MCFRS News Release
Prevent Fires - Save Lives - Here's How
Prevent Homes Fires
National Fire Prevention Week – Month
The winter months of November, December, January and February are typically the busiest for Fire Departments in this area. On Sunday, October 5, 2008 the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service joins forces with the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Boy Scouts of America in a major event at the Public Safety Training Academy, in Rockville to remind local residents of their role in preventing home fires.
Also on Sunday, October 5, 2008 several other local fire and rescue stations in Kensington, Sandy Spring and Cabin John will conduct an Open House, in combination with Fire Prevention month in Montgomery County. On Saturday, October 4, 2008 the Bethesda Chevy Chase Rescue Squad will open their doors and sponsor activities in conjunction with the Taste of Bethesda.
You and your family are invited to attend the second annual Montgomery County Fire/Rescue Expo on October 5, 2008, open to the public and free of charge. The event will feature emergency equipment from throughout Montgomery County, as well as, 'live' fire and rescue demonstrations, fire truck displays, educational activities for all ages and other activities.
There are time-tested ways to prevent and survive a fire. It's not a question of luck. It's a matter of planning ahead.
Remember – the message is simple:
Develop an Escape Plan – Identify two ways out of each room in your home, identify a meeting place for your family outside, practice your plan at least twice a year when you change your clock. Once Outside – Account for all family members at your designated meeting place, call 911 from a safe location, never go back inside a burning building for any reason.
Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives – Ensure you have a working smoke alarm on each floor of your home, additional smoke alarms can be placed in sleeping and kitchen areas, test your smoke alarms monthly, change the battery when you change your clock twice a year, if your smoke alarms are powered by your homes electrical system consider installing battery powered smoke alarms as a back up in case of a power outage.
National Fire Prevention Week 2008 will be observed from October 5-11, and this year's theme is "Prevent Home Fires." Montgomery County Fire Chief Tom Carr suggests, most Americans underestimate their risk for fire, and many either lack emergency response plans-or fail to practice them with fire drills.
"Annual observances like National Fire Prevention Month and other initiatives in Montgomery County like “Put a Finger on It” and “Safety in Our Neighborhood” are excellent opportunities to focus on fire hazards - but we should all practice fire safety every day-at work, at play, and particularly at home," said Chief Carr. "The most common causes of home fires result from cooking, heating, electrical malfunction, smoking materials and candles."
Safety tips to reduce home fires include:
- Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking. Many cooking fires start from "unattended" cooking.
- Have heating equipment and chimneys inspected and cleaned annually by qualified professionals.
- If you smoke, smoke outside.
- Keep flammable materials away from light bulbs, light fixtures and lamps.
- Use flashlights during power outages, not candles. If you do burn candles indoors, blow them out before leaving the room, and keep them away from things that can burn.
Chief Carr also cautions against complacency. "As winter approaches, the rate of fire in Montgomery seems to increase and fire-related deaths happen more often across the United states. And I encourage everyone to contact their local fire department to learn more about making their homes safer from fire, or how to best participate in fire prevention activities."
For a free home safety evaluation in Montgomery County call the hotline at 240.777.2476 to schedule a time.
- 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.
- Candles. Keep burning candles out of children’s and pet’s reach; keep matches and lighters out of sight and locked away. Make sure they are in stable holders. Do not leave candles unattended – especially around children or pets. Do not place candles near draperies or anything that might easily catch fire. Make sure you put out candles when you go to bed or leave the home.
- Fireplace Ashes. Remember never discard hot ashes inside or near the home. Place them in a metal container outside and well away from the house. Have your furnace and chimney professionally inspected and cleaned. Chimney tar build-up can ignite your chimney, roof and the whole house.