Prince George's County Fire officials are stepping up efforts to make sure residents are prepared after a spate of deadly fires to start 2013.
In addition to expanding existing fire prevention programs countywide and in schools, the department is designating more time for firefighters going door-to-door to spread awareness and preparedness information. They're also spearheading a new "Neighbors Helping Neighbors" campaign to make sure that everyone in the county has a working smoke alarm.
The renewed effort comes in response to the nine people who have been killed in fires across Prince George's County this year. In 2012, 10 people were killed in fires over the course of the entire year.
"We can't do it by ourselves," Prince George's County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor said. "We need the community involved and to get out there and check on their neighbor's smoke alarms."
Most recently, three children and their father were killed Feb. 21 after their home caught fire. Only a mother and one young girl survived.
One of the responding firefighters, Shaw Croissette, says he was inspired when he asked the girl how she managed to get out alive.
"She was able to tell us that she made it out due to what she learned from firefighters and teachers about fire evacuation plans and safety," Croissette said.