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Friday, August 23, 2019

MEDIA ADVISORY - Apparatus Maintenance Division Facility Expansion Ribbon Cutting

MEDIA CONTACT: Michael Yourishin,  PIO, 240-508-4183
MJYourishin@co.pg.md.us     @PGFDNews

At 10:00 am, Monday August 26, Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department Fire Chief Benjamin M. Barksdale will join Richard Riley, manager of the PGFD Apparatus Maintenance Division and members of the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department to cut the ribbon on a vital expansion of the Apparatus Maintenance Division Facility located at 4200A Forestville Road in Forestville, MD. The expansion will more than double the repair and storage space of the current facility and allow for apparatus and life saving equipment to be put back in service sooner. Join us to see an apparatus display, tour the facility and enjoy some light refreshments.

WHAT: Apparatus Maintenance Division Facility Expansion

WHEN: Monday, August 26, 2019 10:00am

WHERE: 4200A Forestville Road in Forestville, MD 20747

WHO: Prince George's County Fire Chief Benjamin Barksdale and Richard Riley, Apparatus Maintenance Division Manager

Saturday, July 20, 2019

The Rookie and Blade the Red-Tailed Hawk  
MEDIA CONTACT: Michael YourishinPIO, 240-508-4183 
MJYourishin@co.pg.md.us     @PGFDNews 


Largo, MD – One day before graduating from the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department Training & Leadership Academy, Probationary Firefighter Michael Gregory made his first rescue.  It was only his third shift at his first assignment station when the owner of a juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk named Blade contacted Fire/EMS Station 845/Marlboro for assistance.  

The Red-Tailed Hawk is a top predator. They use tall perches to spot their prey in the open spaces. The variety was named for it’s brick-red tail and can be found across all of North America. Male and female red-tailed hawks basically look alike, though the females are larger. 

Blade’s tether had become entangled in a tree approximately 18 feet off the ground and the hawk had been stuck in the tree for well over an hour in 90-degree heat.  Upon the crew’s arrival on the scene, Firefighter Gregory donned a falconer’s glove, climbed a 16-foot roof ladder, disentangled Blade, and brought him safely to the ground.   

When asked about future plans, Firefighter Gregory, or “Hawkeye,” as nicknamed by fellow crewmembers, replied. “For now, I just want to learn as much as I can about the fire service.” 

He was joined by Engine 845 crew members Lt. Gerald Beardmore, FF Thomas McDonald, and FF Paramedic Daniel Helsel. 

The 32-year-old native Iowan and wife Camille currently reside in Charles County.  
Michael J. Yourishin 
Press Information Officer 
Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department 
9201 Basil Court, Suite 452 
Largo, MD 20774 
C 240-508-4183 
O 301-883-5205 
Twitter @PGFDNews 

Thursday, July 18, 2019

American Legion Honors PGFD Firefighters and Volunteer EMS 
MEDIA CONTACT: Michael YourishinPIO, 240-508-4183
MJYourishin@co.pg.md.us    @PGFDPIO

Retired Battalion Chief
Grady Valencis
Volunteer EMS Lieutenant
Scott Globerman
Mike Wells

 July 18, 2019 – The American Legion Department of Maryland honored Retired Battalion Chief Grady Valencis, Firefighter Michael Wells, and Volunteer EMS Lieutenant Scott Globerman as “Career Firefighters of the Year” and “Volunteer EMT of the Year”, respectively.  The trio was previously recognized at the District and County levels and now at the State level. 

Retired Battalion Chief Valencis and Firefighter Wells were honored for their outstanding work as past and current Peer Support Team Coordinators for the Prince George’s County Professional Fire Fighters Association (IAFF), Local 1619.  From 2015 to 2016, the Prince George’s County Professional Fire Fighters Association, Local 1619, became all too familiar with tragedy.  Multiple retired members perished in car accidents, a firefighter committed suicide, and an active member was shot and killed in the line of duty.  With another occupational cancer line of duty death on the horizon, Local 1619’s leadership knew the membership was nearing a breaking point.  In 2016, IAFF created a “Peer Support” program, a process for giving and receiving non-clinical assistance to achieve long-term recovery from behavioral health challenges.  Assistance is provided by peer supporters who have what is referred to as “lived experience”.  These individuals are also trained to assist others in initiating and maintaining long-term recovery and enhancing the quality of life for individuals and their families.
Volunteer Lieutenant Globerman, a member of the Laurel Volunteer Rescue Squad, Inc., was honored for his actions on June 13, 2018, when he encountered an adult female standing on a 2x2 piece of cement mounted on the outer edge of a bridge’s guardrail.  The distressed woman was threatening to jump but was eventually persuaded to allow Globerman to help her to safety.  The quick thinking and immediate action displayed by Lieutenant Globerman on the scene of this incident prevented a potentially tragic outcome.   
Fire Chief Benjamin M. Barksdale and the entire Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department extends a hearty congratulations to Retired Battalion Chief Valencis, Firefighter Wells, and Volunteer EMS Lieutenant Globerman. 

