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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

PGFD's New Radio System - "The Sky is Falling - The Sky is Falling"

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

The word on the street is that no one will be able to monitor the transmissions involving the Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department when we move to the new radio system. This could not be farther from reality. The main dispatch frequency and many operational channels will be able to be monitored with current scanner technology. Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson announced in December 2009 that the county officially launched the new 700 MHZ public safety communications radio system. “During my time as County Executive I have made many important announcements, but none as are important as the one I’m making today,” Johnson said. “After being known as the communication gap in the region for many years, today we are closing that gap by launching a new state-of-the-art radio system.”

To accommodate the new system, the county built 21 new radio towers, partnering with the state to build five of those. The total cost of the system is approximately $76 million, with $14 million in federal and state grants.

The new system will allow the county to maximize use of its public safety network by increasing capacity, expanding coverage and enhancing interoperability. With the new technology, all public safety agencies in the county will be able to communicate with each other and they will also be able to communicate with public safety agencies in surrounding jurisdictions.

The Police Department is the first agency to come online with the new system. They will be followed by the Department of Corrections, Sheriff and Court House security. The Fire/EMS Department is scheduled to come online in November 2010 to coincide with the opening of the new public safety communications center.

Fire/EMS Department radio transmissions will continue to operate and be heard on scanners as they are today for at least another year and the main dispatch channel will be heard on a frequency currently available for the foreseeable future. The same can not be said of the Police Department transmissions. A concern was raised by some that access to the public safety radio transmissions will not be able to be heard with current available technology. While the County Police Department is in the midst of training and installation of the new radio system, the Fire/EMS Department will not go on-line with the new radio system fully until April/May 2011. With current technology, scanners will still be able to monitor the main dispatch channel of the Fire/EMS Department. The main dispatch channel will be broadcast over a VHF frequency capable of being picked up by current scanners. This same VHF frequency will be delivering the transmission to all Fire/EMS Stations for the foreseeable future.

Operational channels will be able to be monitored on an 800 MHz radio on a percentage of incidents, depending on where that is located and if mutual aid companies are involved. Within six to eight months of full implementation by the Fire/EMS Department there will be a “standards migration” whereas scanner companies will be able to research and develop new technology capable of monitoring our new radio system, other then encrypted channels. This should occur during early 2012.

Another option is to purchase a Motorola Apex radio, model 1.5, which will be
programmed by Public Safety Communications personnel with receive only frequencies
to monitor all non-encrypted channels. A Memorandum of Understanding most likely
will have to be executed before radios are programmed.

There is a possibility that pertinent operational radio channels could be available by audio streaming over the internet. A feasibility review will be conducted to see if this option is even possible.

During this brief period of installation and initial implementation there will be times when a particular channel or incident will not be able to be monitored. The transition period will be a challenge for everyone from users to listeners and I’m confident that technology will catch up with the state-of-art radio system quickly. For those veteran scanner listeners you can relate this time to the first 800 MHz radio system. It was not long before technology allowed those channels to be monitored. I believe the same apprehension about our new radio system is occurring.

I have attached the following article by Alan Henney that describes in technical detail what is occurring with the radio system in Prince George's County.
This article is reprinted with permission by the author: Alan Henney

PRINCE GEORGE’S CO FINALLY GOES TRUNKED! SCANNER LISTENERS COULD BE SHUT-OUT FROM MUCH OF NEW RADIO SYSTEM
It will probably go down as the most costly project in county history. During January, Prince George’s County and its municipalities will start migrating police and fire/EMS radio communication to the county’s newly built $80 million Motorola 700 MHz trunked network.

Prince George’s County, the region’s last jurisdiction to vacate analog conventional channels to dispatch police and firefighters, becomes the region’s first jurisdiction to build on the recently vacated analog TV channels.

While the county’s new system offers improved audio quality for police and firefighters, for scanner listeners, this could mark the beginning of the end.

The county’s system use two digital formats – FDMA (frequency division multiple access), which is what most digital public safety radio networks currently use, and TDMA (time division multiple access), which doubles the capacity of each voice channel.

The problem for scanner listeners is that no scanner currently decodes TDMA. To further complicate matters, it may take years before one does! The public safety TDMA standards have not yet been adopted, so it is unlikely a scanner manufacturer will commit to a TDMA scanner at this point.

Prince George’s County’s system will mix FDMA and TDMA formats. We are told that some talkgroups, such as those used by fire/EMS personnel, will remain in FDMA mode to allow for easy interoperability. This gives other jurisdictions capability to monitor and communicate with PGFD if they have 700 MHz-capable digital radios such as the Motorola XTS 5000.

The police will primarily use the “unmonitorable” TDMA format. Adam and Charlie sectors, however, will supposedly use FDMA so those talkgroups may be monitored by Montgomery County police. As of this writing, however, they transmit in TDMA mode, along with the other PGPD talkgroups that are simulcast from the UHF-T band.
The other PGPD dispatch talkgroups will supposedly stay in TDMA mode, unless an older FDMA-only radio is monitoring the talkgroup. In that case, the transmissions will revert to FDMA mode, which will allow scanner listeners to monitor. Alternate/tactical PGPD channels will be TDMA only.

The county has 21 antenna sites (see map in page 8). The county’s system is divided into two tiers (or subsystems), one for the north, and one for the south. The dividing line is roughly Pennsylvania Avenue.

If you have a digital scanner that can receive 700 MHz, such as the BCD396T/996T, BCD396XT/996XT, PSR-500/600 or PRO-106/197, you can try to monitor the FDMA portion of the county’s new system.

Program your radio with two new systems (or sites), one for the north and one for the south. Set your scanner to P25 trunking and enter each set of the control channels as separate systems. You may ignore the TDMA ranges since the scanner cannot decode them!

North: 774.68125, 774.20625, 774.15625, 773.63125
South: 773.88125, 773.23125, 772.90625, 772.48125

Position Frequency Spacing Format
00 851.00625 6.25 FDMA
01 762.00625 6.25 FDMA
02 851.01250 12.5 TDMA
03 762.00625 12.5 TDMA

The county is using Motorola’s “Apex” series radios which include the APX 7000 for handheld use and the APX 7500 mobile radios.

The system will also employ GPS-tracking technology. Fire/EMS units will be tracked in realtime, while police officers will be polled as needed or when an officer presses the radio’s emergency button. The locations will appear on a map display in the dispatch center.

