MCFRS News Release
Montgomery County Fire Fighters Want Residents to Check Smoke Alarms - Put a Finger on It!
Creating a Culture of Preparedness and Safety; “Sounds of Silence – Could be Tragic”
The message is simple – check smoke alarms and have an escape plan.
A campaign will focus on all Montgomery County residents to be reminded to change the battery in their smoke alarm when they change their clock to reflect changing from daylight savings time to standard time in a couple of weeks.
Get into a life saving habit – “Change Your Clock – Change Your Battery”.
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. Inform arriving firefighters if everyone got out and where the fire is located.
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. “Put a Finger on It” smoke alarms are effective only if they work!
Unfortunately, each year people die in residential fires that were started by preventable causes, such as unattended cooking, improperly discarded smoking materials, candles left burning unattended, space heaters, and child fire play. These are lives that can be saved. Smoke alarms save lives!
Citizens and residents that combine common sense fire and injury prevention habits with a working smoke alarm will increase the probability that even if a fire should ever occur in their home, that every will get out alive. Help us to help you, ensure you have at least one working smoke alarm in your home and plan an escape plan with your family. “Put a Finger on It.”
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. In addition, a one-time property tax break is available for those who “retro-fit” their homes. Montgomery County is the largest jurisdiction in the United States to require residential sprinklers in all newly constructed homes.
Firefighters want all residents to know to always remember - If a fire starts in your home GET OUT and call 911 IMMEDIATELY closing the door to the room on fire as you go! DO NOT DELAY as fire doubles in size every minute.
For more information or if you are a Montgomery County resident and would like a FREE home safety evaluation call the Safety in Our Neighborhood – Home Inspection Hotline at 240.777.2476.
SPACE HEATERS – Alternative Heating Sources
While these fires are not frequent, they are deadly. One out of every 10 space heater fires causes a fatality. These fires caused deaths, residential injuries, firefighter injuries, and millions of estimated dollar loss. Many of these fires were caused when combustible materials such as bedding, magazines, newspapers or furniture were too close to the heater, while others were caused when rugs, carpets or mats that were under or too close to the heater overheated. If you must use a space heater, use it as safely as possible!
- When buying a heater, look for one that has been tested and labeled by a nationally recognized testing company, such as, Underwriter’s Laboratories Inc. (UL).
- Unvented kerosene heaters is illegal in Maryland.
- Keep the heater away from drapes, furniture or other flammable materials.
- Place the heater on a level surface away from areas where someone might bump it and knock it over.
- If you must use an extension cord, make sure it is a heavy duty cord marked with a power rating at least as high as that on the label of the heater itself.
- Never leave a space heater unattended or running while you sleep.
- Keep electric heaters away from water. Never use them near a sink or in the bathroom.