MCFRS News Release

Prevent Fires - Save Lives - Here's How

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.

Every Home Should Have at Least One Working Smoke Alarm
Buy a smoke alarm at any hardware or discount store. It's inexpensive protection for you and your family. Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home. A working smoke alarm can double your chances of survival. Test it monthly, keep it free of dust and replace the battery at least once a year. Smoke alarms themselves should be replaced after ten years of service, or as recommended by the manufacturer.

Prevent Electrical Fires
Never overload circuits or extension cords. Do not place cords and wires under rugs, over nails or in high traffic areas. Immediately shut off and unplug appliances that sputter, spark or emit an unusual smell. Have them professionally repaired or replaced.

Use Appliances Wisely
When using appliances follow the manufacturer's safety precautions. Overheating, unusual smells, shorts and sparks are all warning signs that appliances need to be shut off, then replaced or repaired. Unplug appliances when not in use. Use safety caps to cover all unused outlets, especially if there are small children in the home.

Alternate Heaters

Affordable Home Fire Safety Sprinklers
When home fire sprinklers are used with working smoke alarms, your chances of surviving a fire are greatly increased. Sprinklers are affordable - they can increase property value and lower insurance rates.  Montgomery County is the largest jurisdiction in the United States to require residential sprinklers in all newly constructed homes.

Plan Your Escape
Practice an escape plan from every room in the house. Caution everyone to stay low to the floor when escaping from fire and never to open doors that are hot. Select a location where everyone can meet after escaping the house. Get out then call for help.

Caring for Children
Children under five are naturally curious about fire. Many play with matches and lighters. Tragically, children set over thousands of house fires every year. Take the mystery out of fire play by teaching your children that fire is a tool, not a toy.   Montgomery County’s juvenile firesetting prevention program celebrates over 20 years of serving the families of children who display fire play behaviors.  Call Operation Extinguish at 240.777.2448

Caring for Older People
Every year many senior citizens die in fires. Between 2004 and 2006, 12 seniors died in fires – 75 percent of the 16 fatalities that occurred in that time. Many of these fire deaths could have been prevented. Seniors are especially vulnerable because many live alone and can't respond quickly. Seniors comprise only about 11 percent of the County’s population.  Yet, during the past 10 years, 24 seniors, age 65 and over, died in fires in Montgomery County – 43 percent of 58 fire fatalities. 

For a free home safety evaluation in Montgomery County call the hotline at 240.777.2276 to schedule a time.