MCFRS News Release

Safety In Our Neighborhoods

Firefighters going door-to-door checking smoke alarms; there was a significant decline of residential fire fatalities in Montgomery County

On Saturday, January 24, 2009 at 9:30 a.m. Montgomery County Fire Chief Richard Bowers will join a group of Red Cross volunteers who are involved with a Martin Luther King Community Service project in conjunction with Hope Worldwide Mid-Atlantic.  The volunteers will be canvassing neighborhoods where fires have occurred and will be distributing fire safety materials in conjunction with the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service ‘Safety In Our Neighborhood” campaign.

This ‘kick-off’ will take place at the Montgomery County Chapter of the Red Cross of the National Capital area, 2020 East West Highway, Silver Spring.  Some firefighters will join them in their efforts.  Later in the day firefighters throughout Montgomery County will again be going door-to-door in a continuing effort to provide life-saving information to our residents as part of ‘Safety In Our Neighborhood’..

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 10 weekends the 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. 

Montgomery County firefighters have visited nearly 15,000 homes, installed over 300 smoke alarms and installed or changed nearly 400 batteries.  The primary focus has been in areas populated with older residents and where residential fire fatalities have occurred.  There was a significant decline of residential fire fatalities in Montgomery County. Last year in 2008 there were five (5) residential fire fatalities compared with thirteen (13) the previous year in 2007.  All residential fire fatalities have occurred in a non-sprinklered dwelling.

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!

Montgomery County 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!