As for the public's inability to monitor the TDMA talkgroups, the county may offer a media plan. No announcement has been made. The radio would cost about $5000, perhaps as much as $6000.

In addition to the privacy TDMA currently offers, about 450 of the system’s 7000 radios will have encryption modules which cost about $1000 more per radio.

The county will retain a few public safety channels such as 155.685 and 155.79. One will simulcast the fire dispatch talkgroup and the other will be a telemetry circuit for firehouse alerting. The majority of the county’s VHF and UHF frequencies will be returned to the FCC for re-licensing.

The current UHF-T band police dispatch channels simulcast the corresponding trunked talkgroups. The police are making the transition to the new system during January. Clinton sector has been selected as the first district to make the switch. Other police districts will follow along with corrections, sheriff and court house security and various municipalities, on their own schedule.

Analog police radios will remain in use as a back-up and the county simulcasts will continue until the county’s new 9-1-1 call center is completed in Bowie in November 2010. At that point, the fire/EMS radio users will switch to the new system as well.

The trunked system is intended for use by public safety agencies only. Schools, public works, etc. will remain on existing radio systems.
Rep. Steny Hoyer, Co. Exec. Jack Johnson, PSC Dep. Dir. Wayne McBride, and Pub. Safety Dir. Vernon Herron were among many officials who attended the official launch of the county’s new public safety radio network on Dec. 7, 2009 (photo by Tom Yeatman).

# # #

THE T-D-M-A DILEMMA!
Loudoun and P.G. shutting-out
scanner radio listeners!

Loudoun and Prince George’s counties became the first jurisdictions to deploy new digital radio technology in the Washington area for use by police and firefighters. Prince George’s County officially launched its new system on Dec. 7. The next day, Loudoun County sheriff switched, followed by the county’s firefighters a week later. Although Prince George’s County already launched its system, the county will start migrating police and then firefighters to the system during 2010.

Scanner listeners, who are unable to monitor the new digital format, most of whom were caught off guard, have expressed concern in online forums such as Scan-DC, RadioReference and thewatchdesk.com.

Unlike the older FDMA (Frequency Division Multiple Access) technology which has been used by public safety for years, TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access) allows for two simultaneous conversations per channel. TDMA has been used by the cellular industry for years, but it is new to public safety. FDMA is commonly known as APCO Project 25 Phase 1 while TDMA is Project 25 Phase 2. But digital scanners only decode FDMA (Phase 1) -- not TDMA (Phase 2).

The Department of Homeland Security has advocated adoption of the Project 25 Phase 2 technology for all state-of-the-art first responder communications systems, says Charles Bryson, director of RCC Consultants. He adds that TDMA technology used in Project 25 Phase 2 is mandated by FCC rules for users of the new 700 MHz spectrum (47 CFR §90.535). Users of 700 MHz must employ TDMA no later than December 31, 2014. There is no current FCC rule requiring users of the 800 MHz band to eventually meet similar TDMA requirements.

In addition to Loudoun and Prince George’s counties, Stafford County plans to deploy a 700 MHz TDMA system and the State of Maryland is accepting proposals for a statewide 700 MHz TDMA network as well.

The standards body developing Project 25 is the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA).

The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) is the liaison between the public safety community and the manufacturers and is the organization that gave birth to “Project 25.”

Many scanner listeners have expressed concern and are wondering when they can expect a TDMA-capable scanner on the market. Paul Opitz, Uniden product manager, says the current TDMA systems are not confirmed to conform to any standard (other than the proposed Project 25 Phase 2 standard). He says Uniden has no plans to support non-standard systems (unless they happen to be supported as an unintended consequence of providing support for some standard kind of system).

“I think it isn't so much proprietary,” Opitz writes in regard to Motorola’s X2 TDMA technology, as “it’s built around an unratified proposed standard. It [Motorola’s TDMA format] may very well conform to Project 25 Phase 2 in the end, but basing development conditions on that chance could be an expensive dead end.”

There is no guarantee that Motorola’s X2 TDMA will be equivalent to the Phase 2 TDMA standard, and that standard is still a few years away.

What are Uniden's plans regarding Phase 2 system support, once the standard is ratified and systems operating under the standard become operational?

Opitz says Uniden has not announced any plans as of yet. “We typically study operational systems and released standards and then alpha/beta test engineering solutions before making any such announcement,” Opitz noted. He says such efforts typically require three to 18 months, depending on the engineering solution required, noting that firmware-only updates are shorter while firmware with hardware upgrades take longer.

When can scanner listeners expect something to happen? “Once other jurisdictions switch to Project 25 [Phase 2] systems, we will covert to full TDMA/Phase 2,” says Mary Maguire, Loudoun County fire-rescue spokeswoman. “This will also depend on the national finalization and acceptance of the Project 25 standard which is anticipated by 2012,” she added.

As there are no operational systems conforming to the Phase 2 standard which technically only exists as a proposal at this time, Opitz says Uniden is with much of the industry at the “pre-evaluation stage.”

There is one anomaly that may allow at least some scanner listening of the new systems. In an effort to support interoperability, these systems are configuring selected channels to support both TDMA and FDMA. The radio conversations will remain in TDMA mode, unless an older FDMA-only radio is monitoring the talkgroup. In that case, the transmissions will remain in FDMA mode which will allow scanner listeners to monitor. TDMA is preferable for these systems since it doubles the capacity of each voice channel.

Alan Henney may be contacted at alan@henney.com


# # #


Monday, February 22, 2010

3-Alarm Laurel Fire - 13009 Mistletoe Spring Road





WHAT: 3-Alarm apartment fire TIME: 2:58 PM DATE: February 22, 2010 LOCATION: 13009 Mistletoe Springs Road, Laurel, MD, Willow Lake Apartments

