Thursday, July 31, 2014

Heatstroke: Could it Happen to Your Child?

Today is National Heatstroke Prevention Day. Please take a moment to view the video below from our partners in safety SafeKids.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Cooking Safety Video

It's Cooking safety week as part of our Summer of Safety effort. This video from our friends at NFPA.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Cooking Safety Tips

As part of our Summer of Safety outreach, this week's theme is Cooking Safety.  Cooking related fires are the number ONE cause of fires locally and nationally!

Below, please find some important tips to help prevent this all too common cause of fire!

Never leave cooking food on the stovetop unattended, and keep a close eye on food cooking inside the oven. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home cooking fires. Three in every 10 reported home fires start in the kitchen - more than any other place in the home.

* Keep cooking areas clean and clear of combustibles (i.e. potholders, towels, rags, drapes and food packaging).

*Keep children and pets away from cooking areas by creating a three-foot (one-meter) "kid/pet-free zone" around the stove.

* Turn pot handles inward so they can't be bumped and children can't grab them.

* Clean cooking surfaces regularly to prevent grease buildup which can ignite.

* Wear short, close fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking. Loose clothing can dangle onto stove burners and catch fire.

* Never use a wet oven mitt, as it presents a scald danger if the moisture in the mitt is heated.

* Always keep a potholder, oven mitt and lid handy. If a small grease fire starts in a pan, put on an oven mitt and smother the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan. You may also use baking soda. Turn off the burner. Don't remove the lid until it is completely cool. Never pour water on a grease fire and never discharge a fire extinguisher onto a pan fire, as it can spray or shoot burning grease around the kitchen, actually spreading the fire.

* If there is an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed to prevent flames from burning you and your clothing. Call 9-1-1 from a safe location.

* Never leave a child unattended in the kitchen. Close supervision is essential, whether children are helping an adult cook or simply watching.

* If there is a microwave fire, keep the door closed and unplug the microwave - If safe to do so. Call 9-1-1 from a safe location. Remember that food cooked in a microwave can be dangerously hot. Remove the lids or other coverings carefully to prevent steam burns.

* Double-check the kitchen before you go to bed or leave the house. Make sure all other appliances are turned off.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Recently Retired Battalion Chief Named New Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal

PIKESVILLE, MD (July 23, 2014) – Today, the State Fire Marshal announces the appointment of our new Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal.  Michael D. Hanson has been appointed to the position of Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal.  He replaces Deputy Chief State Fire Marshal Joseph Flanagan, whoafter nearly eight years of outstanding leadership took the open supervisory position in the Lower Eastern Shore Region.  


The role of Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal is a Field Operations Division management function involving the supervision and coordination of the agencies law enforcement activities in the field of fire prevention, fire safety inspections, fire investigations and explosives control.  Chief Deputy Hanson is responsible for supervising five regions, the bomb squad and the accelerants/explosives detection canine unit.   He serves as second in command to the State Fire Marshal and oversees various administrative programs for the agency.


Hanson has been in the fire service for over 35 years.  He is a 30 year veteran of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Department. He retired in July of 2014 serving as a Battalion Chief for the last 4½ years of his serviceHanson worked in numerous fire stations throughout the county as a Lieutenant and Captain and also served with the counties Hazardous Materials Response Team, USAR Team and as an Instructor at the Public Safety Training Academy. Hanson graduated number one in his Firefighter 1 class in 1984.


In 2003, Hanson was chosen to transfer to the Fire and Explosion Investigation Section. He graduated from Session 43 of the Montgomery County Police Academy and graduated with honors receiving the James Daley Award, an award for the candidate who has demonstrated the greatest individual efforts and standards of excellence. Hanson has been investigating fires and explosions for over 12 years. He is a certified fire investigator with the International Association of Arson Investigators and the National Association of Fire Investigators. He is a member of the National Fire Protection Association, and was a member of International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators.Hanson graduated from the FBI Hazardous Devices School in 2005 as a certified bomb technician.  He has attended numerous training sessions taught by the FBI, BATF, NFPA and the IAAI. He has also attended numerous national and local conferences on determining the origin and cause of fires and explosions.


