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Monday, October 26, 2009


Firefighters know the importance of home fire safety. That's why the men and women of the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department encourage participation in the annual home fire safety program called: Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery! Sponsored by the International Association of Fire Chiefs and Energizer brand batteries, the program urges you to adopt a simple lifesaving habit: Change all of your Smoke Alarm batteries when you change your clocks back to Standard Time on November 1, 2009.

Protecting your home is simple: Change, Check, Count and Clean!™

Change Your Smoke Alarm Batteries!

The PGFD encourages you to change Smoke Alarm batteries at least once each year. An easy way to remember is to change these batteries when you change your clock back to Standard Time each Fall. Replace old batteries with fresh, high quality batteries to keep your Smoke Alarms ready to protect you all year-long.

Check Your Smoke Alarms!

After inserting fresh batteries in your Smoke Alarm, make sure the Alarm is working by activating the safety test button. The PGFD recommends that you test all of your Smoke Alarms at least once each month. If you have any doubt regarding the working condition of a Smoke Alarm, we recommend you replace it.

Count Your Smoke Alarms!

In Prince George’s County, you are required by law to have at least one working Smoke Alarm in the hallway directly adjacent to sleeping areas. If you sleep with your bedroom door closed, a working Smoke Alarm should be installed in that room as well.

It's best to have at least one working Smoke Alarm on every level of your home, including the basement and family room. To assure optimal protection and avoid false alarms, your Smoke Alarm must be mounted properly. You'll find simple instructions included with every Smoke Alarm you purchase. Should questions remain, we encourage you to visit or contact your Community Fire/EMS Station.

Clean Your Smoke Alarms!

Help your Smoke Alarm remain sensitive and ready to protect you by gently using a vacuum cleaner once a month to remove dust and cobwebs. If your Smoke Alarms have been accidentally painted or contaminated, replacement may be necessary.

To best protect your home and family, we also suggest...

Retire your old Smoke Alarms!

Smoke Alarms work every minute of every day. After millions of sensing cycles, they should be retired. Replace your smoke alarms if they are 10 years old or older.

Plan and Practice Your Escape!

Children are at increased risk of dying in a home fire because they often become scared and confused when a fire erupts. Make sure your children recognize the sound of your home's Smoke Alarm and teach them to respond instinctively to its signal.

Create at least two different escape routes from every room and practice them with the entire family. Be sure all family members know the lifesaving practice of crawling below the dangerously thick smoke and intense heat of a fire.

All capable members of the family must learn how to open windows and remove screens or security bars. Purchase, plan and practice using a collapsible emergency escape ladder that can be stored inside near upper floor windows. Realism is essential in your family's practice, as is your clear designation of a meeting place for everyone to gather outside the home in case of a fire or other emergency. Remember, this may be the only practice and discussion you will have before tragedy strikes!

When a fire occurs, don't delay! Get out quick and stay out!! Escape first, closing doors behind you if possible. Quickly gather at your meeting place and then notify the Fire Department by calling 9-1-1 from a safe location.

Your Firefighters are specially trained and equipped to rescue your family and pets, as well as to protect your possessions. Help your Firefighters by remaining together outside the home and directing them to endangered family or valuables.

Install Fire Extinguishers!

Install at least one fire extinguisher in or near your kitchen and know how to use it. We recommend multi- or all-purpose fire extinguishers that are listed by and carry the mark of an accredited testing agency such as Underwriters Laboratory. Read all instructions carefully and mount the fire extinguishers for easy access. Make sure adult members of your family know the proper use as well as the limitations of these important fire safety tools!

Change Your Flashlight Batteries!

Make sure your emergency flashlights work when you need them by using fresh high-quality batteries. It is a good idea to keep a working flashlight and a whistle near your bed, in the kitchen, basement and family room. You can use them to signal for help or direct rescuers in the event of a fire or other emergency.

We hope this simple list of tips from the combined, career/volunteer/civilian, members of your Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department will help keep your family safe. Please remember that fire prevention is your best course of action. We encourage you to learn more about fire and life safety by visiting your Community Fire/EMS Station. While checking your smoke alarm batteries - remember to check the batteries in your carbon monoxide (CO) alarm as well!!!
Through generous donations from ENERGIZER Batteries and PEPCO we have an ample supply of fresh batteries and smoke alarms available. Any Prince George’s County citizen and resident may have one installed, free of charge, by calling 301-864-SAFE (7233) or by clicking here.

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