PHOTOS and VIDEO: Mark E. Brady An observant police officer observed smoke coming from the roof of a Laurel apartment building, alerted the buildings residents and radioed for assistance from the Fire/EMS Department. On Monday, February 22, 2010, just before 3:00 PM, a City of Riverdale Park police officer saw heavy smoke and was the first alert to residents and firefighters. Fire/EMS units arrived at 13009 Mistletoe Springs Road, Willow Lake Apartment Complex, and found an apartment fire on the top floor of the 3-story garden style apartment building. By the time firefighters started their interior attack on the fire it had extended into the cockloft area and was moving quickly to an adjacent building. A Second and Third Alarms were sounded bringing nearly 100 firefighters on-board 40 pieces of apparatus from Prince George’s, Montgomery, Howard and Anne Arundel Counties. It required about an hour to knock the bulk of the fire down and personnel worked for another 2 hours ensuring the fire was completely extinguished. Aggressive interior suppression and effective ventilation by firefighters working in the semi-attached adjacent apartment building resulted in a successful stop of the fire spread thereby limiting the majority of the damage to the building of origin. Fortunately there were no civilian or firefighter injuries as a result of the fire. Prince George’s County Fire Investigators from the Office of the Fire Marshal determined that the fire started in a top floor apartment and is attributed to an aquarium heat lamp. Fire loss is estimated at $1 million. The fire displaced 27 residents that are being assisted by the Fire/EMS Departments Citizens Services unit and the Red Cross.




video

Friday, February 19, 2010

Firefighters Quick Work Limit Injury and Damage to Nursing Home

Firefighters worked quickly to protect the residents of a nursing home and limited the fire damage to their facility. Prince George’s and Montgomery County Firefighters and Paramedics were alerted to a fire at the Paint Branch Home, 3120 Powder Mill Road in Adelphi, at about 8:45 PM, Thursday, February 18, 2010. The assisted care/nursing home facility called 911 and indicated that three residents with limited mobility were not able to escape and their rooms were being impinged by the fire on the outside of the building. An engine from the Calverton Fire/EMS Station and a ladder truck from the Hillendale Fire/EMS Station (Montgomery County) were the first to arrive. The large pieces of fire apparatus had to negotiate their way up the long and winding single lane paved/gravel driveway and encountered a working fire on an attached large wooden deck which was impinging on the 2-story structure. Firefighters immediately entered the structure and encountered moderate heat and smoke conditions and evacuated residents from the residential side of the building and out of harms way. Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the fire and checked for interior extension. Fortunately, the fire was contained to the wooden deck and the exterior of the facility and interior damage was limited. One resident required transportation to a hospital suffering from undetermined illness/injury. A Montgomery County Firefighter sustained a back injury during the evacuation of the residents that were in immediate danger. He was transported to an area hospital for treatment of his injuries.

There were 19 residents and 1 caretaker at the home when the fire erupted on the deck. Firefighters assisted Paint Branch Home personnel in moving beds and other items to an area of the facility not affected by the fire, avoiding the need to relocate the remaining 18 residents. Paramedics constantly evaluated the resident’s health during the entire incident. There were 40 firefighters on the scene they took about 15 minutes to effect the evacuations and extinguish the fire. Fire Investigators believe the cause of the fire was an improperly discarded smoking material (cigarette) and fire loss was estimated at $10,000.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Firefighters Save a Dog to Prevent Citizen Injuries



A Laurel resident contacted the Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department to seek assistance for a dog that had fallen into a storm drain. At about 1:45 PM, Tuesday, February 16, 2010, firefighters and medics from the Laurel area and the Department’s Technical Rescue Team arrived at the intersection of Clarke Avenue and Holly Street in Laurel. Apparently, a snowplow had inadvertently shifted the manhole cover off of the storm drain and unknowingly left a 20-25 foot storm drain exposed. The Laurel resident that called 911 had almost fallen into the opening himself and was in the process of finding something to cover it up when he heard the dog crying.

Once the Fire/EMS Department arrived a decision was made to move forward with a rescue attempt using members of the Technical Rescue Team trained in confined space rescues. The decision was based on the safety of the members of the community that were poised to enter the storm drain to rescue the dog themselves. There are inherent dangers with such a rescue attempt including poor to little air quality at the bottom of the well. In order to prevent injuries to the community the firefighters had to save the dog the right and safe way.

Using all safety precautions and moving at a very deliberate speed to remain safe, firefighters tested and constantly monitored the air quality in the storm drain and pumped in fresh air. A confined space rescuer donned his personal protective equipment and exercised all precautions while effecting the rescue. The teamwork of the Technical Rescue Team, including personnel from the Tuxedo-Cheverly and Fort Washington Fire/EMS Stations, worked meticulously in setting up a rope and pulley system and when ready, lowered the firefighter into the hole by way of a tripod.

Fire Fighter Joe Ford made his way into the small entrance of the storm drain and soon made contact with the dog that he stated, “Had an extremely friendly disposition.” The dog allowed Fire Fighter Ford to place a rescue harness and a blanket around him before being hoisted up by other members of the rescue team. Once the dog was safely on the ground, Fire Fighter Ford was then hoisted out. The entire rescue effort was very efficient taking about 10 minutes once the firefighter had entered the storm drain.

The dog, a male chow-lab mix, with long black hair weighs about 40 pounds and has long black hair. The dog, wet and cold, had a choke chain but no identifying tags and had no obvious injuries. Animal Control Officers took possession of the dog and took him to their facility for evaluation. Anyone with information about the dog’s owner is encouraged to contact the Animal Control Facility at 301-780-7200.
Statter911.com coverage of story


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

Friday, February 12, 2010

Fire Inspector Rick X. Norris Passes Away


The Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department has suffered a loss with the passing of employee Ricky X. Norris. Rick Norris, 50 years of age, passed away on Wednesday, February 3, 2010. His immediate supervisor, Harvey Powell stated, “Rick was a friend and co-worker and his service here in Prince Georges County was commendable; as he worked passionately to safeguard our community through his work efforts as a Fire Inspector.” He was employed as a Fire Inspector in the Office of the Fire Marshal’s Code Enforcement Office since June of 2002. He began his employment for Prince Georges County on November 23, 1987, taking a position in the Department of Environmental Resources and later transferring to the Fire/EMS Code Enforcement Office where he remained. He served our Country as an Air Force Reservist until 2008 retiring in good standing.


Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones said, “I was saddened to hear of Fire Inspector Rick Norris passing. His work ethic and service to the citizens and residents of Prince George’s County will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Norris family and Ricky’s co-workers as we all mourn his passing.” Rick Norris leaves behind a lovely wife and a host of family members.


