Summer Home Safety Quiz

We are so sorry that we won’t be able to host our annual Bingo in the Park this year. Not only is this a fundraising opportunity for our station, but it’s a major way for us to meet and interact with the community. We want to thank you for your continued support and would like to challenge your family with a summer safety quiz.

Don’t forget to print off your certification of completion when you are done.

Q: How often should you replace your smoke detectors?

A: All smoke alarms have expiration dates. Both hard-wired and battery-operated smoke alarms need to be replaced every ten years. If your smoke alarm has not been replaced since 2010, it’s the time!

Maryland’s new smoke alarm law requires the replacement of all BATTERY-ONLY operated smoke alarms with units powered by sealed-in, 10-year long-life batteries.

Q: Where should smoke alarms be located in your home?

A: Smoke alarms are required to be located outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home including basements (finished or unfinished).

Q: Where should you have carbon monoxide alarms in your home?

A: Beginning July 1, 2019, a new law in Montgomery County will require many existing single-unit, two-unit, and townhouse dwellings to have Carbon Monoxide Alarms located outside sleeping areas and on every level of a home.

Fire Safety

Q: What are important elements of a family escape plan in the event of a fire?

A: Escape Planning

  • Make sure you have working smoke alarms.
  • Map out and designate two ways out of each room.
  • Agree on a meeting place outside.
  • Know alternatives for family members needing extra help.
  • Make sure to include children in the planning process. Teach them how to escape in case you can’t help them.
  • If the smoke alarm sounds, get out, and stay out. Never go back inside for people or pets.
  • If you have to escape through smoke, get low and go under the smoke to your way out.
  • Call 911 from outside your home.

Q: What do you do if you or your clothing catches on fire?

A: If you catch on fire

STOP – where you are
DROP – to the floor
ROLL – around on the floor

This will smother the flames, possibly saving your life.

If someone else catches on fire, smother the flames by grabbing a blanket or rug and wrapping them up in it. If a fire extinguisher is available, use it to extinguish the flames. That could save them from serious burns or even death.

Q: What do you do if there is a fire in your home or building?

A: If there is a safe way out:
  • Remember to GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL 9-1-1 or your local emergency phone number.
  • Yell “Fire!” several times and go outside right away. If you live in a building with elevators, use the stairs. Leave all your things where they are and save yourself.
  • If closed doors or handles are warm or smoke blocks your primary escape route, use your second way out. Never open doors that are warm to the touch.
  • If you must escape through smoke, get low and go under the smoke to your exit. Close doors behind you.
  • If Count the number of doors between your door and the nearest stairway or exit (if there is a fire, you may have to find the stairwell while crawling down the hall in the dark).
  • NEVER use an elevator in a fire (the elevator might lose power, or might unexpectedly open at the fire floor).
  • Once you are outside, go to your meeting place and then send one person to call the fire department. If you cannot get to your meeting place, follow your family emergency communication plan.
If there is no safe way out or you are unable to physically leave the building:
  • If smoke, heat or flames block your exit routes, stay in the room with doors closed. Place a wet towel under the door and call the fire department or 9-1-1. Open a window and wave a brightly colored cloth or flashlight to signal for help.
  • Put as many doors/rooms as you can between you and the fire. Seal all vents and cracks around doors with towels or clothing.
  • Open a window slightly for fresh air, but not a lot because that will only feed the flames.
  • Call the 9-1-1 dispatcher to explain exactly where you are.
  • Let firefighters know you’re trapped by waving a bright (white or yellow) cloth in the window or by using a flashlight at night.

General High-Rise Fire Safety Tips

Q: How do you grill safely?

Six Major Grilling Mistakes You Might Be Making

It happens every year. The weather gets warmer, more people use outdoor grills – and incidents of grill-related fires go up. With Memorial Day approaching and many families at home due to COVID-19, Fire Chief Goldstein is reminding residents to review these important safety tips before lighting up the grill this season.

Mistake #1: Not Keeping Your Grill Clean
If you haven’t used your grill in a while, give it a good cleaning. Did you know that grease is a major source of flare-ups? If you allow grease and fat to build upon your grill, they provide more fuel for a fire. Regularly remove grease and fat buildup from the grill grates and drip trays.

