Monday, December 10, 2018

Tis the season to be … SAFE! Deck the halls with boughs of Safety

In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it may be tempting to take a few short cuts. Fire Chief Scott Goldstein asks that you make sure that safety isn’t one of them!   

Christmas trees require special attention. When selecting a tree, freshness is important. Check the needles to make sure they are green and difficult to pull back from the branches. If the tree has been freshly cut, the needles should not break. Tap the tree on the ground several times and notice if any needles fall off. If they do, the tree is probably dried out and could be a fire hazard.  Water your tree daily and do not place the tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace, radiator, space heater or heat vent. Make sure your tree is in a sturdy holder and can't be knocked over by pets or children.

Using extension cords? Overloaded extension cords and outlets can present a serious fire safety hazard. Make sure that the extension cord is suitable for the electrical “load” needed. Do not place cords under furniture or rugs and never plug two extension cords together to increase the total length. Demanding too much power from an extension cord risks overheating and fire. Be sure to read all packaging and instructions carefully when purchasing an extension cord and ensure it is UL listed.

Holiday lights. Indoors or out, only use lights that have been tested by an approved testing laboratory for safety such as UL. All lights should be inspected for frayed wires, bare spots, broken or cracked sockets or excessive wear before plugging them in and discard any damaged sets of lights. Avoid stringing more than three light 
strands together.

Firing up the fireplace?
 Cool your ashes! Every year “cold” ashes result in house fires. Treat all ashes and coals as HOT ashes, even when you think they have had enough time to cool. Your garage, house or deck are unsafe locations for ashes to cool and have been the site of many recent and devastating fires both locally and nationally. Take extreme care when disposing ashes and follow these tips: 

-          Allow all ashes to cool in place for several days, when possible.
-         When it’s time to dispose of ashes, transfer them to a metal container and wet them down. Only use an approved metal ash bucket that has a tight fitting metal lid.
-         Store the container outside, away from structures, decks, fences, wood piles or other combustible materials.
-          Never use a vacuum cleaner to pick up ashes and don’t dispose of ashes outside on a windy day. The wind can whip up what may have seemed like cool embers, making them fiery hot, and igniting nearby combustibles.

Candle fires peak during the holiday season. Most holiday candle fires occur when people leave burning candles unattended or place candles too close to holiday decorations. Keep candles in sight, in a secure holder and on a safe surface away from children and pets. Consider using flameless, battery-operated candles making them much safer.

Give space heaters space and ensure at least a 3-foot clearance from anything that can burn. Do not overload the electrical circuit or use extension cords with space heaters. Always stay in the room while a space heater is operating and turn it off when leaving the room or going to sleep. Follow all manufacturer recommendations and make sure your space heater meets all safety standards.

Cooking is a top cause of holiday fires. Be alert, focused and stay in the kitchen when cooking. Keep things that can catch fire, such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, food wrappers and towels away from the cooking area. Make sure kids and pets stay at least three feet away from the stove and oven, hot food, and liquids to avoid serious burns.

Disposing of your tree –
never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood-burning stove. When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly. The best way to dispose of your tree is by having the County’s recycling service pick it up on the designated day(s).

Do you hear what I hear? Having working smoke alarms DOUBLE your chances of surviving a fire however smoke alarms do not last forever. If your alarms are 10 years old or older, they need to be replaced with new alarms.  Bottom line: don't wait for a fire to test your smoke alarm. 

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Smoke Alarm Alerts Residents of Independent Senior Living Facility & Sprinkler Activates to Control Fire

Occupants Safely Escape & Credit Fire Sprinkler System

On December 5, 2018 tragedy was averted because of working smoke alarms and a residential sprinkler in an independent senior living facility in the Fairland/Calverton area.  Around 6:45 p.m., units from the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service responded to 12801 Old Columbia Pike, Arbor Crest, a two-story, senior independent living facility, for an 'automatic' medical alarm for an unknown emergency.  Paramedic Engine 724 responded to the scene and encountered moderate smoke on the second floor, at which additional fire and rescue units were dispatched. upon further investigation, moments later Firefighters located a small fire in a bedroom. The fire which involved a mattress and some other nearby combustibles was controlled by a residential sprinkler system.  The fire was mostly out. In the meantime, some of the building had been evacuated and other portions were shelter and protect in place. Firefighters located and rescued/relocated a feline (cat) from the apartment of origin.

