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Friday, October 30, 2009

PGFD Volunteer Recruitment and Retention

Prince George's County Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones holds a round table discussion with Volunteer Chiefs that will share their success stories in recruiting and retaining volunteer members. Additionally, there is video produced by the Prince George's County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association promoting volunteer recruitment.

Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer member with one of our Fire/EMS Stations should contact 301-583-1914.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Emergency Personnel Receive H1N1 Vaccine

Fire Fighter/Medic Captain Steve Kling receives the nasal H1N1 Vaccine administered by Paramedic Captain Mary Crampton.
Volunteer William "Bill" Honeycutt from Forestville receives a H1N1 shot.

Prince George’s County Fire and Emergency Medical Services personnel are most often the first point of physical contact with our citizens and residents when they become ill. As such, it is important that emergency operations personnel are provided the resources to do their jobs safely and avoid becoming sick themselves. Active emergency responders are being “highly encouraged” to receive the H1N1 virus vaccination. The vaccine is being provided to our combined, career and volunteer, members at no cost.

Several members have already taken advantage of this opportunity. Vaccinations will continue for the remainder of this week or until supplies run out.

Drowning Crash Victim Saved by Fire Fighters and Paramedics

Photo by: Fire Fighter/Medic Ed Aldaco

Photo by: Mark E. Brady

Prince George’s County Fire Fighter/Medics are credited with saving the life of a 23--year-old Clinton woman that is 8-months pregnant. At about 10:10 AM, Saturday, October 24, 2009, Sadé Davis lost control of her vehicle and left the rain slickened roadway in the 8900 block of Temple Hill Road in Clinton. Her vehicle overturned after striking at least one tree and landed upside down in a creek. EMS units from the Clinton Fire/EMS Station had already been dispatched to another medical emergency at a home in the 8700 block of Temple Hill Road, however, stopped for a citizen that was waving frantically to attract their attention. Ambulance 825 and Paramedic 825 were flagged down in the 8900 block of Temple Hill Road and informed of a vehicle had just ran off the road and overturned in a creek about 30 to 40 feet off the road. The citizen stated he did not see anyone get out of the vehicle.

The Firefighter/Medics notified Public Safety Communications of the situation and other nearby EMS units were dispatched to handle the original medical emergency call. When personnel reached the crash site they observed a vehicle upside down with the front end and driver’s area partially submerged in water that was up to 4 feet deep. Upon closer examination a motionless female was seen inside the vehicle that appeared to be unconscious and lifeless, she was suspended by her seat belt with her upper body under water. The crew knew that this was a life or death situation and if immediate action was not taken then Sade Davis would certainly die from drowning if not from the injuries sustained during the crash. The crew of four Firefighter/Medics entered the waist-high slow moving creek water and made their way to the vehicle. They attempted to make entry into the locked vehicle and made several attempts to alert the motionless occupant. As additional units and firefighters from the Clinton Fire/EMS Station were responding to the scene the crew made entry into the vehicle by breaking a window and assessed the unconscious female occupant and determined she was not breathing and had no pulse.

Sade Davis was rapidly extricated and medics started cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Medics also noted that the patient appeared to be in her third trimester of pregnancy. The engine from Clinton arrived and assisted in the removal from the creek bed to the paramedic unit where the patient was loaded on-board and immediately transported. While en route to nearby Southern Maryland Hospital paramedics were able to regain a pulse and sporadic breathing. Emergency Room personnel were able to stabilize the patient and transferred her to the Washington Hospital Center for evaluation and treatment of her near drowning combined with complications involving her pregnancy.

Additional Fire/EMS units from the Clinton area, including the Fire/EMS Departments Underwater Rescue Team, responded to the scene and performed additional searches of the vehicle and surrounding area for other victims of which none were located.

After spending four days in the hospital, Sade Davis was released and sent home. Before leaving the hospital doctors told Sade that it was the actions of the Fire Fighter/Medics that saved her life and protected her pregnancy. Despite suffering a laceration to her head and short term memory loss, Sade appeared in good shape and glad to be leaving the hospital when she arrived at her Clinton Maryland home on Wednesday at about 3:00 PM. The crew that assisted her that day welcomed her home and explained to Sade, Cheryl Davis (mother) and Jerome Davis (father) what had occurred and the actions they took to save her life. The Davis family was very gracious and thankful in thanking the crews.

Prince George’s County Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones stated, “This is a story that involves true heroes that risked a lot to save a lot. Their actions are highly commendable and speak highly of themselves and the entire Fire/EMS Department.”

