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Saturday, April 1, 2017

PGFD Safety First Day of the Month - April - Don't be a Fool

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

April 1, 2017, the start of the month that includes Spring, warmer temperatures, cleaning up and a Fools Day!!!  It is also our Safety First Day of the Month.  A day designated to test your smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms.  "Press to Test" your smoke and CO alarms today to ensure you and your loved ones are protected from the devastation of fire and CO.  Every 1st day of every month is designated as the day to test your smoke and CO alarms to ensure they emit that life saving alert.  Simply press the test button on the front of the alarm.  

While testing your alarm see if you can locate the date your alarm was manufactured or installed.  If you can't find the date and don't remember when you installed your alarm - then it needs to be replaced.  Alarms 10 years or older must be replaced with a 10-year model which eliminates the need for replacing batteries.  This task is not needed if you have 10-year alarms or hard-wired alarms with a 10-year battery back-up as those batteries never need to be changed.  Keep in mind that as of January 1, 2018 all battery powered alarms must be switched to the 10-year style alarms.  Both working smoke and CO alarms are required by law to be in all homes, apartments, condos and dorms in Prince George's County.

On the first day of every month, regardless of whatever day it is, simply press the test button on the cover of your smoke and CO alarms.

 When you "Press to Test"

If you hear the audible warning – you are good for another month.

No audible warning?? – provide a fresh battery in your alarms and re-test.

Audible warning??  Yes – you are good until next month!!!  No tones – remove the alarm and replace it with a new 10-year alarm.

While you’re tending to your alarms – remove any dust or other particles from your alarm by dusting or using a vacuum.  Remember these alarms could be the difference between life and death of you and your family.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors - Keep in mind that some of our neighbors may not physically be able to reach their alarms to test or change batteries.  If you have senior citizens family members or neighbors, please, perform this lifesaving function for them. They may not ask for help but they certainly could use some.

Anyone that can not afford to purchase their own 10-year smoke alarm may call 311 and make arrangements for a firefighter to visit your home and install these life saving items for you.

Remember that it is now a law for homes that have gas service, fireplace and/or an attached garage are required to have CO alarms installed on every level of your h.

The Fire/EMS Department strongly endorses the use of 10-year, tamper proof with hush feature smoke and CO alarms on every level of your home, outside of sleeping areas and in every bedroom.

Also, design a exit drill in your home and identify two ways out of every room in the event of a fire.  Designate a safe meeting place outside and practice you exit drill at least twice a year.

**  Hint **  Other monthly tasks such as changing filter furnaces, providing our pets with monthly medications, etc. can be done on the safety first day of the month as well.

Spring Cleaning?? - ensure all clutter is removed from furnaces and air handlers.  

Still chilly in mornings and overnight??  Remember space heaters require space - at least 3 feet from any object that can burn and remember to turn off your space heater before you go to sleep. Never use an extension cord with a space heater.

Cooking outside???  Cooking, inside and outdoors, is the #1 cause of fires and fire related injuries.  Always remain in kitchen and area of your grill while cooking.  Pay close attention when "Red Flag" days are announced as the possibility and dangers of fast moving brush fires are present.

Install CO alarms on every level of your home, primarily, just outside of sleeping areas.

Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, primarily, just outside of sleeping areas and in every bedroom.  Sleep with your bedroom door closed.  

Plan and practice an exit drill in the home.  Identify 2 ways out of every room in your house and a safe meeting place outside.

Need additional information?? Call our Community Risk Reduction and Outreach Office at 301-883-5250.