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Firefighter/EMT Union Donates Smoke Alarms to County

Residents who can't afford the new 10-year smoke alarms can contact the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department to have a free alarm installed.

IAFF Local 1619 Treasurer John Wiseman and President Andrew Pantelis present their donation of 150 10-year smoke alarms to Assistant Fire Chief Paul Gomez. Credit: Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department
IAFF Local 1619 Treasurer John Wiseman and President Andrew Pantelis present their donation of 150 10-year smoke alarms to Assistant Fire Chief Paul Gomez. Credit: Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department

The county's Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department now has 150 additional smoke alarms to distribute to residents of Prince George’s County thanks to a donation from the International Association of Firefighters and Paramedics Association, IAFF Local 1619. 

IAFF Local 1619 President Andrew Pantelis and Treasurer John Wiseman presented the alarms to Assistant Fire Chief Paul Gomez at the Union offices in Bowie on Feb. 21.

Firefighters know better than anyone else that smoke alarms save lives and help to reduce property loss by early notification to home occupants.

“Early awareness by a working smoke alarm allows occupants an opportunity to escape and provides firefighters to respond sooner resulting in reducing the risk of injury or death to our personnel,” said IAFF Local 1619 President Andrew Pantelis in a news release.

Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor is a strong advocate for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in homes.

“Working smoke alarms increases chances of survival by about 50 percent. The addition of 150 10-year smoke alarms will save lives and reduce the number of homes with non-working smoke alarms,” said Chief Bashoor in a news release. "I want to thank President Pantelis and the membership of Local 1619 for this generous donation of smoke alarms that will make the difference in protecting lives and property."

The National Fire Protection Association reports about 3,000 people die in home fires in the U.S. every year, with most fires happening during the winter. Two-thirds of residential fire deaths occur in homes with either no smoke alarm or no working alarm. Most smoke alarms are found to be non-working due to a lack of batteries or no battery at all. The newer 10-year, tamper-proof, with hush feature smoke alarms will reduce the number of preventable fire fatalities occurring every year.

A law requiring 10-year smoke alarms on every level of your home will go into effect at the end of this year. This law applies to any home currently protected by smoke alarms that are battery operated.

If you cannot afford to purchase a smoke alarm, contact the Fire/EMS Department's Safety First Smoke Alarm program at 301-864-SAFE (7233) or click here to make an on-line request. A firefighter will make arrangements to visit your home and install an alarm, free of charge.

The Fire/EMS Department is still in need of additional 10-year smoke alarms. This donation of 150 alarms will help to relieve a backlog of residents awaiting alarms in their homes with a few remaining alarms left available to distribute.

Anyone who would like to donate alarms is encouraged to contact the Public Information Office at 301-883-5222.

Scott Wilson February 26, 2014 at 06:26 PM
THIS NEEDS TO BE NATION WIDE TO ALL WHO CLAIM THEY CAN`T AFFORD....ONE OF MINE IS THE TEN YEAR TAMPER PROOF WHICH IS BEST OVER ALL.....I DO MAINT.WORK IN A MOBILE HOME PARK AND I FIND MANY HOMES WITHOUT OR BATTERY GONE OR JUST PLAIN WORE OUT AFTER THE LIFE SPAN OF ABOUT 5 YEARS......MOST HAVE A DATE ON THE BACK TO SHOW WHEN MADE------------TEST TOO OFTEN PLEASE-----------

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