WASHINGTON, March 15, 2015 — On Thursday March, 12 members of the Capitol Heights Volunteer Fire Department, along with the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS career personnel assigned to the fire station, received a unit citation for the successful completion of their smoke alarm project. The project, which was largely funded by a FEMA grant, was aimed at installing working smoke alarms in all of the homes located in the town of Capitol Heights.
The positive effect of the project was quickly made apparent when the newly installed smoke alarms helped a family escape a house fire on Xenia Avenue in Capitol Heights last November. While everyone made it out of the house without injury, things may have ended differently had firefighters not installed smoke alarms within the residence.
Unfortunately another family was not as fortunate when a fatal house fire broke out a month later in the 900 block of Booker Drive in the near by Cedar Heights section of Capitol Heights. The home did not have any working smoke alarms. While this residence was not located within the town of Capitol Heights, Prince Georges County Fire Chief March Bashoor announced that there would be a major effort to install smoke detectors through the entire county. In a statement Chief Bashoor said
“As fire chief, I take each and every one of these fatalities personally — frankly I approach them partially as a failure of our fire prevention and fire safety public education efforts, not that we did anything wrong, but we obviously need to do more, we should be at zero.”
Having working smoke alarms within a residence is often taken for granted, however when a fire breaks out and seconds count having working smoke alarms can mean the difference between life or death. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 37% of all deaths that occurred during a home fire occurred in homes that did not have smoke alarms installed. Another 23% of these deaths occurred in homes where the smoke alarms failed to operate.
Watch how quickly a fire can grown and spread:
Chief Bashoor presented the award to both the career and volunteer firefighters during Thursday’s ceremony
— Marc Bashoor (@PGFD_Chief) March 12, 2015
Overall the smoke alarm project in Capitol Heights was a great success, and should serve as reminder to all of us that working smoke alarms are a necessity. When a fire breaks out and only seconds count a working smoke alarm could mean the difference between life or death.
For more information please check out the CHVFD’s website