An activated smoke alarm was the first indication of danger at a Clinton home this morning. An alarm monitoring company contacted Public Safety Communications at 2:41 AM, Thursday, July 16, 2009, and advised dispatchers that they were receiving a smoke alarm signal from a home at 11201 Tippett Road. As Engine 825 from the Clinton Fire/EMS Station was being notified to respond and investigate the alarm, additional calls were received reporting a fire. The call was upgraded and a full assignment was dispatched which included 30 firefighters and paramedics on-board nine fire/EMS units and numerous command officers.
Thanks to the working smoke alarm the family received an early warning of the fire and was able to escape safely prior to the fire departments arrival. When Fire/EMS units arrived the fire had already rapidly extended and consumed the majority of the house. An exterior operation was conducted to knock down the bulk of the fire before firefighters entered the structure to ensure the fire was completely extinguished. It required 45 minutes to an hour to knock this fire down. No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire is under investigation. Fire loss is estimated at $400,000. The family will be displaced and are making arrangements to stay with other family members.
The combined volunteer, career and civilian members of the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department want you to stay safe and offer the following safety tips:
• Install at least one alarm in your home – best location is outside of sleeping areas.
• The Fire/EMS Department recommends at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home and if you sleep with your bedroom door closed – install a smoke alarm in your bedroom as well. It is mandated that every home has at least one working smoke alarm.
• Test that your alarm is working once-a-month by pushing the test button on the cover. If it does not sound an alarm – replace the batteries or the entire alarm.
• Replace the batteries in your alarm at least once-a-year – the best way to remember to do this is when you change your clocks – change your battery.
• Regular maintenance- such as dusting or vacuuming debris from your alarms is recommended.
• Alarms can only protect your family for so long before they wear out – replace CO alarms every 6-8 years and replace smoke alarms every 10 years.
And let’s remember to:
• Plan and practice a home escape plan.
• Designate a meeting place outside of your home and call 911 from a safe location.
Citizens and residents of Prince George’s County can have a working smoke alarm installed in their home free of charge. Call our Smoke Alarm Hotline at 301-864-SAFE and a firefighter will make arrangements to visit your home and install a working smoke alarm – free of charge. The Fire/EMS Department also has a limited number of smoke alarms designed for the hearing impaired that we will provide to you - free of charge.