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November 1, 2013

MCFRS News Release

What Time Is It?

Time to change your clock and check your smoke alarm this weekend; simple task can be a potentially life-saving one

Montgomery County, MD - - -  Daylight savings time ends November 3rd and the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) is urging all residents to check the batteries in their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors when they change their clocks this weekend to ensure they are working. “Home fires injure and kill thousands every year,” said Fire Chief Steven Lohr. “Smoke alarms that are properly installed and maintained play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries. I encourage everyone to test their smoke alarms, replace any alarms that are 10 years or older and conduct a home fire drill this weekend.”

The peak time for home fire fatalities is between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. when most families are sleeping. A working smoke alarm dramatically increases the chance for survival and provides advance warning of a fire resulting in more time to react and put a home escape plan into action. 
Help keep your family safe by following these fire safety tips:

  1. Install smoke alarms on all levels of your home, including the basement.
  2. Test smoke alarms each month to ensure they are working. Replace batteries annually, as needed.
  3. Plan and practice home fire drills regularly. Decide in advance who will help family members that may need assistance escaping (young children, older adults or people with disabilities).
  4. Retire old smoke alarms and replace with new ones every 10 years, as recommended by the manufacturer. Haven’t replaced your alarms since 2003? It’s time!  Smoke alarms do not last forever and units that are 10 years old are near the end of their service life and need to be replaced.
  5. Make sure children recognize the sound of your smoke alarm and how to respond to its signal.
  6. Maryland is one of the most recent states to require homeowners replace battery-only operated smoke alarms with units powered by sealed, long-life batteries by January 1, 2018. Smoke alarm technology has advanced over the years and the recent legislative update to Maryland’s Smoke Alarm Law is part of a nationwide trend to ensure future smoke alarm replacements possess this new technology. Visit our website for more information.

The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service will provide and install smoke alarm batteries at no cost to residents and will provide and install smoke alarms for residents that cannot afford them. Please call 311 for information and be sure to bookmark our website for year-round safety information at www.mcfrs.org/mcsafe and sign up to follow us on Twitter.

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