The funeral arrangements are as follows:


Viewing & Funeral Services:
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. – Viewing
11:00 a.m. – Funeral Service
First Baptist Church of Highland Park
6801 Sheriff Road
Landover, Maryland 20785
301-773-6655


Interment:
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
2:00 p.m.
Cheltenham Veteran’s Cemetery
11301 Crain Highway
Cheltenham, Maryland 20623
301-372-6398


Repast:
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Approximately 3:00 p.m. (immediately following the burial)
St. Joseph’s Parish
2020 St. Joseph’s Drive
Largo, Maryland 20774


Donations for the family are being accepted and would be greatly appreciated. If you would like to donate, please contact F/F Tisa Green, Inspector Cassandra Watkins, or Inspector Harvey Powell at 301-583-1830 or cell number 240-508-1263.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Two Heavy Snow Rescues

Prince George’s County Firefighters and Paramedics handled two rescues this evening involving accumulation of heavy snow on structures. One of the rescues involved injury to an adult female and the other was a rescue of a dog trapped in a collapsed kennel.

The first incident occurred just before 5:00 PM when personnel responded to the 11200 block of Lennox Drive in Kettering for a report of an awning collapse under the weight of the snow causing injury. One of the home occupants was outside standing in the backyard underneath an awning when it collapsed under the weight of the snow. The heavy snow and awning fell onto the adult female temporarily trapping her under the pile of snow and fracturing her leg. Firefighter/Medics were able to perform a “labor intensive” removal of the injured female and initiated treatment of her injuries. The adult female, in her 70’s, was transported to an area hospital for treatment of her injuries.

At about 5:20 PM firefighters and paramedics were alerted to a backyard garage and dog kennel collapse at a home in the 3100 block of Marquis Drive in Fort Washington. The homeowner reported that there was only one dog in the kennel. Firefighters arrived and made their way through the backyard and reached the collapse area and could hear a dog barking. Crews worked for nearly 30 minutes to extricate the “Chow” dog that did not appear to be injured.

Smithsonian Museum Support Center "Garber Facility" Among Those Damaged by Roof Collapses



Prince George’s County Firefighters have responded to several reports of roof collapses since yesterday. Some of these collapses involved detached structures, for example; carports and sheds. On other calls, residents noticed unusual sounds or cracks in walls and firefighters investigated any potential for collapse. Fortunately, no one has been injured in any of these collapses reported today.

The most serious damage from a roof collapse occurred at the Smithsonian Museum Support Center at 3904 Old Silver Hill Road - The Garber Facility. This large warehouse facility is the Smithsonian's primary off-site storage facility of artifacts. Firefighters responded at 6:49 AM to investigate the collapse and shut off electricity and natural gas to the warehouse eliminating any consequences involving those utilities. The damage was done to warehouse #21 at the Garber Facility. It is unknown what, if any, artifacts are affected by this roof collapse.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010-Collapse Locations

LOCATION: 1523 BEAVER HEIGHTS LN (EASTERN AV & ADDISON RD)
LOCATION COMMENTS: CAP HEIGHTS PG 4:02 AM – front of house

LOCATION: 9612 CROOM RD (KENDALWOOD DR & WALLACE LN)
LOCATION COMMENTS: UPPER MARLBORO 5:33 AM carport

LOCATION: 3904 OLD SILVER HILL RD #21 (CEDAR DR & SILVER HILL RD)
LOCATION COMMENTS: SUITLAND 6:49 warehouse roof

LOCATION: 4028 92ND AV (UTICA PL & HOBART ST)
LOCATION COMMENTS: SPRINGDALE 7:32 AM garage

LOCATION: 9710 GREEN APPLE TN (DORVAL AV & WILLIAMSBURG DR)
LOCATION COMMENTS: UPPER MARLBORO 7:32 AM carport

LOCATION: 6913 24TH AV (AMHERST RD & BANNING PL)
LOCATION COMMENTS: HYATTSVILLE 7:51 AM sunroom

LOCATION: 15908 LIVINGSTON RD (DYER DR & MANNING RD)
LOCATION COMMENTS: ACCOKEEK 7:53 AM shed

LOCATION: 5023 RIVERDALE RD #312 (TAYLOR RD & TANGLEWOOD DR)
LOCATION COMMENTS: RIVERDALE/CALVERT PARK APT 7:55 AM investigate crack in wall

LOCATION: 6106 ADDISON RD (CROWN ST & BALTIC ST)
LOCATION COMMENTS: SEAT PLEASANT 8:09 AM carport

LOCATION: 841 ST MICHAELS DR (FLORA LN & JESTER CT)
LOCATION COMMENTS: MITCHELLVILLE 8:23 AM potential collapse –townhouse

On Tuesday, February 9, 2010, firefighters and paramedics responded to seven incidents of a roof collapse. Again the bulk of these calls involved carports, canopies and citizens requests to investigate potential collapses. One Upper Marlboro home owner sustained injuries when he was thrown 20 feet off of his ladder when his garage collapsed. A small strip shopping center in the Largo area sustained significant damage when the roof collapsed under weight of the snow at around 7:45 PM. A day care center, an insurance broker and a pizza establishment in the unit block of Kettering Drive were all unoccupied when the collapse occurred and there were no reports of injuries.

Firefighters and paramedics continue to respond to a variety of emergencies logging in 150 calls for service since midnight; almost three times the number of calls handled on a normal day by 10:00 AM. Reaching incident locations are still a challenge and residents should understand that Fire/EMS response is difficult under these conditions and our response time will be longer then normal.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Civilian Injured in Residential Garage Roof Collapse

At about 11:45 AM, Tuesday, February 9, 2010, Prince George’s County Firefighters and Paramedics responded to a 911 call reporting a roof collapse of a residential garage at 11012 Croom Road in Upper Marlboro. An adult male had been attempting to remove snow from the pitched roof of his garage and had just exited the roof area when the collapse occurred. The adult male, in his 60’s, was thrown from a ladder about 20 feet and sustained potentially serious injuries.

Paramedics are transporting the male to a Trauma Center for evaluation and treatment of his injuries. The garage sustained significant structural damage.

The Fire/EMS Department is aware of the dangers of heavy snow accumulation on roofs of residential and commercial structures and shares our citizens concerns. However, our primary concern is with your safety and welfare. The safest manner to deal with these occurrences is to contact a professional roof contractor to remove the snow.

Citizens and residents should not venture on to roofs attempting to clear snow. The additional weight of the person on the roof may be enough to cause a collapse. Additionally, there are inherent dangers of being on an elevated roof with ice and snowy conditions.

