How to protect your home from a deadly fire

WASHINGTON — Following another deadly fire, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue is reminding residents what they need to do to stay safe.

Assistant Fire Chief Scott Graham says to always call 911 right away, and to have a working smoke alarm.

Graham says they found several non-working smoke alarms in apartments adjacent to the scene of Thursday’s deadly fire in Rockville.

He says this was also the case in Montgomery Village, which was the site of a blaze that killed a 4-year-old child.

Firefighters will be in the Rockville neighborhood where the most recent fire occurred, testing smoke alarms and replacing them if necessary.

“If anyone has any doubt about their smoke alarm they can call 311, and someone from fire and rescue will come out and check on the smoke alarm,” he says.

Other tips include not leaving things unattended.

“If it’s a toaster, if its food on the stove, anything that’s heated or coming up to a certain temperature,” should be monitored, Graham says.

Homeowners associations and community groups should review their rules concerning smoking on balconies and the disposal of cigarette butts. And fireplace ashes should be disposed of properly.

“No matter how long it’s been since you’ve burned your fireplace, all ashes must go in a metal container a safe distance away from the home,” Graham says.

Since the recent fires happened in apartment complexes, dozens of residents have been forced from their homes because of fire and water damage, or the need for utilities to be restored.

But Graham says residents need to be mindful of the fact that a fire won’t always start in their own homes.

“Having a plan of your own and being able to get out safety. Having the devices that will alert you in the case of a fire” are key, he says.

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