As a fire investigator in Montgomery County Hanson worked on several high profile and complex arson cases working with various federal and local law enforcement agencies which concluded with arrests and convictions. As a bomb technician, Hanson responded to numerous explosive investigations in Montgomery County, including being part of the bomb squad component that operated at the Discovery Channel Building Hostage event in Silver Spring in 2010.


Hanson graduated from Beall High School in 1975 and received an Associate of Arts Degree from Allegany Community College. He graduated from the University of Maryland University College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fire Science with a certificate in Systems Approach to Fire Safety. Hanson also has worked as a private fire investigator for Fire and Arson Investigations Consultants Inc. in Pasadena, Maryland for 5 ½  years investigating fires and explosions for the insurance industry. Hanson remains an active and life member of the Frostburg Fire Department with 35 years of experience.  He is also a field instructor with the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute with more than 18 years of teaching fire service members.


The Office of the State Fire Marshal welcomes Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Michael D. Hanson to his new position with the agency and looks forward to the continued success with our efforts to protect the citizens of Maryland from the effects of fire and explosives.


Michael D. Hanson


Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Child Passenger Safety

What is Montgomery County's law regarding car seat use?
Montgomery County does not have its own car seat law. We followMaryland law which currently states that children must ride in a child restraint system until they are at least eight years old, unless they are 4'9" before their eighth birthday. Maryland law states that the child restraint has to be federally approved and used correctly. Booster seats are considered child restraints, as well as infant seats, convertible seats and forward-facing seats.
What do I do if I need help getting a car seat?
If you live in Montgomery County and qualify, there is a voucher program that will provide a car seat for your child for $25.00. Call 240-777-2467 for any questions regarding eligibility. Once you have a voucher for a car seat, MCFRS will teach you how to install and use it properly at a scheduled car seat appointment.
When can my child ride in a car and just use the seat belts?
Most children are between 8 to 12 years old before they can safely ride in just a seat belt alone, unless they are 4 feet 9 inches tall. Click here to view PDF and find out if your child properly fits in a seat belt. When a child can safely ride with just a lap and shoulder belt depends on the vehicle. It is not uncommon for children to be able to ride safely in one family vehicle with the seat belt and not in another one.
When is my child allowed to ride in the front seat of my car?
Maryland's law does not state a child can't ride in the front seat (except for rear-facing infants in a car with active airbags-this is against instructions, very dangerous and illegal), however, it is strongly recommended by all safety experts that children ride in the back seat until they are teenagers. Age 12 and under should ride in the back seat. Children are 40% less likely to be seriously injured or killed in the back seat than the front seat.
When should I turn my child forward-facing?
Children should ride rear facing as long as possible, usually up to 24 months. Infant-only seats often are rated for use up to 22 pounds and convertible seats can be used rear facing up to 30 to 45 pounds. The longer a child rides rear facing the safer they are.
How soon can my child use a booster seat?
Children should not ride in a booster seat until they are close to 40 pounds and behave well enough to sit still in a booster seat with a lap-shoulder belt. Generally, children are 4 years old before they can ride in a booster seat.
How does one get certified to be a car seat technician?
In order to become a certified technician one must successfully complete a NHTSA standardized certification class that lasts approximately four days. Contact the program manager at 240-777-2467 for information about upcoming classes in Montgomery County. Classes are held every other month.
Will MCFRS come to my school/church/Day Care Center and organize a car seat check?
MCFRS conducts car seat checks eighteen hours a week among three different locations. Due to limited availability of certified technicians at other times, it is not usually possible to come to additional sites. Contact the program manager if you have specific requests.
Why is there a wait for a car seat appointment?
It is not unusual for MCFRS to receive fifty or more calls in a single day requesting a car seat appointment. With the available technicians, we can only schedule approximately 500 appointments each month. We make every effort to return your calls and meet your appointment needs as promptly as possible. We schedule appointments three weekdays and one evening each week, as well as three Saturdays a month.
What do I do if I need an appointment right away and there are none available for a week or more?
All car seats come with instruction manuals, as well as toll free numbers to reach the manufacturer. If you read and follow the instructions you should be able to safely use the seat until the next appointment is available. Call the MCFRS car seat hotline number (240-777-2222) to find other locations in the area that check car seats.
Is there anything special I need to know if I have a premature or smaller baby?
It is important to read the weight and height requirements on your infant seat. Some infant seats are rated for use from 4 to 22 pounds and others require a child to be at least 5 pounds. If you are anticipating a smaller newborn, get one of the car seats rated for use starting at 4 pounds. Sometimes newborns have a medical need to lie flat. If this is the case, your physician will suggest using a car bed. MCFRS has a supply of car beds for loaner use when this is necessary.
Are there any websites you suggest for additional child passenger safety information?
Do you also install car seats or just inspect them?
Our program wants to educate you about your car seat during your appointment. The more you have done ahead of time to prepare, the better your learning experience will be. We suggest that you try to read your car seat owner's manual and attempt to install your car seat before your appointment. Regardless of how your seat arrives, you will leave with a properly installed car seat and will know how to properly secure a child in it.
Is there a charge for this service?
There is not a charge for your appointment and we want to keep it that way for everyone. The funding for this program is limited due to reduced grant funding and minimal staff, so if you wish to help the program purchase seats for families in need or inspection supplies, donations can be made and are always appreciated. You will receive information about how to make a donation in the packet of materials you receive at your appointment. All donations go directly towards program costs.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Fire Chief Lohr Cautions Parents on Dangers of Hot Cars in Summer

