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Mayor Walsh encourages residents and visitors to have an enjoyable and safe summer

May 22, 2015

Mayor's Office

Published by:

Mayor's Office

Mayor Martin J. Walsh today joined City officials to highlight the cross-departmental measures the City of Boston is taking to keep residents and visitors safe this summer.    

"Summer should be a time of joy and fun, and the City of Boston has wonderful programming lined up for City Hall Plaza and in parks and community centers across the neighborhoods," said Mayor Walsh. "We encourage people to make the most of summer in the city. But it’s also a time when certain risks are higher, so please: be smart and be safe."   

In addition to the City’s significant investment in summer jobs, paid internships, summer school, and summer camps and activities, the Mayor also emphasized the need to specifically connect with those most at risk and in need.  

Police:

  • This summer, BPD’s 41 newest recruits will be part of increased police presence in Districts B-2 (Roxbury), B-3 (Mattapan), and C-11 (Dorchester), areas of the city that have been identified as crime hotspots.
  • BPD will be emphasizing police presence in parks and other open spaces, and will proactively be monitoring house parties and night clubs.
  • BPD will be cracking down on illegal scooters and mopeds.  A study by BPD indicated that scooters and/or mopeds were involved in 292 incidents in a seven month period. 
  • Streetworkers and violence interrupters in neighborhoods most impacted by violence will continue to work hard over the summer months within their communities to reach disconnected and gang-involved youth and get them the supports and services they need to succeed.

Fireworks:

  • All types of fireworks are illegal and not allowed in Boston, as throughout Massachusetts.
  • Sparklers, which burn at over 1100 degrees, firecrackers and other hand-held fireworks can cause permanent injuries, especially with young children.

Outdoor Fires and Grilling:

  • No outdoor fires are allowed in Boston, including fire pits, chimineas and bonfires.
  • Charcoal grills must be on the ground and away from buildings. Keep in mind the wind and never leave unattended. When done, dispose of the ash in a metal container once completely out.
  • Propane tank grills are only allowed on first floor porches with steps to the ground. Do not place propane tank grills near air conditioners or up against a building. Make sure all connections are tight and never carry propane tanks into a home.
  • Grills should always be used in a well-ventilated area. 

Window Guards:

  • Windows should always be opened from the top. Anything a child can climb on – beds, furniture, toy chests – should be kept away from windows to prevent unintentional falls. Children should always be supervised.
  • Homes with children under the age of seven should have window guards installed on windows above the first floor. Many local hardware and home improvement stores carry window guards. Boston residents can buy subsidized window guards at Boston Building Resources (www.bostonbuildingresources.com).

Deck, Porch and Roof Usage:

  • Property owners are encouraged to utilize decks, porches and roof tops for their intended purpose while keeping in mind its allotted capacity. If any of the following conditions are found, property owners should immediately refrain from using the structure until repairs are made: Split or rotting wood; wobbly handrails or guardrails; loose, missing or rusting anchors, nails or screws; missing, damaged or loose support beams and planking; excessive movement of the porch when walked on; and swaying or unstable porches.
  • Roof Tops: Although flat roofs may seem ideal for summer activities such as parties, grilling or sun bathing, property owners and tenants must keep in mind that use of “flat roofs” must be permitted by the Inspectional Services Department for assembly or recreational activity. Roof tops that are not be equipped with railings or proper egress can lead to potential safety issues.
  • Decks & Porches: When using a deck or porch, property owners and/or tenants should be aware of the weight placed on the structure. Decks and porches designed and built to code are constructed to withstand a reasonable load. However, the number of people and outdoor furniture should be considered when determining if a structure is being utilized properly.    
  • As with anything, normal wear and tear plays a factor in the maintenance and upkeep of a structure. Property owners should take the age and structural integrity of the decks and porches into consideration. Older decks may need to be updated. Please note: decks can only be located in the rear yard. 

Water and Swimming Safety:

  • Children and adults should NEVER swim alone. Young children should always be within an adults arm’s reach when swimming. Alcohol should be avoided when playing water sports or when boating. Its effects can be heightened in the heat. Remember to drink lots of water and avoid dehydration.
  • Swimming should only take place in designated areas.  

Heat Safety:

  • For protection against the harmful rays of the sun, adults and children should use sunscreen containing an SPF-15 or higher and wear protective, loose fitting clothing, including long sleeve shirts and hats.
  • Never underestimate the seriousness of heat-related emergencies. The elderly, young children and those with chronic medical conditions are more susceptible to the effects of heat. Always check in on family or neighbors who may be at risk heat exhaustion or heat stroke as temperatures climb.
  • Children and pets should never be left alone in vehicle, for even short periods of times.
  • If you become lightheaded, confused, weak or faint, stop all activity and immediately find shade or a cool area to rest. If symptoms persist, call 911 immediately.
  • Try to limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours. Rest often in shady areas so that your body can cool itself.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, making sure to avoid alcoholic beverages and liquids high in sugar or caffeine. During hot weather, increase your fluid intake, regardless of your activity level.
  • The homeless can become dehydrated rapidly due to a lack of access to water or shelter from the heat. If you observe someone who appears in distress, please contact 911 immediately.
  • The City of Boston will declare a Heat Emergency after temperatures have reached 90 degrees or higher for three or more consecutive days. During a Heat Emergency, cooling centers will be open across the City.
  • Residents can sign up for Alert Boston, the city's emergency notification system, to receive emergency alerts on by phone, email, or text. Sign up online: http://www.cityofboston.gov/oem/alertboston.asp.

