THE SAUGUS ADVOCATE – Friday, March 1, 2019 Page 13 From sponsor to opponent Rep. Wong reverses position on proposed legislation to prohibit seventh-graders from playing tackle football By Mark E. Vogler No. 2501, which was filed on S tate Rep. Donald Wong has withdrawn his support from proposed legislation that would ban children in the seventh grade or under from playing tackle football. “I took my name off it,” the Saugus Republican said in an interview this week of the bill presented by State Rep. Paul A. Schmid III (D-Fall River) and House Republican Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. of North Reading. Wong was one of 15 sponsors listed on House Docket ASKS | from page 4 Q: So, these types of fires, this is something you are very familiar with during your time on the Fire Department? A: Yes. I’ve been to many fires that ended up being electrical in nature. Q: Most of the electrical fires, because of the burning smell, it’s a tip off to people to get out of the house. A: Yes, that electrical smell, that’s like an ozone smell. When you heat something up to its ignition point, you smell plastic. Q: Let’s talk about appliances: When the plug feels hot when you touch it, it’s time to get rid of it. Can you talk about that? A: My knowledge of that is if it’s getting hot, it could potentially be due to malfunction. It’s drawing too much power, which causes it to overheat and that could cause a fire. Now, you are probably exceeding the amperage for that receptacle. You could have arcs and sparks being thrown, too. Q: Say, in the case of an old electric blanket, could that be a potential problem, too? A: Yes, you could have a broken wire, and the insulation is broken, and it could actually be throwing sparks that are very hot, or particles of metal, and they could hit the carpet, the floor or whatever, and ignite it – or you can have some household materials that happen to be with it. Q: And, as far as placement of an appliance … A: Yeah. We always talk about the chain of events that lead to the outcome of a fire. You could have a defective appliance. It’s in an area that may not be ideal. It may have things piled on it, so it can’t expend the heat. There may be a malfunction with it. Homes can be cluttered here and there sometimes. It could be in the basement, it could be in the garage, it could be anywhere in the house. There are some household items that are flammable; you could have an uncapped Jan. 17. “When and if it comes to the Chamber [House] floor, I would oppose this bill,” Wong said. “I signed on because there were two constituents in my district who asked me to sign on, then I heard from other constituents who oppose the bill. Not only are they against it, but they explained to me why it’s not a good bill.” The proposed legislation includes a provision that would subject any school, league or other entity that allows somebottle of something that is volatile. Papers could ignite. That could happen. There are different combinations of what could go wrong that could lead to the fire. Q: Anything else that you would like to share about electrical fires? Or, maybe a checklist of things you could have people do to protect themselves? A: If you want to expand on the appliances, look for wear on the cords. Make sure the cords aren’t part of the traffic patterns where you are walking around, not under carpets; the wires are not meant to be stepped on or walked on, and make sure they’re not getting pinched in-between things. Q: An electrical cord under the rug is the classic. A: The cord can also wear through under the carpet, and they can also overheat, and you’re holding the heat in with the carpet. There’s a lot going on if you are walking on cords. That’s a huge no-no. If you have a lot of outlets where you run cords like that, you should have a licensed electrician come in and install more receptacles to code. Q: So another hazard leading to a possible electrical fire – over use of extension cords, particularly around the holidays. A: Sure, around the holidays with Christmas trees, it could be deadly. We’re energizing them by wrapping lights around them. They dry out and there are some spectacular videos online on Christmas tree fires and how fast they burn. With all of the synthetic material in houses, too, the fires are more hotter. The houses are insulated, so they retain the heat better, so they’re hotter. Back to the cords – besides not walking on them, not pinching them, not kinking them and not tying them in knots. They can resistance heat if you keep them coiled up. You’re not supposed to do that. If you coil them up, sometimes one in the seventh grade or under to play tackle football to be subject to a civil penalty of up to $2,000 for each violation. Another violation within 12 months could result in a fine of up to $5,000. The penalty could be increased to $10,000 if the violation directly results in serious physical harm to any participant or participants. Wong said he was unaware of the civil fines being part of the legislation and said he opposes them. “The fine [provision] does bother me.” Wong said. the heat can dissipate into the atmosphere. You should immediately discontinue using an appliance if the ground prong has become loose or breaks off. The appliance isn’t safe to use anymore, because it’s not properly grounded, so somebody can get shocked, so take it out of service. There’s not necessarily a law on it, but I would say have an appliance repair person who is qualified to work on your appliance – even replacing the cord. I would advise them to call a reputable appliance repair place to have their appliance replaced. Q: What about lamps? If people want to continue using old lamps, should they consider rewiring them? A: Yeah, you probably would. Obviously, a hobbyist could do that, but I’m not going to advise people to do something on their own where they could burn the house down. Be competent and make sure KITCHEN CABINETS Strip & Refinish To Look Like New 508-840-0501 FURNITURE STRIP & FINISH “A lot of these groups are volunteers. So, if you make the bill too strict, you’ll have no volunteers,” he said. After discussing concerns of constituents involved with Pop Warner, other youth organizations and concerned parents, Wong said he is convinced that local youth organizations are already taking steps to protect children from head injuries. “They have the players playing with their heads upright so they won’t be going helmet to helmet. So, this cuts down on concussions,” Wong said. you know what you are doing before you do it, or hire a licensed professional. It is potentially dangerous and you could start a fire. Another thing you need to “I also feel that it is better for the towns and cities to enforce the rules of contact. I think that organizations like Saugus Pop Warner and other groups are doing a good job in trying to prevent head injuries and concussions,” he said. “I’m thankful to all of the people who tried to contact me to express their concerns – both for and against the bill. The constituents out there are my eyes and ears.” The legislation has been referred to the Joint Committee on Public Health. do is replace cords with frayed wires or cracked insulation. Q: Anything else? A: I think that’s about it. The main thing is don’t mess with your own electrical. 781-321-7700 10% DISCOUNT WITH THIS AD! 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