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Multiple Fire Fatalties Over the Weekend Remind Us to be Fire Safe
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By Member Charles Green Jr.
March 7, 2017

Statewide (March 6, 2017) -- Four tragic dwelling fires occurred over the weekend that claimed the lives of five Marylanders. Several more individuals received injuries at these incidents and many family pets also perished as result. These incidents are a constant reminder of the need to be ever vigiliant when practicing fire safety in the places we live. Fire does not discriminate, it will strike anywhere it has the opportunity to grow and flourish.

As the winter chill continues to affect the State of Maryland, State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci requests Marylanders to make sure fire safety measures are being followed. “By working together, we can develop good practices in fire and life safety ,” stated State Fire Marshal Geraci. “All Marylanders deserve the safety and security of a quality fire prevention program.”

Please take the time to review the following list and properly address any potential issues immediately when found.
Install and maintain smoke alarms on every level of your home. Test and vacuum monthly.
Change batteries every year. Replace smoke alarms after every ten years.
Replace 9 volt battery-only smoke alarms with 10-year sealed battery smoke alarms.
Keep bedroom doors closed when sleeping. If a fire occurs elsewhere in the home, the closed door will provide additional time to escape by blocking heat, smoke and toxic gases.
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.
Never leave a burning candle unattended. Avoid using candles in bedrooms and sleeping areas. Extinguish candles when you leave a room. Keep children and pets away from burning candles. Consider using battery-operated flameless candles, which can look, smell, and feel like real candles.
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 cleaned and inspected.
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 all heating appliances, woodstoves and fireplaces.
Portable space heaters must be plugged directly into an outlet. Never use an extension cord or multiple plug power strips as they may overheat and cause a fire.
Have your furnace checked and cleaned for proper operation.
Check the clothes dryer exhaust duct and ensure lint build-up is removed. Replace the duct with non-combustible ducting where applicable.
Vacuum bathroom exhaust fans to eliminate dust build-up on the motor and fan blades.
Keep flammable liquids in tightly sealed containers and store away from sources of heat.
Plan and practice your home fire escape plan at least twice a year. Know two ways out of every room. Have a predetermined meeting location outside. Get out and stay out!
If a fire occurs inside your home, close doors as you escape to help contain the fire.
When moving to a new location, choose a property protected with a residential fire sprinkler system.

The Office of the State Fire Marshal is an agency of the Department of State Police dedicated to helping protect citizens from fire and explosion through a comprehensive program of education, inspection, investigation and fire protection engineering. For more information on fire safety call 1-800-525-3124, log onto our website at: Maryland State Fire Marshal and/or our Facebook Page.

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