Michael J. Yourishin
Press Information Officer
Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department
9201 Basil Court, Suite 452
Largo, MD 20774
C 240-508-4183
O 301-883-5205

Twitter: PGFD PIO @PGFDNews

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Missing Types, Battle of the Badges News Conference

MEDIA ADVISORY - Missing Types, Battle of the Badges News Conference

MEDIA CONTACT: Michael J. Yourishin, PIO, 240-508-4183
mjyourishin@co.pg.md.us     @PGFDNEWS

WHAT: Battle of the Badges News Conference

WHEN: Thursday, June 20, 2019, 1:00 pm

WHERE: Kentland Community Center 2413 Pinebrook Ave, Landover, MD 2078

WHO: Candice Covin, Disaster Program Manager, American Red Cross 
Henry P. Stawinski III, Chief of Police,Prince George's County Police Department 
Benjamin M. Barksdale, Fire Chief, Prince George's County Fire and EMS 
Kaitlyn Adams, Morgan State University Student 
Regina Boothe Bratton, External Communications Manager, American Red Cross

Prince George's County First Responders, The American Red Cross and members of the public are participating in the Missing Types campaign this summer to raise awareness of the need for blood donors to ensure lifesaving blood is available for patients. First Responders in Prince George’s County, Maryland are answering the call to action. First Responders will be competiting in the second annual Battle of the Badges on July 12th, 2019. The goal: to help save as many patients as possible through the collection of lifesaving blood and blood products. 

During the Missing Types campaign, iconic corporate and civic brands, celebrities and influencers will remove A’s, B’s and O’s – which make up the main blood groups – from signage, websites and other public-facing platforms to illustrate the critical role every blood donor plays. When the letters A, B and O vanish from everyday life, the gaps are striking. And when A, B, O and AB blood types are missing from hospital shelves, patient care could be impacted. 

The campaign in conjunction with this year’s Battle of the Badges, is intended to inspire new donors to give by showing the real-life impact of a missing type. It will also remind lapsed donors of the importance of returning to give again in the near future.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Arsonist Sentenced - Upper Marlboro Restaurant Fire

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

Jessica Poole was arrested for setting fire to an Upper Marlboro building on August 2, 2018. She plead guilty to one count of Arson (1stDegree) and one count of Arson (2ndDegree). Poole was sentenced today to (20) years, of which all but 18 months were suspended by the judge. As a part of the plea deal, the remaining charges were “nolle prossed.”

Poole will also be placed on five years of supervised probation, and is ordered to undergo alcohol and drug treatment programs as well as an anger management program.

Personnel from the Office of the Fire Marshal received “Another job well done for their diligent work in bringing this case to an arrest and conviction,” said County Fire Chief Benjamin M. Barksdale. “This sentencing is the second in the past two weeks for arson, and I commend everyone involved. Arson is a serious crime, and we will work day and night to find whoever is responsible as well as work with our States Attorney’s Office to prosecute offenders to the fullest extent of the law.”

Jessica Poole Arrest Photo

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Fire Chief Commends Fire Investigators Upon Sentencing of Arsonist

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

Prince George's County Fire Chief Benjamin M. Barksdale congratulated his Fire Investigators for a job well done after the sentencing of a arsonist last week.  Investigators from the Department's Office of the Fire Marshal worked diligently to investigate, identify a suspect, arrest and assist in the prosecution of Tyree Torney.
"Arson is a heinous crime that will always be investigated relentlessly by a very talented and skilled group of fire investigators," stated Fire Chief Barksdale.  "We will work together with prosecutors to ensure that anyone charged with Arson and related crimes is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
The sentencing of Tyrone Torney is an example of the teamwork of fire investigators and prosecutors.  

The convicted arsonist was vying to become a volunteer member within the combined Fire/EMS Department. The investigation discovered that Torney had participated in a popular and long established ride-along program.  To ensure the ride-along program meets the expectations of it's participants an internal Department review is being conducted.

Press Release from Office of the States Attorney for Prince George's County

Hyattsville Man Sentenced in Three Separate Arson Cases

UPPER MARLBORO, MD – Tyree Torney, 20, was sentenced to 30 years, suspend all but years, with all but eight years of the sentence suspended followed by five years of supervised probation for first degree arson and other related charges in three separate cases, announced State’s Attorney Aisha N. Braveboy today at a press conference.
On February 11, 2019, Proctor pled guilty to first degree arson, first degree attempted arson, malicious burning and other related charges.
In the first incident, on May 2, 2017, Mr. Torney started a fire on a wooden bridge near his home in Hyattsville. A month later, on June 10th, he set fire to his ex-girlfriend’s house, knowing that she and her family, including an infant, were inside the home at the time.
Additionally, on the evening of February 12, 2018, Mr. Torney started a fire in a supply closet at Suitland High School in Suitland. The school at the time was occupied including janitorial personnel, a few students and one teacher.
“This is a very unfortunate case, in which Mr. Torney, on three separate, occasions intentionally set fires across our county,” said State’s Attorney Braveboy. “Today, we held Mr. Torney accountable for his senseless and very dangerous actions. We are sending a message that if you commit arson, and put people’s lives at risk, you will face the consequences.”
Denise Roberts
Communications Director
Office of the State’s Attorney, Prince George’s County
240-832-4970 cell or 301-952-2848 office

Monday, May 20, 2019

Memorial Day Safety Tips - Swimming and Grilling

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Public Information Officer, 240-508-7930

mebrady@co.pg.md.us     TWITTER: @PGFDPIO

Memorial Day is commonly thought of as the start of summer.  Most students are still in school and the pool water might still be a little chilly, however, the traditional start of summer is here.

