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Tuesday, March 10, 2009



Program Starts April 1, 2009

The Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department’s Office of the Fire Marshal will begin charging for fire inspections, effective April 1, 2009. County occupants who are required to show proof of a fire inspection in order to operate as a business, educational facility, health institution or as necessary to become a licensed board and care facility or other licensed facility, will be required to pay nominal fees for inspectional services. This is per amended Prince Georges County Fire Safety Law Subtitle 11 (Section 11-163). The Fire/EMS Department plans to work with residents to ensure no one suffers financial hardship as a result of the imposition of new inspectional fees.

Prince George’s County Fire Inspectors will continue conducting fire inspections with the same high quality our citizens and residents have grown to expect. The Department is diligently working to fully automate the Office of the Fire Marshal’s administration and code enforcement program. These efforts will allow Fire Inspectors to expedite service, thereby increasing the level of quality customer service.

Charges for services are as follows.
Assembly (a) 1,001 or more individuals, $300.00
Assembly (b) 301 – 1000 individuals, $200.00
Assembly (c) 50 – 300 individuals, $100.00
Family or Group Day Care Homes (a) initial inspection, $45.00
Family or Group Day Care Homes (b) Renewal Inspection, $30.00
Residential (f) Foster Care Homes, $25.00

All fees for services are outlined in the Prince Georges County Fire Safety Law Subtitle 11, which is found on the Prince George’s County Website.

For questions concerning fee implementation or to schedule an inspection, contact the Fire/EMS Department’s Fire Prevention office at 301-583-1830. You may also send an e-mail to fireprevention@co.pg.md.us.

GAZETTE ARTICLE: Retired Public Servant Still Giving Back

by Timmy Gelles GAZETTE NEWSPAPER Staff Writer

It's a cold Saturday evening in late February and 50 firefighters have been battling a blaze at a single-family home for over an hour. Nearby, a large RV is parked and helping the effort, not by providing water to battle the fire, but to stave off dehydration.

And inside, helping firefighters and paramedics is H. Edward "Eddie" Ricks. "I can't do heavy lifting or fight fires, but this I can do," Ricks, 64, said. "When you hydrate somebody, it's as important as fighting the fire, or anything else at the scene of an emergency."

The Laurel native operates Laurel's Rehabilitation/Canteen Unit. The 44-foot long vehicle provides free beverages, food, restroom facilities and shelter during emergencies or festivals. It includes grilles, microwaves, coolers and other amenities. Ricks is a former city councilman from the 1980s, firefighter and director of the Family Court Operations Division of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Three years ago at a fire on Route 197, Ricks said he saw the Laurel Volunteer Fire Department's Ladies Auxiliary Unit providing food and beverages out of the back of a pickup truck.

Knowing Bowie and Prince George's County had their own canteen trucks and heeding Mayor Craig A. Moe's desire for the city to be self-sufficient, he said he was inspired to find ways for the city to have its own. Ricks said Moe had him search for a vehicle that could provide rehabilitation services, including provisions and minor medical care like triages. Since purchasing the $35,000 1989 canteen truck from the Anne Arundel County Alarmer's Association in August, Ricks said he and 23 other volunteers have replaced the sinks, microwaves, grilles, refrigerators and coolers to meet health codes and allow for quicker cooking times, all while remaining well under the $70,000-plus operating budget provided by the city.

"That's a major commitment of tax dollars for something you don't use everyday," he said. "But when you need it, you need it." Ricks added that a new canteen vehicle would have cost the city at least $175,000. Ricks is currently a member of the city's Emergency Services Commission and, when not responding to an emergency or attending a festival with the canteen, finds ways to replace or update the vehicle's cooking and cleaning amenities.

Robert "Pop" Grant, Laurel Volunteer Fire Department vice-president, said Ricks' involvement with the canteen is an extension of his personal goodwill. "He's out to help the community as a whole.

And whenever he can, he does," he said of his colleague of 27 years. Jim Collins, city spokesman, said Ricks remains a public servant, even in retirement. "Some people as they get older slow down but he keeps going like the Energizer Bunny," he said. "The canteen is another extension of what he's done his entire life, and that's take care of people."

E-mail Timmy Gelles at tgelles@gazette.net.

Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer firefighter, EMT or an administrative member should visit their local Fire/EMS Station or call 301-583-1914.