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Thursday, March 1, 2012

PEPCO Donates Smoke Alarms to Residents of the County

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930

The Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department graciously accepted a generous donation of smoke alarms from PEPCO.  The donation was made this morning while at the Line of Duty Death Memorial, located at the Cranford-Graves Fire Services Building in Landover Hills.   

The Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department has historically gone door-to-door within our communities, spreading fire safety information and checking smoke alarms.  When a home is in need of a working smoke alarm, the Department installs one at no cost to the resident. 

Smoke alarm checks are a staple of the fire service and community outreach efforts. We do this because we know that having a working smoke alarm increases the chances of you surviving a fire in your home by 50 percent.  Tragically, we have seen home fires where loved ones have perished, and the home did not have a working smoke alarm.

Working smoke alarms save lives.  The generosity of organizations providing us with free alarms enables us to help you.  PEPCO is a true public safety partner, providing the Department with free smoke alarms that we in turn install in your home—Keeping Safety First to ensure everyone goes home.  PEPCO has donated 7000 smoke alarms over the past 8 years.

Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor acknowledged the donation of smoke alarms, saying, “We graciously accept the 1000 smoke alarms and 30 hearing-impaired smoke alarms that PEPCO is donating to us today.  We accept these life-saving devices as we stand at the Line of Duty Death Memorial for Prince George’s County Firefighters.  A working smoke alarm provides you with an early warning of a fire, allowing you time to escape and notify 911.”  He concluded by saying, “With an early 911 notification, the Fire/EMS Department arrives sooner, before the fire grows in intensity.  Early notification also enables you to save yourself, instead of firefighters having to rush into your home to save you.  Having a working smoke alarm helps both you and us, in the prevention of injuries and death.  It allows us to arrive sooner; it allows you and your loved ones to get out safely.” 

The Fire/EMS Department also acknowledged the donation of 300 smoke alarms this past December, when our community saturation increased after a fire claimed three lives in a Lewisdale home.  1-800-BOARD-Up donated the alarms to bridge the gap between the larger donations by PEPCO.  During our Safety First – Home for the Holidays smoke alarm check, firefighters found that nearly 25 percent of homes did not have a working smoke alarm.  Most homes had an alarm that did not work, mostly due to the lack of a battery.  In other instances, the smoke alarms failed to work because they were more than 10 years old. 

“This donation is a great way to support the community and strengthen the partnership that exists between PEPCO and the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department,” said Jerry Pasternak, PEPCO Regional Vice President for Maryland. “Getting these alarms into people's homes is important to our customers, our communities, and our first responders.  PEPCO is proud to support this life-saving initiative.”

Homeowners and occupants must take personal responsibility to ensure they have a working smoke alarm.  Test your alarm on the first day of each month, Safety First Day of the Month, and replace your battery at least once a year.  The ideal time to remember to perform this important function is when we adjust our clocks for Daylight Saving Time.  This year, we move our clocks forward one hour on Sunday, March 11, 2012.  This serves as a natural reminder to install a fresh battery in your home’s smoke alarm.  

Any County citizen or resident may contact our Safety First program at 301-864-SAFE (7233) and request a smoke alarm installed in their home free of charge.

Fire Chief Bashoor speaks at the podium with support from members of his command staff and members of the Community Advisory Council. (BRADY)

Today's press briefing was held on the grounds of the PGFD Line of Duty Death Memorial and Founders Circle to support the importance of having working smoke alarms. (BRADY)

Fire Chief at the podium with Pete Pederson and Jerry Pasternak from PEPCO and Hugh Owens Sr from 1-800-Board-Up.

Unloading and storing 1000 smoke alarms and 30 hearing impaired smoke alarms. (BRADY)

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