Summer vacations are being planned with "staycations" becoming more popular with residents enjoying swimming, BBQ'ing and planning many other fun activities right here in Prince George's County.  The Memorial Day weekend is when many private, public and home swimming pools open as well as BBQ grills are cleaned off and readied for summer cook-outs.

Fire Chief Benjamin M. Barksdale and the men and women of your Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department (PGFD) unfortunately have seen many festive occasions quickly turn into tragedy when a swimming incident or BBQ grill fire erupts.  Chief Barksdale said, "We want to help you avoid those circumstances."

Everyone needs to keep safety at the forefront of every activity.  We offer these common sense safety tips that will help to keep everyone safe including our firefighters and paramedics.  By you staying safe, keeps our emergency personnel in the Fire/EMS Station and available for other incidents.  Remember, Safety First!!!

Grill Safety

It is anticipated that many backyard barbecues will be in use over the course of this upcoming long holiday weekend and throughout the summer months. The men and women; volunteer, civilian and career of PGFD recommend that you exercise caution and keep safety in mind when setting up, using and cleaning your BBQ grill.   Did you know that cooking, most notably "unattended cooking" is the number one cause of fires and fire related injuries in Prince George's County?? This includes both inside and outside cooking: WATCH WHAT YOU HEAT!!!

•  NEVER use a grill indoors including garages, overhangs and canopies

•  By Law - Grills must be at least 30 feet away from any multi-family apartment dwelling.

•  When using a grill at your single family home – homeowners should use a safe distance from anything combustible – including your house!!! Never place a grill up against your house, wood deck or fence.

•  In Prince George’s County - all grills are illegal to use on balconies of apartments and condominium apartments

•  Do not allow children and pets to play near a grill - set up a 10 foot safety zone around your grill.

•  Only use approved ignition fluids – NEVER use gasoline to ignite a grill

•  Keep a fire extinguisher, garden hose or bucket of sand nearby to douse a grill fire that gets out of control.

•  Inspect your grill before you ignite to ensure everything is in working order. This inspection includes all connections on your gas grills are tight and not leaking.

Charcoal ashes and used briquettes should be disposed of in a metal container and allowed to cool down for up to 48 hours before disposal.  Keep ash container off of your wood deck and away from your house.

Swim Safely

Currently our forecast calls for a beautiful Holiday weekend and thousands of residents will be taking full advantage of swimming pools.  Keeping safety first will help to prevent such a festive occasion from becoming a tragedy.
A misconception exists in that when someone is drowning the event is loud and filled with screams for help and splashing water.  This is far from the reality.  Drowning occurs silently and without warning.  Adult supervision, without distraction, is vitally important.  Put down the smart phone and pay attention to the water.

For parents:

•  Always watch your children and never leave them unattended.  A lack of adult supervision is one of the leading contributing factors to children drowning. 

•  Do not rely on flotation devices to protect your children from drowning. You must supervise at all times.

•  Have a phone nearby in the event you need to call 911.

•  Have children swim in pairs - the "buddy system"

•  If a child is missing - check the pool first.

•  Teach your child how to swim. Visit www.pgparks.com/aquatics.htm for additional information.

•  Learn CPR and how to use an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED). Visit http://www.redcross.org/take-a-class or call the Fire/EMS Department CPR Information line at 301-864-LIVE (5483).

Personal Flotation Devices (PFD's) are important and can help to prevent accidental drowning in any area of water.  A child wearing a PFD does not excuse adult supervision.

For home pool owners and managers:

•  Install a fence around the perimeter of the pool.

•  Use self-closing latches and gates.

•  Install a door alarm from the house to the pool area.

•  Have lifesaving equipment nearby such as life rings or reaching poles.  Commercial and public pools should have an AED readily available and personnel trained on how to use it if needed.

Speaking of swimming pools, Firefighter/Medics can perform a wide variety of services, emergency and non-emergency, to assist our citizens, visitors and businesses.  One of the services we do not provide is to fill your swimming pool with water.  Please contact a contractor that can provide this service for you.   

As always, never drink and drive.  

Check your smoke and CO alarms to make sure they are working. Make sure overnight guest are familiar with your home escape plan and the safe place to meet outside.

The combined volunteer, civilian and career men and women of the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department wishes everyone a festive and safe Memorial Day.  Keep safety in every aspect of your event!!!