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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Halloween Safety

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

The fun and excitement surrounding Halloween can suddenly turn to sorrow and misfortune through one careless act. The incidence of fire, accident, and injury often increases during holidays and festive events. Each year, firefighters and paramedics witness incidents on Halloween that could have been prevented had simple safety rules been followed. Among the high-risk activities on Halloween; door-to-door trick-or-treating is one of greatest concerns to Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department personnel. Between 4:00 PM and 10:00 PM on Halloween, there is a significant increase in falls, burn-related injuries, and pedestrian injuries. Children are four and a half times more likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than on any other night during the year. Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injuries on Halloween. Additionally, many parties and festivities are planned over the Halloween weekend which could result in an increase in adult alcohol consumption with inherent dangers. 

Often, there are safe alternatives to trick-or-treating that can be fun and also risk-free. Local houses of worship and schools may plan Halloween parties, or families may get together and conduct games and activities instead of allowing young children to engage in trick-or-treating in neighborhoods or along busy streets. Prince George’s County Fire Chief Benjamin M. Barksdale urges adults to take a more pro-active role in activities on Halloween. Additionally, he reminds adults to be vigilant and exercise due caution when traveling to avoid automobile related crashes. Barksdale stated, “Remember safety should be a priority and lets work together to ensure everyone goes home.”

For those who plan to venture out trick-or-treating, the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department would like to offer the following safety tips so that all might enjoy a happy and safe Halloween:

• Costumes should be made of flame resistant light-colored fabric or have reflective qualities. They should be short enough so as not to interfere with walking or become entangled in bicycle chains. Use facial makeup rather than masks so children can see easily. 
• Children should carry flashlights and not use candles or torches. Before leaving the home, children should discuss the proposed route, time of return, and companions. An adult should always accompany younger children. It is advisable to visit the homes of persons you know or local familiar neighborhoods, stopping at well-lit houses only. As a general rule, children should avoid entering homes or apartments and always travel with a companion. 

• Children should avoid busy streets, always use sidewalks, and follow all traffic rules and regulations. Motorists should avoid all unnecessary travel on Halloween evening, and when driving they should drive slowly and be alert to small children crossing streets. Many accidents occur when motorists are backing vehicles out of driveways, unaware of the presence of small children. 

• Halloween treats should be saved until children return home where adults can examine all items closely. Treats that are unwrapped, or show signs of having been opened, should not be eaten. Fruit should be sliced into small pieces and checked for foreign objects. Keep small pieces of candy away from infants and very small children, as they can easily become lodged in the throat and cause choking. 

• Persons receiving trick-or-treaters should keep a light on and pick up obstacles that could cause a child to trip and become injured. Jack-o-lanterns should be kept clear of doorsteps and landings. Consider the possibility of using flashlights instead of candles to light Jack-o-lanterns. Keep dogs and other pets away from doors so children will not become frightened.

A recent trend in celebrating Halloween has been to celebrate as groups at parties or community events in addition to more adult Halloween parties being held. This trend has resulted in fewer door-to-door trick-or-treaters, however, creates additional vehicles on the street. With Halloween falling on Tuesday, October 31, there are numerous additional Halloween parties planned for both adults and children over the October 27, 28 and 29th weekend. 

When festive occasions are celebrated involving adults, the consumption of alcohol goes up. The Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department offer these everyday reminders and safety tips to party-goers:

• Never drink and drive. 

• Always wear your seat belt and ensure everyone in your vehicle is buckled up as well. 

• If you are wearing a costume – vehicle occupants, including the driver, should not wear a mask or head dressing as this may block the view of the driver. 

• Be aware that there are still many trick or treaters walking and crossing streets – slow your speed and use extreme care while driving. 

• Use battery powered illumination instead of candles at your Halloween celebration, including inside of your carved pumpkin.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Great Shakeout - Earthquake Drill

The Prince George’s County Office of Homeland Security/Office of Emergency Management (OHS/OEM) joins FEMA, the Ready Campaign PrepareAthon to promote Earthquake Preparedness this October and encourages employees to take part in The Great Shakeout Earthquake Drills on Thursday, October 19th at 10:19 a.m.   

