Monday, June 30, 2014

Don't Become a Fireworks Casualty This July 4th

Below is a quick and friendly reminder from our partners in safety at the National Fire Protection Association. Remember, all fireworks are illegal in Montgomery County.

Please do not become a statistic this year! Leave fireworks to the professionals!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Fireworks: What You Need to Know and a List of Public Displays

The Fourth of July is right around the corner and Montgomery County Fire Chief Steve Lohr 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.

As you prepare to celebrate Independence Day with family picnics, outings to the beach and neighborhood barbecues, take steps to prevent these festivities from turning into tragedies. Each Fourth of July, hundreds of children are permanently disfigured due to burns by fireworks. Here's what you should know:

  • Each year, fireworks in the United States cause approximately twelve deaths, 2000 serious eye injuries, and 5000 other injuries (including amputated fingers). 
  • Although many people mistakenly believe that sparklers are safe, sparklers burn at 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit (nearly hot enough to melt gold)! 
  • 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. 
Maryland's Fireworks Laws:

  • Fireworks include any firecracker, skyrocket, or Roman candle. Toy caps are only permitted if the explosive content is under .25 grains and they are designed so the hand cannot come in contact with the cap when in use. 
  • In Maryland, private use and possession of fireworks, including sparklers, is illegal and carries a $500 fine. 
  • It is against the law to sell fireworks in Maryland, and carries a $1,000 fine. 
  • Public fireworks displays require proper permits and insurance. 
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.  Below is a list of public displays that we are aware of:

Germantown Glory at the Maryland SoccerPlex in the South Germantown Recreational Park, 18041 Central Park Circle, Germantown

Mid-County Sparkles at Albert Einstein High School, 11135 Newport Road, Kensington. Both fireworks displays will begin at approximately 9:15 p.m.

Rockville's Independence Day Celebration is at Montgomery College - Rockville Campus located at 51 Mannakee Street.

Takoma Park 125th Celebration - Takoma Park Middle School 7611 Piney Branch Rd

City of Gaithersburg Celebration - Montgomery County Fairgrounds located at 16 Chestnut Street in Gaithersburg. 

Town of Poolesville - Poolesville Polo Grounds, 14660 Hughes Rd., Poolesville, Maryland.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Videos From Yesterdays Potomac River Press Event

On Tuesday, June 24, Fire Chief Steve Lohr hosted a press event that highlighted the dangers associated with the Potomac River as we have had several near misses so far this year.

Below, please find videos from a variety of our local news stations who attended and reported on this very important public safety issue.  Thanks to all who came out and are helping us to spread this safety message in an effort to prevent the 911 call and save lives!

Montgomery Co. officials conduct water rescue training, attempt to discourage swimming in Great Falls area of Potomac |

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Fire Chief Steve Lohr Kicks Off a “Summer of Safety”

Chief Lohr speaking to Fox 5 News June 19
On Thursday June 19th, Fire Chief Steve Lohr kicked off a “Summer of Safety” campaign that expands Safety In Our Neighborhood program and After the Fire initiatives.  This summer, MCFRS personnel will focus on weekly themes to highlight efforts on specific and relevant hazards like pool safety, BBQ grill safety, cooking safety, senior safety initiatives and others.  The goal of our “Summer of Safety” campaign is to more aggressively prevent the 9-1-1 call and maintain our residents focus on overall safety.

As Montgomery County’s elderly population steadily grows, we need to address an almost epidemic level of non-working smoke alarms and build awareness regarding important legislative changes to Maryland’s new Smoke Alarm Law. Too many County residents have lost their lives this year to tragic and preventable drowning events, pedestrian collisions and fires.  Fire Chief Lohr is asking each of you to join him in this Call to Action to do everything possible to prevent the 911.   
upon the impressive work being done thru the department’s

MCFRS urges each of you to check out our Safety in Our Neighborhood web site for resources.

The currently scheduled themes for this summer are below:

Saturday, June 21st – Pool and Water Safety Week

Saturday, June 28th –Leave Fire Works to the Professionals

Saturday, July 5th – BBQ Grill Safety Week

Saturday, July 12th – Home Escape planning week

Saturday, July 19th – Child Passenger Safety

Saturday, July 26th – Cooking Safety Week

Saturday, August 2nd – Get Alarmed Montgomery County Week!  All emphasis on working smoke alarms

Saturday, August 9th – Fair Week

Saturday, August 16th – Senior Safety Themes

Saturday, August 23rd – Back to School Safety Week – Pedestrian Safety 

Saturday, August 30th – Summer of Safety Review Week

Monday, June 23, 2014

Pool and Water Safety Week

As part of our Summer of Safety initiative announced last week by Fire Chief Lohr, each week will have a different safety theme.  This week it is Pool and Water Safety.

