After peak of fire-related fatalities, MD Fire Marshal’s Office pushes for prevention
Maryland Fire Marshals are renewing their push for fire safety and awareness after a string of fire-related deaths across the state.
According to the Fire Marshal’s Office, during the first 41 days of 2015, there have been thirteen fire deaths, which is a 30 percent increase from last year. Seven of those victims were reportedly under 18-years-old.
Fire officials are urging households to develop escape plans and make sure all smoke detectors are properly working.
According to the office, the following is a condensed list of ways to protect Marylanders from the potential life safety risks of uncontrolled fire in their homes:
• Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas. It is also recommended to install smoke alarms inside the bedrooms as well. Test and vacuum smoke alarms monthly. Change batteries every year. Replace smoke alarms after every ten years. Battery-only smoke alarms shall need to be replaced with 10-year long life sealed battery smoke alarms.
• Plan and practice your home fire escape plan. Know two ways out of every room. Have a predetermined meeting location outside.
• If smoking materials are used, please use a deep ashtray and smoke outdoors. Always ensure smoking materials are completely extinguished when finished.
• Keep all matches and lighters out of reach of children. Instruct children to alert an adult if they locate matches or lighters and not to touch them.
• Replace frayed, cracked or otherwise damaged electrical cords.
• Limit use of extension cords and don’t overload electrical circuits.
• Never run electrical cords under carpet or rugs.
• Keep the stovetop clean and remove any combustible items on or near the stove area.
• Never leave cooking food unattended. Turn off the stove if you need to leave the room.
• Have chimneys properly cleaned and maintained.
• Never use an accelerant in a fireplace or woodstove.
• Burn only seasoned, dry wood to help prevent creosote build-up in chimneys and woodstoves.
• Keep combustibles three feet away from any heating appliance or fireplace.
• Have your furnace checked and cleaned for proper operation.
• Fuel burning appliances can produce the deadly, tasteless and odorless gas known as carbon monoxide. Install and maintain CO alarms inside your home to provide an early warning of dangerous carbon monoxide levels.
• Always turn off portable heating equipment when leaving the room for extended periods. Portable heaters should never be operated unattended.
• Check the clothes dryer vent pipe and ensure lint build-up is removed.
• Keep flammable liquids in tightly sealed containers and store away from sources of heat.