Annual River Watershed Cleanups set for April dates
Two Patuxent River Watershed Cleanups will take place Saturday, April 1, and Saturday, April 8. Volunteer opportunities range from collecting litter to leading and organizing a cleanup site. Charles County has nearly two dozen established sites and is always interested in welcoming new sites to this program. This is an opportunity for students and scouts to earn community service hours. The events will be held rain or shine. For details, call the Charles County Department of Public Works, Environmental Resources Division, at 301-932-3599 or go to www.charlescountymd.gov/pw/litter/ watershed-cleanups and click on find an event. Potomac River Watershed Cleanup is made possible with the support of the Charles County Board of Commissioners.
Fire marshal reminds Marylanders to change smoke alarm batteries
In anticipation of daylight saving time begin- ning in the early morning hours of March 12, the Maryland State Fire Marshal is urging Marylanders to “Change Your Clock – Change Your Batter y” in both smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors in their homes. Recogniz- ing that working smoke alarms and CO detectors double a family’s chance of surviving a home fire and/or unsafe carbon monoxide levels, the State Fire Marshal says Daylight Savings Time is a great opportunity for families to change the batteries.
A Maryland law became effective on July 1, 2013, involving “battery only” smoke alarms used in residential properties. When these “batter y only” smoke alarms have reached their 10-year life span, they need to be replaced with new long-life sealed lithium battery smoke alarms with silence/hush button features. The silence/ hush button feature temporarily disables the alarm so the occupant can ventilate the space from mild smoke conditions typically created during some cooking operations. The use of these alarms eliminates the need to replace the batteries during the 10 year life of the alarm.
The new law also requires homeowners to ensure they have a smoke alarm installed on each floor and outside sleeping areas, per National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommendations. It is recommended to place them in each bedroom as well.
If the property is protect- ed with 120 volt electric smoke alarms, they also should be replaced every 10 years with new 120 volt smoke alarms w/ battery back-up to ensure proper and timely operation in the event of a fire.
Along with working smoke alarms and CO detectors, home escape plans are another way Marylanders can avoid injury or death in their homes. By identifying at least two different escape routes, families can practice the plan together – before an emergency strikes. Practicing the plan helps educate younger children to the danger of hazardous situations and the importance of recognizing that the sound of a smoke alarm or CO detector signals a potential hazard in the home.
Also please remember to keep doors closed while sleeping in case a fire occurs inside your home. A closed door will afford more time to escape and/or be rescued by: blocking smoke, toxic gases, heat and flames from entering your room. If making an escape from a burning building, close doors as you leave, in order to stop additional oxygen from entering and enhancing the growth of the fire.
Household hazardous waste collection resumes April 1
The Charles County Department of Public Works would like to remind citizens that the first household hazardous waste collection for this year will be held on Saturday, April 1. The household hazardous waste collection site is located in the parking lot of the Department of Public Works building, located at 10430 Audie Lane, off of Radio Station Road in La Plata. Collection hours are 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Items accepted free of charge include: pesticides, herbicides, fertilizer, gasoline, oil-based paint, cleaning supplies, pool chemicals, fluorescent lights, mercury thermometers, and other poisons found in the home. Please remember to mark any container that does not have a readable, original label.
Unacceptable materials include bio-medical waste (sharps, needles, anything with bodily fluids), latex paint, prescription drugs, and ammunition. Used motor oil, anti-freeze, propane tanks, and batteries are accepted on a regular basis at various collection sites. Go to www.charlescountymd.gov/HHW for a list of prescription and non-prescription medication dropped off locations.
Household hazardous waste collection will occur on the first Saturday of each month through December. Upcoming 2017 collection dates are: April 1, May 6, June 3, July 1, Aug. 5, Sept. 2, Oct. 7, Nov. 4, and Dec. 2.
For more information, call the Charles County Department of Public Works, Environmental Resources Division at 301-932-3599 or 301-8702778, or the landfill and recycling information line at 301-932-5656. Citizens with special needs may contact the Maryland Relay Service at 711, or Relay Service TDD: 800735-2258.
Alternate 911 phone number for AT&T cellular users
AT&T is experiencing a widespread problem that is impacting its service. The Charles County 911 Center tested a cell phone on the AT&T network. It could not complete a call to 911 but could complete a call to a 10-digit number. Residents that use AT&T as their cellular service provider should call 301-609-3499 if they have trouble reaching 911.