Fire and Explosive Investigators believe one of the residents of the apartment of origin had been consumed alcohol and was smoking cigarettes in the bedroom and at some point fell asleep. Another resident was in another room and heard the smoke alarm activate. Upon investigation and in an effort to check on his wife, he discovered a fire on the mattress by the pillows with his wife still on the bed. He was able to rouse her and then attempted to extinguish the fire, to no avail.  After numerous attempts of trying to put out the fire, both occupants evacuated the apartment. In the commotion of those efforts a medical alarm was somehow activated, automatically alerting 911 for an unknown medical emergency. An ambulance and Paramedic Engine were dispatched. The residential sprinkler activated after the occupants had left the area & prior to arrival of emergency personnel.  The sprinkler essentially controlled and extinguished the fire. There were no injuries associated with the fire.  Damage was estimated to $30,000.

It should be noted, none of the occupants called 911 to report the fire.

The Community Outreach Senior Program Manager and crews from the area fire/rescue crews (First Battalion) are scheduled to revisit the facility to meet with residents, review best practices and talk about fire safety and reminding residents of the importance of calling 911 in an emergency. 

Tragic November Fire in Bethesda Underscores the Importance of Working Smoke Alarms

Victims identified in November 21st Fatal Fire

In the early morning of November 21, 2018, units from the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service were dispatched to the report of a house on fire in the 4800 block of Western Avenue in Bethesda. Shortly after 1 am several 911 calls were received by Montgomery County & District of Columbia 911 Emergency Communications Centers reporting 'flames coming from house.' Prior to the arrival of fire/rescue units, at least one caller indicated there was a high likelihood that people were still inside.  First arriving Montgomery County Fire and Rescue crews encountered heavy fire conditions and immediately attacked the fire, initially from the exterior and within minutes entered the burning house and located two occupants. Tragically, the two occupants succumbed to their injuries and did not survive. The victims were identified as John Ashton Randolph, age 61, and Inga Randolph, age 94, mother and son, both long-time residents of the Western Avenue home.

John Randolph and Inga Randolph are the first and second residential fire fatalities of the year in Montgomery County, MD.  Last year (2017) there were a total of three (3) residential fire fatalities. Montgomery County Fire and Explosive Investigators believe the fire's origin was on the first floor. There was evidence that the victims were mobile during the fire and may have attempted to fight the fire and then were unable to escape. Fire Investigators located several competent sources of ignition in the area of the fire’s origin, including the possibility of discarded smoking materials, a halogen light fixture -- none of which could initially be eliminated as a
cause. Maryland's Medical Examiner's Office determined the cause of death to be smoke inhalation and thermal injuries.

Fire Investigators reported that there was no evidence of working smoke alarms in the house.  At least one alarm in the basement had a battery that was several years old, while others had no batteries.  Several smoke alarms were found in a box on a shelf just inside the front door --- still in the packaging. Those alarms were dated/manufactured in 2013. 
Damage is estimated to be over $500,000.  

Teams of firefighters from Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services and the District of Columbia Fire & EMS Department joined forces returned to the scene and conducted an 'After-the-Fire' activity.  Dozens of firefighters canvassed the area, both in Maryland and nearby D.C., checking and installing smoke alarms where needed, talking to residents about fire safety and leaving fire safety information on the door for neighbors to review later.

