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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Fire Chief Challenges PGFD Personnel for "Toys for Tots"

The Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department has once again served with other Prince George-s County Public Safety agencies and the United States Marine Corps Reserve for the 2017 "'l'oys for Tots" program. This program collects thousands of toys across our County and distributes them to children who otherwise may not receive them during this holiday season.

During the past month, all of our Fire/EMS stations and worksites across the County have hosted collection boxes and designated as collection points for the Public Safety "Toys for Tots" campaign. New, unwrapped toys for children of all ages have been dropped off at our collection sites. While a great many toys have been donated there is still work to be done to meet and exceed our goal for toy distribution.  There is still time, Saturday, December 16th, is distribution day and additional toys for all ages are needed.  Monetary donations to Toys for Tots can also be made.  To make a monetary donation go to: https://edgewater-md.toysfortots.org/local-coordinator-sites/lco-mobile/

Fire Chief Ben Barksdale personally challenges each of you to contribute to this program by either donating new unwrapped toy at your own worksite, or by donating funds to the program.  Personnel at the Cranford-Graves Fire Services Building and Headquarters have answered the challenge of full toys boxes and challenge all Fire/EMS Stations, worksites and offices to meet the challenge and do the same.  There is still time!!!  Let everyone see and hear when you meet your challenge by capturing images and sending them to Mark Brady, Public Information Officer, via text at 240-508-7930 or Email at MEBrady@co.pg.md.us.  Images will be posted to the Departments Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Any questions relating to the "Toys for Tots" program may be directed to Assistant Fire Chief Alan Doubleday, via acdoubleday@co.pg.md.us or 301-883-5203.

Office of the Fire Chief and 4th floor HQ staff met the challenge
Fire Fighter Will Gressen coordinated the Fire Services Building Toy Challenge

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

December Safety Tips

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
mebrady@co.pg.md.us     @PGFDPIO

First things first and that is SAFETY FIRST!!!  This day is a reminder to test your smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms to ensure they emit that life saving alert.  Simply press to test button on the front of the alarm.

Of course everyone’s alarm is going to work because we just provided fresh batteries in your alarms in November, remember, Change Your Clock - Change Your Battery???

If you hear the audible warning – you are good for another month.

No audible warning?? – provide a fresh battery in your alarms and re-test.

Audible warning??  Yes – you are good until next month!!!  No tones – remove the alarm and replace it with a new 10-year alarm.  On January 1, 2018, all battery powered smoke alarms will be required to be 10-year, with hush feature, smoke alarm. These 10-year alarms will help to save lives by always having working smoke alarms.  You will still need to test monthly.

While you’re tending to your alarms – remove any dust or other particles from your alarm by dusting or using a vacuum.  Remember these alarms could be the difference between life and death of you and your family.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors - Keep in mind that some of our neighbors may not physically be able to reach their alarms to test or change batteries.  If you have senior citizens family members or neighbors, please, perform this lifesaving function for them. They may not ask for help but they certainly could use some.

Anyone that can not afford to purchase their own 10-year smoke alarm may call 311 and make arrangements for a firefighter to visit your home and install these life saving items for you.

Remember that it is now a law for homes that have gas service, fireplace and/or an attached garage are  required to have CO alarms.

The Fire/EMS Department strongly endorses the use of 10-year, tamper proof with hush feature smoke and CO alarms on every level of your home, outside of sleeping areas and in every bedroom.

On January 1, 2018 a new law goes into full effect whereas smoke alarms that are just battery operated become obsolete.  All battery powered smoke alarms must now be the 10-year type with his alarm.  This new law is a law we can live with as fire related fatalities will be reduced.

December Safety Tips

Be ever mindful of cooking and remaining in the kitchen if using the stovetop or broiler. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of fires and fire related injuries.

Candles should be used with extreme caution.  Keep them away from items that can burn and never leave them burning in a room unattended.

Inspect cords and bulbs on electrical holiday decorations.  If cords are frayed or have wires showing, discard them and purchase new ones.  No good reason to try to get “just one more year” out of damaged decorations when you consider the consequence of a home fire.

