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Our Mission is to protect lives and property as well as improve the quality of life in the town of Ipswich through aggressive fire prevention and education, fire suppression, rescue, medical assistance and hazardous materials control.

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Fire Marshal Issues Storm Fire & CO Safety Warnings


State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan issued fire safety warnings due to the approaching storm which is likely to cause power outages. “Start your storm preparations by making sure your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are working and stock up on battery-operated candles and flashlights in case the power goes out,” he said.

Emergency Calls
This is a good time to charge up cell phones, laptops and other electronics. 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.

Prevent Fires from Alternative Lighting, Heating and Cooking
“It can be difficult and frustrating to be without light, heat or the ability to cook for an extended period of time, but it is critical to stay safe and not make a bad situation worse,” said Coan. “After storms, we often see many fires from woodstoves being overloaded, improper disposal of ashes, candles, and improper re-fueling of generators.”

Wood, Coal and Pellet Stoves
“Prevent serious fires from the improper disposal of ashes from fireplaces, wood and pellet stoves,” said Coan. “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. Already this heating season, many fires started with ashes put into plastic bags, cardboard boxes, and plastic trash bins, in the garage, under the deck or even in the family room.

“Don’t overload your woodstove as they are not designed to replace central heating systems. An overloaded woodstove can easily start a chimney fire by taking advantage of creosote build-up or minor cracks in the flue, or causing a breakdown in the chimney liner,” said Coan. 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

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. 

Cooking Safety
Don’t use your oven for heat and don’t bring a hibachi or gas grill inside to cook, doing so can cause carbon monoxide poisoning,” he said. “Use propane or charcoal grills outdoors, at least ten feet away from the house to prevent fires and carbon monoxide poisoning,” he added. “Using them inside the garage, even with the door open poses a serious risk of CO poisoning,” Coan said.

Generator Safety
“During the February 2013 blizzard, fire departments responded to a record number of CO calls, many from home generator use,” said Coan.

  • Place the generator outdoors facing away from doors, windows and vents. Never use a generator inside – even the garage.
  • Plug appliances directly into the generator or use a heavy-duty, outdoor rated extension cord.
  • Let the generator cool before refueling.
  • Have an electrician install an appropriate transfer switch; never plug a generator directly into a wall outlet to avoid “backfeeding” which can electrocute utility workers. (It might be too late for this today!)
  • Transport gasoline safely in an approved container in the trunk of your car (max. 7 gallons).
  • Store gasoline in a shed or detached garage away from the house; never store gasoline in the home or an attached garage.

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.

Prevent Freezing Pipes
“Let hot and cold water faucets drip a trickle to prevent pipes from freezing, and open cupboards under sinks to let heat circulate around the pipes,” said Coan.

Be a Good Neighbor
Check on elderly neighbors and see if they need extra supplies before the storm.

For more information on safety go to


Check your smoke and CO detector batteries

As winter arrives and we all have our doors and windows closed, carbon monoxide is an ever present and growing danger.  Lets be safe and smart about making sure all of our detectors are in working order.

CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes or standards. Read all of NFPA's Carbon Monoxide safety tips and download the NFPA's free safety tip sheet.

You are going to be seeing some exciting new changes on the Ipswich Fire Department web site.  All of the town web sites are currently being merged so that they are all integrated together making it easier to find what you are looking for.  Some of the exciting changes to the fire department web site will be information/safety blasts, Twitter and Facebook updates on emergency situations in town, and more.

So check back over the next several months and you will see many new changes.

Tips for Safe Fireplace and Wood Stove Use

Keep the area around your wood stove or fire place clean and keep flammable materials away.

Inspect and clean your chimney and wood stove annually. Have a professional chimney sweep do this work for you.

Keep air inlets to wood stoves open. This will help limit creosote buildup that can cause a chimney fire.

Use stovepipe thermometers. If your stove or stovepipe is running too hot the thermometer will help you know that.

Use metal mesh screens. This will keep wood sparks and coals from shooting out from your stove or fireplace onto your rugs or any other flammable material.

Use fire-resistant materials on walls around wood stoves. Metal or stone will help reduce incidents of fire.

