Safety First Checklist

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service has designed the following safety checklist to promote safety in your home. At Montgomery County Fire and Rescue, we're committed to your safety and believe that education, along with a professional commitment from each of our fire fighters, is your family's best defense against fire. Please review these tips and eliminate any potential hazards in your home ~ it could just save your life.

1. Does your home have smoke alarms on each level of your home? Do you test them monthly?
A working smoke alarm doubles your chances of surviving a fire. Be sure to change the batteries yearly and if your smoke alarm makes a "chirping" sound, the batteries are low and need to be replaced immediately. Consider installing smoke alarms with "long-life" (10-year) batteries. Smoke alarm units should be replaced every eight to ten years according to manufacturer's instructions. Always test your smoke alarms immediately after returning from holiday or after a longer period of absence.
2. Does everyone know what to do in case of a fire?
Create a home escape plan, plan two ways out of every room, choose a meeting place outside where everyone will gather after they've escaped to take attendance and practice your plan with a fire drill today. Make sure that each escape route is as direct as possible.
3. Can we find you if we need to?
Are your house numbers clearly visible from the street? Please provide 5 inch numbers with contrasting background. Seconds count in an emergency.
4. Smoke kills - many people don't know that smoke from a fire is a major cause of fire-related deaths.
Instincts may prompt people to run to safety when they encounter smoke when crawling low under smoke is the best thing to do.
5. Cooking left unattended is the leading cause of home fires
Home-fire injuries often occurring within the first 15 minutes of cooking.
6. Call 9-1-1 and Do Not try to extinguish the fire.
A fire can double in size every 60 seconds and a delay in notifying 9-1-1 can cause further injury/death and property damage.
7. Smoking materials are the leading cause of fire deaths in the United States.
If you must smoke, designate an area to smoke and use large non-tip ashtrays, soak cigarette butts and ashes before discarding. These fires typically start when someone abandoned or improperly disposed of smoking materials. Never smoke in bed, when sleepy/impaired or on medication that makes you drowsy.
8. Don't overload electrical outlets/circuits.
Do not place cords under rugs. Replace any that are cracked, frayed or have loose connections.
9. Be vigilant when using candles.
Keep candles away from anything that can burn and put them out when you leave the room or go to sleep. Over the past decade, the number of candle fires has almost tripled.
10. Do you give space heaters space?
Keep fixed and portable space heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn and follow all manufacturer instructions.
11. Do you put ashes from your fireplace or wood stove in a metal container for proper disposal?
Leftover ashes and embers can start fires long after the intended fire has gone out. Properly dispose of ashes in a metal container with a lid - never in a cardboard box, plastic trash can or bag. Store the container outside away from your house/combustible material and never in the garage.
12. Residential fire sprinklers save lives and property.
Sprinklers contain/control fires. Although smoke alarms are essential in every household, they're designed to detect, not control, a fire. Consider the tax benefits when retrofitting your home with residential fire sprinklers.

The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue is committed to your safety ~ please help us by conducting a home safety check. Many things around the home can be fire hazards and taking the time to look and eliminate them will greatly reduce your risk.