Mistake #2: Not Giving the Grill Enough Space
Keep your grill at least 10 feet away from your house. Farther away is even better. While you may want to stand in the shade while you’re grilling, having an awning, umbrella or tree branch too close to the grill can be dangerous and could easily spark a fire. Your grill—whether it’s charcoal or gas—should be at least 10 feet away from your home or garage, deck railings, and other structures.

Mistake #3: Leaving a Lit Grill Unattended
Never leave a lit grill unattended – not even for a minute. Fires double in size every minute. Plan ahead so that any food prep chores are done and you can focus on grilling. Never try to move a lit or hot grill and remember the grill will stay hot for at least an hour after use. Supervise kids and pets when a grill is in use and have a “10-foot” kid-free zone near the grill.

Mistake #4: Garages and Grills Don’t Mix
Charcoal and gas grills are designed for outdoor use only. It’s a common mistake to think it’s safe to use a grill, particularly a small one, in your house or garage. Never do this. In addition to being a major fire hazard, grills release carbon monoxide — a colorless, odorless gas — that can be deadly. Keep your charcoal and gas grills outside!

Mistake #5: Starting a Gas Grill with the Lid Closed
Lighting your grill with a closed lid can cause a dangerous buildup of gas, creating a fireball. Keep your gas grill lid open when lighting it. If the flame goes out, turn the grill and gas off, and wait at least five minutes before relighting. Charcoal grill owners: dousing lit coals with extra lighter fluid is another big mistake and doing so can easily cause a flare-up.

Mistake #6: Not Shutting Down the Grill
Don’t get distracted and forget to properly turn off your grill! As soon as you’re done cooking, turn off the burners and the fuel supply for gas grills. If you’re using charcoal, let the coals completely cool before safely disposing of in a metal container.

Be sure to:

Check for propane leaks on your gas grill
Before the season’s first barbecue, check the gas tank hose for leaks by applying a light soap and water solution to the hose and then turning on the gas. If there is a propane leak, the solution will bubble. Other signs of a propane leak include the smell of gas near the barbecue or a flame that won’t light. Consult your owner’s manual.

If the flame goes out, wait to re-light
If you are using a gas grill and the flame goes out, turn the grill and the gas off, then wait at least five minutes to re-light it.

Be careful with charcoal starter fluid
If you use a charcoal grill, only use charcoal starter fluid. If the fire starts to go out, don’t add any starter fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.

Make sure your grill is stable
Position your grill in a well-ventilated, flat, and level surface away from your house, overhangs, deck railings. Make sure the grill can’t be tipped over.

Wear the right clothing
Clothing can easily catch fire, so be sure your shirttails, sleeves, or apron strings don’t dangle over the grill.

Dispose of used briquettes properly
Allow burned briquettes at least 48 hours to cool before attempting to dispose of. If time is not available, pour water over the briquettes to ensure the briquettes have cooled completely. Gather all cooled ashes from the bottom of the grill using a small handheld shovel or small broom and dustpan. A dust mask may be necessary when dealing with a large number of ashes. Wrap the cooled ashes in aluminum foil or a non-combustible container. Dispose of cooled ashes in a container by placing it in a trash receptacle.

Grill like a pro

Health and Safety:

Q: What do you do if someone is choking?

A: Heimlich Maneuver for Adults and Children (1-8 Years of Age). When you choke, you can’t speak or breathe and you need help immediately.

Follow these steps to save yourself from choking:
  • Make a fist and place the thumb side of your fist against your upper abdomen, just above the navel and below the rib cage.
  • Grasp your fist with your other hand and press into your upper abdomen with a quick upward thrust.
  • Repeat until the object is expelled.

Alternatively, you can lean over a fixed horizontal object (table edge, chair, railing) and press your upper abdomen against the edge to produce a quick upward thrust. Repeat until the object is expelled.