Paramedic 825
Fire Fighter/Paramedic Lieutenant Dale M. Giampetroni
Fire Fighter/Medic Dave J. Wilson

Ambulance 825
Fire Fighter Derian C. Whitted
Fire Fighter/Medic Wesley R. Auld

Engine 825
Volunteer Fire Fighter/EMT John Maine
Volunteer Fire Fighter/EMT Bernie Roussillion

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Watch CBS News Videos Online

The Washington Post - Pregnant woman escapes death in submerged car

NBC NEWS 4 Video Story of the Rescue of Sade Davis

Original air date of October 28, 2009

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcwashington.com/video.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930

Prince George’s County Firefighters are going “trick or treating” and it may be the homeowner that receives the treat. On Sunday, November 1, 2009, citizens and residents will set their clocks back one hour to standard time. It is during this time of year that firefighters remind homeowners that this is an excellent time to also change the battery in smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms as well.
Firefighters will take advantage of the timing of “Halloween” and the changing of the clocks to go door-to-door and trick or treat. On Saturday evening, October 31, 2009, is a time normally reserved for children to go to neighbor’s home, dressed as their favorite character, in hopes of receiving treats. This year, firefighters will also visit neighbor’s homes and say, “Trick or treat, we want to hear beep, beep, beep.” Uniformed firefighters will ask homeowners to check their smoke alarm and when the alarm operates and firefighters hear the “beep, beep, beep” the homeowner will receive coupons good for complimentary popcorn and soda from AMC Movie Theatres. If the alarm does not operate; firefighters will ensure the homeowner has a working smoke alarm before they leave. “This is a win-win situation for every homeowner” says Prince George’s County Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones. Chief Jones stated, “Homeowners will be the ones receiving a treat this Halloween when their alarms work and if we find a smoke alarm not working, we will ensure it works before we leave. Having a working smoke alarm provides you the early warning of a fire and increases the chances of someone surviving a fire by 50%.” An additional benefit of our “trick or treating” campaign is the increased public safety visibility within communities will enhance the safety of children and adults while partaking in Halloween festivities.

For homeowner safety, Firefighters will be in uniform and have a photo ID available to show upon request. A fire department vehicle should also be visible within the community.

Homeowners should prepare for our firefighters visit and install a fresh battery in their alarm now. Prince George’s County Citizens and residents are eligible to receive a fresh battery and new smoke alarm installed in their home, free of charge, by calling our smoke alarm hotline at 301-864-SAFE (7233). This free service is made possible from a donation of batteries from ENERGIZER and smoke alarm donation from PEPCO.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


On Saturday, October 10th, the Seat Pleasant Volunteer Fire Company attended the annual Pepper Mill Parade at the Pepper Mill Recreation Center.

On Wednesday, October 7th, the Seat Pleasant Volunteer Fire Company attended a back to school night and ice cream social at the Seat Pleasant Elementary School.

By: Jeff Mehaffey
President, Seat Pleasant Volunteer Fire Company

During the annual fire prevention week, October 4th thru October 10th, the Seat Pleasant Volunteer Fire Company did their part in trying to keep its citizens safe during two community events held during the week.

On Wednesday, October 7th, the Seat Pleasant Volunteer Fire Company attended a back to school night and ice cream social at the Seat Pleasant Elementary School. During their time there, the volunteers answered questions on fire prevention and fire safety as well as handed out smoke detectors and emergency battery powered lights. The volunteers also brought food as well for the attendees to enjoy during the function.

On Saturday, October 10th, the Seat Pleasant Volunteer Fire Company attended the annual Pepper Mill Parade at the Pepper Mill Recreation Center and provided more fire safety tips to both children and adults alike. The volunteers again passed out and donated smoke detectors as well as emergency battery powered lights.

Between both events, the Seat Pleasant Volunteers donated over 750 smoke detectors and 350 emergency lights all in an effort to promote fire safety and prevention in the community they serve and to keep their residents safe. Special thanks to Mrs Pamela Boone of the Seat Pleasant Public Safety Group for her assistance in these events.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Firefighters know the importance of home fire safety. That's why the men and women of the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department encourage participation in the annual home fire safety program called: Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery! Sponsored by the International Association of Fire Chiefs and Energizer brand batteries, the program urges you to adopt a simple lifesaving habit: Change all of your Smoke Alarm batteries when you change your clocks back to Standard Time on November 1, 2009.

Protecting your home is simple: Change, Check, Count and Clean!™

Change Your Smoke Alarm Batteries!

The PGFD encourages you to change Smoke Alarm batteries at least once each year. An easy way to remember is to change these batteries when you change your clock back to Standard Time each Fall. Replace old batteries with fresh, high quality batteries to keep your Smoke Alarms ready to protect you all year-long.

Check Your Smoke Alarms!

After inserting fresh batteries in your Smoke Alarm, make sure the Alarm is working by activating the safety test button. The PGFD recommends that you test all of your Smoke Alarms at least once each month. If you have any doubt regarding the working condition of a Smoke Alarm, we recommend you replace it.

Count Your Smoke Alarms!

