Monday, November 25, 2013

Keep Your Family Safe this Thanksgiving

Did you know that cooking fires are the #1 cause of fires? 
More cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving than on any other day of the year. With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, Montgomery County Fire Chief Steven Lohr is urging residents to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday and to keep safety at the top of everyone’s “to do” list this holiday season. “Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a rookie cooking your first holiday feast, the strategies for serving up a safe meal are the same,” said Chief Lohr. “Unattended cooking is the leading cause of residential fires and we’re asking residents to follow these simple safety tips and to have a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday.
Cooking Safety Tips:
·         Be alert! Stay in the kitchen when using the stovetop and use a timer. If you must leave the kitchen, even for a minute, turn off the stove.
·         Keep anything that can catch fire at least 3 feet from the stove, toaster oven or other heat source. This includes pot holders, food packaging, dish towels, paper/plastic bags, etc.
·         Do not pour water on a grease fire. Pouring water on a grease fire can cause the fire to spread. In the event of a range-top fire, turn off the burner, put on an oven mitt and smother the flames by carefully sliding a lid or cookie sheet onto the pan. Leave the lid in place until the pot or pan has cooled.
·         Clean cooking surfaces regularly to prevent grease buildup which can ignite.
·         Always wear short, tight-fitting sleeves when cooking to prevent clothing from coming in contact with a burner and catching fire.
·         Do not hold children while cooking or carrying hot foods or drinks. Keep children at a safe distance from hot surfaces, liquids and other kitchen hazards.
·         Plug microwaves and other kitchen appliances directly into an outlet. Never use an extension cord for a cooking appliance as it can overload the circuit and cause a fire.
·         Double-check the kitchen before you go to bed or leave the house. Make sure all other appliances are turned off and that any candles or smoking materials are safely extinguished.
·         Smoke alarms save lives. Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home, test alarms monthly and change batteries annually or as recommended by the manufacturer if your alarm features long-life batteries.  
Turkey fryers are becoming an increasingly popular choice to cook the Thanksgiving turkey and can be extremely dangerous if proper precautions are not taken. If your plans include using a turkey fryer, fire department officials urge residents to follow all manufacturer directions closely and to review the following safety tips: 
Turkey Fryer Safety Tips:
·         Never leave a fryer unattended. Keep your “dynasty” safe this holiday and be sure to check out the tips here: ;
·         By design, turkey fryers are prone to tipping over. Fryers should always be used on a non-combustible, flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.
·         Fryers should always be used outdoors at least 10 feet from buildings and any flammable materials. Never use a fryer on a wooden deck, under a patio cover, in a garage, porch or other enclosed space.
·         Do not overfill the fryer. The oil may spill out of the unit when the turkey is placed into the cooking pot. Oil may hit the burner/flames resulting in a potential fire hazard that could engulf the entire unit.
·         Oil and water do not mix! Make sure the turkey is completely thawed before it is placed in a fryer. Partially frozen turkeys can cause a spillover effect which may result in a fire. 
·         Some units do not have thermostat controls and, if not carefully watched, have the potential to overheat the oil to the point of combustion.
·         Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching the pot or lid handle. The sides of the cooking pot, lid and pot handles get dangerously hot and can result in severe burns. If available, use safety goggles to protect your eyes from any oil splatter.
·         Keep children and pets away from fryers. The oil can remain dangerously hot even hours after use.  
Following these simple fire safety tips can boost survival rates and reduce injuries dramatically.  For more information about our fire safety programs or to request a free home safety evaluation or smoke alarm check, please contact the County’s non-emergency call center at 311 during business hours.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Video, Audio and Photos From Today's Pedestrian Safety Press Conference

From today's pedestrian safety press event.  Please feel free to use/forward/pass along the video, audio and photos.  Just credit MCFRS.

Original Press Release

Firefighters from Rockville Fire Station #3 handing
out pedestrian safety shopping bags.
Chief Lohr and Firefighters from Fire Station #3 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

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 

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 and sign up to follow us on twitter. 

Fire Chief Steven Lohr provides an important reminder below: