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Sunday, October 14, 2018

History of PGFD Pink Engine "Courage"

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

After a successful campaign promoting “Breast Cancer Awareness” with a pink wrapped fire engine the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department expanded the campaign to include two new “painted” units.  County Executive Rushern Baker and the Prince George's County Council approved funding for the manufacture of two brand new pink-painted response units.  There is no difference in cost to paint a unit pink vs. red or any other traditional color.  One pink fire engine and one pink transport ambulance have been placed into full time service around the County.

With the advent of these new units in October of 2014, the Department conducted a social media 'naming' campaign to provide identity for the units. The 2014 Pierce engine was named "Courage", while the 2014 Freightliner/Horton paramedic transport unit was named "Hope."  In addition to being painted pink and white, "Courage" sports a lavender reflective safety-stripe.  Together the pink and lavender design represents cancer-awareness across the disease spectrum.

Over the past 4 years these pink units have been showcased at events across the region, including; the United States Congressional Women's Softball tournament, The Redskins “think Pink” NFL game, the Naval District Washington 5k run, the NBC4 Health and Fitness Expo, Annapolis St Baldricks fundraisers, and various other events and conferences.  The units are always favorites and are routinely recognized as emotional boosters for cancer survivors and those now suffering from the disease.

The next phase of the "pink-team campaign" was allowing employees and volunteers to wear pink uniform shirts during the month of October (breast cancer awareness month), members voluntarily purchase their own shirts and sport them during emergency responses during October, further spreading the cancer awareness message across all 45 community-based fire/EMS stations.

Fire Chief Benjamin M. Barksdale said, "We have had 2 members succumb to occupational cancer over the past 2 years.  Cancer awareness and prevention are important to our members and are now part of our everyday life in the Fire/EMS service.  The message and mission of cancer awareness and research are especially poignant and personal for myself and the Department this year.”  
Fans attending game will be welcomed by Tanya Snyder, and hundreds of Alpha members distributing THINK-PINK!® ribbons and breast cancer awareness educational materials. Look for PGFD Pink Engine at with   Image taken pre-game on October 14, 2018 pre-game at FedExField

"Courage" with PGFD Firefighter/Medics and the Redskins Cheerleaders pre-game October 14, 2018 at FedExField

PGFD File Image from 2014

Friday, October 12, 2018

MEDIA NOTES - PGFD Line of Duty Death Funeral Service on Saturday

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

The Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department continues to mourn and remember Firefighter Jesse Wade McCullough.  Firefighter McCullough passed away on October 9, 2018, after his heroic battle against occupational cancer.  Firefighter McCullough will be honored with a line-of-duty funeral, to be held on Saturday, October 13, 2018 (details below): 

Saturday, October 13th, 0900 at: 
First Baptist Church of Glenarden
600 Watkins Park Dr. 
Upper Marlboro, MD 20774

Funeral service will follow the viewing at 1100

Saturday, October 13th, 1400 at: 
Greenbelt Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad, Inc.
PGFD Station 835
125 Crescent Rd.
Greenbelt, MD 20770 


·      Prince George’s County Firefighter/Medics, honor guards, pipes and drums as well as public safety personnel from other agencies and departments will report for line up at 7:30 am at First Baptist Church of Glenarden.  

·      The funeral procession is scheduled to arrive at the First Baptist Church of Glenarden at 8:30 am.  Everyone must display the utmost respect at all times while on the church property.

·      Church policy does not permit media cameras or recording devices inside the building.

·      At this point no family will be available for interviews.

·      Services will be available via live streaming at:


·      Media should notify Mark Brady, PGFD Chief PIO, by phone call or text at 240-508-7930 if you plan to cover this event.

Many on duty Prince George’s County Firefighters will be attending funeral services thanks to other area jurisdictions departments filling in our stations and responding on calls.  These jurisdictions include:

District of Columbia Fire/EMS Department
Montgomery County Department of Fire and Rescue Services
Alexandria City Fire Department
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department
BWI Airport Fire Department
Charles County Fire and EMS Department
Providence VFD (Baltimore County)
Frederick County Division of Fire and Rescue Services
Anne Arundel County Fire Department
Calvert County Fire Rescue EMS Department
Annapolis City Fire Department
Queens Anne’s County Department of Emergency Services

Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Civilian Fire Fatality and the Dangers of Needing a Key to Exit

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

A Fort Washington resident removed by firefighters from her burning home has died.  At around 8:20 pm, Thursday, October 4th, firefighters arrived at a 1-story single family home at 9000 Old Palmer Road with smoke showing. 