In Prince George’s County, you are required by law to have at least one working Smoke Alarm in the hallway directly adjacent to sleeping areas. If you sleep with your bedroom door closed, a working Smoke Alarm should be installed in that room as well.

It's best to have at least one working Smoke Alarm on every level of your home, including the basement and family room. To assure optimal protection and avoid false alarms, your Smoke Alarm must be mounted properly. You'll find simple instructions included with every Smoke Alarm you purchase. Should questions remain, we encourage you to visit or contact your Community Fire/EMS Station.

Clean Your Smoke Alarms!

Help your Smoke Alarm remain sensitive and ready to protect you by gently using a vacuum cleaner once a month to remove dust and cobwebs. If your Smoke Alarms have been accidentally painted or contaminated, replacement may be necessary.

To best protect your home and family, we also suggest...

Retire your old Smoke Alarms!

Smoke Alarms work every minute of every day. After millions of sensing cycles, they should be retired. Replace your smoke alarms if they are 10 years old or older.

Plan and Practice Your Escape!

Children are at increased risk of dying in a home fire because they often become scared and confused when a fire erupts. Make sure your children recognize the sound of your home's Smoke Alarm and teach them to respond instinctively to its signal.

Create at least two different escape routes from every room and practice them with the entire family. Be sure all family members know the lifesaving practice of crawling below the dangerously thick smoke and intense heat of a fire.

All capable members of the family must learn how to open windows and remove screens or security bars. Purchase, plan and practice using a collapsible emergency escape ladder that can be stored inside near upper floor windows. Realism is essential in your family's practice, as is your clear designation of a meeting place for everyone to gather outside the home in case of a fire or other emergency. Remember, this may be the only practice and discussion you will have before tragedy strikes!

When a fire occurs, don't delay! Get out quick and stay out!! Escape first, closing doors behind you if possible. Quickly gather at your meeting place and then notify the Fire Department by calling 9-1-1 from a safe location.

Your Firefighters are specially trained and equipped to rescue your family and pets, as well as to protect your possessions. Help your Firefighters by remaining together outside the home and directing them to endangered family or valuables.

Install Fire Extinguishers!

Install at least one fire extinguisher in or near your kitchen and know how to use it. We recommend multi- or all-purpose fire extinguishers that are listed by and carry the mark of an accredited testing agency such as Underwriters Laboratory. Read all instructions carefully and mount the fire extinguishers for easy access. Make sure adult members of your family know the proper use as well as the limitations of these important fire safety tools!

Change Your Flashlight Batteries!

Make sure your emergency flashlights work when you need them by using fresh high-quality batteries. It is a good idea to keep a working flashlight and a whistle near your bed, in the kitchen, basement and family room. You can use them to signal for help or direct rescuers in the event of a fire or other emergency.

We hope this simple list of tips from the combined, career/volunteer/civilian, members of your Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department will help keep your family safe. Please remember that fire prevention is your best course of action. We encourage you to learn more about fire and life safety by visiting your Community Fire/EMS Station. While checking your smoke alarm batteries - remember to check the batteries in your carbon monoxide (CO) alarm as well!!!
Through generous donations from ENERGIZER Batteries and PEPCO we have an ample supply of fresh batteries and smoke alarms available. Any Prince George’s County citizen and resident may have one installed, free of charge, by calling 301-864-SAFE (7233) or by clicking here.

Fire/EMS Department Promotions

Lieutenant Colonel Angela M. Peden
Michael K. Linynsky, Fire Fighter/Medic Lieutenant

Christian B. Wargo, Fire Fighter/Medic Lieutenant

Brian J. Frankel, Fire Fighter/Medic Lieutenant

Jon M. Wilson, Fire Fighter/Medic Technician

Gregory T. Mangum, Fire Fighter/Medic Technician

Carlton A. Archer, Fire Fighter/Medic Technician

Shaun P. Duppins, Fire Fighter/Medic Technician

James M. Stewart, Jr., Fire Fighter Technician

As a result of recent retirements, several promotions have occurred within the Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department. Prince George’s County Fire Chief Eugene Jones announced that Angela Peden was appointed as a Deputy Fire Chief and now holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Lt. Col Peden has been serving as an Acting Commander of the Management Services Command (MSC) for the past several months and will continue to lead the same command. The MSC is responsible for fiscal affairs, apparatus maintenance and logistics and supply. Chief Jones commented, “Colonel Peden has already demonstrated her skills and abilities to lead while directing her fiscal affairs command during these challenging financial times. Congratulations to Colonel Peden on the well deserved appointment.” Angela Peden is a 20-year member of the Fire/EMS Department and resides in Bowie, MD.

