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Friday, February 25, 2011

CAUTION - High Wind Warning - Severe Thunderstorm Watch Issued by NWS

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930, mebrady@co.pg.md.us


The National Weather Service (NWS) advises that 'Hazardous' winds with gusts up to 60 mph are expected across the area this afternoon and evening.  A Severe Thunderstorm Watch has also been issued.

The NWS warns severe weather could cause property damage and power outages and has issued a high wind warning for between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m and a Severe Thunderstorm Watch.   Citizens should anticipate that winds could down trees and cause power outages.   A cold front could precede the high winds and pose a "slight risk" of severe weather. 

Citizens should take precautions before the high winds occur.  Property in outdoor areas should be secured and emergency kits prepared for possible power outage and other emergencies.  Ensure cell phones are charged fully and fresh batteries are available for flashlights, radios and smoke alarms.


Stay Informed - Stay Ready - Stay Safe.  Safety First ensures Everyone will Go Home.

Temple Hills Apartment Fire

Media Contact: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930, mebrady@co.pg.md.us

Just before 5:00 am, Friday. February 25, 2011, firefighter/medics from the Silver Hill area were alerted to a 911 call reporting smoke inside of an apartment.  Firefighters arrived at 4467 23rd Parkway in Temple Hills, a 3-story garden style apartment building, advising of a working fire.  A search quickly resulted in locating the fire in a 1st floor apartment bedroom and was quickly extinguished.  Occupants of the building had evacuated or sheltered-in-place until firefighters gave the all clear.  No civilian or firefighter injuries were reported.

One adult and three children from the apartment of origin are displaced as a result of this fire.  The displaced occupants were assisted by the Fire/EMS Departments Citizen Services Unit.  Investigators advised the cause of the fire is under investigation with fire loss estimated at  $20,000.






Funeral Arrangement for Hyattsville Deputy Chief Jimmy Hook

Arrangements for Deputy Chief Jimmy Hook, Hyattsville VFD
Dave J Iannone, President, Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department (HVFD)
Sent:Thursday, February 24, 2011 10:38 PM

The following are the formal arrangements to remember Jimmy Hook,
Deputy Chief of the Hyattsville Volunteer fire Department. As many of
you know, Jimmy passed away suddenly and unexpectedly after falling ill 
during a medical treatment.

A Fire Department Memorial Service will be held Tuesday, March 1st at
7:00 pm at the Bunker Hill Fire/EMS Station, located at 38th Avenue and
Rhode Island Avenue in Brentwood, Maryland. The approximately 60-90
minute memorial service will be followed by a remembrance reception at
the same facility.

Fire Department personnel are encouraged to wear Class A Uniforms if available or
traditional business dress attire. There is going to be very limited
parking for apparatus other than on-duty local departments during the
service. We strongly encourage attendees from stations to car pool if
possible.

In lieu of flowers, a scholarship fund for Jimmy's 11-year-old son
Tommy will be established by the HVFD in the coming days and we will
post that information online and via email when available. Any flowers
that are sent should be delivered Tuesday ONLY to the Bunker Hill Fire
Station Reception Hall, 3716 Rhode Island Avenue, Brentwood, MD
20722-1434.

Other than the public memorial service Tuesday, the family has asked
that departments otherwise respect their privacy during this trying
time.

The officers and members of the Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department
would like to extend our thanks to the many local and area
departments, organizations and individuals who have lent their support
and offers of support over the last two days.

Additional information on Jimmy's long history with the Hyattsville
VFD, Berwyn Heights VFD and Prince George's County Communications can
be found at http://www.hvfd.com or http://www.pgfdnews.com.
Condolences may also be posted on the HVFD's Facebook page at
http://www.facebook.com/hyattsvillevfd.

Any general questions, please contact the HVFD at (301) 883-7701, or
email HVFD President Dave Iannone at dave@hvfd.com.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Wind Advisory for Friday

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930, mebrady@co.pg.md.us

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


The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Advisory for Prince George's County and surrounding areas.  The ground is saturated from recent snow melt with a forecast of a heavy rainfall overnight combined with the wind could spell trouble for downed trees.  Citizens should stay prepared, stay informed and stay safe.  Have your emergency kits prepared and ready to use in the event of power outages and other emergencies.

The National Weather Service has Provided the following information:

Event: Wind Advisory


Alert: ...WIND ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 11 AM TO 7 PM EST FRIDAY...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS
ISSUED A WIND ADVISORY...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 11 AM TO 7 PM
FRIDAY. THE HIGH WIND WATCH IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT.

* TIMING...FRIDAY 11 AM TO 7 PM.

* WINDS...WEST-NORTHWEST 30 MPH WITH GUSTS OF 45 TO 50 MPH
POSSIBLE.

* IMPACT...BE PREPARED FOR THE POSSIBILITY OF POWER OUTAGES...
AND DOWNED TREES AND LARGE BRANCHES.