Unconscious victim, or when a rescuer cannot reach around victim:
  • Place the victim on his/her back.
  • Perform CPR on the victim, checking the mouth each time you attempt to ventilate the victim to see if the object has been expelled.
  • If you see the object, remove it carefully.
  • Continue CPR until you observe a response from the victim or until help arrives. The victim should seek medical assistance immediately after rescue.
A choking victim can’t speak or breathe and needs your help immediately. Call 9-1-1 and follow these steps to help a conscious choking victim:
  • Determine if the person can speak or cough. If not, proceed to the next step.
  • Perform an abdominal thrust (Heimlich Maneuver) repeatedly until the object is expelled. From behind, wrap your arms around the victim’s waist.
  • Make a fist and place the thumb side of your fist against the victim’s upper abdomen, just above the navel and below the rib cage.
  • Grasp your fist with your other hand and press into their upper abdomen with a quick upward thrust. Do not squeeze the rib cage; confine the force of the thrust to your hands.
  • A chest thrust may be used for obese persons or in late stages of pregnancy.
  • If the adult or child becomes unresponsive, call 9-1-1, and perform CPR. Check for an object in the mouth or throat prior to giving mouth to mouth ventilations. If you see the object in the throat or mouth, remove it carefully.

Adult Choking

Q: What do you do in a medical emergency?

Hopefully, you will never need to call 911, but if you do, it should be comforting to know that the person you will be talking to is a trained professional who handles many different types of emergencies every day.

The person you will talk to at the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service Emergency Communications Center is a trained Public Safety Call Taker, and also a licensed Emergency Medical Dispatcher (EMD) who is uniquely trained to provide clinical expertise for pre-hospital emergencies. This person is considered the first “first responder” and will provide specific instructions on what to do for this emergency or how to care for the victim until firefighters and paramedics arrive. The Public Safety Call Taker will systematically guide you through the process with unique questions and directions based upon the specific nature of the emergency.

The first few questions the Public Safety Call Taker will ask include the address of the emergency, telephone number, the caller’s name, and type of emergency.

If it’s a fire-related call, the Public Safety Call Taker will ask where the fire is, the status of the occupants, and have them leave the structure.

If it’s an EMS call, the Public Safety Call Taker will ask the age, conscious, and breathing status of the victim. As soon as the Public Safety Call Taker receives these three pieces of pertinent information, emergency units will be simultaneously dispatched to the scene of the emergency while the Public Safety Call Taker remains on the telephone to obtain further information about the patient’s condition. Then, depending on the nature of the call, the Public Safety Call Taker will ask anywhere from 3-10 more questions relating specifically to the medical emergency they are having. The Public Safety Call Taker will also provide Pre-Arrival Instructions/Post Dispatch Instructions when appropriate.

The following is an excerpt of a typical 911 call for a choking victim:

  • “What is the address of the emergency?”
  • “What is the phone number you are calling from?”
  • “Okay, tell me exactly what happened.”
  • “How old is he?”
  • “Is he awake?”
  • “Is he completely alert?”
  • “Is he breathing normally?”
  • “Is he able to talk?”
  • “What did he choke on?”
  • “Stay on the line and I will tell you what to do next…”

Based on the answers received, the Public Safety Call Taker will provide specific, step-by-step, potentially life-saving instructions. Remember, the paramedics are not being delayed during these additional questions and instructions.

Understanding the 911 process and being prepared will help Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service provide you with the most effective and timely assistance during an emergency.

Any old, decommissioned cell phone can be used to make 911 calls, as long as the battery is good. New triangulation technology may soon allow wireless service providers to locate the source of any call. In general, all wireless phones have some weaknesses as emergency devices. If you’re disconnected from 911 using a decommissioned cell phone, the dispatcher will not have a way to call you back. A child need only push the ‘9’ and a call could be placed to 911. With an open line, the call taker must send someone to investigate and make sure that an emergency does not exist. This needlessly takes resources away from genuine emergencies. If you dialed 911 in error, do not hang up the telephone. Discuss ways in your household that a child could call 911 from a home phone, cell phone, computer, home security keypad, iPad or device such as Alexa.

Q: What do you do if someone is bleeding?

A: For severe bleeding, take these first-aid steps and reassure the injured person. Ensure your own safety too.

The ABCs of Bleeding:

  • A – Alert – call 911
  • B – Bleeding – find the bleeding injury
  • C – Compress – apply pressure to stop the bleeding by:
    • Covering the wound with a clean cloth and applying pressure by pushing directly on it with both hands, OR
    • Using a tourniquet, OR
    • Packing (stuffing) the wound with gauze or a clean cloth and then applying pressure with both hands.

Sign up for a Stop the Bleed Class!

Q: How do we keep safe in and around the water?

