MCFRS News Release

Firefighters going door-to-door checking smoke alarms

Having a functional smoke alarm is one of the simplest, most effective ways to reduce tragic deaths and injuries from fire. In fact, working smoke alarms nearly cut in half the risk of dying in a home fire.

The past few weekends he men and women of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) have been checking smoke alarms in neighborhoods throughout Montgomery County as part of the ‘Safety in Our Neighborhood’ campaign.  Today firefighters were in Bethesda after a serious fire injured several children and caused significant damage to a single-family home.

Recently firefighters have visited over 6,500 homes, installed over 125 smoke alarms and installed or changed nearly 200 batteries.  The primary focus has been in areas populated with older residents and where residential fire fatalities have occurred.  There have been five (5) residential fire fatalities this year to date in 2008 compared with thirteen (13) all of last year (2007).

Fire Chief Richard Bowers notes, “This is a busy time of year for firefighters in this region.  The simplest thing a family can do to protect themselves from fire is have a working smoke alarm, on every level of their home, and have fire escape plan.”

Recent surveys conducted by fire fighters after serious fires in Montgomery County have found that nearly half, 50%, of the smoke alarms checked did not work.  That is alarming!  Smoke alarms DO save lives !

MontgomeryCounty residents may schedule a home safety evaluation by calling the Home Safety Hotline @ 240.777.2476.

The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service recommend that homeowners follow these tips to help prevent fires, deaths, and injuries:

Fire can spread rapidly through your home, leaving you as little as two minutes to escape safely. Your ability to get out depends on advance warning from smoke alarms and advance planning—a home fire escape plan that everyone in your family is familiar with and has practiced.

Because fire can grow and spread so quickly, having working smoke alarms in your home can mean the difference between life and death. Once the alarm sounds, you may have as few as two minutes to escape. Smoke alarms are the most effective early warning devices available. Remember, check you smoke alarm and put a finger on it!

Three children remain in critical condition at Children’s Hospital.  The fire on December 3, 2008, at 4806 Jamestown Road, in Bethesda was determined to be accidental and electrical in nature.  It originated outside at the rear of the house near a hot tub.  Damage was estimated to be $500,000.

Two firefighters were also injured and have been treated and released.  An adult male resident of the house also was treated and released for injuries he sustained attempting to rescue the children.