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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Colder Weather Moving In - Stay Warm Safely

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

Mild temperatures are on the way out and colder temperatures are in our forecast this weekend. The Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department (PGFD) is reminding everyone that home fires are more prevalent in cold weather than in any other time of the year. This is due in part to an increase in cooking and heating fires.  This reminder involves the safe use of space heaters and general heating safety tips.

Stay Safe

The civilian, volunteer and paid men and women of the Fire/EMS Department want to remind everyone that fire safety and prevention are especially important during times of cold temperatures. 

“Temperatures drop and fires increase,” said Prince George's County Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor.  According to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) statistics space heaters account for about one third of the home heating fires yet more than 80 percent of the home heating fire deaths.  The United States Fire Administration (USFA), reports:

  • 905 people die in winter home fires each year.
  • $2,091,000,000 in property loss occurs from winter home fires.
  • 67 percent of winter fires occur in one- and two-family homes.
  • Cooking is the leading cause of all winter home fires.
  • 5 to 8 p.m. is the most common time for winter home fires.
“Colder temperatures during the winter brings the highest number of home fires than any other time of year,” said Fire Chief Bashoor. “Each season, home fires increase in part due to cooking and heating fires. Fire safety and injury prevention must not be lost in an effort to stay warm. Stay warm and do so safely.  Safety First ensures everyone goes home.” 

The Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department recommend the following safety tips for space heaters. 

Space Heaters

·      Buy only heaters evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). 

·      Check to make sure it has a thermostat control mechanism, and will switch off automatically if the heater falls over or if placed too close to an object.
·      Heaters are not dryers or tables; don't dry clothes or store objects on top of your heater. 

·      Space heaters need space; keep combustibles at least three feet away from each heater.
·      Always unplug your electric space heater when not in use. 

·      Turn off at night or whenever you sleep. 
·      Never use an extension cord with space heaters - plug directly into wall socket.

Kerosene space heater 

·      Never refuel indoors.  
·      Remove the kerosene heater outdoors, turn off and wait for it to cool down before refueling and only use the correct type of fuel.

General Heating Tips     

•    Furnaces, fireplaces and chimneys should be cleaned and checked each year by an appropriate professional prior to using.  Clear away any clutter from these heating devices, at least 3 feet away.
•    Only use seasoned wood in fireplaces, never use ignitable liquids to start a fire and do not overload your appliance.
•    The 3-foot rule also applies to furnaces and fireplaces.  No combustibles items within 3 feet of these heating appliances.
•    Dispose of fireplace ash into a metal container and store outdoors away from structures on a concrete surface.  Fireplace ash can ignite a fire days after they have been discarded.

Finally, ensure your smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms are working by pushing the test button on the front cover.  Your alarms should be tested monthly on the first day of every month - Safety First Day of the Month.  If you do not hear an audible warning, replace your alarm with a new 10-year, tamper proof, with hush feature alarm.  Having a working smoke alarm on every level of your home, in hallways just outside of sleeping areas and in every bedroom in addition to a exit drill in the home plan and practiced dramatically increases your chances of surviving a burning home.  Remember to sleep with your bedroom door closed.

A working CO detector will protect you and your family from deadly "silent killer" fumes that may be building up in your home.  Prince Georges County Law requires a CO detector on every level of your home, in all apartments  hotel/motels, dorms, etc.  

Remember to practice a home escape plan frequently with your family. 
Identify 2 ways out of every room in your house and designate a safe meeting place outside.

For additional information from the USFA on Winter Fire Safety; click here.
Residents are encouraged to utilize Prince George’s County’s County 311 system to obtain information about public services and obtaining a smoke alarm installed in your home.

Source: National Fire Incident Reporting System 2009-2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

PGFD Response to Indictments Announced by States Attorney

The Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department is aware of the indictments announced today by the States Attorney’s Office.  We have cooperated with the criminal investigation from the onset and will continue to monitor developments as the case proceeds.  The individuals identified in the indictment were removed from emergency operations when the initial incident occurred and will remain so until the case is adjudicated.  We regret the shadow cast upon our Department by this unfortunate incident and are committed to continue providing the highest caliber of fire and emergency medical services to the residents of Prince George’s County.
Mark E. Brady
Public Relation Manager/Chief Spokesperson/PIO
Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department
9201 Basil Ct #452
Largo, MD 20774
Cell/Text - 240-508-7930
Office - 301-883-7154

Friday, December 2, 2016

Fire/EMS Department Breaks Ground on 3 New Facilities

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 recently held three groundbreaking for new public safety facilities.  Construction for all three facilities is scheduled to start in 2017 with completion in 2018.

On a beautiful, bright and brisk Monday morning a groundbreaking ceremony was held to ceremoniously start the construction of a new Prince George's County Community Fire/EMS Station.  On Monday, November 7, Prince George's County officials spoke at the site of the soon to be built Fire/EMS Station 851, near the entrance to Oxon Hill High School on Clipper Way.

