Montgomery County Fire Fighters ?Spring Into Action?
The launch of the ?Spring into Action? safety awareness initiative will begin on Saturday, March 20, 2004, the first day of Spring. This newly developed program of fire and safety education will see firefighters from Montgomery County and all across the Washington metropolitan region going out into their communities asking people to ?be alarmed?. Firefighters equipped with valuable fire and life safety information will seek out citizens, encouraging them to install working smoke alarms, develop and practice home escape plans and take steps to prepare themselves and protect families from fire.

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue personnel will be involved in various community outreach efforts over the next couple of weeks with a particular focus on senior citizens and children, the two populations most susceptible to fire and injury.

Participants of the recent fire and life safety summit held at the University of Maryland came away from the gathering with the idea for the need to ?Spring Into Action?. A commitment to forge new partnerships and coalitions with other organizations dedicated to reducing the tragic trend of injury and death from fire. As a result this region-wide safety awareness campaign is supported and endorsed by the Fire Chief?s Committee Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and will begin on Saturday, March 20, 2004 ? the first day of Spring.

Recently following a regularly scheduled meeting of Fire Chiefs held at the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) Headquarters, in Fairfax, Virginia, fire departments from throughout the Washington metro area announced their support of the ?Spring Into Action? safety initiative and embraced the concept of ?many voices, single message?.

Fire Administrator Gordon Aoyagi says, ?We will use the first day of Spring, this Saturday, as a kick-off for community based activity for the next couple of weeks all in an effort to raise awareness of the importance of having a working smoke alarms.?

This grass roots public safety initiative will begin with a focus on seniors March 20 through March 26 to include a special program with the County?s Meals on Wheels, Germantown HELP (food bank), attendance at various community and senior centers, as well as neighborhood visits. March 27 through April 2 will involve outreach to elementary school-aged children to include a letter to parents and home escape plan via backpack mail, safety messages on school menus, Risk Watch presentations to health teachers and attendance at community and children-focused events with safety flyer distribution for parents and a FIRE SAFETY sticker presented by firefighters to the kids.

The ?Spring Into Action? campaign will culminate April 3 and 4 with a door-to-door initiative in communities throughout the region when citizens and all Montgomery County residents will be reminded to change the battery in their smoke alarm when they change their clock to reflect daylight savings time.

Remember ? the message is simple:

Develop an Escape Plan ? Identify two ways out of each room in your home, identify a meeting place for your family outside, practice your plan at least twice a year when you change your clock. Once Outside ? Account for all family members at your designated meeting place, call 911 from a safe location, never go back inside a burning building for any reason.

Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives ? Ensure you have a working smoke alarm on each floor of your home, additional smoke alarms can be placed in sleeping and kitchen areas, test your smoke alarms monthly, change the battery when you change your clock twice a year, if your smoke alarms are powered by your homes electrical system consider installing battery powered smoke alarms as a back up in case of a power outage.

Unfortunately, each year people die in residential fires that were started by preventable causes, such as unattended cooking, improperly discarded smoking materials, candles left burning unattended, space heaters, and child fire play. These are lives that can be saved. Smoke alarms save lives!

Citizens and residents that combine common sense fire and injury prevention habits with a working smoke alarm will increase the probability that even if a fire should ever occur in their home, that every will get out alive. Help us to help you, ensure you have at least one working smoke alarm in your home and plan an escape plan with your family. ?Spring Into Action.?

For more information or if you are a Montgomery County resident and would like a FREE home safety evaluation call the Safety in Our Neighborhood ? Home Inspection Hotline at 240.777.2476.

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