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Saturday, November 1, 2014

November 1 is Safety First Day of the Month

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

Well it's November.  Fall is in the air with leaves turning and dropping off of trees and colder weather is moving in upon us.  it wont be long before we start talking about snow.

November also brings us into the Holiday Season with Thanksgiving and all associated events and family dinners.

Working Smoke/CO Alarms

November is also the month that Daylight Saving Time comes to an end and we change our clocks back one hour.  This is also the time of year we remind everyone that when we change our clocks - change the batteries in smoke/CO alarms.  So this month rather than just test your battery we ask you to change the battery in your alarms and than test it to make sure it is working.  If you find that your alarm is 10 years old or simply has stopped working, we ask you to replace the worn out 9-volt battery alarm with a brand new 10-year, tamper proof with hush feature alarm.  Never change a battery again with these new alarms, however, you will still need to test it monthly.

November is the time of year your family needs to practice your home escape plan which identifies two ways out of every room in your house and a safe meeting place outside.  Let the entire family hear what your smoke alarm sounds like and start your escape plan.

This time of year it is particularly important because colder weather means that everyone will be trying to stay warm and bring out out the space heaters, cranking up furnaces and using fireplaces.  It is no secret that there are many more home fires in the winter than the summer.  Protect yourself, your family and your firefighters by ensuring you have a working smoke and CO alarm.

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. 

• Space heaters need space; keep combustibles at least three feet away from each heater. 

• Always unplug your electric space heater when not in use. 


** Turn off at night or whenever you sleep.

General Heating Tips     

    Furnaces, fireplaces and chimneys should be cleaned and checked each year by an appropriate professional prior to using.

    Only use seasoned wood in fireplaces and never use ignitable liquids to start a fire.

    The 3-foot rule also applies to furnaces and fireplaces.  No combustibles items within 3 feet of these heating appliances.

    Dispose of fireplace ash into a metal container and store outdoors away from structures on a concrete surface.  Fireplace ash can ignite a fire days after they have been discarded.

Cooking - a lot of cooking will be occurring around the Thanksgiving Holiday.

If your Thanksgiving plans include a Turkey Fryer, this is a  another whole story by itself. 

While these safety and cooking tips may not make Thanksgiving dinner taste any better--they will help to avoid potential disaster;

  • Keep your family and overnight guests safe with a working smoke alarm on every level of the house, in each bedroom and in the halls adjacent to the bedrooms. Test smoke alarms monthly, and replace batteries at least once a year.
  • Overnight guests should be instructed on your home’s fire escape plan and designated meeting place for your family.
  • Have a fire extinguisher available not more than 10 feet from the stove, on the exit side of the room.
  • A standard Class ABC multi-purpose dry chemical extinguisher is recommended. Know how to use your fire extinguisher.
  • Start holiday cooking with a clean stove and oven.
  • Keep the kitchen off limits to young children and adults who are not helping with food preparations. This will lessen the possibility of kitchen mishaps.
  • When cooking, do not wear clothing with loose sleeves or dangling jewelry. Clothing can catch on fire and jewelry can become entangled with pot handles, causing spills and burns.
  • Cook on the back burners when possible, and turn pot handles inward so they don’t extend over the edge of the stove.
  • Never leave cooking unattended. If you must leave the kitchen while cooking, turn off the stove or have someone else watch what is being cooked. Unattended cooking is the number one cause of home fires and fire-related injuries in Prince George’s County.  According to the USFA; cooking is the leading cause of all Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings at 69 percent. Nearly all of these cooking fires (97 percent) are small, confined fires with limited damage.
  • If you use a deep fryer, please, exercise extreme caution and follow manufacturer instructions.  The report from the USFA found that these cooking devices accounted for about 1% of Thanksgiving Day fires.
  • Keep Thanksgiving decorations and kitchen clutter away from sources of direct heat.
  • Candles are often part of holiday decorations. The Fire/EMS Department strongly encourages the use of battery powered candles and discourages the use of candles with an open flame.  If you use candles; they should never be left burning when you are away from home, or after going to bed. Candles should be placed where children will not be tempted to play with them, and where guests will not accidentally brush against them. The candleholder should be completely non-combustible and difficult to knock over. The candle should not have combustible decorations around it.
  • If smoking is allowed inside, provide guests with large, deep ashtrays and check them frequently. After guests leave check inside, under upholstery, and in trash cans for cigarette butts that may be smoldering.
  • Overnight guests should be briefed on the home escape plan and designated meeting place outside.