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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

PGFD to be Recognized at Maryland’s Emergency Medical Services Stars of Life Awards

Contact: Jim Brown 410-706-3994 (o) or 443-474-8683 (c)

 Maryland’s Emergency Medical Services Stars of Life Awards

On Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at 10:00 AM, in a two part ceremony, the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS), the State agency responsible for the delivery of trauma and emergency medical services in Maryland, will honor children from across the State and also present its annual Stars of Life Awards to honor Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel, EMS programs, and citizens. The awards will be presented in the Miller Senate Office Building, President’s Conference Room, East I, located at 11 Baden Street, Annapolis, MD.

The first part of the award ceremony will honor children whose actions have ensured that people in Maryland receive “the right care when it counts.” These children have assisted in providing a lifesaving service to someone in their community. During the next portion of the ceremony, MIEMSS will present their annual Stars of Life Awards that honor citizens, EMS personnel, and EMS programs statewide.

Award winners from both groups will be available for interviews

The EMS Award presentations are part of Maryland’s observance of National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week 2018 (May 20 - 26, 2018). This is a national celebration to honor approximately 750,000 EMS providers nationwide. This year, the theme is EMS Strong: Stronger Together." This year’s theme reflects the idea that EMS providers work as a dedicated team with a true calling and drive to help others in need. Governor Hogan has issued a Proclamation declaring this as EMS Week in Maryland.

Maryland joins the nation in recognizing its 27,000 prehospital care providers, both career and volunteer. The life-saving care offered by these highly trained personnel—24 hours a day, 7 days a week—is exemplary. “Working as an emergency medical services provider is different from any other career,” says Dr. Richard L. Alcorta, Acting Co-Executive Director of MIEMSS. “You get tremendous satisfaction from helping others and knowing you have made a difference between life and death. Our Maryland EMS providers perform a vital service for their local community and the State of Maryland each day.”

PGFD has added the following:

The Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department is slated to receive two awards. 

Recently recognized as the Prince George’s County Medic of the Year Jorge Paucar will be recognized as the State of Maryland “EMS Provider of the Year.”

Fire Fighter/Medic Jorge Paucar
Firefighter/Medic Jorge Paucar was instrumental in the development of Prince George’s County 
Fire and EMS Department’s innovative program to train the public in hands-only CPR, with a goal of ultimately improving cardiac arrest survival. In 2017 Fire Fighter/Medic Paucar was instrumental in training over 7,800 county residents and visitors through this program, often enlisting the help of other dedicated EMS providers. In addition, being multilingual has helped FF/PM Paucar expand the program to include Spanish-speaking training aides and Spanish language literature. In addition, FF/PM Paucar was pivotal in developing data reports that help the department improve the delivery of patient care by streamlining the process for collecting and reporting data on cardiac arrest patients, providing important feedback to Prince George’s County EMS supervisors and providers.

The Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department will also be recognized along with several other jurisdictions with a MIEMSS Special Award for our Mobile Integrated Health program.

These programs and individuals are being recognized by MIEMSS for their efforts in promoting Mobile Integrated Health programs in Maryland, contributing to overall patient health in addition to reducing health care costs and enhancing delivery of medical services to Maryland citizens.

Monday, May 14, 2018

PGFD Career & Volunteer Fire/EMS Recruitment Expo

MEDIA CONTACT ONLY: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson

Additional Information on Expo visit www.tinyurl.com/pgfdrecruiter
Fire/EMS Department Recruiter at 301-883-3164 or at PGFDRecruiter@co.pg.md.us.

Have you ever thought about being a firefighter, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) or a paramedic???  Start your adventure to fulfilling your career dreams by attending the Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department “Career and Volunteer Recruitment Expo.”  The  Recruitment Expo is scheduled for June 2, 2018,  9 AM - 3PM,  at the Largo Plaza Shopping Center, 10500 Campus Way South, Largo, Maryland 20774.

The purpose of the Expo is to serve as a recruitment activity that will attract a pool of diverse individuals to apply for job opportunities within the Fire/EMS Department (career, volunteer, civilian); to involve the community in the recruitment process; and to serve as a community outreach event to provide Fire/EMS informational and educational materials and activities.

There will be career, volunteer and civilian members of the Fire/EMS Department on hand to talk about their experiences and answer any questions you may have.

Recruitment displays will include:

Hazardous Materials Demonstration
Bomb Squad Demonstration 
K-9 Demonstration
Smoke Alarm Information and Demonstration Table
Hands Only CPR Demonstration and Information Table
Stop the Bleeding Information Table
Project Safe Kids Information Table

Fire/EMS Apparatus on Display
ReHab Unit 800
Engine “Courage"
Ambulance “Hope”

Mass Casualty Bus 
Collapse 806 – Technical Rescue Unit
Tiller Truck 801
Tanker 823
Engine 819

Fire/EMS Department Command Bus

Updated Information on Beltsville Fatal House Fire, 2018 Fire Fatalities and Smoke Alarm Law

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

Additional details about a Beltsville house fire on Friday, May 12, 2018 are being made available as well as 2018 fire fatalities and a reminder of the smoke alarm mandate in Prince George’s County.