A friendly reminder from Chief Lohr on the dangers of hot cars that fits right in with this week's Summer of Safety program theme: Child Passenger Safety.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Always Ready to Help

Whether fighting fires or running EMS calls we always strive to assist the residents of Montgomery County in their time of need.  Yesterday, Bethesda Fire Station 6-B personnel took time to assist a senior resident who experienced a flat tire right across the street from Station 6 – and on a busy roadway. 

While not a situation they normally handle the crew felt it important to help, promptly changed the tire, and got the driver safely on their way.      

Photo Provided By Captain Marc Worton

Monday, July 21, 2014

Child Passenger Safety

This weeks theme for our Summer of Safety program is Child Passenger Safety.  Below, please find a variety of useful information as it relates to Infant and Child car seat safety.

Infant & Child Car Seat Safety

Car Seat Fact Sheets

Car Seat Inspection Station Locations

To schedule an appointment call 240-777-2223. There can be a 2-3 week wait so plan ahead. Please contact Emilie Crown, Program Manager, at 240-777-2467 for any other issues. Need to have a car seat installed/checked/inspected? Montgomery County residents may click here to schedule an appointment.

Tuesdays and Thursdays 8:00 am - Noon

1st Saturday of the month 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Carseat safety
By appointment only at SAFE KIDS Montgomery County MD, Child Safety Seat Inspection Station
14111 Georgia Avenue (behind 7-11), Aspen Hill, MD 20906

Thursday Evenings 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

3rd Saturday of the month 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
By appointment only at Criswell Chevrolet
503 Quince Orchard Road, Gaithersburg, MD 20878

Wednesdays 8:00 am - Noon

2nd Saturday of the month 8:00 am - Noon
By appointment only at Great Beginnings Children's Store
18501 North Frederick Road, Gaithersburg, MD 20879

Child Seat Laws & Seat Check Information

Our goal is to ensure that the children of Montgomery County are properly secured in car seats and seat belts while traveling. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading killer of children under 15. The inspection stations are sponsored by the Montgomery County Fire Rescue and SAFE KIDS Montgomery County. Montgomery County Car Seat Inspection Stations are for Montgomery County Residents only. Non-county residents are welcome to participate in Fitzgerald Auto Mall's monthly (no appointment needed) seat check in Rockville. Call Montgomery County's Child Passenger Safety Hotline, 240-777-2222 to get the next date and phone numbers for other inspection sites.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Station Maintenance

By Master Firefighter Tim Burns

When not responding to emergency calls our firefighters keep busy with a variety of duties at the local firehouse. Every day the employees that work in these stations are responsible for accomplishing a number of assigned tasks, one of which is station maintenance.