Below, please take a moment to watch a report from FOX 5 News that was done last week with personnel from our River Rescue Team as well as Division Chief Scott Goldstein.  This report clearly highlights the dangers associated with the Potomac River in and around the Great Falls Park area and all along the C & O Canal.

Please heed the warning as otherwise we may end up meeting you by "accident!"


Thursday, June 19, 2014

What You Need to Know About Fireworks

The Fourth of July is right around the corner and Montgomery County Fire Chief Steve Lohr 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 Lohr.

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.

Monday, June 16, 2014

It's International Fire/EMS Safety and Health Week!

June 15 - 21, 2014 is International Fire/EMS Safety and Health Week.  The week is dedicated to ensuring all fire and rescue personnel focus on safety and health training on and off duty.  Your MCFRS Firefighters will be participating each day this week. 

The theme this year is "Train Like You Fight."  The theme captures two angles of Fire/EMS personnel's safety:
  • Safety on the training ground and reduction of training-related injuries and death*
  • The importance of adequate training to prepare for safe fire-ground operations*
As always, we wish each and everyone of you a happy and SAFE week!


*Taken from

Friday, June 13, 2014

Safety First Check List

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service has designed the following safety checklist to promote safety in your home. At Montgomery County Fire and Rescue, we're committed to your safety and believe that education, along with a professional commitment from each of our fire fighters, is your family's best defense against fire. Please review these tips and eliminate any potential hazards in your home ~ it could just save your life.
1. Does your home have smoke alarms on each level of your home? Do you test them monthly?
A working smoke alarm doubles your chances of surviving a fire. Be sure to change the batteries yearly and if your smoke alarm makes a "chirping" sound, the batteries are low and need to be replaced immediately. Consider installing smoke alarms with "long-life" (10-year) batteries. Smoke alarm units should be replaced every eight to ten years according to manufacturer's instructions. Always test your smoke alarms immediately after returning from holiday or after a longer period of absence.
2. Does everyone know what to do in case of a fire?
Create a home escape plan, plan two ways out of every room, choose a meeting place outside where everyone will gather after they've escaped to take attendance and practice your plan with a fire drill today. Make sure that each escape route is as direct as possible.
3. Can we find you if we need to?
Are your house numbers clearly visible from the street? Please provide 5 inch numbers with contrasting background. Seconds count in an emergency.
4. Smoke kills - many people don't know that smoke from a fire is a major cause of fire-related deaths.
Instincts may prompt people to run to safety when they encounter smoke when crawling low under smoke is the best thing to do.
5. Cooking left unattended is the leading cause of home fires
Home-fire injuries often occurring within the first 15 minutes of cooking.
6. Call 9-1-1 and Do Not try to extinguish the fire.
A fire can double in size every 60 seconds and a delay in notifying 9-1-1 can cause further injury/death and property damage.
7. Smoking materials are the leading cause of fire deaths in the United States.
If you must smoke, designate an area to smoke and use large non-tip ashtrays, soak cigarette butts and ashes before discarding. These fires typically start when someone abandoned or improperly disposed of smoking materials. Never smoke in bed, when sleepy/impaired or on medication that makes you drowsy.
8. Don't overload electrical outlets/circuits.
Do not place cords under rugs. Replace any that are cracked, frayed or have loose connections.
9. Be vigilant when using candles.
Keep candles away from anything that can burn and put them out when you leave the room or go to sleep. Over the past decade, the number of candle fires has almost tripled.
10. Do you give space heaters space?
Keep fixed and portable space heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn and follow all manufacturer instructions.
11. Do you put ashes from your fireplace or wood stove in a metal container for proper disposal?
Leftover ashes and embers can start fires long after the intended fire has gone out. Properly dispose of ashes in a metal container with a lid - never in a cardboard box, plastic trash can or bag. Store the container outside away from your house/combustible material and never in the garage.
12. Residential fire sprinklers save lives and property.
Sprinklers contain/control fires. Although smoke alarms are essential in every household, they're designed to detect, not control, a fire. Consider the tax benefits when retrofitting your home with residential fire sprinklers.
The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue is committed to your safety ~ please help us by conducting a home safety check. Many things around the home can be fire hazards and taking the time to look and eliminate them will greatly reduce your risk.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

TURN AROUND - DON’T DROWN and Try an Alternate Route! List of Roads That Flood

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

There is a FLASH FLOOD Watch in effect for the County today until mid-night tonight! County residents are urged to be alert to changing weather conditions and should be prepared for possible flash flooding over the next several hours as storm systems may move into the area and could bring heavy rains. 
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.

Last night, June 11, MCFRS responded to roughly 11 water-related rescues!  Turn Around - Don't Drown!
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 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 


Time to "Retire" Your Old Smoke Alarms?

Courtesy of NFPA
I wanted to make sure all of you knew that smoke alarms need to have a retirement plan - as most of us do. Once your alarms reach the ripe old age of 10, they are eligible for "retirement" and need to be replaced by a new generation of smoke alarms.

