MEDIA CONTACT ONLY: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
Safety First Day of the Month of October is here. We are assisted this month by October being Fire Prevention Month. This year’s Fire Prevention campaign is,
“Don’t Wait – Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years.” This is a reminder that smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms have a life span and should be changed about every 10 years or before. Remember to test your alarms monthly on the Safety First Day of the Month and replace alarms every 10 years. Install a new 10-year smoke/CO alarm now and be in compliance with laws in Prince George's County to maintain these alarms on every level of your home. Install alarms in hallways just outside of sleeping areas and we recommend installing alarms in all bedrooms and sleep with your bedroom doors closed. This is also a good time to plan and practice your escape drill or freshen yours up. Include all family members in planning 2 ways out of every room in your house. Practice your plan by identifying different rooms that are on fire blocking your exit and forcing everyone to remember their second way out. Designate your safe meeting place outside where you can use a cell phone or neighbors phone to call 911. Start your drill with everyone in their beds, press to test your smoke alarm, and monitor the family reaction to escaping safely. Practice your escape drill at least twice a year.
This year, Fire Prevention Week will be October 9th through the October 16th.
The National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA’s) survey data shows that the public has many misconceptions about smoke alarms, which may put them at increased risk in the event of a home fire. For example, only a small percentage of people know how old their smoke alarms are, or how often they need to be replaced.
As a result of those and related findings, we’re addressing smoke alarm replacement this year with a focus on these key messages
Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.
Make sure you know how old all the smoke alarms are in your home.
To find out how old a smoke alarm is, look at the date of manufacture on the back of the alarm; the alarm should be replaced 10 years from that date.
Lets take a look at your smoke alarm.
First, remove your smoke alarm by twisting it off of it's base which is attached to your wall or ceiling. Examine your alarm and look for a manufacture date. If your date is within 10 years, move on to the next step. If you can not find a date and you believe your alarm is 10 years of age or older; time to replace your alarm with a new 10 year alarm.
Next, push the TEST button on the front cover of your smoke alarm.
An audible beeping noise SHOULD sound. If it does, congratulations, your done until next month.
If it does not sound an audible alarm - replace the battery. Push the TEST button again - still no alarm - remove the alarm and immediately replace with a new 10-year, tamper proof, with hush feature smoke alarm.
If your alarm is about 10 years old or you don't remember if you ever replaced the alarm, do it today!!! Smoke alarms work all day - every day and will wear down over their 10 year service life.
County Law requires a working smoke alarm in your home. Over the next two years the law will continue to evolve to require a working 10-year smoke alarm on every level of your home, primarily outside of sleeping areas.
County Law currently requires a working CO detector on every level of your home, primarily, outside of sleeping areas. This law includes all homes with a gas service (natural, propane, oil, etc), a fireplace or an attached garage. This law also requires that all hotels, motels, dormitories and all apartments and condos have working CO alarms.
Have you ever noticed that it is sometimes a challenge to reach your alarms installed on your ceiling or high on the wall. Perhaps you use a step-ladder or stand tall on your toes to reach the test button. Think about your senior citizen neighbors and relatives that may have difficulty even reaching a light switch. Test their alarms for them every month, change their batteries at least once-a-year and contact 311 for them if they need a new 10-year smoke alarm installed by firefighters, free of charge.
Don't wait for a firefighter to knock on your door. If you need a working smoke alarm and can not afford to purchase one, call 311 and ask about the free smoke alarm program.
Several Fire/EMS Station in Prince George's County will hold Open House events around Fire Prevention Week. Everyone is invited to attend one of these events to learn more about fire prevention and the life and death importance of working smoke alarms.