Fire Chief Jones also acknowledged the members of the Fire/EMS Department that are retiring. Having spent at least 20 years with the Department these members have made a decision to end their career with the Fire/EMS Department and begin a new chapter in their life. Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones stated, “I first want to thank each and every individual that has spent the last 20 or more years serving our citizens and residents of Prince George’s County as firefighters and paramedics. Your service has been commendable and I offer you, on behalf of Prince George’s County Government, congratulations on a successful career and best wishes.”

These retirements have made room for others to achieve promotions. In addition to the appointment of Lt. Col. Peden the following promotions have been made:

 Christian B. Wargo, Fire Fighter/Medic Lieutenant
 Michael K. Linynsky, Fire Fighter/Medic Lieutenant
 Brian J. Frankel, Fire Fighter/Medic Lieutenant
 Jon M. Wilson, Fire Fighter/Medic Technician
 Carlton A. Archer, Fire Fighter/Medic Technician
 James M. Stewart, Jr., Fire Fighter Technician
 Shaun P. Duppins, Fire Fighter/Medic Technician
 Gregory T. Mangum, Fire Fighter/Medic Technician

In each of the promotional presentations Fire Chief Jones stated, “This promotion is in recognition of your dedication and commitment that you have invested in the Departmental promotional process.” He continued by saying, “I personally challenge you to continue leading, educating, and motivating our personnel in providing the best customer service for our citizens and residents in Prince George’s County.” The promotions were effective as of Sunday, September 27, 2009.

The retirement of Lt. Col. Carla Blue this month has elevated Major Scott Hoglander to Acting Lieutenant Colonel and will lead the Support services Command. This command oversees the operations of information management, research and planning and the office of the Fire Marshal.

Major W. Derrick Lea has been selected to serve as the Acting Lt. Colonel of Administrative Services Command. This command oversees human resources, risk management, fire/EMS training and administrative compliance as well as the Departments 24-hour call center. This command was being led by Interim Acting Deputy Director Sylvia M. Franklin. Dr. Franklin will return to her position as the Manager of Human Resources. Fire Chief Jones stated, "I want to thank Dr. Sylvia Franklin for stepping up and leading the Administrative Compliance Command during an extremely difficult and challenging time for our County and Department. Her leadership was extremely helpful during our Departmental transition and reorganization."

Saturday, October 24, 2009


At about 10:10 AM, Saturday, October 24, 2009, EMS units from the Clinton Fire/EMS Station were dispatched to a medical emergency at a home in the 8700 block of Temple Hill Road, however, ended up at the scene of a motor vehicle crash involving a critical injury. Ambulance 825 and Paramedic 825 were flagged down in the 8900 block of Temple Hill Road by a citizen while they were responding to the original call. The citizen told medics he could see a vehicle about 30 to 40 feet off the roadway and in a creek. The Firefighter/Medics notified Public Safety Communications of the situation and other nearby EMS units were dispatched to handle the original call. When personnel reached the crash site they observed an unconscious female inside a vehicle which had overturned and was on its roof in a creek. The Firefighter/Medics entered the 2-foot deep creek water and quickly assessed the female occupant and determined she had sustained traumatic injuries, was not breathing and had no pulse. She was removed and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was initiated. She was loaded and immediately transported to a nearby hospital.

Additional Fire/EMS units from the Clinton area, including the Fire/EMS Departments Underwater Rescue Team, responded to the scene and performed additional searches of the vehicle and surrounding area for any additional victims of which none were located. A preliminary investigation indicates the vehicle left the roadway, striking trees and overturning before landing on its roof in the creek. It is unknown when this incident occurred and police are seeking anyone that may have witnessed the crash.

The female crash victim, 20ish years of age, is in extremely critical condition at the hospital. The Prince George’s County Police Department is investigating the crash.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Grand Opening of Northview Community Fire/EMS Station

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
Photography by: Mike Yourishin, Jeff Callaway and Mark Brady
Prince George’s County celebrated the grand opening of our newest Community Fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Station on Thursday, October 22, 2009. Northview Fire/EMS Station 816, located at 14901 Health Center Drive in Bowie, Maryland, opened with all the fanfare expected of a new community facility with a standing room only crowd of elected officials, members of the community and the combined volunteer/career/civilian membership of the Department. Our newest facility is state-of-the-art which will provide a functional and safe work environment for our volunteer and career fire fighters and paramedics, as well as bath, shower, and locker facilities to accommodate our increasing number of female personnel.

Northview Fire/EMS Station 816 is one of forty-five (45) Fire/EMS stations strategically located throughout Prince George’s County. It is the first new addition to our cadre of stations in 35 years. Other recently constructed facilities have been replacements and consolidations. The primary response area for the Northview Community Fire/EMS Station is 8.4 square miles; however, the station serves many of the surrounding communities, including: Glenn Dale, Woodmore, Upper Marlboro, and occasionally provides mutual aid to Anne Arundel County, Maryland.