Even if your 10 year old, or older, smoke alarm still sounds when you push the test button, it should be replaced.  

To learn more about smoke alarms, please go here: Smoke Alarms

To learn how to properly dispose of a smoke alarm, please go here: How to recycle/dispose of smoke alarms

For those with battery powered alarms, please go here to learn about Maryland's Updated Smoke Alarm Law.

Stay Safe!


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Kids and Bike Helmets: The Right Fit

Bike helmets are not optional equipment. A helmet is your last line of defense in an accident - never ride without one!
Kids should always wear helmets while biking
Helmets have been shown in studies to reduce the risk of head injury by 85 percent and the risk of brain injury by 90 percent. Nationally, only 15 percent of children bicyclists used bicycle helmets. Here are some points to consider when fitting a bike helmet on a child:
  • The helmet should sit on the child's head so that the front rim is just above the eyebrows. Use the two finger rule - leave about two fingers width between your eyebrows and the front of the helmet. If the helmet rests on the back of the head, the forehead, nose and chin will be exposed.
  • Before buckling the chin strap, have children shake their head from side to side. The helmet should generally stay put. If it moves excessively, it's too big and won't protect the head no matter how tight the chin strap is pulled. The straps should be joined just under each ear at the jawbone.
  • When the chin strap is buckled, children should be able to open their mouth and feel the helmet press firmly against the top of their head.
  • Buy a new helmet. Helmets that have suffered even a single fall or have been exposed to heat for a long time (i.e., kept in the trunk of a car) lose the cohesion that keeps the helmet intact during impact.
  • Don't forget to set an example by wearing a helmet yourself!

Bike Safety and Bike Helmets

Montgomery County requires anyone under age 18 to wear a bicycle helmet when riding or being carried on a bicycle, including a bicycle with training wheels, on a public street, right-of-way, sidewalk or bicycle path in the County. 1
Your child is 14 times more likely to survive a bike crash if he/she is wearing a helmet. Each year in the United States, approximately 250 children die in bicycle-related accidents, and about half a million are injured in bicycling accidents. Although it's estimated that 75% of the serious injuries could have been avoided if a helmet was worn, only about 20% of children in the United States wear a helmet.
How to properly wear a bike helmet

Get the Helmet to Fit Right

Step 1: Make sure the helmet fits firmly.
Helmets are sold with foam pads that differ in thickness to make the helmet fit firmly. Use the foam pads by attaching them to the inside of the helmet until the helmet fits firmly on your child's head. The helmet should not move around when shaken.
Step 2: Make sure the helmet sits level on the child's head.
This means the helmet should cover the top of the forehead, just above the eyebrows. Wearing the helmet too far back is a common mistake. You should be able to place just two fingers between the eyebrows and the front of the helmet. Take off anything that could change the way a helmet fits (baseball caps, big hair clips, headphones, etc.).
Step 3: Position the straps correctly.
All straps should be snug but still comfortable. Fix the side straps so that they fit around your child's ear in a V-shape. Adjust the buckles or slides on the side strap so that they are right under theear. Tighten the chin strap until you can fit just one finger between the strap and your child's chin.
Check the fit of the helmet every time. Use the 2-V-1 finger test. Teach your child to do this test each time he gets ready to ride:
  • Two fingers above the eyebrows
  • V-Shape under each ear
  • One finger under the chin strap
  • Make sure that the helmet has a label to say that it meets safety standards, such as CSA, CPSC, ASTM, or Snell.
After taking a serious hit, helmets lose their capacity to absorb shock. They're designed that way so that the inner foam structure is altered by a very hard blow. If your child ever has a significant fall or hits any surface hard with the helmet, immediately replace the helmet. Don't Negotiate. It is estimated that 75% of bicycle-related deaths among children could be prevented with a bicycle helmet. Wearing one should never be optional for your child.
1 Excerpted from the Montgomery County Code, Sec. 7-2 - Bicycle Helmets

Monday, June 9, 2014

No Twitter? No Problem! You Can Still Get MCFRS Updates!

Do not have a Twitter account but want to receive Montgomery County Fire and Rescue’s tweets via text? No problem.
A Twitter feature called Fast Follow make it possible for those with a cell phone and a text messaging plan to receive tweet’s on their phone.  Understand that Text messaging rates apply.
Here is how you do it:
Text “follow @mcfrs” to 40404.  You will get a text message back indicating you are now following @MCFRS.  The text will also provide guidance on how to stop the text messages if you no longer wish to receive them.
If you follow, you can expect to receive all of the latest news, updates, and safety tips from Montgomery County Fire and Rescue.
Safety Lohr Reminds visitors about Water Safety (video)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Help Us Prevent A Tragedy!

Nation wide seven kids have died from heatstroke in hot cars this year. Along with our partners in child safety, SafeKids, we are asking for your help to spread the word to prevent more tragedies from happening. Learn more (click on photo):