@PGFDPIO Twitter

Friday, February 1, 2013

Safety First Day of the Month Reminders

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930, mebrady@co.pg.md.us

The Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department has developed a program to help remind you to keep Safety First.  Our “Safety First Day of the Month” program is a reminder that the first day of each month is the day to perform quick and easy tasks that will help keep you, your family and your property safe and healthy. 

By following our Safety First tips you can help us to reduce the number of incidents we respond to as well as early 911 notification will reduce the intensity and impact a fire will have by reducing injuries and death to our firefighters.  You are helping us to help you.  Keeping Safety First will ensure everyone, firefighter/medics and you, to go home.

Seasonal information will be added to help keep Safety First ensuring everyone goes home.  This month we remind you about smoke and CO alarms, Breast Cancer self-examination, Diabetes and Cold Weather Fire Safety Tips.

Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors 

Test your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide (CO) detector by pressing the TEST button on the cover of your devices.  If they emit an audible warning – you are done until next month.

If no audible warning is heard after pressing the TEST button – replace the battery and re-test.  If your alarm still does not emit a warning – immediately replace the alarm or detector with a new one.  Smoke alarms have a productive life of about 10 years.  CO detectors last about 8 years.

clear dust particles from on and around your alarms and detectors.  Dust particles may effect the detection of smoke or CO.  Use a clean dust rag or vacuum your device.

Install a working smoke alarm on every level of your home, especially outside of sleeping areas.  If you sleep with your bedroom door closed; install a working smoke alarm inside of your room.

When testing your smoke and CO alarms – allow your family or other home occupants to hear what the audible alarm sounds like.  This would also be an excellent time to review and practice your home escape plan.  Your plan should include 2 ways out of every room in your house and a safe meeting place outside.

Need a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide alarm??  Call our Safety First Safety Program at 301-864-SAFE (7233) and arrange for these devices to be installed in your home; free of charge.

Breast Cancer Self-Exams

The Fire/EMS Department has committed to keeping Breast Cancer awareness a year round event.  Every month we will post reminders that adult women of all ages are encouraged to perform breast self-exams at least once a month. Remember, Safety First Day of the Month.  Johns Hopkins Medical center states,
“Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important.”
While mammograms can help you to detect cancer before you can feel a lump, breast self-exams help you to be familiar with how your breasts look and feel so you can alert your healthcare professional if there are any changes.


The Fire/EMS Department responds to about 130,000 incidents per year.  About 100,000 of these incidents are EMS calls and there are a high percentage of these incidents that are for some type of diabetic related episode.  We want you to stay healthy and you can help reduce the number of paramedic responses by doing so.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends getting regular exercise to help manage diabetes. However, people with diabetes may need to take certain precautions to ensure that exercise does not induce hypoglycemia (in someone taking insulin), hyperglycemia, or exacerbate complications resulting from their disease.
To work out safely, the ACSM suggests that you: 
            Check your blood sugar before you exercise. If it is > 300 mg/dL and no ketones are present, proceed cautiously.
                      Let's Outsmart Diabetes
                      "We Beat Diabetes With Food!"
                      13 Sugar-Busting Dinners
            Living With Diabetes
Lower blood sugar by 40% or more without harmful drugs! Learn more.
Check your urine or blood for ketones before exercising. Postpone if your blood sugar is greater than 250 mg/dl and ketones are present.
            Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your exercise session.
            Have a carbohydrate-rich snack, such as a piece of fruit or some yogurt or crackers—especially if you are taking insulin—if your blood glucose is < 100 mg/dL.

            Keep carbohydrate-rich snacks or drinks handy to eat before or after exercise to avoid hypoglycemia. If you are taking insulin, you know that when it peaks, your blood sugar drops—so avoid exercise during these times.

            Examine your tootsies before and after exercise for foot ulcers if you have lost sensation in your feet, and stick to moderate or low-weight-bearing activities.

            Avoid high-intensity exercise or any activities involving jumping up and down or dropping your head below your heart (such as yoga inversions) if you have diabetes-related vision issues. The increased pressure can damage the eyes.

            Get your doctor's approval before undertaking any exercise more intense than brisk walking.

More from Prevention: 15 Celebs Living With Diabetes

Cold Weather – Fire Safety Tips

According to the United states fire Administration, each year fire claims the lives of 3,500 Americans, injures 18,300, and causes billions of dollars worth of damage. People living in rural areas are more than twice as likely to die in a fire than those living in mid-sized cities or suburban areas. The misuse of wood stoves, portable space heaters and kerosene heaters are especially common risks in rural areas.
All heating equipment needs space. Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away. Supervise children whenever a wood stove or space heater is being used. Have a three-foot "kid-free" zone around open fires and space heaters.
Wood Stoves
Wood stoves cause over 4,000 residential fires every year. Carefully follow the manufacturer's installation and maintenance instructions. Look for solid construction, such as plate steel or cast iron metal. Check for cracks and inspect legs, hinges and door seals for smooth joints and seams. Use only seasoned wood for fuel, not green wood, artificial logs, or trash. In pellet stoves, burn only dry, seasoned wood pellets. Inspect and clean your pipes and chimneys annually and check monthly for damage or obstructions.
Electric Space Heaters
Buy only heaters evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Check to make sure it has a thermostat control mechanism, and will switch off automatically if the heater falls over. Heaters are not dryers or tables; don't dry clothes or store objects on top of your heater. Plug space heaters directly into wall outlets and never into an extension cord or power strip. Always unplug your electric space heater when not in use.
Kerosene Heaters
Buy only heaters evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), and check with your local fire department on the legality of kerosene heater use in your community. Never fill your heater with gasoline or camp stove fuel; both flare-up easily. Only use crystal clear K-1 kerosene. When refueling, allow the appliance to cool first and then refuel outside. Never overfill any portable heater. Use the kerosene heater in a well ventilated room.
Fireplaces regularly build up creosote in their chimneys. They need to be cleaned out frequently and chimneys should be inspected for obstructions and cracks to prevent deadly chimney and roof fires. Check to make sure the damper is open before starting any fire. Never burn trash, paper or green wood in your fireplace. These materials cause heavy creosote buildup and are difficult to control. Use a screen heavy enough to stop rolling logs and big enough to cover the entire opening of the fireplace to catch flying sparks. Don't wear loose-fitting clothes near any open flame. Make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the house or going to bed. Allow ashes to cool before disposing of them. Place ashes in a tightly covered metal container and keep the ash container at least 10 feet away from your home and any other nearby buildings. Never empty the ash directly into a trashcan. Douse and saturate the ashes with water.