Category Archives: Ocean City Fire Department

Keep Your Holidays from Going Up in Flames

Ocean City Fire Department Offers Fire Prevention Tips for a Safe and Festive Holiday Season

(December 8, 2014) – For most of us, the holiday season represents a time for family festivities and good cheer. What few of us consider is that the holiday season is a time when there is an increased risk of home fires. According to the Ocean City Fire Department, many households engage in holiday activities that serve as some of the leading causes of U.S. home fires, including cooking. Christmas trees, candle usage and holiday decorations also significantly contribute to the seasonal causes of home fires. Add to that the hectic nature of the holidays, when people are trying to accomplish multiple tasks at one time, and the chance for home fires grows even more.

“As everyone gets busier during the holidays, we often become rushed, distracted or tired,” says Ocean City Fire Marshal David Hartley. “That’s when home fires are more likely to occur.”

Fortunately, with a little added awareness and some minor adjustments to holiday cooking and decorating, the season can remain festive and safe for everybody. “By taking some preventive steps and following simple rules of thumb, most home fires can be prevented,” Hartley continued.

With unattended cooking as the leading cause of U.S. home fires and home fire injuries, Hartley says to stay in the kitchen while you’re frying, grilling or broiling food. Most cooking fires involve the stovetop, so keep anything that can catch fire away from it, and turn off the stove when you leave the kitchen, even if it’s for a short period of time. If you’re simmering, boiling, baking or roasting food, check it regularly and use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking. The Ocean City Fire Department also suggests creating a “kid-free zone” of at least three feet around the stove and areas where hot food and drinks are prepared or carried.

Candles are widely used in homes throughout the holidays, and December is the peak month for home candle fires. The nonprofit National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) statistics show that two of every five home decoration fires are started by candlesThe Ocean City Fire Department encourages residents to consider using flameless candles, which look and smell like real candles.

However, if you do use traditional candles, keep them at least 12” away from anything that can burn, and remember to blow them out when you leave the room or go to bed. Use candle holders that are sturdy, won’t tip over and are placed on uncluttered surfaces. Avoid using candles in the bedroom where one-third of U.S. candle fires begin or other areas where people may fall asleep. Lastly, never leave a child or pet alone in a room with a burning candle.

According to NFPA, U.S. fire departments respond to an average of 230 home structure fires caused by Christmas trees per year. One of every three of them is caused by electrical problems, and one in six result from a heat source that’s too close to the tree. The Ocean City Fire Department offers the following advice for picking, placing and lighting the tree:

  • If you have an artificial tree, be sure it’s labeled, certified or identified by the manufacturer as fire-retardant.
  • If you choose a fresh tree, make sure the green needles don’t fall off when touched; before placing it in the stand, cut 2” from the base of the trunk. Add water to the tree stand, and be sure to water it daily.
  • Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit, and is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, space heaters, radiators, candles and heat vents or lights.
  • Use lights that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory, and make sure you know whether they are designed for indoor or outdoor use.
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords, or loose bulb connections. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of light strands to connect.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving the home or going to bed.
  • After Christmas, get rid of the tree. Dried-out trees are a fire hazard and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside the home.
  • Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.
  • Please Note: Live trees are not permitted within hotels or assembly occupancies (bars/restaurants/nightclubs).

Although good maintenance of holiday equipment can help lessen the risk of a home fire, it cannot entirely prevent it.  Working smoke alarms are vital in notification of a fire, allowing you and your family adequate time to escape.  Install at least one smoke alarm on every floor of your home (including the basement) and outside each sleeping area.  It’s a good idea, especially if you sleep with your doors closed, that a smoke alarm is also installed inside your bedroom.  Alarms mounted on the wall should be positioned 4-12 inches from the ceiling, while ceiling-mounted alarms should be positioned 4 inches or more away from the nearest wall.  Alarms must be tested every month, and have their batteries replaced twice a year.

By following these fire prevention tips and measures, the Ocean City Fire Department says you can greatly reduce the risk of fire in your home, and enjoy a safe holiday season. “The holidays can quickly turn from joyful to tragic when a fire occurs,” Hartley finished. “By taking simple precautions, people can avoid potential fire hazards, and make this time of year a healthy and happy one.”

For more tips on how to make this holiday season a safe one for you and your family, or to inquire what decorations are permitted in your business, visit www.nfpa.org or contact the Ocean City Fire Department, Office of the Fire Marshal.

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Ocean City Fire Department Reminds Citizens to Take Precautions to Avoid Frozen Pipes

FrozenPipe1As temperatures begin to drop, the Ocean City Fire Department is hoping that calls for frozen pipes in residential and commercial properties throughout the resort town will also decrease. This year, the Ocean City Fire Department is reminding citizens and property owners to follow simple maintenance tips to ensure that fire sprinklers and domestic pipes do not freeze and break due to recent dip in temperatures. 

“Frozen pipes can cause thousands of dollars in water damage as well as rendering fire sprinkler systems inoperable,” said Ocean City Fire Marshal David Hartley.  “Maintaining wet pipes above freezing are a key concern. Domestic water pipes can be insulated or wrapped with an approved UL listed heat tape.  In the event that a unit is unoccupied for the winter season, domestic water pipes can also be drained.” 

