MCFRS News Release

Fire Prevention Month

Practice Your (Fire) Escape Plan Join the Great American Fire Drill™

The men and women of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service ask you to take action this October particularly during National Fire Prevention Week and throughout the month to keep everyone in your home safe. On Sunday, October 21, 2007 the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service will be joining forces with the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to remind local residents to take part in The Great American Fire Drill™.

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, the time change from Daylight Saving to Standard Time will occur later this year on Sunday, November 4, 2007. 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 'Practice Your Escape Plan'. During this year's fire safety campaign, firefighters and safety advocates will be spreading the word about the importance of developing and practicing a home escape plan.

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.

SAFETY TIPS:

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.

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!

Are you prepared for a fire? Although preparing for the unexpected is difficult, reviewing the information below and taking action based on it to plan for a fire could save lives. Don't forget to practice your escape plan during Fire Safety Month!

You and your family are invited to attend any one of the many local community fire station open houses throughout Montgomery County during the month of October. The Montgomery County Fire/Rescue Expo on October 21, 2007 will coincide with The Great American Fire Drill and will feature emergency equipment and demonstrations. In addition many local community fire stations will be conducting 'open houses' throughout the month.

Ideas for keeping fire safe.

The NFPA's Fire Prevention Week is actively supported by fire departments across the country. For 85 years fire departments have observed Fire Prevention Week, making it the longest running public health and safety observance on record. Montgomery County observes this activity for the entire Month of October.

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

NOTE: On Sunday, October 21, 2007 the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service will be joining forces with the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to remind local residents to take part in The Great American Fire Drill™.