Smoke alarms that are properly installed and maintained play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries from fire. Every year people across the country are saved from deadly fire situations after being alerted by their smoke alarms. Montgomery County residents are urged to call 311 for information on the department’s FREE Home Safety Check program. Residents who cannot afford smoke alarms or would like to schedule a visit by firefighters to check smoke alarms and ensure they are working and up-to-date are urged to take advantage of the department’s free and popular program.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Thanksgiving Wins FIRST Place - For Most Cooking Fires!

More cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving than on any other day of the year. With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, Montgomery County Fire Chief Scott Goldstein 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 Goldstein. “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.
  • 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 reduce injuries dramatically.  For more information about our fire safety programs or to request a free home safety evaluation or smoke alarm check, call 311 during business hours or visit our website at any time.

    Monday, October 29, 2018

    Countdown to Halloween

    Tips for a Safe and Fun Night
    With Halloween quickly approaching, the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service offers some important tips for a safe Halloween.

    Plan a safe route.
    1. Accompany children and remind them to stop at all street corners, cross only at intersections and crosswalks. Teach them to look left, right and left before crossing the street and to continue looking both ways as they cross. If you’re a motorist, please slow down and be prepared to give trick or treaters a brake. 

    2. Stay in familiar neighborhoods and have a parent or responsible adult accompany trick or treaters. Visit only those houses where the lights are on. Accept treats only in the doorway and NEVER go inside a house or apartment.

    3. Secure emergency identification (name, address, phone number) discreetly within Halloween attire or on a bracelet.

    4. Safety in numbers.  If they’re old enough to trick-or-treat without an adult, designate a route before the kids go trick or treating, tell your kids to stay in a group, avoid taking short cuts through backyards and alleys and ask them to check in regularly.

    5. Ensure trick-or-treaters stay away from open flames or jack-o-lanterns with candles burning.

    6. Children should avoid busy streets, always use sidewalks, and follow all traffic rules and regulations. Motorists should drive slowly and be alert to small children crossing streets. Many accidents occur when motorists are backing vehicles out of driveways, unaware of the presence of small children.

    Be a good neighbor.
    1.  Keep your porch lights on and eliminate tripping hazards on your porch and walkway. Remove outdoor safety hazards such as toys, bicycles, garden hoses and lawn ornaments. Make sure the driveway and steps are cleared of leaves, which can be a slipping and falling hazard. Make sure that the driveway and walks are well lit for incoming trick-or-treaters. Replace burned-out or broken light bulbs.

    2. Pets get frightened on Halloween. Confine your pets for their safety and for that of trick or treaters.  

    Be Safe – Be Seen.
    1. Don’t assume the right-of-way. Motorists may have trouble seeing trick-or-treaters in the dark. Just because one car stops doesn’t mean others will.

    2. Encourage kids to follow all the rules for pedestrian safety. That includes obeying all traffic laws, looking both ways before crossing, using crosswalks, crossing at intersections and corners and never darting between parked cars. 

    All Dressed Up.
    1. Plan costumes that are bright and have reflective qualities. Consider adding reflective tape or decals to costumes and trick or treat bags. Be sure kids carry a flashlight and use glow sticks for extra visibility.

    2. When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories purchase only those with a label indicating they are flame resistant.

    3. Have an adult inspect treats BEFORE eating anything. Do not eat any unwrapped, partially wrapped, or homemade-looking treats.

    4. Shorter IS safer. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.

    5. Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup as a safer alternative.
    6. If a sword, cane or stick is part of your child’s costume, make sure it is not sharp or too long. A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if they trip or fall.
    Decorate Safely.
    1. Illuminate your jack-o’-lanterns with flashlights or battery-operated candles instead of real ones. You won’t have the worries of an open flame coming in contact with anything  . . .or anyone.

    2. If you do use candles, keep them well away from where trick or treaters will be walking or standing.  Review with your children the principle of “stop, drop and roll” should their clothing catch fire. 

    Lastly, teach children how to call 9-1-1 if they have an emergency or become lost.