Neighbors called 911 and reported a house on fire at 11405 Howard Court in Beltsville at 3:32 am, Saturday, May 12th.  Firefighters arrived at 3:35 am reporting fire showing.  The homeowner was found inside the house by firefighters shortly after arrival and removed to the front yard where she was pronounced deceased.

The 2-story with basement, approximately 1560 square feet, single-family house was built in 1920.  This was the original farmhouse for the surrounding acres that were later sold to developers that built homes on the property.

No smoke alarms were found in the house.

The deceased has been identified as Sally Ann Quesenberry, 35 years-of-age, from Beltsville.  She is also listed as the property owner.

The cause and origin of the fire remains undetermined.  Additional information is pending completion and release of the autopsy report.

This incident is the 7th this calendar year involving fire related fatalities.  Nine residents have perished in home fires so far in 2018.  The common denominators appears to be a lack of working smoke alarms or only one working smoke alarm in the home that provided no warning due to location of alarm versus location of fire and residents.  The youngest deceased was 35 years of age.  7 of the 9 deceased were age 70 and older.  These cases remain under investigation.

February 11 – 6000 block of North Hilmar Circle in District Heights.
No working smoke alarms in home.  Deceased: 84 years-of-age.

March 8 – 500 block of Round Tree Drive in Fort Washington.
No working smoke alarms in home.  Deceased: 75 and 80 years-of-age.

March 11 – 4200 block of Monroe Street in Colmar Manor.
No working smoke alarms in house.  Deceased: 70 years-of-age.

March 22 – 3400 block of Eastern Avenue in Mount Rainier.
1 working smoke alarm in basement.  Fire and occupants on upper floors.
Deceased: 83 and 87 years-of-age.

April 10 – 4600 Brookfield Drive in Suitland.
Working smoke alarm was present.  Deceased: 50 year-of-age.

April 14 – 1400 block of Ray Road in Chillum.
1 working smoke alarm on lower level.  Fire and occupant on upper level.
Deceased: 70 years-of-age.

May 12 – 10400 block of Howard Court in Beltsville.
No working smoke alarms in house.  Deceased: 35 years-of-age.

Smoke Alarm Requirements

A new law went into full effect on January 1, 2018.  This Maryland Law states that a smoke alarm shall be present and working on every level of your home.  Once your current 9-volt battery powered alarm reaches its 10-year life span than it shall be replaced with a 10-year, sealed long life battery, with hush feature smoke alarm.

At the very minimum each home shall have a smoke alarm (9-volt or 10-year) on every level of their home located just outside of sleeping areas.

If you have a home; recently constructed, rented or recently purchased, there should already be 10-year alarms on every level of your home and in every bedroom.  You are required to maintain these alarms and ensure they work.

While older homes are not required to maintain smoke alarms in bedrooms, the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department strongly encourage everyone to install 10-year smoke alarms in every bedroom and to sleep with bedroom doors closed.

This new law is a law we can live with.

Why has the Law changed?? 

3 out of 5 fire fatalities occur in homes that are not protected by working smoke alarms. Many of these unprotected homes did not have a smoke alarm or a smoke alarm was found to be nonworking due to a lack of batteries or a dead battery. The use of 10-year smoke alarms will save lives. It’s a law we can live with. 

The County Law states that I need just 1 smoke alarm. Why do I need to follow the Maryland Law?? 

The State Law supersedes the County Law. We will work towards changing the language in the County Law to match the State Law; however, we must follow the State Law. 

What type of smoke alarm should I purchase and install?? 

10-year, long life, sealed battery, alarm with hush feature. 
The hush feature will allow you to silence an accidental alarm for up to 10 minutes before turning itself back on. The hush feature will eliminate the need to remove the smoke alarm and its battery. 

Where can I purchase the 10-year alarm?? 

All home improvement stores in Prince George’s County sell the 10-year alarm.

If you choose to order on-line; ensure you are purchasing a 10-year, sealed battery, with hush features smoke alarm. A 10-year guarantee does not always mean it’s a 10-year alarm. 

How can I tell the manufacture date of my smoke alarm?? 

You will need to remove the smoke alarm off of its base and examine the writing on the back of the alarm. The expiration date should be in clear view. If you cannot find the expiration date consider it at least 10 years old and replace it with a new 10-year, tamper proof battery, with hush feature. 

I just installed a 9-volt battery smoke alarm in my house 2 years ago. The manufacture date is April 2015. Do I need to replace this alarm?? 

No, you are in compliance. Remember to replace your alarm when the 10-year life of your smoke alarm is set to expire. 

I live in a 2-story single family home with a basement. How many smoke alarms do I need?? 

If your home is currently protected by a 9-volt battery powered smoke alarm you will need to have a new 10-year smoke alarm installed on every level of your home so you will need a total of three. 

The Fire/EMS Department highly recommends you install a 10-year smoke alarm in every bedroom as well and sleep with your door closed. 

I currently have one 9-volt battery powered smoke alarm in my house. I don’t recall when the smoke alarm was installed?? 

If you cannot determine the manufacture date of your current smoke alarm it is best to replace it with a new 10-year smoke alarm. Remember, you must install a new 10-year alarm on every level of your home. 

