MCFRS News Release
October is Fire Prevention Month in Montgomery County
“Remember to Change Your Clock – Change Your Battery”
It’s time for fire prevention and safety awareness in Montgomery County. Throughout the Month of October the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) will be promoting fire safety and injury prevention in a variety of ways, including many traditional fire-rescue station “Open Houses”, as well as, participating in various community events. Remember, at the end of the month on October 29, 2006, we change our clocks from Daylight Saving Time back to Eastern Standard Time. Get into a lifesaving habit - when you “Change Your Clock – Change Your Battery”.
The primary theme of this year’s national Fire Prevention Week is ‘Prevent Cooking Fires; Watch What You Heat.’ During this year’s fire safety campaign, firefighters and safety advocates will be spreading the word about the dangers of cooking fires – most of which are the result from unattended cooking – and teaching local residents how to prevent cooking fires from starting in the first place.
The best protection a family can have in order to survive a home fire is the combination of a residential sprinkler system and working smoke alarms. Since January 2004 all newly built single family homes in Montgomery County have been required to have residential sprinkler systems. It is recommended that a smoke alarm be installed on every level of a home and families have and practice a home escape plan. The simplest thing a family can do to protect themselves is to have a working smoke alarm and an escape plan. Get out and stay out!
The leading causes of fire are improperly discarded smoking materials, heating equipment (including those associated with space heaters and fireplaces), cooking, arson and electrical (not necessarily in that order). In Montgomery County improperly discarded smoking materials and/or careless smoking is the leading cause of residential fire fatalities, followed by cooking.
- Kitchen Fires. Most kitchen fires occur because food is left unattended on the stove or in the oven. If you must leave the kitchen while cooking, take a spoon or potholder with you to remind you to return to the kitchen. Never cook with loose, dangling sleeves that can ignite easily. Heat cooking oils gradually and use extra caution when deep-frying. If a fire breaks out in a pan, put a lid on the pan. Never throw water on a grease fire. Never use a range or stove to heat your home.
- Space Heaters. Buy only Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) approved heaters. Use only the manufacturer's recommended fuel for each heater. Do not use electric space heaters in the bathroom or around other wet areas. Do not dry or store objects on top of your heater. Keep combustibles away from heat sources. Give space heaters space!
- Smoking. We prefer that you don’t smoke at all, but if you must - Don't leave smoking materials unattended. Use "safety ashtrays" with wide lips. Empty all ashtrays into the toilet or a metal container every night before going to bed. Never smoke in bed. Don’t smoke when drowsy.
More “cooking” safety tips that firefighters and safety advocates will be emphasizing:
- Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, broiling, or boiling food.
- If you must leave the room, even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.
- When you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, stay in the home, and use a timer to remind you.
- If you have young children, use the stove’s back burners whenever possible. Keep children and pets at least three away from the stove.
- When you cook, wear clothing with tight-fitting sleeves.
- Keep potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper and plastic bags, towels, and anything else that can burn, away from your stovetop.
- Clean up food and grease from burners and stovetops.
Finally, having a working smoke alarm dramatically increases your chances of surviving a fire. And remember to practice a home escape plan frequently with your friends and family.
Recent fires throughout Montgomery County have often been the result of food left cooking unwatched, candles left burning unattended, combustibles too close to a heating system, discarded smoking materials, misplaced fireplace ashes and a malfunction with heating systems. Improperly discarded smoking materials and careless smoking have been the primary cause of the most recent residential fire deaths. Many of these fires could have been prevented.
It is important that all residents know to have a working smoke alarm on each level of a home, have an escape plan (know how to get out quickly) and call the fire department from a safe area, preferably a neighbor’s house. Do not delay!
Montgomery County Fire Prevention Month activities and activities:
(Not all inclusive)
- September 30 ‘Extreme Block Party’ - Clarksburg
- September 30 Open House – FS 6 – Bethesda
- September 30 Rockville City Safety Day – FS 3 – Rockville
- October 1 Open House – FS 10 – Cabin John Park
- October 4 Walk to School – Gaithersburg and other locations county-wide – walk
- October 5 Montgomery County Public Safety Memorial - Rockville – groundbreaking
- October 6 Adventist Health Care – Rockville - appreciation ceremony
- October 7 Open House – FS 14 - Upper Montgomery County
- October7/8 National Fallen Firefighters Memorial – Emmitsburg, Maryland
- October 8 Open House – FS 4/40 – Sandy Spring
- October 8 Open House – FS 8 – Gaithersburg
- October 11 Home Safety Council – Bethesda – safety demo
- October 14 Open House – FS 7 – Chevy Chase
- October 15 Open House – FS 15 – Burtonsville
- October 21 Open House – FS 11 – Glen Echo
- October 24 Open House – FS 24 – Hillandale/Colesville
- October 27 Special report on senior citizen fire safety
NOTE: The County Executive’s ‘Senior Citizen Fire Safety Task Force’ is expected to release a preliminary report to County Fire Chief Tom Carr on Friday, October 27, 2006.
- October 29 Change Your Clock – Change Your Battery