|An Open Letter to All Marylanders From State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci|
|By Secretary Erin Ward|
|March 31, 2023|
March 30, 2023
To: All Marylanders
I am here to inform you that the State of Maryland has seen the worst increase in fire deaths in the first three months of 2023 than in any other time in recent decades.
Close to 40 Marylanders have lost their lives to fire from the eastern shore to the mountains of western Maryland. This deeply saddens and concerns me to my core. We need to slow this trend down immediately.
I will tell you that fires these days’ burn faster and hotter and produce toxic smoke that can kill you quickly. Fire does not discriminate; it can be present in your home on any given day or night when we see these fires the most. You have the least amount of time to escape a fire in your home than at any other time in history.
What can you do to reduce your risk from fires? First, know that the leading cause of fires here in Maryland are cooking, electrical, smoking materials, and heating appliances. What are the leading circumstances of Marylanders dying in fires? Failure to recognize the causes of fires and taking those steps to prevent them from happening.
Fire can and will strike your family at any given moment. You need to be prepared!
Have working smoke alarms on every level of your home, outside each sleeping area and inside each bedroom. Battery-only alarms must be a ten-year sealed battery alarm. Call the local fire department or the State Fire Marshal’s Office if you need smoke alarms. They are free, and we will even install them for you.
Brian S. Geraci,
Maryland State Fire Marshal