MCFRS News Release
Fire Safety Tips During Power Outages
Rockville, Maryland - - - Severe weather can strike quickly and without warning. When your power is out, you need to take extra precautions to make sure that everyone stays safe. Be sure to check on elderly relatives and neighbors during periods of hot weather and power outages. Below please find some tips on staying safe:
Shut Your Stove Off
- Make sure that all stove elements and ovens are OFF and that nothing has been left on top of the stove.
- Never use a generator indoors. Portable generators should be carefully placed outside to ensure that fumes do not enter the home. Install a battery powered CO detector in your home.
- Generators and hot exhaust gases should be kept away from combustibles.
- Store fuel for the generator outside the home. Keep the fuel in an approved container a safe distance away from your home and generator.
- Refuel the generator only after shutting it down and letting it cool. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations regarding use.
- Smoke alarms electrically connected to your home's AC power supply will not work when the power is out unless they have battery back-ups. Find out what type of alarms you have in your home and ensure you are protected by battery operated smoke alarms in the event of a power failure.
- Install and maintain smoke alarms on every level of the home and in sleeping areas.
- Test all smoke alarms monthly.
Plan Your Escape
- Ensure everyone in the home knows what to do in case of fire. Who is going to look after the children or older adults? Where do you want everyone to meet outside the home? Call the fire department from a neighbor's home after escaping. Everyone should have at least one phone (not cordless) that works during a power failure.
- Use flashlights whenever possible. If you must use candles, take extreme care.
- Candles should be placed in secure candleholders, protected by a glass chimney.
- Keep candles away from any combustible materials.
- Place candles out of reach of children or pets.
- Extinguish all candles when you leave the room or go to bed.
- Avoid using candles in bedrooms and never leave candles unattended.
Safety Around Power Lines
It is important to remember that wires installed on utility poles carry electricity. When wires are down, they are dangerous -- electricity can still flow through them. Always assume that a downed power line is energized and is dangerous.
- Stay away from downed or sagging power lines, and do not touch anything that is on or near a power line (i.e., trees or tree limbs, cars, ladders).
- Keep children and family pets away from areas where lines may have fallen (backyards, fields, school yards, etc.).
- Any wire on the ground or hanging from a pole must be considered to be live.
- Do not attempt to cut or remove a tree that is, or could become, entangled with power lines.
- Look up! Always examine your surroundings for power line locations before doing any outside work.
- If a power line falls across a car that you're in, stay in the car. If you MUST get out of the car due to a fire or other immediate life-threatening situation, do your best to jump clear of the car and land on both feet. Be sure that no part of your body is touching the car when your feet touch the ground.
- As in all power line related emergencies, call for help immediately by dialing 911 or call your electric utility company's Service Center/Dispatch Office if it is not a life-threatening emergency.
The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service urges residents to have an emergency plan that includes a disaster supply kit. This kit should include enough water, non-perishable and canned food, and emergency supplies (flashlights, batteries, first-aid supplies, prescription medicines and a digital thermometer) to last for at least 3 days. Use battery-powered flashlights and lanterns, rather than candles to minimize the risk of fire.
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Replenish your supplies of batteries, bottled water and non- perishable food items in preparation for future storms.