Here you will see members of company 16 A-Shift conducting monthly station maintenance on their bunk room and bathroom/locker room. Since they spend 1/3 of their lives in these facilities, it benefits them to keep them as clean as possible. Often times you will notice that living areas in some stations are comparable to the firefighter's homes in terms of their upkeep.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Safety Saturday!

This may be a sight you will see in your neighborhood later today. Our Firefighters going door to door to hand out safety tips and offer to check smoke alarms! 

This is part of our Summer of Safety program.  Have a great, and SAFE, weekend!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Can We Find You In An EMERGENCY?

As part of our Summer of Safety program, this week's focus has been on home escape planning. A critical part of that planning is knowing your home address as well as making sure we can SEE your house numbers on your home so we can find you and get help to you quickly! 

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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 17, 2014

If There Is a Fire In Your Home - Get Outside and Stay Outside!

From our partners in safety at the NFPA is a video for kids that relates to our Summer of Safety theme this week - Home Escape Planning.

Please take a moment to have your child watch the short video below.  Remember it is important that you include your kids in developing a home escape plan.  As well, it is important you practice the plan by having a fire drill at home!  Practice makes perfect!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

MCFRS Captain Takes Two Silvers At Can-Am Police and Fire Games

Captain Penelope “Penny” Ingles has taken home two silver medals from the Can-Am Police and Fire Games.  The Games are an International Olympic style event that is held every two years.  This year York County, PA is hosting the 2014 Can-Am Police and Fire Games with the proceeds benefiting The Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Captain Ingles participated in the Chili Cook-Off taking away a silver medal. The judges thought the chili was excellent and it was a hands-down favorite of the non-judges. Penny also brought home Silver in the Mountain Biking event, which was held on Monday.

Way to go and congratulations!

Captain Ingles after getting Silver in Mountain Bike event

Good looking medal!!!
Captain Ingles was joined by her Mom for the Chili Cook Off

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Make Sure Your Child Is Prepared For A Fire

Every home should have working smoke alarms and an escape plan in case of a fire. Include all family members in the planning process and make a plan for anyone with special needs or limitations such as a baby or toddler, the elderly or the disabled.

Create a fire escape floor plan:

  • Start by drawing a rectangle on a piece of paper. Draw one for reach room of your home. Then draw in all doors and windows. Your children can use crayons to draw in beds, tables, etc.
  • In one color, draw a line that shows the fastest way out of each room. Then, in another color, draw another line that shows the second fastest way out.
Now that you have your fire escape plan, talk to your family about how they would escape from each room of your house or apartment if there was a fire. The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service recommends having home fire drills regularly so everyone knows what to do in an emergency.

Know what to do in case of a fire.

  • Pick a meeting place outside of your home where everyone can gather after they have left the burning building.
  • NEVER use an elevator to escape a fire.
  • Conduct home fire drills and make them realistic by holding your drills in the evening since kids can get disoriented in the dark and fires often happen at night.
  • In case of a fire, get out first then call the fire department with a portable, cell or neighbor's phone from a safe location.
  • Make sure that everyone knows that once you're out, stay out! Never go back inside of a burning building.

Escape Tips:

  • Close doors behind you as you escape to slow the spread of fire and smoke.
  • If you have to escape through smoke, remember that smoke rises. Teach children to "get low and go" if there's smoke. The air will be cleanest and easier to breath near the floor.
  • Test doorknobs and spaces around closed doors with the back of your hand. If the door is warm, try another escape route. If it is cool, open it slowly. Slam the door shut if smoke pours through.

Things to Think About:

  • If you're having a baby-sitter or overnight guests, these people need to learn your household fire escape plan, too. They should be familiar with the sound of the smoke alarm, escape routes and your family's meeting place.
  • Can everyone in your home - including children - unlock and open all doors and windows?
  • You may want to consider supplying upper bedrooms with escape ladders. Show children where the ladders are kept, how to attach them to the window and how to use them. Demonstrate how to back out of the window and go down the ladder feet first. Montgomery County Fire and Rescue recommends practicing from a ground floor window where there is no risk of falling.
  • If you need to descend a ladder to escape, be sure to lower children to the ground before you exit from the window. They may panic in an emergency situation and not follow you if you go first.
  • If your windows have security bars, equip them with quick-release devices, and teach everyone in your household how to use them.
  • Test your smoke alarms once a month.
  • Replace alarm batteries once a year.
  • Smoke alarms don't last forever. Replace alarms that are more than 10 years old, following manufacturer instructions.

