Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Could Your Dryer Cause a Fire? Let's talk dryer fire facts.

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Over the last several weeks, MCFRS has responded to a number of clothes dryer-related fires. A lack of maintenance, buildup of lint, placing inappropriate items in the dryer and inadequate venting are frequently cited as contributing factors.
Fires can occur when lint builds up in the dryer or in the exhaust duct. Lint can block the flow of air, cause excessive heat build-up, and result in a fire in some dryers. Some important safety tips:

Clean behind the dryer, where lint can build up. Clean around your dryer to minimize the amount of lint accumulation. Keep the area around the dryer clean and free of clutter.

Don't leave a clothes dryer running if you leave the house or go to bed. Like anything with moving parts and electronic components, faulty wiring and damaged machinery can potentially cause dryer fires. For example, a "heat sensor" that fails to turn off your dryer when the clothes are dry or a roommate that forgot to clean the lint filter... again. 

Clean the lint screen/filter before or after drying each load of clothes. If clothing is still damp at the end of a typical drying cycle or drying requires longer times than normal, this may be a sign that the lint screen or the exhaust duct is blocked. 


Clean the dryer vent and exhaust duct annually. Check the outside dryer vent while the dryer is operating to make sure exhaust air is escaping. If it is not, the vent or the exhaust duct may be blocked. To remove a blockage in the exhaust path, it may be necessary to disconnect the exhaust duct from the dryer. Remember to reconnect the ducting to the dryer and outside vent before using the dryer again. MCFRS recommends having a qualified service technician clean the dryer vent and exhaust duct annually.

Replace plastic or foil, accordion-type ducting material with rigid or corrugated semi-rigid metal duct. Most manufacturers specify the use of a rigid or corrugated semi-rigid metal duct, which provides maximum airflow. The flexible plastic or foil type duct can more easily trap lint and is more susceptible to kinks or crushing, which can greatly reduce the airflow.


Take special care when drying clothes that have been soiled with volatile chemicals such as gasoline, cooking oils, cleaning agents, or finishing oils and stains. If possible, wash the clothing more than once to minimize the amount of volatile chemicals on the clothes and, preferably, hang the clothes to dry. 

There are several warning signs that dangerous lint buildup has occurred in your dryer and venting system, indicating that it needs a thorough cleaning: 
- Clothes take longer to dry or don't dry fully
- Clothes are hotter than normal at the end of the drying cycle
- Outside of dryer gets very hot
- Outside exhaust vent flapper does not open very much, indicating       low exhaust velocity
- Laundry room becomes more humid than usual
- Burnt smell is evident in the laundry room

Maintenance Tips:
- Inspect the venting system behind the dryer to ensure it is not damaged or restricted.
Make sure the outdoor vent covering opens when the dryer is on. 
- Replace coiled-wire foil or plastic venting with rigid, non-ribbed metal duct.
- Have gas-powered dryers inspected every year by a professional to inspect the dryer and the gas line connection. 
- Check regularly to make sure nests of small animals and insects are not blocking the outside vent.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

The Career of a Lifetime Starts Here!

DEADLINE for applications: April 26, 2021 @ 5 pm 
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Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) is an Accredited Agency and premier all-hazards department protecting about 500 square miles and over 1 million people who live and work in Maryland's most populous jurisdiction. MCFRS offers exceptional and diverse opportunities and unlimited opportunities for growth. We are currently accepting applications for two upcoming Recruit Classes that are projected to begin in September 2021 (Previously Trained Individuals) and full academy recruit class in January 2022.

Firefighting involves extremely challenging, skilled physical work. Firefighters must have strong communication skills and the ability to think quickly and operate in high-pressure emergency situations. Continuous education and training is provided throughout MCFRS careers and encompasses a broad area of areas. 

MCFRS is committed to providing the highest level of public safety services to our community. Ready to join the ranks of one of the most esteemed agencies in the Nation?  We invite you to explore what it takes to join MCFRS and serve our great community.


How to become a Fire Fighter in MCFRS: 
MCFRS Hiring Process 


  All the info on salary and benefits: 
  MCFRS Benefits 


 
 

Fire Fighter/Rescuer 1 position:
Start Your Application  

 







Monday, March 8, 2021

Spring forward time!


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Don’t forget to test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms this weekend

It's that time of year again when we "Spring Forward" and change clocks (unless your clocks do it automatically) and check smoke and carbon monoxide alarms! Here are our Top Eight Tips to remember when it comes to smoke alarms and fire safety this weekend:

1. It is indisputable that smoke alarms save lives. Smoke alarms are the best and least expensive way to provide an early warning system to alert you and your family to a potential fire emergency. Smoke alarms are designed to detect a fire in its early stages and alert people, so they have time to safely escape.