Live Christmas tree???  Pick one that is fresh and where needles do not fall off in your hand.  Cut about ¼ to ½ inch from the bottom of your tree and immerse in an appropriate sized tree stand filled with water and remember to fill the basin up everyday – sometimes even twice a day.

Give space heaters space (at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn).  Turn off space heaters before you go to sleep,

Clear clutter from around your furnace and water heater.

Remember to unplug all decorations at night.

Never overload extension cords or power strips.  Electrical cords can overheat and ignite a fire.

Holiday Decoration Safety

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Firefighter Found Guilty of a Felony

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
MEBrady@co.pg.md.us     @PGFDPIO

A Prince Georges County Firefighter has been found guilty of a felony in Charles County, Maryland.

A Charles County Jury recently found Donald McCoy Stancell, 39 years-of-age and 14-year member of the Department, guilty of child sexual abuse.   The charges stem from incidents while he was off-duty.

The Fire/EMS Department initially placed Stancell, a career firefighter, on administrative duties with limited public contact status.  His administrative duties began in January 2016 when he was initially charged with the crime.  

After being found guilty he was placed on Annual Leave pending an internal review for additional personnel actions.  Stancell has since rendered his resignation.

For additional information about this case, please contact the Charles County State’s Attorney’s Office.
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Monday, November 27, 2017

Cause of Fire and Identity of Deceased from Lorraine Drive 11-15-2017

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
MEBrady@co.pg.md.us     @PGFDPIO

Just before 12:30 pm, Wednesday, November 15th, firefighters were alerted to a house fire with two occupants trapped in the 5200 block of Lorraine Drive in Temple Hills.  First arriving units found a 1-story brick rambler, with basement, with fire showing from the front.  Two occupants of the home were removed by firefighters and transported by medics to a nearby hospital.  They each succumbed to injuries sustained in the fire a short time after arriving at the hospital.

Prince George's County Fire Investigators have determined the fire was accidental and attributed to a malfunctioning electrical outlet.  There were no working smoking alarms located in the house.

The deceased are identified as follows:

Louvenia Goldson (mother) 83 years of age of Lorraine Drive in Temple Hills

Eugene Goldson (son) 62 years of age of Lorraine Drive in Temple Hills

Any family that is in need of a working smoke alarm and can not afford to purchase or install one themselves are encouraged to call 311.  A firefighter will visit your home and install one in your home free of charge.

New Smoke Alarm Reminder


New Smoke Alarm Law Reminder

        A new state law aimed at reducing home fire deaths went into effect on July 1, 2013.  It requires replacement of any battery-only operated smoke alarm that is more than 10 years old with a unit powered by a 10-year sealed-in battery having a “Hush” button feature – ultimately affecting more than 800,000 Maryland homes with battery- only operated smoke alarms.  The effective date for this requirement to be completed by is January 1, 2018.  
        Why is a sealed-in battery important?  Nationally, two-thirds of all home fire deaths occur in homes with either no smoke alarm or no working smoke alarm, mainly due to missing or disconnected batteries.  By sealing the battery inside the alarm, the unit becomes tamper resistant and removes the burden from consumers to remember to change batteries, which in turn, will save lives.  These sealed-in, long-life battery smoke alarms provide continuous protection for a decade, and national fire experts with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) recommend their use.
        The new Maryland Smoke Alarm Law, Public Safety Article Sections 9-101 through 9-109requires the replacement of smoke alarms when they are ten years old; (ten years from the date of manufacture).   This replacement requirement is already in the adopted State Fire Code, reference to the 2013 edition of NFPA 72, Paragraph 14.4.7.  It is envisioned that adding the wording in State Law and publicizing the requirement will hopefully result in the widespread replacement of older nonfunctioning or unreliable smoke alarms.   The date of manufacture, while sometimes hard to locate, should be printed on the back of the smoke alarm.   If no manufacture date can be located, it is clearly time to replace the smoke alarm.  
        The new law heavily emphasizes the use of sealed-battery smoke alarms with a long life battery and a silence/hush button feature.  However, it is critical to understand these devices are appropriate only where battery-only operated smoke alarms presently exist or in locations where no smoke alarms are present.  (It is never acceptable to remove required wired in smoke alarms and replace them with any type of battery-only operated device).  A 110 volt electrically powered smoke alarm may only be replaced with a new 110 volt unit with a battery backup.
        Smoke alarms need to be placed on every level of the home and outside the sleeping areas, such as, the hallway accessing the bedrooms.  It is also recommended to place them inside each bedroom to allow sound sleepers to be alerted if smoke begins to enter the room.  Please remember to keep bedroom doors closed when sleeping to help ensure smoke, toxic gases and flames can't easily enter the bedroom allowing you more time to escape.
        State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci emphasizes the value of smoke alarms, “The importance of ensuring the proper maintenance and use of smoke alarms is paramount.  The materials used in products we keep in our homes tend to burn much more readily, thus giving us a very limited window of time to escape the effects of fire.  These early warning devices can be the difference between life or death in an incident of an uncontrolled fire inside our homes”.

