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Friday, February 21, 2014

Firefighter/Medic IAFF Local 1619 Donate Smoke Alarms

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

The Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department has 150 smoke alarms to distribute to residents of Prince George’s County thanks to a very generous donation.  The International Association of Firefighters and Paramedics Association, IAFF Local 1619, donated the smoke alarms to help meet the demand for the life saving devices. 

IAFF Local 1619 President Andrew Pantelis and Treasurer John Wiseman presented the alarms to Assistant Fire Chief Paul Gomez at the Union offices in Bowie, Md.

Firefighters know better than anyone else that smoke alarms save lives and help to reduce property loss by early notification to home occupants.  “Early awareness by a working smoke alarm allows occupants an opportunity to escape and provides firefighters to respond sooner resulting in reducing the risk of injury or death to our personnel,” said IAFF Local 1619 President Andrew Pantelis.

Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor is a strong advocate for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in homes.  “Working smoke alarms increases chances of survival by about 50%.  The addition of 150 10-year smoke alarms will save lives and reduce the number of homes with non-working smoke alarms,” said Chief Bashoor.  "I want to thank President Pantelis and the membership of Local 1619 for this generous donation of smoke alarms that will make the difference in protecting lives and property."

The National Fire Protection Association reports approximately 3,000 people die in home fires in the U.S. every year, with most fires happening during the winter. Two-thirds of residential fire deaths occur in homes with either no smoke alarm or no working alarm.  Most smoke alarms are found to be non-working due to a lack of batteries or no battery at all.  The newer 10-year, tamper-proof, with hush feature smoke alarms will reduce the number of preventable fire fatalities occurring every year.  The advancement of smoke alarm technology to 10-year alarms is perhaps the greatest fire service life-saving achievement since the invention of the smoke alarm itself.

A law requiring 10-year smoke alarms on every level of your home will go into effect at the end of this year.  This law applies to any home currently protected by smoke alarms that are battery operated.  It’s a law we can live with.

If you cannot afford to purchase a smoke alarm you may contact the Fire/EMS Departments Safety First Smoke Alarm program at 301-864-SAFE (7233) or click here to make an on-line request.  A firefighter will make arrangements to visit your home and install an alarm, free of charge.

The Fire/EMS Department is still in need of additional 10-year smoke alarms.  This donation of 150 alarms will help to relieve a backlog of residents awaiting alarms in their homes with a few remaining alarms left available to distribute.  Anyone that would like to donate alarms is encouraged to contact the Public Information Office at 301-883-5222.

(L to R) IAFF Local 1619 Treasurer John Wiseman and President Andrew Pantelis present their donation of 150 10-year smoke alarms to Assistant Fire Chief Paul Gomez. (MEBrady)

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