OEM encourages all employees to participate in the Great ShakeOut by dropping, covering, and holding on for earthquake preparedness;
    • DROP to the ground (before the earthquake drops you!),
    • Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table; and
    • HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops.

For additional information about the Earthquake Preparedness drill, visit Shakeout.organd the OEM's website.  Also follow us on Facebook and Twitter to obtain current preparedness tips. 


Sunday, October 15, 2017

PGFD Open House at St Joes

Images from an Open House event held at the St Joeesph Fire/EMS Station in Springdale.  Thanks to Alan Doubleday, Steve Tabak and Marvin Perry for the video and images.


Friday, October 13, 2017

Assistant Fire Chief Graduates from Institute of Regional Excellence

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

Congratulations are in order for Assistant Fire Chief Dana Brooks for her participation and graduation as a Prince George’s County representative in the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) Institute of Regional Excellence (IRE) Program through George Washington University (GWU).  Brooks received her Certified Public Manager (CPM) recognition on Friday October 6. 

"I am proud of Assistant Chief Brooks accomplishments with the Institute of Regional Excellence as well as her daily efforts to keep Prince George's County a safer place to live, work and visit," said Fire Chief Benjamin Barksdale.

Dana Brooks is currently working as a Special Assistant to the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Public Safety, Mr. Mark Magaw.  Mr. Magaw, Deputy Fire Chief Tiffany Green and Captain Aaron White were in attendance at the graduation ceremony.  

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

"Job Well Done" from The Dictionary Initiative

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

Prince George's County Fire Chief Benjamin Barksdale recently received a very complimentary letter  concerning the actions of his personnel.  Sarah Cavitt, Project Chair of the Dictionary Initiative, wrote to Barksdale saying, "Thank you, Battalion Chief Catterton and all the other fire/ems personnel for participating in the distribution of dictionaries at the Fort Foote ES on Thursday, October 5, 2017. The children were really thrilled to see all the 'uniformed' personnel." 

The books distributed to the students were sponsored by the Riverbend Estates Neighborhood Association. 

"I am always pleased to hear that our personnel made a difference at an event or in someones life," responded Fire Chief Barksdale.  "I also would like to thank Battalion Chief Ashley Catterton and the 5th Battalion personnel for representing the Fire/EMS Department in such an outstanding manner. Job well done."

Pictures provided courtesy of Sarah Cavitt, The Dictionary Initiative

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Important Notice Concerning Sunday's LODD Memorial Service in Emmitsburg

For Immediate Release

Media Contact: Donna Clark 240-723-0615

Inclement weather forecast forces National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service 
to new location

New location: Mount St. Mary’s University

Emmitsburg, MD – Due to the forecast of rain on Sunday, October 8th, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) is moving to the backup location for this weekend’s Memorial Service to honor 95 firefighters who died in the line of duty. 

Sunday’s Memorial Service will be at Mount St. Mary’s University, 16300 Old Emmitsburg Road, Emmitsburg, Maryland 21727, at 10:00 am and is open to the public. Parking for Press is in the A Lot. Press should plan to arrive by 8:15 am and be in place by 9:00 am. 

NFFF provides live satellite feed and streaming of ceremonies along with video of events for downloading courtesy of VISTA Worldlink, WUSA9.com, Freedom Broadcast Group and Digital Comm Link. For a complete list of fallen firefighters being honored and a widget to display their information on your website go to http://live.firehero.org . There you will also find Memorial Weekend streaming information, videos, photos, and satellite coordinates.
# # #

Live streaming of the Memorial Service at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial

Live streaming of the Memorial Service at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland.  Prince George's County Fire Fighter/Medic Lieutenant John "Skillet" Ulmschneider suffered a Line of Duty Death on April 15, 2016 and will be memorialized this year.

Live Video Will Also Available On These Websites

  •  FireEngineering.com
  •  Firehouse.com
  • FirefighterNation.com
  •  FireRescue1.com
  •  Firerescuemagazine.com
  •  rosehillfire.org
  •  Statter911.com
  •  WBRC.com