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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Working Smoke Alarm Saves Lives of Sleeping Occupants in Brandywine Home

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

Every year the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) identifies a theme for the annual Fire Prevention Week.  This year’s theme for the week of October 5, 2014 is “Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives.”  Firefighters have always known this to be true and sometimes find it challenging to convince our citizens and residents to maintain working smoke alarms in their homes.  Although, in Prince George’s County we are hearing of numerous success stories of working smoke alarms alerting residents and allowing them precious few seconds to escape.

“Working Smoke Alarms Saves Lives” was never more evident than this morning when a fire in a Brandywine home could have easily claimed three lives of occupants all over the age of 60 

The home did have a working smoke alarm and at 2:15 am the alarm detected smoke and emitted a warning signal.   A male occupant was awakened by the loud piercing chirps from the alarm and upon investigating discovered a fire in an occupied bedroom and removed the adult female as well as verbally notifying the third occupant.

While sustaining injury the three escaped with their lives and for the one occupant in the burning bedroom perhaps seconds from sustaining fatal injuries.  “Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives.”

Firefighters responded to a subsequent 911 call and arrived to find smoke issuing from the 1-story single family home located in the 7000 block of Floral Park Road.  Medics tended to the female removed from the bedroom and found her suffering from smoke related injuries and also treated the third occupant, adult female with lacerations.

The bedroom fire was quickly extinguished with fire loss estimated at $30,000.  One patient was transported to a nearby hospital for evaluation of smoke inhalation.  The other female with lacerations was treated on the scene and did not go to the hospital.  The displaced aunt and nephew are displaced and staying with other family in the area.

Fire Investigators have labeled this fire as accidental.  The live-in caretaker had fallen asleep while smoking a cigarette.  The smoking materials ignited bedding and nearby combustibles.

The male homeowner told firefighters that he had just replaced the smoke alarm battery two weeks ago.  Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives.  Any resident of Prince George’s County is eligible to have a new smoke alarm installed in their home by firefighters or have fresh battery’s installed in your alarm at no cost to you.  Simply call our Safety First Smoke Alarm program at 301-864-SAFE (7233) or on-line by clicking here.

Consider replacing all battery operated smoke alarms with a new 10-year smoke alarm that eliminates the need to replace batteries.  Test all your alarms on the Safety First Day of the month.

Take the time to visit one of the many Open Houses and Fire Prevention Days at your community Fire/EMS Station being held throughout the month of October and see how smoke alarms work as well as learn how to plan and practice a home escape plan identifying two ways out of every room in your house and a safe place to meet outside.

Have your elementary school age children participate in a contest by drawing an escape plan or the location of smoke alarms in their home.  The Sentinel Newspaper sponsors this contest.  Rules can be found by clicking here.

Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives.