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Friday, October 2, 2009

Residential Sprinklers Save Two Homes on Eve of Important Week for Firefighters

On a weekend that is set aside to honor fallen firefighters and commence with fire prevention week activities we remind our citizens and residents about the need to prevent fires from ever occurring and laws that on the books to protect you and us.

The National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend will conduct activities to honor 103 firefighters who died in the line of duty in 2008, and 19 firefighters who died in previous years. Also this weekend; Fire Prevention Week commences with fire departments across the country hosting open houses and fire safety demonstrations.

Is it unreasonable to believe that if fire safety were practiced and laws passed to protect homeowners were utilized; would we be able to reduce the number of firefighter and civilians injuries and fatalities due to the devastation of residential fires??

Fire Prevention is effective, unfortunately, accidental home fires will continue to occur and we know for a fact in Prince George's County - residential sprinklers save lives and limit damage.

On Thursday, October 1, 2009, two home fires occurred in Prince George’s County. These home fires won’t make headlines, even though they should. They won’t make the TV news; even though they should. No one thinks twice about these two incidents. Residential sprinklers installed in these homes, installed because of laws passed in the early 1990's, both fires were out by the time firefighters arrived. The need to engage a raging structure fire was averted. The residents and firefighters were safe, no one was hurt and damage was minimal.

An Upper Marlboro home had a fire erupt on the stove on Friday at about 5:30 PM in the 10300 block of Crystal Brook Court. A sprinkler activated and extinguished the fire before it had a chance to spread. There were no injuries and fire loss was estimated at zero dollars.

Just before 6:00 PM, Friday, October 1, 2009. A fire started on the stove of a home in the 9200 block of Chestnut Avenue in Bowie. Again, the fire was extinguished by residential sprinklers before firefighters arrived. Estimated fire loss was zero dollars and no injuries occurred.

Prince George’s County Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones stated, “We are extremely fortunate that Prince George’s County mandates a working smoke alarm in every home and the installation of residential sprinklers in any new construction. Our former leaders had the foresight to have these laws passed to protect citizens, residents, visitors and our firefighters; they are laws we can live with.” He concluded by saying, “Having working smoke alarms, a planned and practiced home escape plan and residential sprinklers improve the chances of you and your family surviving a fire in your home by nearly 100%” The subtraction of residential sprinklers reduce your survival chances to about 80%.

Unattended cooking is the leading factor contributing to cooking-related fires. For these reasons and many others, the theme for Fire Prevention Week, October 4-10, 2009 is “Stay Fire Smart! Don’t Get Burned!” In addition to cooking fires, a special emphasis is placed on burn awareness and prevention and keeping homes fire safe.

Here are some tips you can follow to stay fire smart:

• Take care while preparing meals…stay in the kitchen when frying, boiling, or broiling.
• If you smoke, put it out, all the way out, every time.
• Keep all flammables at least three feet away from space heaters…space heaters need space.
• Plan and practice your home fire escape plan.
• Make sure smoke alarms are in good working order.

Prince George’s County citizens and residents call request a smoke alarm installed in their home, free of charge, by calling 301-864-SAFE (7233). Or click here.

There are a number of open houses and other events occurring during the month of October throughout Prince George’s County. We invite you to stop by your local Fire/EMS Station and inquire about Fire Prevention.

Branchville Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad
4905 Branchville Road, College Park
October 3, 2009 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Riverdale Volunteer Fire Department
will be hosting their open house at Riverdale Day
October 3, 2009 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Marlboro Volunteer Fire Department
Home Depot – 15410 Chrysler Drive
October 3, 2009, 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Accokeek Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad
16111 Livingston Road
October 3, 2009, 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM

The United States Fire Administration’s Fire Prevention Fair
Tuesday, October 6, 2009, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
FEMA HQ, Washington DC

Walk This Way Event – (Pedestrian Safety)
Fire Safety Demonstration
Calverton Elementary School – Beltsville, MD
Wednesday, October 7, 2009 7:30 AM – 10:00 AM

PRESS CONFERENCE – Release of 15-Year PGFD Sprinkler Study
Wednesday, October 7, 2009, 11:00 AM
Maryland Fire/Rescue Institute – College Park

Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department
6200 Belcrest Road
October 10, 2009, 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Morningside Volunteer Fire Department
6200 Suitland Road
October 10, 2009, 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM

OPEN HOUSE and GRAND OPENING for renovation/addition
Baden Volunteer Fire Department
16608 Brandywine Road, Brandywine, MD
October 11, 2009, 11:00 AM