The station will house a variety of fire and EMS resources, including:
An engine; paramedic ambulance (Basic & Advanced Life Support); a Battalion Chief and EMS Supervisor. There will be five career personnel, 24-hours a day, providing dedicated staffing of the engine (3) and paramedic ambulance (2 paramedics). When available, volunteer personnel provide countless hours of community service, including: emergency service delivery, incident command, fundraising, and administrative support. The projected demand for service for the primary response area is approximately 2200 calls a year.

Northview Fire/EMS Station 816 is a 12,500 square foot one story facility that includes: offices, living space, an exercise room, separate sleeping/locker facilities for men & women, training/meeting room, decontamination room, vehicle/equipment maintenance room and the County’s first Public Education areas. Some other features of the Fire/EMS Station include:

* The apparatus bay is approximately 4500 square feet with three drive-thru bays.

* A training/meeting room equipped with audiovisual equipment, multiple computer network connections, and space to accommodate between 24-42 persons, depending upon room configuration.

* A training tower located in the rear of the station enables our personnel to conduct realistic training evolutions without leaving our response area.

*First-In Fire Station Alerting System, which will reduce response time and firefighter stress. The system technology utilizes Cardiac Kind ramped tones and a human voice to alert personnel, in conjunction with low intensity red light and other visual indicators.

* Public Safety room with built-in design features to assist in teaching fire safety and injury prevention to children. Additionally, a stand alone building, in the rear of the station, to house a fire safety house and other community outreach features.

The total design and construction costs (including land acquisition) are approximately $4.7 million. The project was funded with Prince George’s County general obligation bonds.
Today’s event was highlighted by comments from Prince George’s County Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Homeland Security and Public Safety Vernon Herron; State Senator Doug Peters; County Council Member Samuel Dean; Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones; Bowie Mayor Pro-Tem Todd Turner; Bowie City Councilwoman Diane Polangin; Chairman of the Volunteer Fire Commission John Alter; Project Coordinator Major Rich Lambdin; Executive Director of the Arts in Public Places Lauren D. Glover.

The ceremonial ribbon-cutting was performed by elected State, County and local officials as well as career and volunteer members including; Fire Chief Jones, Fire Captain Thomas “TJ” James, Fire Fighter/Medic Technician Jason Wiseman; Bowie Volunteer Deputy Chief Jonathan Howard and Bowie Volunteer President Jon Bigony. The traditional and ceremonial placing of the station in service was conducted with the engine being pushed back into the station by station personnel and ceremonies concluded with the unveiling of the building dedication plaque and the Arts in Public Places artwork plaque. Dozens of attendees then toured the many fascinating and innovative aspects of their new community Fire/EMS Station.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Passion For Firefighting Prompts End of Retirement

Prince George’s County Fire Captain does it again
By Karen L. Bune

He’s been there, done that, and is doing it again. Acting Captain Charles E. Finn III, 57, of the Prince George’s County Maryland Fire/EMS Department learned that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence and retirement is not all that it is cracked up to be. He came out of retirement and has been back on the job 4 ½ years.

His firefighting career began after he dropped out of college at Western Kentucky University where he spent three years. On a trip home from college and after Charles visited his best friend, Phil Buhler, who was a member of the Silver Hill volunteer Fire Department at the time, his interest was sparked to join the fire service. He left college and got a job as a truck driver for a parts company. He became a volunteer firefighter at age 21 for the Silver Hill Fire Department. “I really enjoyed fire department life. I liked the excitement and the camaraderie and the friendships I developed—many of which I’ve retained today,” said Flinn.

However, when he was a young volunteer there was an incident that left him shaken and caused him to think twice about being a firefighter. He recalled being on an apartment building fire as a young volunteer, and he was frozen with fear. “Nobody knew how scared I was but I knew how afraid I was, and I was absolutely ashamed of myself. I promised myself I would overcome this fear and would improve as a firefighter from that day on. That was the impetus that got me involved in the fire department full time as a career. I decided that’s what I wanted to do,” he said.

In April 1978, he secured his first full-time paid job as a firefighter for the National Institute of Health Fire Department in Bethesda, Maryland where he worked for four years. From there, he joined the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department in July 1982. “I wanted to go to a busy fire department,” said Flinn.

Throughout his career, he was burned and hospitalized three times. In 1992, there was a heavy fire at an agricultural research firm and flames were seen everywhere. “I was taking a beating. I had burns on my knees, hands, ears,” said Flinn who was subsequently taken to the Washington Hospital Burn Center by ambulance.

In 1996, he was on the scene of a severe house fire in Landover Hills, Maryland, and he was burned on his ears, face, and neck. He was hospitalized for two days at the burn center.

