Senior Citizen Fire Safety Task Force

Creating a Culture of Fire Safety

County Executive Isiah Leggett:

On behalf of the Senior Citizen Fire Safety Task Force I am pleased to transmit this unanimously approved final report titled "Seniors at Risk: Creating a Culture of Fire Safety," which describes the activities of the Task Force from June 1, 2006 through May 31, 2008. The Task Force members, along with the outstanding Montgomery County Fire and Rescue liaison and support staff, have worked diligently throughout the Task Force term to establish sound, "state of the science" recommendations as foundation for an effective strategy to improve senior citizen fire safety in Montgomery County.

Recent tragic fire incidents involving senior citizens demanded urgent action. Accordingly, the Task Force adopted a rapid response schedule to reproduce a purposeful yet realistic fire safety plan. The Task Force provided advice on implementation of high priority recommendation during the second year's operation, refined those recommended actions and added new ones during further study. The final report is being submitted at the close of the second year as mandated by the executive order.

I bring to your attention the 37 recommendations developed by the Task Force. The five core recommendations focus on changing culture as the report title implies. The technical recommendations are organized by the Task Force mission in the following topic areas: (1) building technology and standards; (2) community characteristics and demography; (3) public and service provider education; and (4) advocacy and legislation. Most of these recommendations are offered with unanimous consensus of the Task Force, while several of the more controversial recommendations reflect strong majority opinion. All recommendations have been assigned a priority ranking for guidance in their implementation.

Your fine staffs of the Office of County Executive and Fire Chief have provided outstanding administrative and technical support in guiding the deliberations and activities of the Task Force. It is a privilege to serve your esteemed offices and the fine citizens of Montgomery County in improving fire safety standards, prevention programs, and advocacy efforts. We trust this report and technical recommendations contained therein will meet with your approval for timely implementation.