September is Campus Fire Safety Month

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STOW, Mass.— State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey reminds us that September is Campus Fire Safety Month. 
 
Massachusetts has a large population of college students that fire officials and college leaders want to be fire safe whether they live on-campus, in Greek housing, or in private off-campus housing. 
 
"Students come to Massachusetts to learn from around the country and the world, and not all of them have received the same great level of fire education in elementary and high school as our students do through the Student Awareness of Fire Education or S.A.F.E. Program," Ostroskey said.
 
With COVID-19 related issues, fewer students will be arriving this year, but fire officials want every student to be safe and live to graduate.
 
Make Fire Safety a Priority When Selecting Housing
 
The Department of Fire Services is joining forces with The Center for Campus Fire Safety, Boston Town and Gown Association, and the U.S. Fire Administration during the month of September to urge college students and their parents to make fire safety a priority when selecting housing, whether they live on- or off-campus.
 
Keeping College Students Safe in On- and Off-Campus Housing
 
"We need the help of both students and their parents to make sure smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are still working and exits are still clear three months from now," Ostroskey said. "If you're old enough to live on your own, you're old enough to take responsibility for the fire safety of everyone in the building." 
 
Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms may be working on move-in day, but disabled later by tenants, putting everyone at risk.
 
It Could Happen to You
 
In the last five years (2015-2019) there have been 3,019 fires in Massachusetts student dormitories, fraternities, and sororities, with two student deaths, five civilian injuries, five fire service injuries, and an estimated $1.4 million in damages. These tragic deaths occurred in substandard and illegal off-campus housing where there were no working smoke alarms, no working carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, and victims were trapped in rooms that had only one way out.
 
"Parents, talk to your adult children about fire safety, and look at their housing choices, especially if you are footing the bill," Ostroskey said. "Contact the local fire department about any safety issues the landlord won't address immediately, but don't leave your child in a home without working smoke alarms for a single night."
 
Best Roommates Evah! Smoke Alarms and Two Ways Out
 
In 2016, a group of fire chiefs, building officials, college safety officials and campus fire safety advocates met to share strategies for enforcing fire and building codes in off-campus housing. They launched a public awareness campaign about the importance of working smoke alarms and two ways out, called "Best Roommates Evah!" Go to www.BestRoommatesEvah.org for more information.
 
In a Fire Seconds Count
 
"In a fire, seconds count," says Ostroskey. "Working smoke alarms can alert students to a fire before it spreads, giving everyone enough time to get out, if they have two ways out and a practiced escaped plan."
 
"Remember," Ostroskey said. "Best Roommates Evah! Smoke Alarms and Two Ways Out."
 
For a quick list of resources and links to educational materials, please go to the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services website www.mass.gov/dfs and search on College Fire Safety.

Tags: college,   fire,   

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Massdevelopment Announces Funding For Fifth Round of Site Readiness Program

BOSTON, Mass. — The Baker-Polito Administration and MassDevelopment announced the availability of $3 million in funding through the fifth round of the Site Readiness Program.
 
The Site Readiness Program provides resources to cities, towns, and other entities to help overcome obstacles to developing otherwise prime sites. Municipalities, nonprofit economic development entities, and private-sector businesses can apply for grants to finance land acquisition, feasibility studies, master planning, environmental permitting, site improvements, and other related work.
 
“The Site Readiness Program is an important part of the state toolkit available to cities and towns, as well as nonprofits and businesses, to help them to achieve their economic development goals,” Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy said. “As we move from reopening to economic recovery, the Baker-Polito Administration is committed to continuing to collaborate with communities and other partners to spur investment, development and growth.”
 
The Site Readiness Program, administered by MassDevelopment, aims to boost the Commonwealth’s inventory of large, development-ready sites, accelerate private-sector investment in industrial and commercial projects, and support the conversion of abandoned sites and facilities into clean, actively used, tax-generating properties. Through its first four rounds of grants, the Site Readiness Program has awarded approximately $10.4 million to 48 projects in almost every region, furthering the development potential for nearly 3,600 acres across the Commonwealth.
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