October 5, 2022

Everyone Urged to Raise Awareness of Potential Fire Hazards During 100th Anniversary of Fire Prevention Week Oct. 9-15

Montgomery County is urging residents and businesses to raise their awareness of potential fire hazards as the County joins in recognition of the 100th anniversary of National Fire Prevention Week from Oct. 9-15. The annual campaign reminds residents that education and planning are two important actions to keep safe from fire.

This year’s campaign theme of the National Fire Protection Association is “Fire won’t wait. Plan your escape.” The association website states: “Today’s homes burn faster than ever. You may have as little as two minutes (or even less time) to safely escape a home fire from the time the smoke alarm sounds.”

The Fire Prevention and Code Compliance division of the County’s Department of Permitting Services (DPS) is a team of inspectors, engineers, program managers and administrative support staff who are responsible for performing periodic inspections of establishments after the permitting process is complete.

According to Fire Code Compliance Manager Patsy Warnick, the team represents the fire department on all technical matters outside of emergency operations.

“We assist businesses with maintaining their fire systems and life safety features to ensure their businesses are safe for all County residents and visitors,” said Manager Warnick. “We provide nonemergency support for the fire department so first responders can promptly return to service following an incident.”

Staff performs inspections, follows up on complaints of hazardous conditions and guides business owners toward compliance with the Fire Code.

Manager Warnick said it is important to ensure egress paths are clear and unobstructed so occupants can evacuate in the event of an emergency. Egress paths include doors, corridors and stairways. All doors in the path of egress should open and close freely, she said.

In addition, exit signs should be visible and emergency lighting should be provided. It also is important to have fire protection systems, such as fire alarms and sprinkler systems, inspected, tested and maintained by a licensed contractor to make sure they are functioning when needed.

“Everyone has a role in fire prevention,” Manager Warnick said. “Please be sure to apply for a permit through DPS anytime there is construction, a hazard or a major process change in the establishment.”

Visit the DPS website for more information about fire code compliance. More information also is available by calling MC 311 or 240-777-0311.