Tuesday, August 1, 2017

It’s National Night Out – make sure we find you in an EMERGENCY!


National Night Out is a premier community-building event in the County. Do you know the police officers who work to keep your neighborhood and your family safe? Come out to the many National Night Out events being celebrated around the County and meet the first responders that serve your community and on your way home --- check your house numbers and make sure they are visible. 

In an emergency, police, fire and rescue workers depend on house numbers to find YOU as quickly as possible. Finding your home - especially at night - can be challenging if address numbers are unreadable, hidden, unlighted or have missing numbers and may delay emergency responders from getting to you as quickly as possible.
Are your house numbers visible from the street? Are they set on a background of contrasting color? If your house is hidden from the street, are your numbers attached to a visible fence, mailbox or gate? Is your mobile home identified with your house number? If you live on a corner, does your house number face the street named in your address?
If you've answered "no" to any of these questions, please follow the guidelines below to make sure your house number is easy to read:

1. Numbers must be visible from the street. Existing residential home numbering can be 3 1/2 inches high, however new residential homes must be at least 5 inches high and if you replace existing numbers they must be at least 5 inches high.

2. Numbers should be placed on a contrasting background, with a reflective coating on the numbers for easy visibility at night.

3. Repair or replace aging address number placards, especially on mailboxes that are a distance from the front of the residence.

4. Prune any bushes, tree limbs or other growth that has covered your house numbers.

5. Numbers should be placed on or beside the front door. If your door is not easily seen from the street, put the numbers on a post, fence or tree at the driveway entrance so they can be clearly seen from the street. In addition to numbers on the front door of your house, if you have a rural-style mailbox, reflective and contrasting numbers should be placed on both sides of the box so they can be seen by an emergency vehicle approaching from either direction.

Montgomery County Code on Addresses
a.The owner of any structure presently existing or constructed in the future must display Arabic numbers designating the address assigned to the structure by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, or by the municipality in which the structure is located. Numbers must be at least five (5) inches high for single-family detached and attached residences and at least six (6) inches high for commercial, industrial or multifamily structures. However, if the numbers designating the address of a single-family residence on April 5, 1988, were at least three (3) inches high, those numbers comply with the size requirement of this section as long as they remain in place. Address displays must be posted on a contrasting background displayed in a conspicuous place that is unobstructed and clearly readable from the street named in the official address of the structure. Where a structure has more than one (1) address or where more than one (1) structure shares a common entry or driveway, numbers must designate the addresses in sequence.

b. An agency of the county must not require a permit for a sign containing only the address of a residence if the sign is smaller than a maximum size set by the county executive by regulation.


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Get Ready: High Heat in the Forecast

Be Careful and Check on Elderly Neighbors

The heat is ON. A Heat Advisory remains in effect from noon today until 9 p.m. Temperatures will be in the mid to upper 90s with heat index values around 105 degrees. Excessive heat is especially dangerous to the elderly, the young, those with existing medical conditions and those that work outdoors. Fire Chief Scott Goldstein is urging residents to stay cool, stay hydrated and to check on the welfare of elderly or at-risk neighbors as things "heat up" this week in the metropolitan area.
 

Staying hydrated is essential all year long but is particularly important when temperatures soar. During hot weather and extreme heat, keep informed by listening to local weather and news channels and take a minute to review the tips below.


1. Pre-hydrate, hydrate and re-hydrate.
During hot weather you will need to increase your fluid intake, regardless of your activity level. Drink plenty of fluids in advance, during and after activities and don’t wait until you're thirsty to hydrate.

2.  Dress for the heat.
Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Light colors will reflect some of the sun’s energy. Limit your direct exposure to the sun and wear a hat for extra protection.

3.  Monitor those at high risk.
Extreme heat can be hazardous to your health and although anyone can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Those most at risk for heat-related illnesses include children, older adults, those that work or exercise outside and those with pre-existing medical conditions. Elderly or disabled residents in Montgomery County in need of a free fan can call 311 for information.

4. Children and cars - use common sense.
Never, ever leave infants, children, pets or the elderly in a parked car where temperatures can become life-threatening in minutes, even with the windows rolled down. Additionally, hot interior surfaces of a car can burn a child’s skin. Before you put your child in a car that has been parked in a warm/sunny spot, check the temperature of the car seat or upholstery first.