    Tuesday, May 8, 2018

    News Advisory

    News Briefing - Potomac River Safety

    Thursday, May 10, 2018
    10 am

    Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park at Great Falls
    A/F Old Angler's Inn - 10800 block MacArthur Blvd, Potomac, MD 

    In an effort to focus attention on the dangers of the Potomac River Gorge & surrounding areas, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, Special Operations, Swift Water Rescue will renew seasonal efforts at focusing the public attention on the serious and potentially deadly perils of the 14-mile stretch of the Potomac River, especially from Great Falls to the Key Bridge. 

    Representatives of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, Swift Water Rescue Team will describe and illustrate some of the inherent dangers in the Potomac River Gorge and address the increase in hiking incidents along the various trails of the C&O Canal, including the Billy Goat Trails(s). 

    Reporters and news photographers will be provided a photo opportunity with the Montgomery County Fire & rescue swift water rescue boats providing access onto the River to show some of the hazards of the Potomac River and the Billy Goat Trail, part of the C&O Canal Historical Park.

    NOTE: News Reporters and Photographers are strongly advised to wear appropriate footwear, clothing & gear for wet and muddy conditions.

    Contact Pete Piringer, Cell 240.372.3749 if you have questions or need additional information 

    Monday, April 16, 2018

    Hear Us, See Us, Clear for Us!

    Do you know what to do when approached by an emergency vehicle? The metropolitan area is often crowded and congested with traffic conditions caused by commuters, collisions, work zones and sometimes just “normal” traffic.

    Emergency vehicles are impacted by these conditions, as well. When somebody calls 911 for help – the men and women of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service respond. How can everyday drivers help us to help you? – Normally drivers will HEAR us first, next they will SEE us, and then we need drivers to CLEAR for us.


    C – L – E – A – R for emergency vehicles.

    – Calmly pull to and as close to the edge of the roadway as possible and stop.

    – Leave room. Keep intersections clear and never try to follow emergency vehicles.

    E – Enter into traffic with caution after the emergency vehicle has passed. Remember to use signals.

    A – Aware (be). Be aware of your surroundings. Keep radio volume low and check rear view mirrors frequently.

    R – Remain stopped until the emergency vehicle has passed. Be mindful that there may be additional emergency vehicles approaching.

    When approached by an emergency vehicle – the law says to pull over to the closest parallel edge of the roadway and yield the right of way to the emergency vehicle. An emergency vehicle is one with an audible siren and/or siren and emergency flashing lights. When driving and approaching an emergency scene – slow down and move over. In other words - “Give us a brake!”

    Reduce the risk of an accident near an emergency scene and around emergency equipment.

    Stay alert – expect anything to occur when approaching emergency vehicles.

    Pay close attention – watch for police or fire direction.

    Turn on your headlights – let on scene workers and other motorists see you.
    Don’t tailgate – unexpected stops frequently occur near emergency scenes.

    Don’t speed – slow down.

    Keep up with the traffic flow – dedicate your full attention to the roadway and those traveling around you.

    Minimize distractions – avoid changing radio stations and using mobile cell phones while approaching these areas.

    Expect the unexpected – keep an eye out for emergency workers and their equipment.

    Be patient – remember, firefighters and EMT’s have been called to the scene and are working to help someone.

    In Montgomery County pedestrian and traffic safety issues are front and center. If you travel by car or are a pedestrian, please place extra emphasis on safety. Simply looking both ways before crossing a street, crossing in a crosswalk, spending a few extra seconds to cinch the belt on your child's safety seat, or delaying departure to ensure you get enough rest before a long trip can make all the difference. Be smart. Be safe.

    Many Roads in Montgomery County Susceptible to Flooding. Consider Alternate Routes Beforehand!

    We have had a lot of rain and  continued showers expected throughout the day. County residents are urged to be alert to changing weather conditions and should be prepared for possible flash flooding over the next twenty four hours as a storm system moves out of the area. 
    Flash floods more often occur in mountain streams, hilly areas or low-lying areas.  But they do happen in urban and suburban areas like Montgomery County, as well.  Flash floods can occur even though it's not raining where you are.  It may be raining hard farther upstream and raining so hard that the water can not be absorbed into the ground.