Monday, July 14, 2014

It's Home Escape Planning Week! Learn How to Plan Exit Drills in the Home (E.D.I.T.H.)

As part of our Summer of Safety program, this week is Home Escape Planning week. Please take a moment to review below and learn how to develop, and practice, a Home Escape Plan!

Being ready is the key to surviving a home fire.

There are three things YOU can do to protect your family. They are simple, but they are very important. Do them now, before fire strikes.
  1. Install smoke alarms on every level of your home.
  2. Test smoke alarms monthly to be sure they are working and replace batteries at least once a year. If your smoke alarm makes a "chirping sound" - replace the battery immediately.
  3. Plan and practice home fire drills.

Make a Home Escape Plan!

Fire strikes quickly, often in the middle of the night while your family is asleep. Establish a plan now for evacuating each member of your family. Then, if fire does strike, everyone will know what to do and where to go.

One of the ways to keep your family safe is by practicing E.D.I.T.H. (Exit Drills In The Home). Many injuries are caused by people of all ages reacting improperly when there is a fire in their home. They may be affected by smoke, disoriented by being awakened abruptly and frightened.
It is critical that every household have a step-by-step plan for escaping a fire and practice it by having a "Home Fire Drill" at least twice a year.

Remember, your primary route should be the quickest, most direct way out. For example, through the front door to your meeting place or through a window to a roof or balcony where you can safely wait for help. The secondary route should be the next safest, most direct path out. For example, through the window of the room next door. Unless your children are infants, don't have them wait for your help. In a fire, parents may be blocked from their children's bedrooms by smoke or flames. As soon as they are able, each child should know how to escape a fire and be taught to do so as soon as he or she smells smoke or hears the sound of the smoke alarm.
Practice your plan with a HOME FIRE DRILL.
Make sure everyone understands what to do and assess each escape route realistically to be sure it can be used in an emergency. Walk through the primary and alternative escape routes, ensuring that all exits are accessible to all members of your household. For example, will windows open easily? Are ropes and ladders required to escape from second-story windows? (If you choose to have escape ladders, always practice using a ground floor window). Practice your plan at night because things look very different in the dark.
If windows or doors in your home have security bars, make sure that the bars have quick-release mechanisms operational from the inside so that they can be opened immediately in an emergency. Quick-release mechanisms won't compromise your security, but they will increase your chances of safely escaping a home fire.
Go outside to see if your house number is clearly visible from the street.
Numbers must be visible to ensure that responding emergency personnel can find your home. In Montgomery County, Maryland 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. Numbers should be placed on a contrasting background, with a reflective coating on the numbers for easy visibility at night.
Escape first and then call 9-1-1 from a neighbor's house.
In the event of a fire, do not stop for anything. Do not try to rescue possessions or pets. Closing doors on your way out slows the spread of fire, giving you more time to safely escape. Go directly to your meeting place and then call the fire department from a neighbor's phone. Every member of your household should know how to call the fire department.
Get out and stay out.
Once you are out of your home, do not go back for any reason. If people are trapped, firefighters have the best chance of rescuing them. The heat and smoke of a fire are overpowering. Firefighters have the training, experience and protective equipment needed to enter burning buildings.
Establish a meeting place outside your house and everyone should proceed to this location immediately to take attendance and make sure everyone has escaped.
Crawl low under smoke.
Smoke contains deadly gases and heat rises. During a fire, cleaner air will be near the floor. Teach your family that in a fire they must stay low to the floor to avoid smoke and intense heat. If you encounter smoke when using your primary exit, use your alternate escape plan. If you must exit through smoke, crawl on your hands and knees keeping your head 12 to 24 inches above the floor.
Revise your escape plan as circumstances change in your household. Make sure everyone including young children, older adults and people with disabilities are included.
Remember - children sleep very deeply.
Adults need to make sure that children know the sound of the smoke alarm and what to do if they hear it. You can find out who can hear the smoke alarm if you have a fire drill when everyone else is sleeping. If anyone in your home does not wake to the smoke alarm or requires assistance getting out, plan to designate an adult to help them escape.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Practice Makes Perfect