Wet sprinkler systems, however, usually cannot be wrapped with a heat tape.  All sprinklered areas of a building should be checked to make sure they are above freezing.  Setting a unit thermostat to keep pipes around 40 degrees Fahrenheit will help prevent these pipes from freezing.  With regard to dry sprinkler systems, auxiliary condensate drains should be drained by a licensed sprinkler company or person knowledgeable about sprinkler systems. 

Finally, emergency contact numbers should be posted on the outside of the building, which can help the fire department contact responsible parties in the event of a pipe break.  Also, key lock boxes, which can be purchased from the fire department headquarters at 15th Street, can allow access into a building in the event of an emergency to allow firefighters to turn off water mains and minimize damage within units.   

For more information on precautionary measures to take to prevent pipe breaks, contact the Ocean City Fire Department, Office of the Fire Marshal at 410-289-8780.

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Think Fire Safety During Winter Heating Months

winterheating(November 3, 2014) – As temperatures begin to cool, it’s time to start trading in an ocean view for a cozy space near the fireplace.  Before firing up the woodstove, the Ocean City Fire Department would like to remind citizens and visitors to consider fire safety as they begin to utilize various heating sources in their homes.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fire deaths.  Usually, fires caused by heating appliances occur because the devices weren’t cleaned regularly, were placed or installed too close to combustible materials, had design or operational flaws, or were fueled improperly.

Here are a few tips from the OCFD to help prevent a heating-related fire in your home:

  1. Keep anything that can burn at least three feet from all heating devices.
  2. Have heating equipment, including chimneys and flues, cleaned and inspected at least annually by a professional.
  3. Always use the right kind of fuel for your heating equipment, as specified by the manufacturer.
  4. Fireplaces should always be screened during use to keep embers and sparks from igniting floor coverings within your home.
  5. Do not use your oven or stovetop to heat your home.
  6. Inspect electric heaters for damage, like frayed or worn cords, every year.

“Although good maintenance of equipment and safe, diligent use of heating equipment can help lessen the risk of a home fire, it cannot entirely prevent it,” commented Ocean City Fire Marshal David Hartley.  “Working smoke alarms are vital in notification of a fire, allowing you and your family adequate time to escape.  Install at least one smoke alarm on every floor of your home (including the basement) and outside each sleeping area.  It’s a good idea, especially if you sleep with your doors closed, that a smoke alarm is also installed inside your bedroom.  Alarms must be tested every month, and have their batteries replaced twice a year.”   In addition, listed CO detectors should be installed in a central location outside of all sleeping areas if your home contains any fuel burning equipment.  Test CO alarms monthly and replace the batteries according to the manufacturers recommendations, which is typically twice a year.

For more winter safety tips, contact the Ocean City Fire Marshal’s Office at 410.289.8780 or visit: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/publications/fa-249f.pdf. ###

 

 

 

 

Ocean City Fire Department Reminding Citizens to be “Halloween Safe”

(October 20, 2014) – Halloween is a fun time of the year for kids and the Ocean City Fire Department is reminding citizens that taking a few simple fire safety precautions will keep the spooky holiday safe.  To make trick-or-treating safe for everyone, the Ocean City Fire Department is encouraging residents and visitors to plan ahead by following a few easy safety tips.

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  • Choose a safe costume:  When choosing a costume, stay away from billowing or long trailing fabric.  If your child is wearing a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough so they can see out.
  • Decorate safety:  Use Flashlights as alternatives to candles or torch lights when decorating walkways and yards.  It is safest to use a flashlight or battery-operated candle in a jack-lantern, however; if you use a real candle, be sure to use extreme caution. Decorations such as dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper are highly flammable so keep these decorations well away from open flames and heat sources. Also, remember to keep exits clear of decorations so nothing blocks escape routes.
  • Light up their costumes:  Provide children with flashlights to carry for lighting or glow sticks as part of their costume.
  • Party Safe:  If your children are going to Halloween parties at others’ homes, have them look for ways out of the home in case of an emergency.
  • Stay away from flames: Tell children to stay away from open flames and be sure they know how to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches fire.

“Decorations are the first thing to ignite fires in 1,000 reported home fires each year,” said Ocean City Fire Marshal David Hartley.  “By planning ahead and following a few simple precautions our residents and visitors are likely to have a fun and fire safe Halloween.”

It is important to note that the Ocean City Fire Marshal’s Office does not allow any hay decorations within any place of assembly. Anyone with questions pertaining to Halloween fire safety should contact the Ocean City Fire Department, Office of the Fire Marshal, or visit www.nfpa.org.

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Ocean City Fire Department Station 4 Dedication

Dear Ocean City Resident & Town of Ocean City Friend,

The Ocean City Fire Department would be honored to include the Ocean City community in a very special celebration and dedication of Fire Station 4, located at 12925 Coastal Highway.  Please share this invitation with your civic organization, neighbors, family and friends. 

All are welcome.

We hope to see you there.

You’re Invited

The Officers and Members of the Ocean City Fire Department cordially invite you to attend the dedication and open house for the new Fire Station 4.

station4

Date:  Saturday, October 25

Time: 10 a.m.

Location: Station 4 – 12925 Coastal Highway, Ocean City, Maryland 21843

Please join us as we celebrate the new Station with a formal Ribbon Cutting ceremony, Fire Station tours and a Flag Ceremony.  Light refreshments will be provided.  All are welcome, so please bring family, friends and neighbors to our community celebration.