smoke alarms


The Office of the State Fire Marshal is an agency of the Department of State Police dedicated to helping protect citizens from fire and explosion through a comprehensive program of education, inspection, investigation and fire protection engineering.  For more information on fire safety call 1-800-525-3124, log onto our website at: Maryland State Fire Marshal and/or our Facebook Page.

Friday, November 24, 2017

House Fire with Civilian Fatality - Wilburn Drive

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
MEBrady@co.pg.md.us     @PGFDPIO

Firefighters removed an adult female from her Seat Pleasant home this morning but despite the very best efforts of everyone involved she died a short time after arriving at the hospital. 

At around 3:15 am, Friday, November 25, firefighters and medics were alerted to a house fire with a person trapped in the 6800 block of Wilburn Drive in Seat Pleasant.  Firefighters arrived to find a 2 level, split foyer, single family home with heavy fire consuming the top level.  Firefighters initiated an interior attack on the fire and searched for the female occupant.  An unconscious female was located on the 1st level and removed from the structure. 

Medics provided CPR as well as other advanced life support measures and transported the 80 year-old female to a nearby Trauma Center.  She was pronounced deceased a short time after arrival at the hospital.

An adult male, 50ish years of age and son of the female occupant, was also at home when the fire started.  He was able to self evacuate prior to the fire departments arrival.  He was transported to a nearby hospital for smoke inhalation.

No working smoke alarms were found in the house.

There were 35 firefighters on the scene that had the bulk of the fire extinguished with 20 minutes of arrival.  Fire loss is estimated at $150,000.  Fire Investigators have determined the fire to be accidental and the origin to be in the area of the stove located in the kitchen.

Two firefighters sustained burn injuries and were transported to the Burn Unit at Medstar Washington Hospital Center.  They were both treated and released.

The deceased has been identified as Elaine James, 80 years of age, of 6806 Wilburn Drive in Seat Pleasant.

Having a working smoke alarm increases the chances of surviving a home fire by 50%.  Along with having 10-year smoke alarms on every level of your home, primarily just outside of sleeping areas, placing a smoke alarm in your bedroom and sleeping with your bedroom door closed increases the chances of surviving a home fire.  Plan and practice a home escape plan that identifies 2 ways out of every room in your house.

Citizens that cannot afford to purchase their own smoke alarm should call 311 and ask about the Fire/EMS Departments smoke alarm program.  A firefighter will come to your house and install one 10-year smoke alarm, free of charge.  The homeowner is responsible for purchasing and installing other alarms required by law.

Firefighters will return to Wilburn Drive this afternoon around 1:00 pm.  They will go door-to-door checking for working smoke alarms and answering any questions neighbors may have about this tragic incident.  If a home is found to have no working smoke alarm or one that is beyond its life span of 10 years than firefighters will install a new 10-year alarm at no cost.