5. Avoid strenuous activity.
Take regular breaks when exercising or engaged in physical activity on warm days. If you recognize that you, or someone else, is showing signs of a heat-related illness, stop the activity immediately, find a cool place to rest, hydrate and seek medical attention if necessary.

6. Be a good neighbor.
Isolated, elderly adults are at a much higher risk of health-related issues. Be a good neighbor and take a minute to check in with your neighbors.

7. Remember your pets.
Hot weather can affect the well-being of pets making them susceptible to overheating which can lead to very dangerous heat stroke. Always provide a source of water and a cool, ventilated place for your pet. Leaving your pet inside a parked car, even for a few minutes, can be fatal. The inside of a car can reach 120 degrees in a matter of minutes.  

8. Stay indoors, if possible.
Stay indoors and, if possible, in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, consider going to the shopping mall, community center or public library. Even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you return to the heat.

Monday, July 3, 2017

What You Need to Know About Fireworks

With the Fourth of July quickly approaching, Montgomery County Fire Chief Scott Goldstein is reminding residents that ALL fireworks are illegal in Montgomery County and that the County will be continuing its ‘zero tolerance’ policy regarding illegal fireworks.
  
In an effort to stress the seriousness posed by the use of dangerous and illegal fireworks, Fire Officials across the region launched a comprehensive effort several years ago to inform and educate the public about illegal fireworks. “The law in Montgomery County is clear and the safest, and smartest, way to enjoy fireworks is at one of the many public displays in the area,” said Fire Chief Goldstein. Here’s what you should know:

The Law: 
It is illegal for any person to manufacture, possess, store, offer for sale, sell, discharge, use, burn or explode any fireworks in Montgomery County, Maryland, except that an authorized display may be conducted by a licensed pyrotechnic professional with a permit. Penalties for violations of the law include a fine up to $1,000 and/or six months in jail. All fireworks are illegal in Montgomery County, Prince George’s County and the City of Baltimore. Montgomery County Fire Safety Code: Section 22-70: Fireworks.

What fireworks are legal?
In Montgomery County, ALL fireworks are illegal to possess or discharge including gold label sparklers. Snap-and-pop noise makers, snakes and party poppers are the only exception to this law.

Can I receive fireworks at my home through the mail?
No. Use of the mail for the transportation of fireworks for use in the State of Maryland is illegal.

Can I have a private fireworks display at my residence with proper permits?
No. You can not have a private display; however, you can apply to have a public display with proper permits and insurance.

Can I receive fireworks at my residence delivered by a public carrier?
No. It doesn't matter where the fireworks are purchased or how they are brought into Maryland.  Fireworks are still illegal in Montgomery County.

Where do I report violations involving fireworks?
Residents should call 301-279-8000. Do NOT call 911 unless you have a life-threatening emergency and need immediate help. Non-emergency 911 calls can delay getting assistance to people with actual emergencies.

Where can I go in Montgomery County to see the fireworks?
The Fire Chief and safety experts agree that the best way to celebrate is to enjoy one of the many free, public fireworks displays in the area on July 4th.  Public fireworks displays, conducted by trained professionals, are the smartest and safest way to view fireworks because they are established under controlled settings and safety regulations and monitored by public safety organizations.

Jason Pierre-Paul and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission teamed up to file a PSA on fireworks safety. Pierre-Paul suffered severe damage when a firework accidentally exploded in his hand in 2015. Think about what Pierre-Paul said: "I saw 12 people in the hospital and my hand was the best one. If there were that may fireworks-related injuries in one hospital last July, how many were there across the country?"

Please - leave the fireworks to the professionals.  

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

It’s Official! Summer. Is. Here.

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service and Fire Chief Scott Goldstein are kicking off our annual “Summer of Safety” campaign designed to provide important safety information and tips designed to keep residents and visitors safe this summer. Stick with us all season as we highlight various safety topics ranging from A to Z!