Residents should keep a close eye on their roof structure. If you see your roof sagging, hear wood breaking noises or metal stress noises – evacuate the home or business immediately and call 911.

Fire CHief Jones Commends His Department for BLizzard 2010 Operations

TO: Members of the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department


FR: Eugene A. Jones, Fire Chief


RE: Above and Beyond the Call of Duty


In keeping with the highest traditions of the Fire/EMS service, the men and women of the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department responded to the calls of the citizens and residents despite the worst conditions many have faced in their careers.


The Blizzard of 2010 could not dampen the enthusiasm and dedication with which we serve everyday as the nation’s premier responders. Our people showed why we continue to rank as one of the nation's busiest Fire/EMS departments and as the largest and most successful combination systems in the Country, if not the world.


While the vehicles got stuck in the snow you continued to the call on foot to ensure the welfare of the public. The citizens and residents have come to expect nothing but the best from us and we delivered.


I want to let the members of the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department know that I appreciate the work they have done and look forward to your future endeavors. As we face another storm, I am confident that you will serve in the same dedicated and effective manner because of who you are.


Thank you for all you do. To yourselves remain true. Thanks also to the Prince George's County Department of Public Works and Transportation for assisting us by working through the storm despite the challenges.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Winter Storm of February 5th-6th-7th, 2010

Prince George's County Firefighters and Paramedics handled 1823 calls for service over a 3-day period starting on Friday, February 5, 2010 (475 calls) while up to 29 inches of a heavy and wet snow blanketed the area. The busiest day was Saturday, February 6, 2010, when 752 calls were handled including nearly 200 for power lines down and transformer fires/arcing. Sunday, September 7, 2010, the snow ended the night before and the big dig out was underway with increased vehicle and pedestrian traffic sharing the roads. We logged 596 calls for service on Sunday.

Fire/EMS units faced numerous challenges in dealing with accumulated snow, ecspecially on neighborhood streets, to reach our destination. It was not unusual for a 4-wheel drive unit to reach a patient first and deliver them to a transport unit waiting on a main street. Nor was it unusual to have multiple Fire/EMS units snowbound at any given time over the weekend. Four-wheel drive vehicles equipped with plows were detailed to each of the seven battalions and were routinely dispatched to help units out of high snow.

Another winter storm is forecast starting Tuesday, February 9, 2010.
National Weather Service - Sterling has issued an updated Winter Storm Watch. The updated forecast now calls for at least 8" snow, with over 10" quite possible. The NWS Storm Prediction Center currently shows a 10-40% chance of the storm generating over 12". The D.C. Metro area is close to the south edge of this storm, so to some degree the storm totals will depend on the exact path of the storm. The storm is currently forecast to arrive around 2-3PM Tues, and will last into Wed late afternoon. Temperatures will start near freezing, but will drop into the mid-upper 20's during the storm. Wed high is 33-36. NW winds at 15-25 MPH. A Winter Storm Warning is highly likely to be issued later today.

Safety Tips for Power Outages

Top Safety Tips for a Power Outage

• Only use a flashlight for emergency lighting.
• Never use candles!
• Turn off electrical equipment you were using when the power went out.
• Avoid opening the refrigerator and freezer.
• Do not run a generator inside a home or garage.
• If you use a generator, connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator. Do not connect a generator to a home's electrical system.
• Listen to local radio and television for updated information.

Sudden power outages can be frustrating and troublesome, especially when they are
prolonged due to Mother Nature.

The Prince George’s County Fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department wants
you to know the following when handling generators in the case of a power outage.

Using Portable Generators Safely

• The primary hazards to avoid when using a generator are carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from the toxic engine exhaust, electric shock or electrocution, and fire. Follow the directions supplied with the generator. Every year, people die in incidents related to portable generator use.

• Under no circumstances should portable generators be used indoors, including inside a garage, carport, basement, crawlspace, or other enclosed or partially-enclosed area, even with ventilation.

• Be sure to turn the generator off and let it cool down before refueling. Gasoline spilled on hot engine parts could ignite.

• Store fuel for the generator in an approved safety can.

• Be sure to turn the generator off and let it cool down before refueling. Gasoline spilled on hot engine parts could ignite.

• Store fuel for the generator in an approved safety can.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Fire Chief Issues Warning After Another Family is Exposed to CO from Gasoline Generator

For the second time since the winter storm; a family was overcome by carbon monoxide (CO) as a result of operating a gasoline generator in their home.

At around 8:00 PM, Sunday, February 7, 2010, a 911 call was received from an occupant of a home in the 7900 block of Hart Road in Oxon Hill. When firefighters and paramedics arrived they found five occupants of the home displaying symptoms of CO poisoning. They also found that a gasoline generator had been operating in the home. CO levels were detected at 250 parts per million (ppm). Any level above 35-40 ppm is considered unhealthy. Prolonged exposure at this high level of 250 ppm would result in serious illness and death.

Three young patients, all under the age of 14, were transported to a hospital specializing in the treatment of children. Two teenagers were also transported to a hospital for treatment of CO poisoning. All the patients appeared to be in good condition; however, medical attention with hyperbaric treatment will be required.

On Saturday, February 6, 2010, at about 7:45 PM, a Landover Hills family of six was overcome by high levels of CO and transported to area hospitals. This incident occurred at a single family home in the 4100 block of 70th Avenue. Firefighters and paramedics arrived to find six family members experiencing signs and symptoms consistent with carbon monoxide poisoning. Firefighters used equipment to test the atmosphere and detected a reading of 200 parts per million inside the home.

In both incidents, homes were without electricity as there was a power outage in the area due to downed power lines. Firefighters discovered both families were using a gasoline powered generator inside of their home. These generators produce a large amount of CO in a very short period of time and should not be used inside of any structure. Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones is warning citizens and residents by stressing, “Operating a gasoline generator in your home is as dangerous as you can get. By continuing this unsafe action will cause illness that could lead to death of you and your loved ones. These actions need to stop immediately.”

CO is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas and is referred to as the “The Silent Killer.” Because the properties of CO (colorless, odorless and tasteless) make it nearly impossible to detect without monitoring equipment. A working CO alarm is the best method citizens and residents can use to detect the presence of CO. CO alarms are inexpensive and can be purchased at hardware and home improvement stores. It results from incomplete oxidation of carbon in combustion and/or the inadequate ventilation of CO after normal combustion. Sources of CO are unvented kerosene and gas space heaters; leaking chimneys and furnaces; back-drafting from furnaces, gas water heaters, wood stoves, and fireplaces; gas stoves; generators and other gasoline powered equipment; automobile exhaust from attached garages.