In April 1997, Flinn was attempting to rescue a child from a second floor window of a house fire. He ascended the ladder with a hose line and made two attempts, but the heat beat him back. “It was just unbearable,” he said. He then tried to make the rescue through the inside of the house. “I didn’t know where I was. I was trapped, screaming for help. That was one of the proverbial seeing your life flash in front of your face moments,” said Flinn. A few seconds later, he felt two firefighters picking him up by his arms and dragging him out of the house; he was exhausted. “The fire was so intense that the front part of my firefighter coat and the clip fasteners on the coat were totally discolored and almost burnt off,” he said. Sadly, the child he tried to rescue died in the fire.

Once again, Flinn went to the burn center and suffered from second degree burns on his face and ears and respiratory distress. “Everybody was real concerned about me. I became very concerned as well because that first night I couldn’t stand up. They put me in a wheel chair,” he said.

Flinn was uncertain if he could return to firefighting. “After the third one, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to back to work because I was traumatized physically and mentally.” After eight weeks off on injury leave, he returned to work. “I was back there because I needed to be back to work,” he said.

Throughout his tenure in the fire department, Flinn rose to the rank of Captain. In September 2002, however, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. “The first thing I thought was I did my 20 years and now I got cancer. Initially the doctors wanted to do watchful waiting and not treat it, which I did, but I was never comfortable with that. Finally, in April 2003, my cousin died from a heart attack. He was 52. That’s when I questioned myself again wondering how much time I had. Finally, it took me over the edge and I made the decision to retire,” said Flinn. He retired on June 1, 2003. He had surgery at John Hopkins in Baltimore for his prostate cancer, and today remains cancer free.

Flinn is divorced, but he is engaged to a woman who works in the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office. He has two children by his former marriage--Chris, 29, and Sean, 23. Both his parents are deceased. He has two younger brothers, George, 52, who lives in Maryland, and Tom, 51, who lives in Tennessee.

Flinn revealed that he did not feel comfortable at his retirement party. “I didn’t feel ready to retire. In addition, my fiancé urged me not to retire because she felt I still had firefighting in my blood. She had actually talked me out of retirement at the end of April. When I finally retired, I kept my decision from her because I thought she would talk me out of it. And, she was right all along—to this day,” he said. The first morning following his retirement, Flinn felt depressed. “I had a good idea that I really didn’t do the right thing,” he said.

He subsequently had various jobs, most of which were in the aviation industry. He also worked as a delivery driver for a flower shop and as a limousine driver.

Flinn admitted he did not enjoy his retirement. “One of the biggest reasons was losing the organizational identity. I wasn’t part of it anymore. It meant a lot to me to be a part of the fire department family. Long before I quit the airline jobs, I was thinking about returning to the fire service,” he said.

When Lawrence Sedgwick, now retired, became fire chief in 2004, Flinn knew he wanted to return to the fire service. “We had started with Prince George’s together in the same recruit school. We gained a mutual respect and admiration for each other that lasted an entire career,” he said.

At the fire department Christmas party that he attended with his fiancé that year, Flinn spoke to Chief Sedgwick about coming back to the fire department. “To have an opportunity to bring someone back was an easy choice for me. He was a dedicated employee who understood our mission. I knew he had a lot of fire service expertise that would definitely be an asset to our younger employees. He has a calming demeanor which has a positive attribute to being an officer. The biggest thing is: how do you motivate people? That is something Charlie can do. You’ve got to be able to have that personality and skill set to deal with the diversity in public safety. We need more people like him,” said retired Chief Sedgwick.

Flinn was rehired and began working in the fire department again in May 2005. Due to county personnel regulations, he could not assume the rank of Captain that he had before his retirement. However, Flinn was willing to be a firefighter and work his way back up the ranks. He has currently achieved the rank of Acting Captain, and he recently passed the written exam for potential promotion to the permanent rank.

“From the first day back, it was almost like I’d never left. I adjusted quite well to being back. I began studying for a promotional exam almost immediately,” said Acting Captain Flinn. I like my role being in a supervisory decision making capacity but, more importantly, as a mentor for the younger personnel coming up whose fathers I worked with,” he said. His fiancé believes he should have never left and that he is much happier now. “If I think about retiring again, I have to run it by my fiancé. She knows what’s best,” he said.

Karen L. Bune is employed as a Victim Specialist in the State’s Attorney's Office for Prince George's County, Maryland. She is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia and Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia. Ms. Bune serves as a consultant for the Office for Victims of Crime and the Office for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U. S. Department of Justice. She is a nationally recognized speaker and trainer. She is a Board Certified Expert in Traumatic Stress and a Diplomate of the Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress and The National Center for Crisis Management. She is also Board Certified in Domestic Violence. Ms. Bune received the 2007 Notable Alumni Award from the Department of Public Affairs, American University, Washington, D. C. She is a 2009 inductee into the Wakefield High School (Arlington, VA) Hall of Fame. Ms. Bune appears in the 2009 edition of "Marquis Who’s Who in the World" and the 2009 edition of "Marquis Who’s Who in American Women."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930

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; trick-or-treating is one of greatest concerns to Fire/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 alcohol consumption with inherent dangers.