    Safety Tips: 
    If a flash flood warning is issued, act immediately.  Don't wait for high water to dictate your course of action. 

    Know your location when you are driving.  If you needed a rescue, would you be able to direct emergency crews to your location?  Distracted driving can lead to a situation where you are stranded and unable to direct emergency crews to you.  Be alert! 
    Never drive through a flooded road or bridge.  Turn Around - Don’t Drown and try an alternate route!  In many cases, it takes far less than a foot of water to incapacitate a vehicle.  It may stall, leaving you stranded, and depending on the level of water, you may not be able to open a vehicle door.  Do not underestimate the power of moving water. 
    Watch for flooding at bridges and dips in the road.  Never drive where water is over bridges or roads. Turn around - Don’t Drown!  The bridges or the road could suddenly be washed out. If you're driving at night be especially careful.  Often visibility is limited due to wind and rain. 
    Often what you can't see below the surface of the water is far more dangerous than the high levels of that water.  Remember that rocks, tree limbs and other debris can be caught in moving water and can be dangerous if you are forced to walk, wade or swim through flood waters. 
    If you have to walk or wade through flood water, use a stick to poke the ground in front of you with each step.  It can help you determine water levels, the bottom surface and the safest possible way to get to higher ground. 
    Remember that flash floods can come without warning, and sometimes without weather.  Be alert and heed all warnings and recommendations from officials. From FEMA's website, some further information about driving through flooded roadways:
    • Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.
    • A foot of water will float many vehicles.  
    • Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUV's) and pick-ups
    TURN AROUND - DON’T DROWN and try an alternate route!


    MD 29 (Columbia Pike) at Paint Branch - N. of White Oak 
    MD 185 (Conn. Ave) at Rock Creek - S. of Kensington 
    MD 190 (River Road) at Cabin John Creek - Potomac 
    MD 193 (Univ. Blvd) at Sligo Creek - Wheaton 
    MD 586 (Viers Mill Rd) at Rock Creek - S. of Twinbrook Pkwy. 
    Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park - Kensington-Chevy Chase 
    Sligo Creek Pkwy - Silver Spring-Takoma Park 

    MD 97 (Georgia Ave) at Reddy Branch - N. of Brookeville 
    MD 124 (Woodfield Rd) at Goshen Branch and at Gr. Seneca Creek - N. of Brink Rd. 
    MD 117 (Clopper Rd) at Gr. Seneca Creek - W. of Gaithersburg 
    MD 117 (Clopper Rd) at Little Seneca Creek - E. of Boyds 
    MD 355 (Frederick Rd) at Little Seneca Creek - W. of Brink 
    MD 121 (Clarksburg Rd) near Little Seneca Lake - N. of Boyds 
    MD 118 (Germantown Rd) at Great Seneca Creek - S. of Germantown 
    River Rd and Berryville Rd at Seneca Creek - Seneca 
    Blunt Road at Great Seneca Creek - S. of Brink Rd. 
    Davis Mill Rd at Great Seneca Creek - N. of Gaithersburg 
    Brighton Dam Rd at Hawlings River - NE of Brookeville 
    Goldmine Rd at Hawlings River - E of Olney 
    Zion Rd at Hawlings River - E. of Laytonsville 
    Hoyles Mill Rd at ford of Little Seneca Creek - Germantown, west of soccer complex 
    Loghouse Rd at Magruder Branch - S. of Damascus 
    Elton Farm Rd at Haights Branch - N. of Sunshine 
    Howard Chapel Rd at Haights Branch - N. of Sunshine 
    White’s Ferry Road and River Road - White’s Ferry 

    Thursday, March 29, 2018

    "This is Just a Test" -- Wireless Emergency Alerts System Test Scheduled for April 5th - What You Need to Know

    As Chief of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, I am joining the County’s effort to make certain that all our community members and visitors know that a test of the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) system will be taking place on Thursday, April 5 from 10 to 11 a.m. The test will take place in 20 jurisdictions throughout the National Capital Region, which includes all of Montgomery County.