The Oxon Hill Community Fire/EMS Station #851 is slated to be a 4-bay design similar to other recently constructed County facilities such as Brandywine, St. Joes, Northview and District Heights.  Construction will start in 2017 with a completion date projected in late 2018.  The Oxon Hill Community Fire/EMS Station is slated to house an engine, ladder, truck, ambulance and Battalion Chief.  To see a video of this groundbreaking ceremony click here.  Additional images of this event can be viewed here.

On Tuesday, November 22, County Executive Rushern L. Baker III joined public safety leaders Mark Magaw, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Public Safety; Marc Bashoor, Fire Chief; and Hank Stawinski, Police Chief in breaking ground for a new Public Safety Pier at National Harbor in Oxon Hill.  This project will provide a launching point for fire, EMS and public safety watercraft.  Many thanks to the Peterson Companies and Chris Borgal for partnering with us.  To watch a video of this groundbreaking event click here.  For images click here.

On Thursday, December 1, a Groundbreaking event was held for the new Shady Glen Fire/EMS Station.  This new facility will be a replacement for the Seat Pleasant Fire/EMS Station.  To watch a video of this groundbreaking event click here.  For images from this event click here.

PGFD Promotions

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 Department is proud to announce the following promotions.  

These promotions were effective November, 27.  Congratulations to these individuals for earning these promotions through study, hard work and determination!!!

Firefighter/Paramedic Captain
Ryan G. Adkins
Rodney L. Bolen
Stephanie A. Buffum

Firefighter/Paramedic Lieutenant
Christopher Harrison 

Firefighter/Paramedic Technician
Timothy C. Vanderhoff

Fire Fighter Presented with Fire Chiefs Award

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

Fire Fighter Patrice Davis was presented with a "Fire Chiefs Award" today, Friday, December 2.  

Fire Chief Marc Bashoor presented Davis with the award based on a very favorable recommendation by retired Assistant Fire Chief Steve White.  The award was presented during a Departmental Staff Meeting at the Fire Services Building in Landover Hills, Maryland.        

The award reads;

Not every role or assignment within the Fire/EMS Department generates the accolades common to those involving feats of valor.  Often times it is the individuals in support roles who truly make the operations of the organization run smoothly.  You are one such individual, according to Assistant Fire Chief Steve White, who stated the following:  

It has been my pleasure working with Fire Fighter Davis, who is assigned to the Watch Office on B-shift.  She has continually gone above and beyond her normal duties in this assignment and works diligently to ensure the Command Log, Smoke Detector reports, and other reports are accurate and complete.  She is professional and takes great pride in making timely notifications and communicating precise information.

As an example of Fire Fighter Davis’ diligent work efforts, there was a large influx of smoke detector requests.  For a couple of days the list of more than 150 requests was unorganized and difficult to decipher. Upon arriving for her shift, Fire Fighter Davis took the initiative to organize the list and make sure each Battalion Chief had all the information needed to move forward in the completion of each request.  The compilation and organization of the large amount of requests made the process of replying accurately much easier on both the Battalion Chiefs and field personnel.

This type of self-motivation is what makes Fire Fighter Davis such an invaluable asset to B-shift, the Watch Office, and the Fire/EMS Department as a whole.

Chief White also informed me of an email he received from one of his Battalion Chiefs, in which the officer said, among other things, “Fire Fighter Patrice Davis is a great employee who cares about doing a great job and is pleasant to deal with.  Employees like her make
coming to work enjoyable.” 

The consistent excellence you demonstrate in the performance of your duties, ability to work well with others, and commitment to provide the highest caliber of service to the residents of Prince George’s County are admirable and worthy of recognition. Your efforts distinguish you as a positive role model for your peers and a valued member of our Department.  For these reasons you are hereby awarded the Fire Chief’s Award. 

        Thank you for a job well done!    

Thursday, December 1, 2016

December Safety First Day of the Month

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

December 1, is our Safety First Day of the Month and one of our Community Risk Reduction programs.  This day is primarily designated as 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 or batteries to rejuvenate your 9-volt alarms 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.

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.

Additional detailed information will be posted as we move through the Holiday Season.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Riverdale Residential Fire Fatality - Sheridan Street (November 23)

MEDIA CONTACT ONLY: 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 regretfully announces a fire related death of a Riverdale resident. 

On Wednesday, November 23 at about 4:30 am, firefighter/medics operated at the scene of a working house fire in the 6300 block of Sheridan Street in Riverdale.  An adult female was rescued by firefighters and transported by medics to the Medstar Washington Hospital Center Burn Unit.  The patient, a 74-year-old female was suffering from burn and smoke inhalation injuries and was in critical condition.

Despite the heroic efforts of firefighters, diligent pre-hospital medical care by medics combined with the very best care of emergency department and burn unit medical staff the patient succumbed to her injuries on Sunday afternoon, November 27.

The deceased is identified as Emily Novotny, DOB 7-21-1942, 74 years-of-age, of Riverdale, Maryland.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation; however, it appears that the cause of the fire will be accidental.

This is the ninth fire fatality, with accidental cause, in Prince George’s County this calendar year.

Recent years residential fire related fatalities of accidental origin:

2015 - 3
2014 - 5