A: Five words that save lives — All Eyes On The Pool! It’s easy to get distracted when you are balancing everything from work and careers, to school and daycare all from home due to COVID-19. MCFRS officials are urging residents to diligently supervise children when they are around any water sources. Whether you’re a seasoned swimmer or just learning how to swim, many water-related injuries can be avoided by constant supervision and knowing what to do and how to stay safe. Did you know that drowning is the leading killer of children between the ages of 1 – 4 years? The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service kicks off the 2020 Summer of Safety Campaign with the most important topic: Water Safety.

Be attentive. Research from the National Safe Kid Campaign shows that nearly 9 out of 10 children between the ages of 1 and 14 who drowned were under supervision when they died. How is this possible? Distractions – cell phones, ipads, reading materials, chores, and socializing needs to be resisted when YOU are on “lifeguard duty” watching your child. Be engaged and committed to watching them constantly. The study defined supervision as being in someone’s care, not necessarily in direct line of sight.

Learn to swim and never swim alone. One of the best things you can do to stay safe around the water is to learn to swim and to always swim with a buddy. Make sure they know how to tread water, float on their backs, and get to the edge of the pool and hang on. Even the most experienced swimmers can become tired or get muscle cramps which might make it difficult to get out of the water safely.

Teaching your child how to swim does not mean that your child is “drown-proof.” If you have a pool or are visiting a pool, protect your children by supervising them at all times and being prepared in case of an emergency. Consider designating an adult “water watcher” when children are participating in water activities.

Seconds count when it comes to water emergencies. Keep a phone (cell or cordless) by the pool or nearby when engaged in recreational water activities so that you can call 9-1-1 in an emergency.

Learn life-saving skills. Know how to prevent, recognize, and respond to emergencies. In the time it might take paramedics to arrive, your CPR skills could make a difference in saving someone’s life.

Avoid relying on inflatable swimming aids such as “floaties” and “noodles” to keep your child safe. These toys are not designed to keep your child safe, can deflate or shift quickly and should never be used as a substitute for supervision. Use only Coast Guard approved flotation devices that fit your swimmer properly.

Lifeguards are an important safety feature but are NOT intended to replace the close supervision of parents or caregivers. Remember, lifeguards are not babysitters.

Maintain constant supervision of children around water (bathtubs, pools, ornamental backyard ponds, etc.). Never leave a child unattended in the water or pool area. Don’t be distracted by phone calls, chores, or conversations. If you leave the pool area, take the child with you. Remember: swim lessons are no substitute for the supervision of children. Formal swimming lessons can help protect young swimmers around the water however constant adult supervision is critical.

Diving dangers. Diving injuries can cause permanent spinal damage, injuries, and even death. Protect yourself by diving only in designated areas that are known to be safe, such as the deep end, of a supervised pool.

Pay attention to local weather conditions and forecasts. Stop swimming at the first indication of bad weather.

Know Your Limits. Watch for the “dangerous too’s” . . . too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun, too much strenuous activity.

Water and alcohol don’t mix. Each year, up to half of all adult drownings are linked to alcohol use. Never swim impaired.

Summer is here

Q: What do we do if someone is drowning?

A:If you suspect someone is drowning, follow these USSSA guidelines:

  • “Throw, Don’t Go”— Never just jump in because a drowning person can accidentally pull their rescuers under with them. Tossing a lifesaving device, rope, towel, or even pool noodle helps the drowning person without increasing risk to others.
  • Get backup — Call 911 or inform others that someone is drowning, so they can call 911, and let them know you’re helping. Alert lifeguards; they’re trained to assist.>/li>
  • Help from behind — When drowning people see a rescuer coming toward them, they clutch and pull them under the water. Approaching them from behind is safer for both the rescuer and the victim.
  • Use a life jacket — Wearing a Coast Guard-approved life jacket prevents a rescuer from being pulled under by a drowning person or an undercurrent. Life jackets are essential for rescues in water with currents, such as lakes, rivers, and oceans.
  • Look for signs of secondary drowning — If drowning is prevented, the victim might still have water in his lungs and can suffocate hours later. Look for labored breathing, lethargy, and coughing hours afterward, which can indicate secondary drowning.

And, agree to take a 1st aide and/or CPR class when you can.