Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Time to Fall Back - Some SOUND Advice

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Fire Chief Scott Goldstein is reminding residents that one simple task can be a potentially life-saving one. The Chief is urging all residents to check smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to ensure they are working when they change their clocks this weekend and to also practice a home fire drill. "The busiest time for home fires is during the fall and winter months. A working smoke alarm  provides critical early warning of a fire resulting in more time to react and put a fire escape plan into action. We're asking all residents to take a few minutes to check smoke and carbon monoxide alarms this weekend.  It could just be a life-saver." 
Two minutes? Experts say you may have less than 2 minutes to escape a fire. Did you know the peak time for home fire fatalities is between 11 pm and 6 am when most families are sleeping? Help keep your family safe by following these fire safety tips:

1. Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement (finished or unfinished) and in all sleeping areas. If you have a larger home you'll want to consider adding more alarms and interconnected alarms will alert you to an emergency sooner. Be sure to check out all the "smart" features available -- alarms don't just sound the alarm, they can also alert your phone and more!   

2. Three words: Smoke Alarms Expire. Retire old smoke alarms and replace with new ones EVERY 10 years from the date of manufacture printed on the back or as recommended by the manufacturer. Be sure to follow County Code requirements for the type of smoke alarms required for your home.

3. Plan and practice home fire drills. Decide in advance who will help family members that may need assistance escaping (young children, older adults or people with disabilities) and establish an outside "meeting place" where everyone will meet.     

4. Make sure children recognize the sound of your smoke alarm and how to respond to its signal.

5. Know your battery type. Maryland’s Smoke Alarm Law (effective 1/2018) requires battery-only smoke alarms to have sealed in, 10-year long-life batteries which last the life of the alarm. The updates to the law emphasize the use of sealed, 10-year battery-powered smoke alarms however it is important to understand that battery-only smoke alarms are only appropriate where battery-operated smoke alarms are permitted by Code (generally in homes built b/f 1975) before hard-wired smoke alarm technology was developed. Remember: it is never acceptable to remove required hard-wired smoke alarms and replace with any type of battery-only smoke alarm.   

Questions? Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service is here to help! Call 311 or visit us on line to schedule your free home safety check. Be sure to bookmark our website for year-round safety information at: mcfrs.org/mcsafe


Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Countdown to Halloween

Tips for a Safe and Fun Night
According to the National Safety Council, Halloween is the day when children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed than on any other day. With Halloween quickly approaching, Fire Chief Scott Goldstein and 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 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.

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.

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.