I have hardwired smoke alarms in my house. Does the new law affect me?? 

Yes, even the hardwired smoke alarms have an expiration date. Check the back of your alarms for an expiration date. If they are close to 10 years old or older you need to replace them with a new hardwired alarm with a 10-year battery backup. 

It is important to remember to replace your hardwired alarms with a new one with similar features. For example; if your hardwired alarms are interconnected, when one sounds an alarm, all of your alarms will also sound an alarm. 

Will the Fire Department issue a fine if I don’t have the proper smoke alarms?? 

The Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department will not issue a fine or penalty if homeowners are found to be in non-compliance. We will have a passive enforcement policy on residences whereas we will install a new smoke alarm for you instead of issuing you a citation. 

The Department will continue to closely monitor apartment buildings, commercial buildings and homebuilders to ensure they are installing the appropriate alarms and are in compliance with all applicable fire safety laws. Any violations of the Law will be handled through management and our Fire Prevention office. 

Do I need to install new smoke alarms in my bedrooms?? 

If you are residing in a home you own, the Fire/EMS Department highly recommends you install 10-year smoke alarms in every bedroom and sleep with your bedroom doors closed. 
Rental properties are required to maintain smoke alarms in all bedrooms. 
Newly constructed homes are sold with hardwired smoke alarms that are interconnected. 
Never disconnect hardwired alarms as they are required by building code. 

Where should I install the new 10-year smoke alarms?? 

Same area as your previous smoke alarms. Primarily just outside of sleeping areas on ceilings or high on the wall. 

What are insurance company consequences if I have a fire in my house and I’m not in compliance with new smoke alarm law?? 

This unfortunate circumstance is out of our area of responsibility and is between you and your insurance company. It is best to avoid this situation by complying with the law and maintain 10-year, tamper proof, with hush feature smoke alarms on every level of your home. 

I purchased new 10-year smoke alarms but I am having difficulty installing the alarms. Who can help me?? 

If you call 311 and explain the situation, a firefighter will call you to set up a convenient time for them to come by your house. They will install your smoke alarms for you at no charge. 

Does the Fire/EMS Department provide free 10-year smoke alarms?? 

Yes, the Fire/EMS Department has been providing free smoke alarms to residents for nearly 40 years. Through generous donations from private entities like PEPCO and the American Red Cross we can provide and install one free smoke alarm per residence. In most cases this will not bring you into compliance with having a smoke alarm on every level of your home. The firefighters installing your free alarm will advise you of your responsibility to install additional alarms. 

To take advantage of this opportunity simply call 311 and ask about the Fire/EMS Department smoke alarm program. 

I live in an apartment, condo or rental property and there are still 9-volt battery smoke alarms. What should I do?? 

You should contact our Fire Prevention office and register a complaint. This is a serious violation of the law and our fire inspectors will inspect and follow-up with complex management. 

Our Fire Prevention can be contacted at 301-583-1830

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Beltsville House Fire with Fatality - Howard Court

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

A house fire in Beltsville claimed the life of an adult female occupant early Saturday morning.  At around 3:30 am, May 12, neighbors called 911 to report a house fire in the 11400 block of Howard Court.  Firefighters arrived and found a 2-story single family home with heavy fire consuming the structure.  Due to heavy fire conditions the fire was initially fought from the exterior and as soon as the majority of the fire was extinguished an interior attack and search commenced.  Shortly after making entry an adult female was located inside and removed to the exterior.  Tragically, she was pronounced deceased on the scene.

A Task Force brought additional personnel to the scene where it required the 60 firefighters nearly 90 minutes to extinguish the fire.  The structure, built in the 1920’s, was the original farmhouse for the property where single-family homes now exist behind the Behnke Nursery off of Baltimore Avenue.  Due to the significant damage to the homes interior, including burnt through floors, a limited amount of interior overhaul and salvage could be performed.

No additional civilian or firefighter injuries were reported.

The cause and origin of the fire is currently under investigation although preliminary reports indicate the fire appears to have started towards the rear portion of the house.  Fire loss is estimated at $200,000.  The status of a working smoke alarm is unknown.  First arriving firefighters and command officers did not hear a smoke alarm and one could not be located after the fire was extinguished.

The identity of the deceased is being withheld pending an autopsy.

Fire Investigators and County Police are conducting a joint investigation, which is standard procedure whenever a fire fatality occurs.  This is the 9th residential fatality this calendar year.

Friday, May 4, 2018

PGFD Participates in "Active Shooter" Exercise

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

The Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department participated in a full scale mass-casualty exercise on Thursday, May 3, 2018.  This exercise was in conjunction with the Maryland Region V Emergency Preparedness Coalition where departments, agencies and hospitals were evaluated for their response to handling a large number of patients.

The scenario for the Fire/EMS Department was an active shooter at Prince George's Community College in Largo, Maryland.  Firefighter/Medics encountered 20+ patients with simulated injuries and deaths.

The Fire/EMS exercise went well with 20 patients/actors transported to area hospitals.  Congratulations to all participants for a job well done.

All images by PGFD PIO Mark E. Brady