    For anyone who has not previously received a WEA message, it is important to know that your WEA-enabled cell phone and other mobile devices will vibrate and produce loud warning audio signals, prior to the receipt of a text-like message. You don’t sign up for WEA alerts, they come automatically. This one is just a test, not a cause for alarm.

    The WEA system was developed by the Federal Communications Commission in 2012 to send out geographically-targeted, text-like messages about threats to safety in specific areas. The state of Maryland uses the WEA system for Amber Alerts and the National Weather Service uses it for extreme weather information. It is also designed so that the President of the United States can send out nation-wide alerts during a national emergency.

    Wherever you are on April 5 between 10 and 11 a.m., driving, at a store, in school, at work, in the gym, please know that this test will be taking place. And please help us spread the word by letting others know about it.

    You can learn more at: WEA Test

    Thursday, March 22, 2018

    IMPORTANT: Kidde Recalls Dual-Sensor Smoke Alarms

    Kidde is recalling almost 500,000 dual-sensor smoke alarms due to a manufacturing malfunction that can compromise the alarm's ability to detect smoke. Specifically, a yellow cap that was left on during manufacturing can cover one of the two smoke sensors, posing a risk of people not being alerted to a fire in their home. These dual-sensor types of alarms are not used in any of the department's smoke alarm installation programs.

    According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commision:

    "Consumers should remove the alarm from the wall/ceiling and visually inspect it through the opening on the side of the alarm for the presence of a yellow cap. Consumers should not attempt to take apart the alarm, open the casing, or otherwise remove the yellow cap themselves. If a yellow cap is present, the consumer should immediately contact Kidde to receive instructions and request a free replacement smoke alarm. They should remove and discard the recalled smoke alarm only after they receive and install the replacement alarm. If no yellow cap is present, consumers should reinstall the smoke alarm and no further action is needed."

    The recalled models: Kidde PI2010 and Kidde PI9010
    Dates affected: September 10, 2016 - October 13, 2017

    How to check your smoke alarms to see if it is affected:

        Step 1:

       Step 2:

    If a yellow cap is present, owners should immediately contact Kidde to receive a free replacement. They should only remove and discard the recalled smoke alarm after they receive and install their replacement. 

    Consumer Contact:

    You can reach Kidde at 833-551-7739 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or from 9 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. For more information visit the "Product Safety" section of

    Saturday, January 6, 2018

    Fireplace Safety 101

    When is the last time you had your chimney inspected? Fireplaces can add extra heat in the winter, but if they're not properly maintained, they can also become a hazard.
    The purpose of a chimney is to carry hazardous gases and smoke out of your home. If chimneys are not cleaned regularly, residue called creosote can build up inside your chimney and catch fire. When you clean your chimney and have it inspected periodically, you help ensure there is a clear pathway for gasses and heat to escape.
    If you're planning on curling up in front of your fireplace this winter, keep the following tips in mind to help prevent chimney fires some quick tips:
    • Have your chimney inspected and cleaned at least once a year by a chimney professional. A chimney professional will make sure your chimney is structurally sound and will remove creosote buildup and any other debris (such as animal nests).
    • Only burn dried-out wood - cardboard, trash, or other objects can burn very quickly and the flames can get out of control. Never dispose of a Christmas tree in your fireplace. Like ever. 
    • Never (ever) use flammable liquids! You're not lighting the grill. No charcoal, no lighter fluid, no kerosene, no gasoline. 
    • Keep your fireplace doors opened or cracked when burning a fire, as restricted air supply can cause creosote buildup.
    • Stay on the lookout for signs of chimney fires. Indications of chimney fires include dense smoke and a loud rumbling noise (often compared to a freight train). If you think you have a chimney fire, get everyone safely out of your home and call 911. Never attempt to fight the fire yourself. 
    • It is important to note that some chimney fires are slow-burning and may not make loud noises or have lots of smoke. These can cause damage to your home as well and weaken the structure of your chimney.
    • Important: COOL your ashes and then CAN your ashes. Embers from fires can retain heat and reignite for days after the original fire
    • Make sure your carbon monoxide detectors are WORKING. We're not kidding when we say that carbon monoxide is the "silent killer"and you MUST keep those carbon monoxide detectors in good shape.  
    • Working smoke alarms? We know - you're too smart not to have them in your home and that you test them as often as you check your phone.
    • Chimney fires often lead to house fires. It's important to follow safe fire-burning practices and keep regular maintenance on your chimney.