Don't use flammable liquids to start a wood fire in the home.

Use seasoned hard wood. Soft woods and moist or wet wood will increase creosote buildup in chimneys. Creosote, if it builds up too much, could catch fire.

Try to burn smokeless fires. Less smoke will mean less buildup of creosote in your chimney, less pollution of the environment, and cleaner air for your home.

Keep your roof clear of leaves, pine needles and other burnable materials.

Don't leave your fire unattended.

Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and test monthly if not more. Replace the batteries at least twice a year. You should install Carbon Monoxide (CO) monitors as well.

Don't burn cardboard boxes in your fireplace or wood stove.

Have a fire extinguisher handy in case a fire does occur.

Small hot fires are safer and yield less smoke.

Clear excess ash to prevent clogging of stove's intake vents.

Ensure your stove is placed on an approved stove board to protect the floor. Stove boards can be made of metal or be some type of stone.

Start fires with clean newspaper and dry kindling.

Stack wood off the ground and cover the top of the wood. Prevent the wood from getting exposed to rain.

Plan and practice a family escape plan for your home and family. Plan for multiple methods of escape.

Don't use gasoline, kerosene, charcoal starter, or propane torches to light a fire. Don't use charcoal in a stove or fireplace as it produces an excessive amount of carbon monoxide.

Burn hot bright fires. Burn hot fires at least twice a day to reduce the amount of creosote in the chimney.

Install a chimney cap to keep debris and animals out of the chimney.

When cleaning out your ashes always put them in a metal container.

Ice Safety - What if someone else falls in?

What if someone else falls through and you are the only one around to help? First, call 911 for help. There is a good chance someone near you may be carrying a cell phone.

Rescue of victim who's gone through the ice

Resist the urge to run up to the edge of the hole. This would most likely result in two victims in the water. Also, do not risk your life to attempt to save a pet or other animal.

Preach, Reach, Throw, Row, Go

PREACH ‑ Shout to the victim to encourage them to fight to survive and reassure them that help is on the way.

REACH ‑ If you can safely reach the victim from shore, extend an object such as a rope, ladder, or jumper cables to the victim. If the person starts to pull you in, release your grip on the object and start over.

THROW ‑ Toss one end of a rope or something that will float to the victim. Have them tie the rope around themselves before they are too weakened by the cold to grasp it.

ROW ‑ Find a light boat to push across the ice ahead of you. Push it to the edge of the hole, get into the boat and pull the victim in over the bow. It’s not a bad idea to attach some rope to the boat, so others can help pull you and the victim to safety.

GO ‑ A non‑professional shouldn’t go out on the ice to perform a rescue unless all other basic rescue techniques have been ruled out.

If the situation is too dangerous for you to perform the rescue, call 911 for help and keep reassuring the victim that help is on the way and urge them to fight to survive. Heroics by well‑meaning but untrained rescuers sometimes result in two deaths. 


Ipswich Public Safety is a participating agency of LoJack® SafetyNet™.If you are caring for a person with alzheimer's, autism or other cognitive disorders which a person may wander or get lost, SafetyNet™ by LoJack® helps public safety find and bring your loved ones home quickly. For more information contact firefighter Keith Carlson, or go to the website SafetyNet™ by LoJack®  or1-877-434-6384.
Fire fighters Jeff Stone and Keith Carlson have completed a "Carfit" training course sponsored by AARP and AAA. CarFit is an educational program that offers older adults the opportunity to check how well their personal vehicles "fit" them. The CarFit program also provides information and materials on community-specific resources that could enhance their safety as drivers, and/or increase their mobility in the community. Fire fighters Stone and Carlson offer to older adults by appointment, the opportunity to come to fire headquarters for a 12 point CarFit check. Soon at a date to be announced they will be having a CarFit event at the Council on Aging.

If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment you can contact them at 978-356-6630 or email them  or . Please visit the CarFit website for more information.

Check if your address is properly posted and meet the requirements of Ipswich's street number by-law. Too often fire, police and ambulance service is delayed finding an address because the address number is either not posted or is not visible from the street from both directions. Please take a moment and check. It is the law in Ipswich and could save a life!

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