CO Poisoning Prevention Tips

• Install at least one battery-powered CO alarm on each level of your home and near sleeping areas, and make sure it is more than 5 feet from fuel-burning appliances to prevent false alarms.
• Ensure that fuel-burning appliances are properly installed and working according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Inspect these appliances for adequate ventilation.
• Do not burn charcoal inside your house, even in the fireplace.
• Do not use gasoline powered generators inside of your house.
• Keep chimneys clear of animal nests, leaves and residue to ensure proper venting.
• Do not block or seal shut exhaust flues or ducts for appliances, such as water heaters, ranges and clothes dryers.

If It Happens to You

• Never ignore your CO alarm if it sounds.
• Operate test/reset button.
• Determine if anyone in the household is experiencing symptoms of CO poisoning such as a headache, nausea, drowsiness or confusion. Call 911.
• Open doors and windows, or exit your home. Leave the CO alarm where it is.
• If you have an alarm with digital display, emergency responders can determine the highest level of CO present and decide how to treat victims.
• Do not return to your home until the emergency personnel have arrived, the home is aired out and your CO alarm returns to normal operation.

Partial Roof Collapse of Forestville Warehouse

Employees of Country Snack Company arriving for work this morning found that a portion of the roof and ceiling structure had collapsed in one of their bays. Firefighters were alerted at about 9:00 AM, Sunday, February 7, 2010, and arrived at a 1-story brick warehouse at 7984 Penn Randall Place in Forestville and evaluated the damage. About a ¼ section of the flat roof of one bay of the warehouse had collapsed under the weight of the accumulated snow. Electrical and natural gas service was terminated by firefighters to the section of the warehouse effected and released the building to the owner. No injuries were reported.

Landover Hills Family Overcome by CO

A Landover Hills family of six was overcome by high levels of carbon monoxide (CO) and transported to area hospitals. On Saturday, February 6, 2010, at about 7:45 PM, a 911 call was received from a teen-aged occupant of a single family home in the 4100 block of 70th Avenue and stated that several members of her family had fainted. Firefighters and paramedics arrived to find six family members experiencing signs and symptoms consistent with carbon monoxide poisoning. Firefighters used equipment to test the atmosphere and detected a reading of 200 parts per million inside the home; anything over 35-40 ppm is considered unhealthy.

The home was without electricity as there was a power outage in the area due to downed power lines. Firefighters discovered that the family was using a gasoline powered generator inside of their home. These generators produce a large amount of CO in a very short period of time and should not be used inside of any structure.

CO is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas and is referred to as the “The Silent Killer.” Because the properties of CO (colorless, odorless and tasteless) make it nearly impossible to detect without monitoring equipment. A working CO alarm is the best method citizens and residents can use to detect the presence of CO. CO alarms are inexpensive and can be purchased at hardware and home improvement stores. It results from incomplete oxidation of carbon in combustion and/or the inadequate ventilation of CO after normal combustion. Sources of CO are unvented kerosene and gas space heaters; leaking chimneys and furnaces; back-drafting from furnaces, gas water heaters, wood stoves, and fireplaces; gas stoves; generators and other gasoline powered equipment; automobile exhaust from attached garages.

CO Poisoning Prevention Tips

• Install at least one battery-powered CO alarm on each level of your home and near sleeping areas, and make sure it is more than 5 feet from fuel-burning appliances to prevent false alarms.
• Ensure that fuel-burning appliances are properly installed and working according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Inspect these appliances for adequate ventilation.
• Do not burn charcoal inside your house, even in the fireplace.
• Do not use gasoline powered generators inside of your house.
• Keep chimneys clear of animal nests, leaves and residue to ensure proper venting.
• Do not block or seal shut exhaust flues or ducts for appliances, such as water heaters, ranges and clothes dryers.

If It Happens to You

• Never ignore your CO alarm if it sounds.
• Operate test/reset button.
• Determine if anyone in the household is experiencing symptoms of CO poisoning such as a headache, nausea, drowsiness or confusion. Call 911.
• Open doors and windows, or exit your home. Leave the CO alarm where it is.
• If you have an alarm with digital display, emergency responders can determine the highest level of CO present and decide how to treat victims.
• Do not return to your home until the emergency personnel have arrived, the home is aired out and your CO alarm returns to normal operation.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Roads Remain Hazardous - Stay Home





For the most part, snow has stopped falling. Accumulations of about 2-feet plus are being reported throughout Prince George’s County. Firefighters and paramedics have responded to calls for service all day and will continue to do so throughout the remainder of the day. We are asking citizens and residents to remain patient and stay at home. Keeping the roadways clear of civilian traffic will allow road crews an opportunity to clear roadways of snow.

The snow has stopped; however, this does not give a green light to resume your normal activity. Public Safety officials remind citizens and residents that it is not yet safe to venture the roadways; in your car or on foot. As we enter the next phase of the storm clean-up, we remind everyone:

Stay Prepared-Stay Informed-Stay Safe-Stay Home

A Snow Emergency Plan remains in effect and will do so for days to come.
It is important for residents to stay off the roadways and remain home even though the snowfall has ended so the Department of Public Works and Transportation’s road crews can clear the roadways of snow.

As part of the snow emergency plan, all cars must be removed from snow emergency routes, which are posted with designated signs, to avoid being ticketed and/or towed.

On non-snow emergency routes, residents are asked to park off roadways in driveways or other off-street parking areas. If residents find that they can only park along the roadway, they are requested to park ONLY on the EVEN NUMBERED side of the roadways.

A large number of pedestrians are intermingling with vehicle traffic on roadways as sidewalks are unnavigable from heavy snow. Pedestrians are reminded to use extreme caution in taking this dangerous path. If you must venture outside and you are walking; wear bright colored clothing and walk in the opposite direction of traffic flow. This will enable you to see oncoming traffic and to make sure you are visible to them.

Ritchie House Fire with Civilian Injury on Friday, Feb. 5, 2010




At about 1045 AM, Friday, February 5, 2010, firefighters and paramedics from Ritchie and surrounding communities were alerted to a house fire in the 2400 block of Oak Glen Way. Firefighters arrived and encountered a 1-story single family home with the basement well involved with fire. Additionally they were met in the front yard with a young female child that had sustained serious burns to her upper body. As paramedics treated the injured girl firefighters proceeded to extinguish the fire. There were 34 firefighters and paramedics on the scene. The fire was extinguished in about 15 minutes and caused an estimated $50,000 in fire loss.

