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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Firefighters Battle House Fire and the Heat

A firefighter has his vital signs monitored after entering a rehab area
after battling a Beltsville house fire.

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

Firefighters fought a well involved house fire in the midst of the heat of the day. After water was used by firefighters to extinguish the fire, water was then used to hydrate the firefighters to prevent heat related illnesses.

At about 4:15 pm, Tuesday, June 22, 2010, Prince George’s and Montgomery County, Maryland, firefighters were alerted to a house fire after several 911 calls were received from members of the community. Firefighters and paramedics arrived quickly to the 11400 block of Allview Drive in Beltsville with the first arriving engine reporting heavy fire was showing from the 2-story, split level, single family home.

Additional resources, including EMS units, were summoned to the scene. The temperature was 96 degrees with humidity at about 40%. Firefighters worked quickly to advance hoselines into the burning structure and search for trapped occupants. The fire grew in intensity, as well as the associated heat, and the fire consumed the interior of the house. The fire was knocked down in about 30 minutes.

Paramedics had established a rehab area for all firefighters. Water was provided and vital signs were monitored. Personnel were ordered to stand-down and rest while consuming water before going back to work to clean up and ready their units for the next call.

An adult female working in the home sustained minor burn injuries and refused assistance from paramedics. Despite extreme heat and unhealthy air quality there were no firefighter injuries or illnesses and everyone went home after the call.

The cause of the fire remains under investigations and fire loss is estimated at $150,000. The house was reported to have been under renovation so there was no occupant displacement.

The Department was operating under a “Heat Stress Watch” whereas personnel are reminded by a broadcast message from Public Safety Communications when temperatures reach unhealthy levels. Throughout the course of the day all personnel hear the following safety message from dispatchers:

“A heat stress watch is in effect for emergency operations.

Incident Commanders; heat stress injuries to fire service personnel are likely.

Consider limiting active work periods to 2 breathing air (SCBA) bottles or 40 minutes before directing crews to rehab.”

Crews, maintain pre-incident hydration by drinking eight ounces of water every hour throughout your shift.”

“Prevention before response ensures everyone goes home.”

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