Firefighters located an unconscious female just inside the front door and removed her to awaiting medics outside.  Medics assessed her condition as having no pulse and not breathing and immediately started attempts to save her life.  Medics were able to regain a pulse, however, the patient remained in critical condition at a nearby hospital.  Tragically, despite the very best efforts of firefighters, medics and hospital staff the patient died on Friday, October 5th.  The victim, also listed as the homeowner, has been identified as Eka Usoro, DOB 3/23/1953.

The fire was located and extinguished.  The cause of the fire remains under investigation.  Fire loss is estimated at $75,000.  Firefighters initially believed the occupant was alerted by a working smoke alarm, however, fire investigators determined there were no working smoking alarms in the house.

Furthermore, Prince George’s County Fire Chief Benjamin M. Barksdale expressed his concern and frustration about the use of double cylinder deadbolts that require a key to unlock from both sides of the door.  The victim from Old Palmer Road was found by the front door with a key to the deadbolt in her hands.  “No one should ever have to use a key to get out of their house,” said Barksdale.  “This is the third fire this year resulting in 4 deaths of home occupants where these double cylinder deadbolts were present and possibly hampered their egress.”  In all 3 incidents (highlighted in red on list below) the victims were found either at or near the front or rear doors with double cylinder deadbolts.  The Crelin Place and Old Palmer Road incidents; the victims had keys to the deadbolt lock in their hands.

The Old Palmer Road incident is the 11th residential fire fatality this year with an accidental or undetermined cause.:

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

#2 and #3 - March 8 – 500 block of Round Tree Drive in Fort Washington.
No working smoke alarms in home.  Deceased: 75 and 80 years-of-age.

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

#5 and #6 - 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.

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

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

#9 - May 24 – La Quinta Hotel – Hampton Park Blvd in Capital Heights
Hotel Room with alarm/sprinkler     Deceased 36 year-old-male

#10 - September 8 – 4307 Crelin Place in Lanham
No working smoke alarm      Deceased female

#11 – October 4 – 9000 Old Palmer Road in Fort Washington
No working smoke alarms in house.  Deceased 65-year-old female.

The Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department does not support the use of double cylinder deadbolts and strongly recommend that residents replace the deadbolts with ones that can be operated without a key.

We also remind all homeowners, citizens, residents and businesses, by law, you are required to install 10-year smoke alarms.  A 10-year smoke alarm is required on every levels of your home, primarily just outside of sleeping areas.  All of your alarms should be tested at least once-a-month.  We recommend using the Safety 1st Day of Every Month to perform this task.  

The Fire/EMS Department strongly recommends installing 10-year smoke alarms in every bedroom and to sleep with your bedroom door closed. An escape plan to exit your home should be planned and practiced.  Your plan should include 2 ways out of every room in your house.

Of our 11 fire related fatalities this year 7 of the 11 had no working smoke alarms.  2 fatalities of the 11 had 1 working smoke alarm located in the basement which had no early warning of the fire located on upper floors which is where the deceased were located.

Prince Georges County law also requires the installation of carbon monoxide (CO) detectors on every level of your home if you have a gas service for appliances, a fireplace and/or an attached garage.

Prince George’s County homeowners that need a 10-year smoke alarm and can not afford to purchase one themselves can call 311 and ask about our smoke alarm program.  A firefighter will come to your house and install a 10-year smoke alarm for you at no charge.

An updated Maryland smoke alarm law went into effect on October 1, 2018 requiring that all commercial establishments selling smoke alarms only offer the 10-year model.  The goal is to eliminate all 9-volt battery smoke alarms for sale and use in the home.  A non-working smoke alarm was found inside the home on Old Palmer Road with a dead battery.