MCFRS News Release
Leisure World Residents to Practice Escape Plans
Fire Evacuation Exercise on Monday, September 24
The theme of this year's Fire Safety Month is "Practice Your Escape Plan." As a "Kick-off" event to recognize October as Fire Safety Month in Montgomery County, on Monday, September 24, 2007 at 2pm, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue and dozens of residents of Leisure World retirement community will be participating in a unique fire evacuation exercise.
There will be eight (8) residential buildings involved in this exercise located at 15121 Glade Drive. All are 3-story garden structures with exterior corridors and stairs. These type structures are very prevalent throughout the mid-Atlantic region. Leisure World is a gated community with a total of 9000 residents making it one of the largest senior communities on the East Coast.
County Executive Isiah Leggett, Fire Chief Tom Carr, County Fire Marshal Mike Love and members of the County Council, support the continuing efforts of the Montgomery County "Senior Citizen Fire Safety Task Force" in promoting life-safety initiatives for senior citizens and all residents of Montgomery County.
This exercise is right in line with the recommendations that were submitted this past summer in the Senior Citizens Fire Safety Task Force report titled "Creating a Culture of Fire Safety" which stresses fire safety and prevention and the importance of fire evacuation preparedness, especially for our senior population.
Several members of the Montgomery County Senior Citizen Fire Task Force, as well as the other dignitaries may be "Leading the Way" on Monday, September 24, 2007 as they actively participate in an actual fire evacuation. Fire Apparatus, fire safety displays and information on Emergency Preparedness will also be in place as we begin our Kick Off to Fire Safety.
A recent study found that many people have smoke alarms in the home but that only about half have fire escape plans and fewer 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. All Leisure World apartment units are equipped with smoke alarms. Earlier this year in Montgomery County two elderly residents of Kensington died in an early morning house fire. The home did not have smoke alarms. On December 2, 2005, an 80 year-old Leisure World resident died in a second floor apartment. The fire started in the kitchen of a first floor apartment.
Prior to a quadruple fatal fire in a Burtonsville apartment building that killed a mother and three children on June 28, 2007 there had been four residential fire fatalities this year in Montgomery County, all four involved senior citizens. Again, the theme of this year's Fire Safety Month is "Practice Your Escape Plan." As a "Kick-off" event to recognize October as Fire Safety Month in Montgomery County, on Monday, September 24, 2007 at 2pm Leisure World residents will participate in a special evacuation drill.
- 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