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.