Fire Safety Tips

If you wish to report a possible hazardous condition, please dial 911. If you have any fire safety questions or would like more information on any fire safety issue, please dial the Laurel Volunteer Fire Department Information Request Line at (301)776-3600.

The information contained on this page is not complete by any means. Please stop back by again to see what we've added. Thank you.

Firefighters and Mesothelioma

Firefighters have an increased risk of developing mesothelioma due to exposure to asbestos in older structures on fire as well as carrying asbestos on their clothes. Please review the Mesothelioma link for more information on this risk.

Burn Injury Risk Checker

Please use this risk checker tool help your family better understand the risk of burn in a typical house. Thanks to SafeKids.org for making it available.

General Fire Safety Tips

  • Keep a fire extinguisher in your home and car, and read the directions.
  • Dial 911 before attempting to attack the fire yourself, no matter how small the fire seems.
  • Remember that lives are much more valuable than property. If you're out of the building, STAY OUT!
  • Don't smoke in bed.
  • Don't leave your cigarettes or other lit smoking materials unattended.
  • Keep ashtrays away from curtains, upholstered furniture, and other combustibles.
  • Always look for the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) or Factory Mutual (FM) labels when purchasing appliances, storage containers or electrical accessories.
  • Remember that smoke, heat and toxic gases from fires can kill you long before flames get to your part of the structure.
  • KEEP LOW when evacuating.

Home Fire Safety Tips

  • Set up Evacuation Drills In The Home (EDITH) - practice evacuating your house, and meeting at the designated point OUTSIDE.
  • GET OUT of your house if you have a fire - call 911 from your neighbor's house.
  • Take a walk around your house, shed, garage and property. Repair or discard any unsafe items, and make sure you have any flammable materials stored safely.
  • Discard properly any soiled cleaning rags or towels. Soiled material can spontaneously combust under certain conditions.
  • Clean your clothes dryer's filter between each load.
  • Pull your dryer out from the wall, and ensure that there isn't a dangerous buildup of lint behind the dryer or in the exhaust hose.
  • Make sure that everything you put in the dishwasher is safe for dishwasher use - plastic can burn from contacting the heating element.

Fire Safety Tips for Travelers

  • Take a smoke detector with you, in case your hotel/motel room doesn't have one installed.
  • Take a moment to note the evacuation route(s) and instructions before you settle in for the night.

Fire Safety Tips Regarding Children

  • Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children.
  • Teach your children never to play with matches, lighters, or fireworks.
  • Teach your children how to call 911, as well as their address and telephone number.
  • Teach your children the "Stop, Drop, and Roll" method to extinguish flames on themselves.

Cooking

  • Never "Barbecue" or grill indoors on a smoker or barbecue grill. These devices are intended for outdoor use only.
  • Keep your grill at least 30 feet from any structures - for residents of apartments, condominiums and townhouses, it's the law. For the rest of us, it's just an excellent idea.
  • Don't leave food unattended on the stove.
  • Keep dangling clothing away from burners.
  • Turn handles on pots and pans so that they can't be knocked off the stove accidently.
  • Keep appliances clean and free of grease and crumbs.
  • Make sure your stove is turned off and small appliances unplugged before leaving the house or going to bed.

Storage Areas

  • Make sure that storage areas are free from excess clutter. It adds to the fire load, and can impede your evacuation as well as our attack in case of an emergency incident.
  • Make sure that flammable materials are stored in proper containers, well away from sources of heat or ignition.
  • Don't store gasoline in your house.

Vehicles

  • Don't fill your portable gasoline cans in your vehicle - remove the can from the vehicle.
  • When transporting portable gasoline cans, ensure that the container:
    • is not left in the vehicle for longer than absolutely necessary, especially on a warm or sunny day.
    • is approved for gasoline storage.
    • is sealed tightly.
  • If you smell gasoline or suspect a gasoline leak, don't operate the car until the leak is repaired.
  • If you smell smoke or see flames, pull over well off the traveled roadway as soon as safely possible to do so. Don't attempt to drive any further.

Electrical

  • Replace frayed or cracked electrical wiring.
  • Don't run electric power cords under rugs.
  • Plug electric space heaters directly into the wall socket, not into extension cords.
  • Place heaters where they will not be knocked over easily.
  • Unplug heaters when they are not being used.
  • Do not use heaters to dry clothing or other items.

Alternative Heating

  • Make sure your fireplace or woodburning stove is clean and in good repair before using it.
  • Keep all combustible materials well away from the heat.
  • Make sure you use the proper fuel for your heating device.
  • DON'T use gasoline in a kerosene heater.
  • DON'T burn coal in a device meant to burn wood.
  • Portable kerosene heaters are illegal in residences in PG county, and are generally not recommended anywhere.

Smoke Detectors

  • Consider installing both a photo-electric and ionization smoke detector in your house. While photo-electric detectors may react quicker than ionization detectors, the photo-electric detectors may not detect the black smoke generated by synthetic materials as quickly as the white smoke generated by natural materials.
  • Check your smoke detectors monthly, and replace the batteries in them in the spring and fall when you adjust your clocks.
  • Install at least one smoke detector on each floor of your house, away from air vents, and at least six inches away from walls and corners.
  • Install smoke detectors near bedrooms.
  • If there are any smokers in the house, install a smoke detector in their bedroom.
  • If your smoke detector sounds while you are in bed, DON'T SIT UP! Roll out of bed, and stay low to the floor - remember that the heat and toxic gases are up higher.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detectors

  • If you burn anything in your house, such as wood, natural gas, propane, kerosene, or coal, install a Carbon Monoxide (CO) detector. This device can warn you of potentially deadly CO gas before the concentration reaches the harmful level.
  • Learn the warning signs of CO poisoning: redness of the skin, headaches, dizziness, nausea, weakness, loss of muscle control, chest tightness, heart fluttering, sleepiness, confusion, vomiting or diarrhea. If more than one person in the household is sick, and they feel better after being away from the house for a while, CO poisoning should be suspected. If you suspect CO poisoning, get out of the house and call the fire department.