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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Change Your Clock - Change Your Battery or Upgrade Your Alarms

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

Spring Forward and Fall Back.  Sunday, November 5th, we will bring Daylight Saving Time to a close and adjust our clocks back 1-hour to Eastern Standard Time.  The fire service uses this time of year to remind Prince Georgians that when they change their clock to also change the batteries in their smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms as well.  Is this the last year we need to remind everyone to change the batteries??
Change your clock and change your battery in your alarms is a nationwide theme from firefighters that you will be hearing this week and for good reason.  66% of fire fatalities occur in homes found with no smoke alarms or non-working smoke alarms due to a lack of batteries or dead batteries.  Colder weather means there will be more fires so it is important to ensure you have working alarms. Working smoke alarms increase the chances of surviving a fire in your home. 

"Press to Test"

It is important to test your alarms to ensure they are working every month. Press the test button on the front cover of your alarm on the first day of every month.  If your alarm sounds you are good until next month.  If your alarm does not sound - replace the battery and "press to test" again.  Still no audible warning - remove old alarm and replace with a new 10-year alarm.

This Sunday, November 5th, we are asking you to replace the battery in your alarm with a new battery. The Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department highly recommends you replace your older 9-volt battery powered alarm with a 10-year alarm.
A new law becomes fully effective on January 1, 2018 involving “battery only” smoke alarms used in Maryland residential properties.  The “battery only” smoke alarms that have protected homes for the past several decades need to be replaced with new long-life, 10-year, sealed lithium battery smoke alarms with silence/hush button features.  The silence/hush button feature temporarily disables the alarm so the occupant can ventilate the space from mild smoke conditions typically created during some cooking operations.  The use of these alarms eliminates the need to replace the batteries during the 10-year life of the alarm. 
The new law also requires homeowners to ensure they have a smoke alarm installed on each floor, outside of each sleeping area and in every bedroom per National Fire Protection Association recommendations.  It is further recommended that bedroom doors are closed while sleeping.  Existing County law requires a working CO detector on every level of your home if you have any gas fueled heating system, fireplace and/or an attached garage.  These are laws we can "live" with.

If your property is protected with 120 volt electric smoke alarms, they also should be replaced every 10 years with new 120 volt smoke alarms w/ 10-year battery back-up to ensure proper and timely operation in the event of a fire.  

NOTE **Manufacturers have available: 120 volt electric smoke alarms with 10-year lithium batteries to eliminate the need to replace batteries during the suggested life of the alarms.

If you need a working smoke alarm and cannot afford to purchase one yourself you can call 311.  A firefighter will visit your home at a mutually agreeable time and install one 10-year smoke alarm in your home, free of charge.  The homeowner is responsible to install additional alarms and detectors per existing County law the new State law effective the first of the year 2018.

A new tool for the PIO toolbox helps keep community & firefighters safe

For Immediate Release
Contact: Donna Clark 240-723-0615 or Amy Tippett 843-300-9327

PIOs: New NFFF app helps keep community & firefighters safe
Share with public as you urge November 5 smoke alarm checks

The new Be a Hero, Save a Hero® mobile app from the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) can help your community stay safe with valuable fire prevention information, special weather and seasonal notifications, and more.  It’s available now for you to share with the public as you remind them to change their smoke alarm batteries and the benefits of 10-year smoke alarms next Sunday, November 5th when Daylight Saving Time ends.

The free app provides the latest information and resources on a wide variety of topics including smoke alarm check reminders, creating escape plans, winter and holiday safety tips, and much more. There are even sections targeted for specific groups, such as children and older adults.

“The goal of our Be a Hero, Save a Hero® program is to encourage the public to be fire safe which in turn saves the lives of firefighters,” explained Chief Ron Siarnicki, Executive Director of the NFFF. “This app is the perfect companion as you spread the word of changing clocks and batteries this week and the importance of home fire safety year-round.”

The safety tips on the app include information from the U.S. Fire Administration, the National Fire Protection Association and other partners working together to help prevent home fires.
Be a Hero, Save a Hero® can be downloaded on the Google Play Store or the App Store with links available on the newly redesigned website, www.beaherosaveahero.org.

Be a Hero, Save a Hero® is part of the NFFF’s Everyone Goes Home® program. The app and the redesign of the website were developed with First Arriving, Marketing and Technology for Fire and EMS.
About the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

The United States Congress created the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation to lead a nationwide effort to remember America's fallen firefighters. Since 1992, the nonprofit Foundation has developed and expanded programs to honor fallen fire heroes and assist their families and coworkers. The Foundation also works closely with the U.S. Fire Administration to help prevent and reduce line-of-duty deaths and injuries. For more information on the NFFF and its programs visit www.firehero.org.