The female, 8 years of age, had sustained serious burns to her upper body and was being flown to a Trauma Center by MSP Trooper 2. After taking off and heading to the hospital, Trooper 2 was forced to turn around and land at the original landing site as weather conditions rapidly deteriorated. Paramedics completed the transport by land.

An adult female sustained minor burn injuries when she helped to extinguish the fire on her grand-daughters clothing. She was treated on the scene and did not go to the hospital. The adult female and another relative will be displaced and will stay with other family members.

The fire is Under Investigation as Fire Investigators continue to search for the cause of the fire.

Flat Roof Hazards with Heavy Snow Load

Buildings and structures with flat roofs are at a greater risk of collapse since the heavy wet snow has no room to slide off. This winter storm has left anywhere from 16 to 24 inches of snow on roof tops and the as additional accumulations is expects throughout the course of today. Fire/EMS Department officials are also concerned that the risk may rise as melting and refreezing of the wet snow will occur which increases the weight.

Light metal buildings will typically have less capacity to handle a high snow load. For flat roofs, the step-down area between roof sections is a potential source of roof overload because of the tendency for ice and snow collection.

Many new structures are built to withstand higher weight loads. The total accumulated weight of four feet of snow could be as high as 60 lbs per square foot of roof space, which is getting toward the limits of even the best designed roof.

If there's ice, it's much heavier, with one inch equaling about a foot of fresh snow.

The men and women of the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department warn residents not to venture onto your roofs as the additional weight may cause a collapse. Do not use water from a hose in an attempt to remove the snow as this will melt and refreeze as well as causing drains to become blocked; further complicating the situation.

The Fire/EMS Department discourages home and business owners from clearing snow off of roofs themselves. This dangerous activity involves placing a ladder against the structure, ascending the ladder and using a broom or shovel to push snow off of the roof. Many performing this task are tempted to enter the roof structure. DO NOT GO ON THE ROOF. Be warned that climbing a ladder and entering a roof structure already stressed by a heavy snow load has its own inherent dangers and is not recommended.

The Fire/EMS Department highly recommends that you contact a professional roof contractor that has the experience and tools to safely clear snow off of flat roofs.

If you are in a structure with a flat roof and hear cracking, popping or stressed wood/metal noises; evacuate the structure and call 911 from a safe location.

The Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department has not experienced any roof collapses at this point.

During the Storm Safety Tips

The Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department continues to provide services to citizens and residents despite the challenges of impassable streets and extremely hazardous conditions. As snow removal crews continue fighting to clear roadways, Mother Nature is currently winning the battle to keeps roads blanketed in snow and in hazardous condition.



Prince George’s County firefighters and paramedics, as of 1:00 PM, Saturday, February 6, 2010, have handled 375 calls for service, which is the average number of calls handled in a normal 24-hour period. The majority of incidents involve downed power lines and arcing transformers. Other incidents include pregnancy, injuries from snow play, asthma and since midnight here have been seven incidents involving medical calls involving CPR. It is unknown if any of these incidents involve snow shoveling. Numerous large trees have fallen under the weight of the snow, some onto buildings and homes causing minimal damage.



The men and women of your Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department remind you to:



Stay Prepared, Stay Informed, Stay Safe and Stay Home!!!


Shoveling heavy and wet snow in cold temperatures is stressful and could lead to cardiac emergencies. If you must shovel; scoop up smaller amounts of snow and take frequent breaks.


Be a good neighbor – check on your senior citizen neighbors. Shovel their sidewalks, ensure they have food and check on their medical condition.


Clear snow away from your closest fire hydrant. Make sure firefighters can quickly locate this vital piece of equipment.


Clear snow away from your clothes dryer exhaust vent. This will allow for the unobstructed exhaust of possible carbon monoxide.


As the day wears on – there are more and more pedestrians venturing into the roadway and intermingling with vehicle traffic. Pedestrians should wear bright colored clothing. Both pedestrian and vehicle operators need to exercise extreme caution while on the roadways. Home and business owners should start to clear sidewalks as soon as possible after the snow stops.


Continue to exercise good common sense while trying to stay warm.


If you see a downed power line – consider it to be “live” and notify 911.


In the event of a power outage – do not use candles, use battery operated flashlights for illumination.


Citizens and residents should remain home and not venture out until public safety official and road crews have had an opportunity to clean up after this storm.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Surviving the Winter Storm - Fire/EMS Tips

When weather forecasters predict snowfall amounts in feet – you know that we could be in for a long winter weekend indoors. That is exactly what the men and women of your Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department want you to do – stay safely indoors. Fortunately this winter storm will occur over a weekend and will allow many to stay off the roads and remain indoors. We recommend that our citizens and residents:

STAY PREPARED, STAY INFORMED, STAY SAFE, STAY HOME

• Stay prepared by bringing out your emergency preparedness kit and having a supply of essential items (food, water, warming items, radios, batteries, flashlights, etc.) available.

• Stay informed by monitoring TV news, news radio, National Weather Service radios and the Internet. Important information may be broadcast that could affect you and your family. Ensure your cell phones and lap top computers are fully charged now – before the storm occurs.

• Stay safe by keeping fire safety and injury prevention a priority in your activities. It is important to remember that fire apparatus and ambulances will be slower to respond to your emergencies due to the weather and hazardous driving conditions. Check your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms now to ensure they are working. In the event of an emergency, have an escape plan and call 911 immediately from a safe location.

• Stay home and off the roads at all costs. Traveling will be near impossible on Friday evening and Saturday morning. By staying off the roads, you will allow public works crews an opportunity to clear a path that can be used by first responders to handle emergencies. Limit your fun outdoor activity until conditions improve. Playing outside in near blizzard conditions is not safe, or healthy. If you must venture outdoors, dress warm and in layers, wear a hat and gloves, and cover your face with a scarf.

Many are comparing this approaching winter storm to the December 2009 blizzard. Fire/EMS Department officials are concerned that this snowfall is expected to be of a wet and heavier texture as compared to December 2009, where it was a light and fluffy snow.

