Officials with the Prince George’s County Fire / EMS Department recently responded to four dwelling fires on Saturday, one dwelling fire on Sunday and one dwelling fire today where working smoke alarms alerted occupants of a hazardous situation inside their homes and the occupants quickly escaped the effects of fire without smoke inhalation or burn injuries.

In each incident, occupants were alerted of the potentially dangerous situations when their smoke alarms activated and afforded them the time needed to escape deadly smoke and toxic gases created by uncontrolled fire inside their homes. 

“These incidents are extremely important to share with our fellow citizens throughout the State of Maryland,” stated State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci.  “Fire can occur at any time, and the importance and value of having working smoke alarms located on every floor, outside each sleeping area and inside each bedroom cannot be stressed enough.”

Please follow these important guidelines to safety:

Smoke alarms

Test Your Alarm for Life!
Your smoke alarm has the power to save your life.  Or does it?  If you haven’t tested your smoke alarm lately, it may not be working.  And that’s a risk you can’t afford to take.  Working smoke alarms give us early warning of a fire, providing extra time to escape safely.  But they can’t do their job if we haven’t done ours – monthly testing to make sure they’re working is of utmost importance. Test all the smoke alarms in your home, for the life of the alarm and for the lives of your loved ones.  Smoke alarms 10 years old and older should be replaced to help ensure early notification during a fire emergency.

Escape planning
How much time do you have to get out of a fire?
Not as much as you think.  Real fires are hot, smoky and dark.  You may have only a very few minutes to safely escape from fire.  If you’re ever in a fire, don’t spend time getting dressed or trying to gather valuables.  Just get out and stay out.  Then call the fire department from your cell phone or a neighbor’s telephone.

“Get Out, Stay Out” – Your fire safe response!
What would you do if your home caught on fire?  Would you know where to go if smoke or flames blocked your escape? There is no time to think about these questions in a real fire.  It’s hot, smoky, and so dark you may not be able to see your own hands.  Know ahead of time what to do if there’s a fire.  Develop an escape plan with two ways out of every room. You’ll need a second way in case your primary exit is blocked by smoke or flames.  And make sure every exit is accessible, including windows.  Getting out is your first priority in a fire.  And once out, stay out!