MCFRS News Release
RECENT STUDY: Many Homes Have Smoke Alarms, But Few Residents Practice Escape Plans
"Please Abide - Pull Aside"
A new study found that many people have smoke alarms in the home but that about half have fire escape plans and few practice those escape plans. New data from the April issue of Public Health Reports showed that ninety-five percent (95%) of surveyed households reported at least one installed smoke alarm. In Montgomery County, on May 7, 2007 two elderly residents of Kensington died in an early morning house fire. The home did not have smoke alarms.
Recent surveys after serious fires in Montgomery County find that about half of the smoke alarms checked are inoperable. The data published by Public Health Reports also suggested that only fifty-two percent (52%) had a fire escape plan.
The data published in the Public Health Reports magazine also showed that only fifteen percent (15%) test their alarms once a month and only sixteen percent (16%) of homes with an escape plan actually practice it every six months. In light of the study, the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service is recommending that residents test fire alarms on a monthly basis and practice escape plans with the entire family.
Safe Home Practices From the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and either inside individual bedrooms or adjacent to bedroom areas.
- Test smoke alarms once a month.
- Never remove the batteries for any purpose other than to install a new one.
- Replace batteries twice a year or when the alarm "chirps" indicating a low battery. Change your clock - change your battery.
- Consider installing an automatic home sprinkler system.
Home Fire Escape Plan
- Develop a floor plan of your home - identifying all exits (doors and windows) and two ways out of each room.
- Keep doors closed to help contain the fire and minimize smoke from spreading throughout your home.
- Define an outside meeting place (e.g., neighbors or tree) where everyone can safely meet. Get out and stay out!
- Remember to call 911 in the event of an emergency.
- Practice your escape plan so that everyone knows what to do in an emergency.
Crawl Low Under Smoke
- Remember that in a fire, heat and smoke rise.
- If you have to escape through smoke, crawl low under the smoke keeping your head just off the floor area where the air is cleaner and cooler. Get low and go!
Any Montgomery County resident may receive a free smoke alarm and/or a home safety evaluation by calling the Fire Safety Hotline at 240.777.2476.