    Thursday, January 4, 2018

    Need Help With Your MCFRS Firefighter Application?

    The Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service (MCFRS) is hiring and accepting applications for the position of Firefighter/Rescuer I (Recruit) through January 6, 2018 at midnight. 

    This recruitment will be used to establish eligibility for a Recruit Class that will tentatively begin in September or October, 2018. Applications will only be accepted on-line. MCFRS Firefighter/Rescuers receive outstanding benefits, including a 20-year retirement with no age limit, group health and life insurance, tuition assistance, pay differentials, paid holidays, paid vacation, and paid sick leave.

    If you have applied for the position of Firefighter/Rescuer I (Recruit) previously, you MUST reapply to be considered.

    Have questions? We can help!

    1.  How do I create my Account? Can you give me step-by-step instructions?
    Yes! Click hereLink

    2. I created my account, but still can’t apply.  What should I do?
    Make sure that you have waited at least 30 minutes after creating your account to apply.  Make sure that you are logged in when trying to apply.  Follow these instructions:
    1.  Log into your account
    2. Click on the word "employment"
    3. On the search panel, highlight "public safety"
    4. Hit go.
    5. Find the position. (IRC28202)
    6. Click on the vacancy number (IRC28202)
    7. Scroll all the way to the right.
    8. Click on the "apply" button

    3. I applied, but didn’t get a confirmation email.  How can I check my status?
    1. Log into your account
    2. Click on the vacancy number (IRC28202)
    3. You should be able to see your status. It should say “active application.”
    4. If yes, you have successfully applied and no additional information is needed.
    5. If no, please make sure that you applied for the position and clicked on the “submit” button.
    6. If you continue to have problems, contact:
    4. I received an error message when I tried to input an employee as my referral source.
    How can I fix this?

    1. Send an email to
    2. Include the following information:
        a. Your Last name and Your First name
        b. The name of the employee that referred you to the job announcement 
            (only 1 person can be listed). Include Last Name and First Name
        c. Your Information will be updated within 1-2 business days.
        d. An email confirmation will be sent to you as a confirmation of the change.

    5. Do I need a resume?
    A resume is not required for this position so you do not need to upload one. If this document is needed later in the application process, you will be provided with specific instructions on how to upload.

    6.  I forgot something on my application. Can I make an edit?
    Unfortunately, you cannot edit your application once it is submitted. If you need to have your application updated with your college credits, you must send an official transcript from your university before the closing date to the contacts listed at the bottom of this page. Once received and verified that you have 30 or more credits, your application will be updated. Again, an official transcript from your university MUST be received BEFORE the application period closes. 

    7. I can't make any of the dates for the entrance exam. What do I do?

    There are no alternate dates for the entrance exam.

    8. Any special order when inputting my name?

    Your name must be last name then first name.

    9. I need HELP!!!
    We understand and are here to help you. For any OHR and computer access (registration and Job Vacancy Portal) concerns contact: Jacquelyn Anderson Montgomery County Government OHR (Office of Human Resourses) at:

    For any Fire and Rescue, hiring press release and job description related questions please contact: Captain O’Neal Johnson Jr. Montgomery County MD Fire & Rescue Service Recruiting Manager at: or via cell at 240-454-1533.