2. Smoke alarms should be installed in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home.

3. For the best protection, smoke alarms should be interconnected. What does that mean? When one sounds they all sound alerting you to an emergency early on and giving you critical time to escape. New construction requirements have included hard- wired smoke alarms with battery back-ups since the mid-70's. 

4. Nothing lasts forever - including smoke alarms. Smoke alarms become less reliable with time, primarily due to aging of their electronic components making them more susceptible to nuisance false alarms. Replace entire smoke alarm units every 10 years or sooner if they don't respond properly when tested. Why? The sensor wears out and may not activate in an emergency putting your family at risk. Always read the manufacturer’s recommendations as some models recommend replacement every 5-7 years.

5. DIY projects? Never (ever) paint over a smoke alarm. It will affect the operation of the smoke alarm, potentially disabling it.

6. Test your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarms once a month by pressing the test button.

7. Clean your smoke alarms monthly when you test them. Smoke alarms get clogged with dust build-up which may affect performance.

8. If your smoke alarm “chirps” it may be time to change the back-up battery in your hard-wired alarm. Since 2018, Maryland law has required all battery-only smoke alarms (typically found in homes built before 1975 that have never pulled a building permit) to have a sealed,10-year long-life battery in the unit. Any "chirping" in these units is likely signaling that you need to replace the entire smoke alarm with a new one. 

Today's home safety and security technology has evolved beyond smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Many families rely on household devices connected to the internet or smartphones to enhance safety and security. New technology can even notify you when the alarm is activated or if the battery is low. Take time this weekend to ensure your family has a fire safety plan and you have smoke and carbon monoxide alarms with the newest technology. And practice it with a Home Fire Drill to ensure everyone knows what to do in an emergency. It could just save your life. 


Tuesday, March 2, 2021

You're Invited! Senior Safety Presentation from the Public Safety Work Group


The Public Safety Work Group of the Age-Friendly Montgomery Advisory Group will be holding a virtual Town Hall, called Senior Safety During COVID & Beyond on Tuesday evening, March 2 at 7:00 p.m. 

Please join us for this hour-long, interactive session.  We will cover important safety tips for older adults, caregivers, family members, and others in our community that care about the safety of seniors.  Hear from representatives of Montgomery County Police, the Office of Consumer Protection, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of Emergency Management & Homeland Security, and the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Best. Gift. EVER.

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Last minute shoppers, still looking for the perfect Valentine’s gift?


Montgomery County Fire and Rescue officials are recommending smoke alarms as the PERFECT Valentine’s gift for loved ones this year. Nothing says you mean everything to me like the 24-hour protection that comes with a smoke alarm. And while you are busy planning the perfect evening, make it memorable for all the right reasons. A few tips to keep in mind:

  • Cooking: Planning to put all those new cooking skills learned watching Chopped or Gordon Ramsey while quarantined? Be sure to 'Stand by your pan' and 'Keep an eye on what you fry.' Too many meals are ruined when cooks get distracted or forgetful and leave cooking unattended. As much as Fire/Rescue loves your cooking, you really don’t want us to have to extinguish that perfect meal. Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires so keep anything that can catch fire – potholders, paper or plastic bags, dish towels, newspapers and curtains – away from your stovetop, oven and appliances that generate heat and don't leave cooking unattended.
  • Candles: While candles may look festive and set the mood, did you know that unattended candles account for thousands of fires annually? The National Fire Protection Association reports that, on average, a candle fire in the home is reported to a US Fire Department every 30 minutes. Consider battery-operated, flameless candles instead. You really can’t tell the difference!
  • Getting lit? If lighting up the fireplace is in your plans, make sure that’s all you light up. Believe it or not, every year people dispose of fireplace ashes before they have sufficiently cooled. Keep your ash out of the trash and only dispose of fireplace ashes in a sealed, metal container located far from anything combustible several days after they have cooled. Never dispose of fireplace ashes in your recycling bin, trash can, paper or plastic bags or in a garage, carport or on a deck or porch. 

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue wants you to have a great (and safe) Valentine’s Day. Remember, smoke alarms save lives. They make great gifts, one-size-fits-all and MCFRS is available for a "virtual" visit or a phone consult to help you pick the perfect alarms for your home! Call 311 or visit www.mcfrs.org/mcsafe for all the info.