Often, there are safe alternatives to trick-or-treating that can be fun and also risk-free. Local churches 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 Eugene A. Jones 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.

For those who plan to venture out trick-or-treating, the Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services 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. This trend has resulted in fewer door-to-door trick-or-treaters, however, creates additional vehicles on the street.

With Halloween falling on a Saturday this year there is the potential for additional Halloween parties planned for both adults and children over the weekend. Traditionally, when festive occasions are celebrated amongst 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.

Monday, October 19, 2009


The Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department will be featured during an upcoming segment of Destroyed in Seconds. Episode 45 will include coverage of the Penn Mar Shopping Center Explosion that occurred on May 7, 2009.

Destroyed in Seconds, brings you clip after clip of the most shocking destructions captured on film. Episode 45 will include a spectacular crash at a world famous race, a helicopter crash-lands onto a navy destroyer, a tornado takes aim at an Iowa farm, an explosion tears-apart a shopping mall and a rodeo bull flings his rider into the air.

Destroyed in Seconds, Episode 45 is scheduled to air on the Discovery Channel, Thursday, October 22, 2009, at 8:00 PM. Check your cable guide for the correct channel.

Original PGFD Press Release on the Penn Mar incident.

About the show: Destroyed in Seconds.

Ribbon Cutting of Northview Community Fire/EMS Station #816

Media Contact: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930

Sunday, October 18, 2009

THE DANGER ZONE - washingtonpost.com

Today's edition of the WASHINGTON POST has an interesting article titled "The Danger Zone." The article states that between '06 and '08, Most Fatal Capital Beltway Crashes Happened on the Interstate's Smallest Stretch: in Pr. George's, Home of the I-95 Connection and Long Sightlines. Click here to view the article by; Ashley Halsey III, Washington Post Staff Writer.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Numerous Rescues - Nine Injured in Greenbelt 3-Alarm Fire

A Greenbelt apartment fire injured 8 civilians, including several children, and a firefighter with numerous rescues of trapped residents. At about 8:45 AM, Saturday, October 17, 2009, fire/EMS units from the Greenbelt area were alerted to an apartment fire at 5925 Cherrywood Terrace in the Empirian Village apartment complex (formerly known as the Spring Hill Lake apartment complex). The ladder truck from Berwyn Heights Fire/EMS Station 814 was the first to arrive to find heavy smoke and fire on the second and third floors of this 3-story garden style apartment building and obvious rescues of residents being required. The intense heat and blinding smoke prevented building occupants from escaping through the enclosed stairwell and were forced to retreat to their balconies. Firefighters from Berwyn Heights effected the rescue of six occupants from their balconies using ground ladders. First arriving units also encountered several injured civilians that had jumped from their balconies prior to the Fire Departments arrival. A second-alarm was sounded bringing additional fire/EMS resources to the scene to deal with the fire that had extended into the roof structure and was starting to extend to an attached building. While firefighters were initiating an attack on the fire and searching the building, for other occupants, paramedics were dealing with several injured residents with burns and injuries. A third alarm was sounded bringing about 100 firefighter/EMT’s and paramedics to the scene on board 30 pieces of fire apparatus, ambulances and paramedics and command officers. The fire was brought under control in about 45 minutes and declared completely extinguished 1 ½ hours after arrival. Paramedics transported a total of 9 patients to the hospital. • An adult male and female, both in their 20’s, sustained burns to their upper body including their respiratory tract. They were transported to the Burn Unit in serious condition. • A family of six jumped from their 3rd floor balcony. An adult male and female were uninjured, however, four children, ranging in age from 3 up to 14 complained of injuries and were transported to a local hospital for evaluation and treatment. • About an hour after the firefighters arrived at the fire, a 911 call was received from a nearby apartment building. An adult female and her young son had escaped the fire from jumping from their balcony and then went to a friend’s apartment. They started to feel pain in their lower body and called 911. The young male was transported to a Children’s Trauma Center and the adult female, 20ish years of age, was transported to a neighboring hospital. • A firefighter sustained burns to his ears. The adult male was transported to the Burn unit and is expected to be treated and released today. The Fire/EMS Departments Citizens Services Unit, the Departments Ladies Auxiliary and the Red Cross worked with apartment complex management to provide temporary relief and refreshments in a community room not far from the fire scene. A total of 28 apartment units from two buildings will be uninhabitable. Within these 28 apartments are 168 residents which include 112 adults and 56 children. There will be 14 apartments in 5925 Cherrywood Terrace, building of fire origin, with long term displacement. Those displaced will be placed into vacant apartment units within the apartment complex. The residents of the 14 apartments units in 5923 Cherrywood Terrace will suffer short-term displacement and are being placed in a hotel by the apartment complex management and Red Cross. Management is hopeful to return these residents back into their apartments within the next few days. The fire appears to have originated in a 2nd floor bedroom on the rear side of the building. The cause of the fire has been ruled accidental and attributed to an electrical malfunction. Fire loss is estimated at $750,000. EARLY VIDEO OF FIRE, REAR OF BUILDING, from neighbor posted on Youtube.com

Video of the front of the building.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Reorganization Chart Effective 10-11-09

Click on the chart for larger image.

