-closes, locks and opens outward from the swimming area (even if you don’t have children).

* Fasten a safety cover over the pool when it is not in use, and remove ladders to further prevent access into the pool. Pool alarms are required whenever a house door leads directly to a pool deck.

* Never leave children unattended while they are in or near a pool, and make sure they have an adult to accompany them into the water. Young or inexperienced swimmers should always wear a life jacket or inflatable arm flotation devices.

* Make sure children stay away from pool drains, pipes or any other openings to avoid getting trapped or hurt.

* Set safety instructions and share them with family, friends, neighbors and anyone else who is near or uses the pool. Advise children to stay away from pool deep ends, and to always walk, never run near the pool.

* Keep your pool or hot tub water clean and clear. Maintain proper chemical levels, circulation and filtration. Regularly test and adjust the chemical levels to minimize the risk of earaches, rashes or more serious diseases.

* Never use the pool if the chemical levels are not correct, or if the water is cloudy and you can’t see the bottom.

* Take a CPR course for adults and children to be prepared if an emergency situation occurs. Update skills regularly.

* Watch the local weather reports and do not swim if thunderstorms are in the forecast.

* Those who are 21 and older should drink responsibly if they choose to consume alcoholic beverages when by the pool. Overindulging increases the risk for injuries or accidental drowning.

* Avoid using glass containers by the pool. They could break and leave glass around the pool or in the water.

The Gloucester Fire Department hopes these tips help everyone has a safe, healthy and happy summertime.

In other news taken from the logs of Gloucester’s police and fire departments:

Friday, July 10

12:06 a.m.: Police were dispatched to 88 Pleasant St. Apt. 317 for a noise complaint. 

Thursday, July 9

2:52 p.m.: A caller from Colburn Street reported that groups were going into the quarries. Officers redirected 20 youth from the quarries. 

1:52 p.m.: A woman at McPherson Park reported being concerned after receiving a three-paragraph letter from the Jehovah's Witnesses. She explained to police that eight or nine people have received letters which include the sender of the letter. She is looking for assistance as to whether this is an invasion of privacy and if they have the right to send her a letter. 

Hypodermic needles were recovered by the flag pole at the Oak Grove Cemetery at 181 Washington St. at 8:34 a.m., and in the area of Salon One on 267 Main St. at 12: 49 p.m. Both were disposed of safely.

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