By: Lt. Robert Furst

Company 19-A took some time this past Tuesday to practice a basic fire service drill of hose line deployment and management. The crew deployed and repacked the #2 crosslay a few times. During the drill, Lieutenant Cliff Billingslea and Master Firefighter Joe Skinner displayed a few tricks of the trade to the crew.

This drill was put into play less than an hour later. PE719 and AT719 were dispatched on a box alarm in Company 18 (Glenmont) for a building fire. The first arriving units found a small fire on the rear balcony of an end of group townhouse controlled by a sprinkler. PE719 was the Rapid Intervention Company Engine and AT719 was the second due aerial service. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Firing up the Grill This Weekend? Keep these Safety Tips in Mind

It looks like we are going to have another beautiful weekend and there is no doubt people will be firing up their grills and the last thing on many minds is probably safety, right? Well, it shouldn’t be according to Fire Chief Steve Lohr. Every year, thousands of homes catch fire because of inproper use of grills and the Fire Chief wants to remind residents that preparation is the key to staying safe when using grills this season. 

Before you plan your next outdoor cookout, please review these safety tips:

 If you haven’t used your grill in a while, give it a good spring cleaning. Scour the grate with a wire brush. Save future cleaning time by using a nonstick cooking spray to prevent food from sticking to the grill.

 Before using your grill for the first time this season, go online to check whether your grill has been recalled due to any dangerous defects.

 Position the grill in a well-ventilated, flat and level surface away from your house, overhangs, deck railings, tree branches, shrubbery and anything that can burn. Never use a grill indoors or in a garage.

 Never leave a grill unattended – even for a minute – and supervise children and pets around the grill: declare three-foot “kid-free zone” around the grilling area. 

 Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled-up sleeves when cooking. Loose clothing can dangle over the grill and catch fire. 

 Use long-handled tongs and brushes while grilling. 

 Never move a lit barbeque.

 Make sure the barbeque is turned off, and completey cooled, before covering.

For Gas Grills

Before grilling, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for checking the connection to the cylinder. An easy way to do this is to tighten the connection, turn on the cylinder and then apply a soapy water solution around the connection. If bubbles appear, the connection is leaking. Turn the cylinder off, reconnect the cylinder and check again. 

 Check grill hoses for cracking, corrosion, brittleness, holes and leaks. Make sure there are no sharp bends in the hose or tubing. 

 If repairs are needed, do not attempt to do them yourself. Enlist a professional. 

 Always keep propane gas containers upright. 

 Always open the lid of a grill before igniting it.

 Regularly remove grease and fat buildup in trays below the grill so it cannot be ignited by a hot grill. 

 If you smell gas, turn the grill off immediately and do not use it until it is repaired.

 Do not store tanks or other flammable materials near a grill, indoors or in a heated area such as a vehicle trunk. Propane tanks need to be stored in well-ventilated areas. 

For Charcoal Grills:

 Use the proper starter fluid and store the can out of reach of children and away from heat sources. 

 Never use any type of grill inside. Don't barbeque in the garage, even with the door open. Barbecues produce carbon monoxide, which can build up in an enclosed area. Carbon monoxide is invisible, colorless and tasteless -- but extremely dangerous. Instead, set up your grill in a corner of your deck or patio. Avoid grilling on a covered or enclosed porch or on top of anything that can catch on fire.

 Since charcoal produces CO fumes until the charcoal is completely extinguished, do not store the grill indoors with freshly used coals. 

In Montgomery County, unless you live in a house, it is illegal to:

• Kindle or maintain charcoal burners and/or gas-fired grills on balconies or within 20 feet of any structure. 

