Firefighters Canvass County After Tragic CO Incident

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

The death of three young men on Sunday, May 30, 2010, has motivated firefighters to go door-to-door in communities throughout Prince Georges County providing life safety information. It is believed that a gasoline powered generator in a Hyattsville home generated a large amount of carbon monoxide (CO) in a very short period of time and claimed the life of the three occupants.

Firefighters, both volunteer and career, canvassed the Hyattsville community where the incident occurred on Memorial Day and visited dozens of homes interacting with residents discussing the dangers of CO and general fire safety guidelines.  This Holiday community canvass was conducted by Lieutenant Colonel W. Derrick Lea, several command officers and volunteer firefighters from Hyattsville and College Park.

On Tuesday, June 1, 2010, again visited homes throughout Prince George’s County to provide fire safety and injury prevention information to residents with an emphasis on CO and grill safety. Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones stated, “Our combined resources of volunteer and career firefighters have visited as many homes as possible today to spread safety information that could help save lives. Sunday’s tragic incident was certainly preventable and members of the Fire/EMS Department want to ensure our citizens and residents are aware of basic life safety information.”

At about 7:00 pm this evening, firefighters will gather at the Hyattsville Fire/EMS Station #801 at Queens Chapel Road and Belcrest Road and proceed back to the community in the 5600 block of 38th Avenue to continue home visits and talking with residents about the tragic incident. Smoke alarms are provided free of charge, however, CO alarms must be purchased by residents. A CO alarm is highly recommended by firefighters and paramedics to be used in homes.

The practice of firefighters visiting communities after a tragic incident has been a staple of fire safety and injury prevention in Prince George’s County for over 23 years. A Post Incident Neighborhood Intervention Program (PINIP) prompts firefighters to visit homes after a significant or tragic incident has occurred within their community. A PINIP is an effective fire prevention tool based on the theory that a tragedy peeks the interest of the community with citizens and residents willingly listening to officials about fire safety and prevention. Residents open up their homes to allow firefighters in to check smoke alarms and make a safety inspection recommending areas of improvement.

Citizens and residents should not wait for a tragic incident to occur before being visited by a firefighter. Citizens and residents are encouraged to contact our Livable Communities Smoke Alarm HOT line at 301-864-SAFE (7233) and schedule a visit. There is no charge for this community based fire safety and injury prevention effort.