Beltsville Family Safely Escapes Home Fire

A Beltsville family escaped safely from their home after being awakened by their barking dog and activated smoke alarm. Firefighters from the Beltsville Fire/EMS Station and surrounding stations were alerted at 6:00 AM, Tuesday, October 13, 2009, and arrived to find fire showing from both floors of the 2-story, non-sprinklered, single family home at 4600 Naples Avenue. The fire burned through the roof of the house before firefighters were able to gain control and knock the fire down. Thirty firefighters worked for 20 minutes to knock down the bulk of the fire. There were 3 adults and 5 children at home this morning and all escaped without injury. A firefighter sustained a burn injury to his upper body and was treated and released from a burn unit at a local hospital.

The Fire/EMS Departments Citizen Services Unit and the American Red Cross will assist the family of 2 adults and 9 children with temporary shelter. Fire Investigators continue to investigate the cause of the fire and fire loss is estimated at $250,000.

Any citizen and resident may have a working smoke alarm installed in their home, free of charge, by calling the Fire/EMS Department Smoke Alarm Hotline at 301-864-SAFE (7233). A member of the Department will contact you and set up a time to come to your home and install your working smoke alarm.

Monday, October 12, 2009


A Dedication and Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony was held for the renovation and addition to the Baden Volunteer Fire Department. A crowd of about 200 members of the community, civic and elected leaders and the men and women of the Baden Volunteer Fire Department and surrounding companies celebrated together on Sunday, October 11, 2009. The Baden Volunteer Fire Department, Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Station 836, is one of forty-four (44) Fire/EMS stations strategically located throughout Prince George’s County. The primary response area for Station 836 is approximately 58 square miles, which is the largest geographic response area in Prince George’s County. In addition to Baden, the station serves many of the surrounding communities, including: Brandywine, Aquasco, Croom, Eagle Harbor, Clinton, Marlboro, as well as occasional mutual aid responses to Charles County. • Apparatus: The station houses a variety of modern fire and EMS resources, including: o Paramedic Engine 836 (Advanced Life Support); Tanker 836, Ambulance 836 (Basic Life Support); and Brush 836. • Personnel: Staffed with four (4) career personnel Monday through Friday, between 7:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Volunteer personnel provide 100% of the staffing when career staff is not on-duty, which includes nights, weekends, and holidays. • Call Volume: In 2008, there were 640 fire and emergency medical service calls for service within the primary response area. In addition to the Baden Volunteer President Tony Hall and Chief Wendy Baden making comments was Prince George’s County Fire Chief Eugene Jones, State Delegate Jim Proctor and Floyd Wilson Jr. provided comments on behalf of County Executive Jack B. Johnson. A tour of the new facility was conducted for all attendees and then treated to a delicious luncheon banquet prepared by the Baden Ladies Auxiliary. The Baden Volunteer Fire Department jointly conducted a Fire Prevention Open House entertaining and educating numerous families with fire safety and injury prevention displays. Not including the banquet hall, The Baden Fire/EMS Station is now approximately 10,500 square foot, which is an overall increase of approximately 4800 square feet. The additional square footage in the apparatus room will facilitate the future acquisition of a larger tanker. The area that was previously known as the apparatus room has been converted into much needed living space; which includes: offices, day room/kitchenette, separate sleeping/locker facilities for men & women, training/meeting room, and a decontamination room equipped with a heavy duty washer and dryer designed to clean fire fighters personal protective equipment (PPE). • Apparatus Bay: approximately 4320 square feet with three (3) drive-thru apparatus bays. • Training/Meeting Room: equipped with audiovisual equipment, wireless computer network, and space to accommodate between 24-42 persons, depending upon room configuration. • Fire Safety: Entire building fully equipped with a monitored fire alarm system and sleeping areas are equipped with fire sprinkler systems. • Alerting System: Equipped with a First-In Fire Station Alerting System, which will reduce response time and firefighter stress. The system technology utilizes Cardiac Kind ramped tones and a human voice to alert personnel, in conjunction with low intensity red light and other visual indicators. • Project Cost: Total design and construction costs were approximately $2.86 million, funded with Prince George’s County general obligation binds.

Gazette Article - http://gazette.net/stories/10152009/uppenew182506_32534.shtml