• A heavy wet snow will cause power disruptions as snow will collect on power lines and tree branch’s that will then come in contact with power lines. Do not approach a downed power line – always consider downed power lines to be “live.” Restrict access to the downed lines and call 911.

• Speaking of calling 911 – please – only call 911 for emergencies. Activity for Fire and EMS service are anticipated to be high

• In the event of power outages – use flashlights and battery powered lanterns for illumination – do not use candles. Ensure you have a battery powered radio.

• Give space heaters space – keep space heaters at least 3-feet away form anything combustible like bedding, furniture, paper, etc.

• Use only seasoned wood products in your fireplace and use extreme caution when disposing of fireplace ashes as they can remain hot for days after the fire is out. Dispose of ashes in a metal container outside and away from the house.

• If you smoke a tobacco product – ensure it is properly extinguished in an approved container.

• A heavy and wet snow will make it difficult to shovel, especially for those that have an existing heart condition or anyone over the age of 50. Limit shoveling to only a few minutes at a time, shovel smaller amounts, and take frequent breaks.

• It is time to be a good neighbor – check on your senior citizen neighbors and ensure they have heat and food. Shovel their sidewalks and check on them frequently.

• Clear away snow from the fire hydrant on your street. If the fire hydrant is on your property; you are required to clear away the snow.

• If you must drive – reduce your speed, increase the distance between you and the car in front of you, turn on your headlights, and do not be distracted by cell phones and PDA’s. Keep an eye out for pedestrians as they will venture out into the streets as sidewalks disappear. This information especially applies to 4-wheel drive SUV operators.

The Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Fire Department stands ready and prepared to provide the best services available. We ask you to help us by preventing emergencies from ever occurring to avoid the need for us to have to respond to that emergency.

PREVENTION BEFORE RESPONSE

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Northwest Branch Water Incident






video

Prince George’s County public safety agencies were dispatched to check on a male standing in the middle of the Northwest Branch this morning and ended up entering the water to safely remove him. At about 8:30 AM, Tuesday, February 2, 2010, Prince George’s County Firefighters, Paramedics and County Police responded to a section of the Northwest Branch at the intersection of New Hampshire Avenue and Piney Branch Road in Adelphi to check on this individual. Upon arrival, the officer in charge of Chillum-Adelphi Engine 834 observed an adult male standing in the middle of the 2 – 3 foot deep, partially frozen, frigid water directly underneath the New Hampshire Avenue Bridge. Commands in English and Spanish were directed at the individual who did not respond and stood motionless in the water. A request for the Fire/EMS Departments Technical Rescue Team (TRT) was made to help in the removal of the individual.

As members of the TRT donned their cold weather gear and dry suits a request was made that police officers accompany firefighters due to the unstable and unpredictable condition of the male. The individual had never displayed his left hand and police could not determine if he was armed or not and was displaying an altered mental status. For the safety and well-being of everyone involved; 2 police officers donned cold weather gear dry suits and entered the water with the firefighters.

At about 9:30 AM, the combined rescue team of firefighters and police officers effected the removal of the male from the water and provided him to the care of paramedics. He was transported to a local hospital for treatment of hypothermia and other evaluation

Monday, February 1, 2010

High-Angle Rescue in Upper Marlboro

Just before 8:00 PM, February 1, 2010, firefighters from the Upper Marlboro area and the Departments Technical Rescue Team were alerted to a High-Angle Rescue.

According to witnesses, at about 6:00 PM, a teen-aged male had fallen down a steep snowy hill leading to a ravine approximately 100 feet to the bottom. He started to climb up the side of the ravine and ascended about 60 feet when he found it impossible to climb any further. He perched himself on a tree about 30-40 feet from the top and started to yell for help. Almost 2 hours had passed when a resident heard the calls for help and went to investigate. Once located, 911 was contacted. This started the chain of events for a rescue.

The scene is located deep into a wooded area in the rear of 13210 Marlton Center Drive in Upper Marlboro. An attempt to rescue the victim by using a ground ladder was made by first arriving firefighters but the victim was too unstable to attempt the climb. The High-Angle Team deployed a rope and pulley rescue system and lowered a firefighter down to the victim’s location. Firefighters made patient contact around 9:00 PM. The victim was placed into a safety harness and brought up to the top. Paramedics evaluated the teen and are transporting him to a Trauma Center for evaluation of possible injuries and hypothermia.


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

Fort Washington House Fire





At about 8:15 AM, Monday, February 1, 2010, firefighters from the Fort Washington area responded to a report of a house fire. Fire/EMS units arrived at 9110 Locksley Road and encountered a 2-story, non-sprinklered, single family home with heavy smoke showing. A working fire was soon located in the basement and extinguished. There were 25 firefighters on the scene that took 30 minutes to extinguish the fire.

A family of 2 adults will be displaced and were assisted by the Fire/EMS Departments Citizens Services Unit and the American Red Cross with temporary shelter. Fire Investigators believe an electrical malfunction is responsible for starting the fire with fire loss estimated at $150,000. There were no injuries reported.

CRS 41 Starts Today






The Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department welcomed a class of 40 recruits this morning as they started their first day at the Training Academy. Career Recruit School (CRS) 41 was greeted this morning by Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones and his command staff as the recruits began their career with the Department.

Mini-U-Storage Fire in Landover Hills

Firefighters were alerted to a commercial building fire this afternoon in Landover Hills. Fire/EMS units were dispatched at about 1:25 PM, Monday, February 1, 2010, to the Mini-U-Storage at 3800 64th Avenue for a report of smoke coming from one of the storage lockers. Firefighters arrived to find heavy smoke coming from an entire row of storage lockers and a second alarm was sounded. A total of 60 firefighters knocked down the bulk of the fire within 45 minutes in the 7 to 10 lockers that were involved. These self storage containers pose a tremendous amount of hazards to firefighters in addition to an abundance of work to overhaul and ensure the fire is completely extinguished. The self-storage lockers involved contained a variety of materials including furniture, boxes of paper, automotive equipment and a myriad of other combustible items. Two firefighters sustained lacerations to their hands during the overhauls operation. A 26 year-old male fire fighter sustained a minor laceration and was transported to a nearby hospital. Paramedics transported a 26 year-old male firefighter with a more serious hand injury to a trauma center in Baltimore that specializes in hand injuries. Both firefighters are considered to be in good condition. The cause of the fire is under investigations and damage estimates are still being tabulated.