Animal Bites: 

  • To reduce the risk of rabies, make sure pets are up-to-date with their rabies vaccine; do not allow pets to roam free; and do not leave pet food outside. 
  • Avoid contact with and feeding of stray and wild animals, and wear gloves while handling pets that have been wounded by other animals. Secure trashcans and cap your chimney so that animals cannot get into them?Bicycling injuries increase in the summer months.

'Lead Safe' Home Renovations: 

  • About 90% of Boston’s housing stock is dated before 1978, meaning many homes contain toxic lead paint.
  • Children are especially sensitive to the harmful effects of lead paint, such as brain damage, lowered IQ, hyperactivity, and antisocial behavior/violence. For more information, contact the Boston Public Health Commission Lead Prevention Program here.
  • Children and adults are exposed to toxic lead when renovations are not done by a Massachusetts/Department of Labor Standards licensed and/or EPA-certified contractor, due to the release of dust and debris into the surrounding area.
  • Property owners can save money on abatement costs by becoming trained in Moderate Risk Deleading and/or Renovation, Repair, and Painting training. For more information click here.
  • “Lead safe” home improvements help keep your kids and the kids in your neighborhood safe. For more information, click here.
  • It is illegal to discriminate against families with a child (children) because of the presence of lead paint. If you believe you’ve been discriminated against click here.

Bike Safety: 

  • Always wear a helmet. Helmets are the single most effective safety device available to reduce bicycle-related head injury and death. A properly fitted helmet should sit on top of the head in a level position, and should not rock forward, backward or side-to-side.
  • Helmets benefit riders of all ages and Massachusetts law require riders ages 16 and under to wear a helmet. Low cost helmets are available through the City's partnership with Boston Medical Center. 
  • Cyclists need to indicate turns and stops with hand signals and should stay visible by wearing bright clothing and using a headlight or taillight if riding at dusk or at night.

Mosquitoes and Ticks:

  • Mosquito bites can spread West Nile virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), while attached ticks can spread Lyme disease.
  • If you are in a grassy, brushy or wooded area, apply a DEET containing repellent that will protect against mosquitoes AND ticks. Always check yourself, children and pets for ticks after returning indoors and remove attached ticks immediately using tweezers.
  • Wear long sleeve shirts, long pants and socks to prevent mosquito bites. Limit you time outdoors between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active and apply an approved mosquito repellent.

Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF) Summer Programs:

  • BCYF offers a variety of summer day camps and programs at their community centers (www.cityofboston.gov/BCYF/centers/). BCYF will also operate free weekday drop in Summer Fun Stops for youth at 8 locations throughout the city with a flexible schedule to make it convenient for parents and young people. Visit the BCYF website for the most up-to-date information: www.cityofboston.gov/BCYF/programs/summer.asp.
  • Other programs include:
  • Summer Girls programming offering several girls-only events across the City including a skate night, beach party and dance off.
  • Teen Nights from 8 to 11 p.m. at four community centers
  • Super Fun Stops for teens-only from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at three park-based Fun Stop sites.
  • Camp Joy, operating since 1946, for Boston's residents with disabilities and their siblings 
  • Teen employment programs and pre-employment programs including SUPERTeens and Snap Shot
  • Neighborhood Block Parties on select Thursday nights in July and August from 5-7 p.m. a different BCYF center or pool with a free cookout, activities and lots more.
  • Forty-five Streetworkers and Violence Interrupters  – the largest number ever – working with high risk and proven risk youth to get them the support and services they need. 

Boston Parks Department Summer Programs:   The Boston Parks Department hosts participatory and performing arts events through the ParkArts program during the summer months. Programs include music concerts, movie nights, a marionette puppet series, watercolor painting workshops, and craft workshops. In addition, the Boston Parks Department, in partnership with the Boston Public Health Commission, are hosting free fitness activities in parks citywide, including yoga, boot camp, tai chi, zumba and more. For a list of these events please visit www.cityofboston.gov/parks.

This past year, Mayor Walsh moved the citywide recreation unit back to the Boston Parks and Recreation Department.  The Recreation Unit offers many sports programs throughout the summer including Boston Neighborhood Basketball League, baseball, softball, tennis and golf programs. We also offer three free sports centers for kids in Dorchester, East Boston and South Boston that teach fundamentals of training and condition, sportsmanship, nutrition, wellness and self-esteem.