• Store liquid propane (LP) gas cylinders, within 20 feet of a multi-family residential building. 

Remember, when cooking outside - ALWAYS open the hood before lighting the grill. ALWAYS keep the grill in a safe area away from children, pets and heavy people traffic where someone could bump into it. NEVER try to grill inside and remember, it is best to grill 20 feet away from anything that can burn. Have a safe summer! 

Sources: NFPA, CPSC and the USFA

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Backyard Grill Explosion

As many of you are aware, this week is Grill Safety Week as part of our overall Summer of Safety program. Below is a very powerful interview with Hannah Storm of ESPN who experienced a horrific incident with a propane grill approximately a year and a half ago.  Please pay close attention to what she mentions occurred.

Please enjoy your grill safely and make sure you are aware of all precautions you should take so that something like this does not happen to you.  We applaud Ms. Storm for her continued efforts to make people aware of what occurred in an effort to prevent others from suffering as well.

ABC US News | ABC Sports News

Monday, July 7, 2014

Grilling Safety

We are just starting Week #3 of our Summer of Safety outreach efforts.  This weeks theme is Grilling Safety.

Did you know that July is the peak month for grill fires?  Below, please find a safety tip sheet we will be handing out in various areas of the County highlighting ways to grill safely.

Do not let your summer go up in flames!  Take a moment to review the below safety tips and enjoy a safely grilled meal!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Summer of Safety - Keeping Our Seniors Safe

By: Master Firefighter Tim Burns

Yesterday afternoon members from Company 16 - A Shift engaged with residents of the Oaks apartments in Silver Spring as part of the MCFRS Summer of Safety program. Fire Station 16 did blood pressure checks, handed out safety literature, assisted residents with completing a "File-of-Life," and were available to check smoke detectors as needed.

The Oaks has a high concentration of seniors, one group that MCFRS has identified as a target for this safety program.

To schedule something similar for your building and/or organization, contact your local fire station.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Independence Day!

Please celebrate responsibly today!  Our Firefighters do not want to meet you "by accident" today!


Thursday, July 3, 2014

How Hot Does a Sparkler Burn?

Think sparklers are not dangerous?  Well, think again!  Below is a great chart, from our friends in safety the NFPA, that highlights just how hot they can burn.  Sparklers account for approximately 16% of all fireworks injuries each year.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Heat Exhaustion and Heatstroke

Extreme heat brings with it the possibility of heat-induced illnesses. During the hot, humid summer weather, the body's internal temperature can rise and can result in heat exhaustion and heatstroke. If not treated quickly, heat exhaustion can progress into heatstroke, which requires immediate medical care and can be fatal.

Signs and Symptoms:

Heat Exhaustion

  • Severe thirst
  • Muscle weakness
  • Nausea, sometimes vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Headache
  • Increased sweating
  • Cool clammy skin
  • Elevation of body temperature to 105 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Weak, rapid pulse


  • Severe, throbbing headache
  • Weakness, dizziness or confusion
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Decreased responsiveness or loss of consciousness
  • Little or no sweating
  • Flush, hot, dry skin
  • Elevation of body temperature to 105 degrees Fahrenheit

What to Do:

If the person has a temperature of 105 degrees Fahrenheit or more or shows signs and symptoms of heatstroke, seek emergency medical care immediately. In cases of heat exhaustion and while waiting for help:
  1. Move the person to a cool place indoors or under the shade of a tree.
  2. Loosen clothing.
  3. Have the person lie down. Elevate feet slightly.
  4. If the person is alert, place in cool (not cold) bath water.
  5. IF the person is alert, give frequent sips of cool, clear fluids (clear juice or sports drinks are best).
  6. If the person is vomiting, turn his or her body to the side to prevent choking.
  7. Monitor the person's temperatures.
Think Prevention! Be sensible about how much you exert yourself in hot weather.
  • Drink plenty of fluids- do not wait until you are thirsty.
  • Avoid exertion in the hottest weather.
  • Wear light-colored, loose clothing.
Heat Exhaustion is the result of excessive heat and dehydration. Heatstroke is a medical emergency!