Five words that save lives --- All Eyes On The Pool! MCFRS officials are urging residents to take proper precautions around the water and to diligently supervise children when they are around any water sources. Whether you’re a seasoned swimmer or just learning how to swim, many water-related injuries can be avoided by knowing what to do and how to stay safe. The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service kicks off the 2017 Summer of Safety Campaign with Water Safety:  

Be attentive.  Research from the National Safe Kid Campaign shows that nearly 9 out of 10 children between the ages of 1 and 14 who drowned were under supervision when they died. How is this possible? Distractions – cell phones, ipads, reading materials, chores and socializing needs to be resisted when YOU are on “lifeguard duty” watching your child. Be engaged and committed to watching them constantly. The study defined supervision as being in someone’s care, not necessarily in direct line of sight.

Learn to swim and never swim alone. One of the best things you can do to stay safe around the water is to learn to swim and to always swim with a buddy. Make sure they know how to tread water, float on their backs and get to the edge of the pool and hang on. Even the most experienced swimmers can become tired or get muscle cramps which might make it difficult to get out of the water safely.  

Teaching your child how to swim does not mean that your child is “drown-proof.”If you have a pool or are visiting a pool, protect your children by supervising them at all times and being prepared in case of an emergency. Consider designating a adult “water watcher” when children are participating in water activities.

Seconds count when it comes to water emergencies. Keep a phone (cell or cordless) by the pool or nearby when engaged in recreational water activities so that you can call 9-1-1 in an emergency.

Learn life-saving skills. Know how to prevent, recognize and respond to emergencies. In the time it might take paramedics to arrive, your CPR skills could make a difference in saving someone’s life.

Avoid relying on inflatable swimming aids such as “floaties and “noodles” to keep your child safe. These toys are not designed to keep your child safe, can deflate or shift quickly and should never be used as a substitute for supervision. Use only Coast Guard approved flotation devices that your swimmer properly.

Lifeguards are an important safety feature but are NOT intended to replace the close supervision of parents or caregivers. Remember, lifeguards are not babysitters.

Maintain constant supervision of children around water (bathtubs, pools, ornamental backyard ponds, etc.). Never leave a child unattended in the water or pool area. Don't be distracted by phone calls, chores or conversations. If you leave the pool area, take the child with you. Remember: swim lessons are no substitute for the supervision of children. Formal swimming lessons can help protect young swimmers around the water however constant adult supervision is critical. 
Diving dangers. Diving injuries can cause permanent spinal damage, injuries and even death. Protect yourself by diving only in designated areas that are known to be safe, such as the deep end, of a supervised pool. 

Pay attention to local weather conditions and forecasts. Stop swimming at the first indication of bad weather. 

Know Your Limits. Watch for the “dangerous too’s” . . . too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun, too much strenuous activity. 

Water and alcohol don’t mix.
 Each year, up to half of all adult drownings are linked to alcohol use. Never swim impaired. 




Friday, May 5, 2017

Arson Awareness Week

The theme for the 2017 Arson Awareness Week (May 7-13) is Preventing Arson at Houses of Worship. Each year for Arson Awareness Week, the U.S. Fire Administration gathers and shares information to raise awareness of arson or youth firesetting and provide strategies to combat these issues. The United States Fire Administration (USFA) is pleased to announce first-time partners: the Department of Justice’s Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Center for Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’(ATF) Fire Investigation & Arson Enforcement Division. USFA will also partner with the International Association of Arson Investigators, National Volunteer Fire Council, National Fire Protection Association, Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, and the Insurance Committee for Arson Control.
The week’s focus is on the importance of collaboration among fire and emergency services, law enforcement, insurance companies, and the justice system to help reduce arson at houses of worship. The new partners will help expand the collaboration and provide opportunities for reaching into communities with information and suggested prevention actions.
In addition, a webinar will be held on Tuesday, May 9th, at 2 pm, hosted by the Insurance Committee for Arson Control. The webinar will provide information on the three factors included in an arson prevention program, the five required steps to establish a Community Arson Watch program, and the most common motives associated with arson. Learn more and register.
“When arson touches our houses of worship,” said Acting USFA Administrator Dr. Denis Onieal, “it attacks the very foundation of our freedoms.”
For more information regarding the 2017 Arson Awareness Week, including materials to implement awareness and prevention activities in your community, visit www.usfa.fema.gov/aaw.