ENSURE LOOSE OBJECTS ON YOUR PROPERTY ARE SECURED OR BROUGHT INSIDE.

Instructions: A WIND ADVISORY MEANS THAT WINDS OF 35 MPH ARE EXPECTED. WINDS THIS STRONG CAN MAKE DRIVING DIFFICULT...ESPECIALLY FOR HIGH PROFILE VEHICLES. USE EXTRA CAUTION.

All Clear Given at Day Care Center Haz Mat

Just before 12:30 pm, Thursday, February 24, 2011, fireifghters and the Department's Hazardous Materials Team were dispatched to investigate a "chemical odor" with a sick person.  Fire/EMS/Haz Mat units responded to 310 Garrett A. Morgan Boulevard in Landover, a commercially run daycare center in a building shared by County and METRO employees.

According to Fire/EMS Department Major Steve Hess, "There were a total of 20 staff members and 75 children in the center. An employee mixed bleach and Windex (ammonia) in a room where there were no children in close proximity. A small cloud caused some employees to feel sick. EMS personnel evaluated staff that were near the cloud and there was only one employee that complained of any symptoms. The employee refused transport after symptoms went away."

At no time were the children in any danger.  Hazardous Material personnel evaluated the building, neutralized the compound and ventilated. There are no lasting effects and the building was turned back over to the occupants and are back in business as of 1:45 pm. The Department's EMS Duty Officer had a briefing with the staff to discuss any questions or concerns from a medical perspective.

Long Time Volunteer Fire Fighter "Jimmy Hook" Passes Away


MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930, mebrady@co.pg.md.us


It is with deep regret that the Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department announces the sudden and unexpected death (medical) of one of our volunteer members.

We join the officers and members of the Berwyn Heights (BHVFD) and Hyattsville (HVFD) Volunteer Fire Department's in the sad task of announcing the passing of Jimmy Hook.

James Thomas Hook was born to Donna and Tommy Hook on March 29, 1966, and grew up along with his sister, Brenda, in Berwyn Heights. He attended Parkdale High School and joined the BHVFD in 1986.

While a member of the BHVFD he was a live-in member, served on the Board of Directors and attained the rank of Captain. His father, Tommy, was a Volunteer Chief and Life Member of BHVFD. His Mother, Donna, is a Life Member of the Berwyn Heights Volunteer Fire Department's Ladies Auxiliary.

He joined the HVFD in 2001 and was serving as the Volunteer Deputy Chief at the time of his death. He had attained his tenth year of membership at the HVFD just this month. One of the many highlights of his membership at HVFD was serving as the chairman of a committee to design and purchase a new heavy-duty Rescue Squad.

His former wife, Lori, also held a position as the HVFD recording secretary. He has one son – Tommy, who is currently 11 years of age. Young Tommy would often frequent the fire/EMS station with his father and desires to follow his father footsteps to be a Fire fighter.

In 1990, Hook was hired as a County 911/police dispatcher. His final position with the county was that of a Fire Dispatch Supervisor in 2008. Jimmy was instrumental in the transition of Bureau of Fire/Rescue Communications becoming one integrated Police/Fire/EMS/Sheriff known today as Public Safety Communications.

Jimmy Hook passed away on the evening of Wednesday, February 23, 2011, at Laurel Regional Hospital where he was taken after suffering a medical emergency.

Funeral plans are still being made and we will provide updated information as soon as it is available.















Forest Heights House Fire Displaces Residents - UPDATE

A Forest Heights house fire this morning caused significant damage and displaced it's occupants.  At about 8:45 am, Thursday, February 24, 2011, Firefighter/Medics from the Oxon Hill area were alerted to a house fire in the 100 block of Seneca Drive.  Fire/EMS units arrived to find a 2-story single family home with fire showing from the first and second floors.  Five occupants were at home when the fire started and were able to escape without injury.  There were about 45 firefighter/medics and incident commanders on the scene.  It required 15 - 20 minutes to extinguish the fire.

A preliminary investigation indicates the cause of the fire as accidental and is attributed to unattended cooking.  The fire caused an estimated $150,000 in fire damage to the structure and contents.  There are a total of 6 people that normally occupy the house.  The 2 adults and 4 children are being assisted by the Fire/EMS Department's Citizen Services Unit and the American Red Cross with temporary shelter.  Initial reports from the scene indicated there were as many as 15 occupants but that number was soon adjusted after interviewing the residents.

Unattended cooking is leading cause of fires and fire related injuries in Prince George's County.  Citizens should use this incident as a reminder that you should never leave the kitchen with food cooking.  If you must leave the kitchen, turn the stove/oven off, and turn it back on when you return.  Leaving the kitchen, even just for a moment, is hazardous and should be avoided at all costs.

It has been determined that six occupants actually reside at the house.  Two adults and four children will be displaced and assisted by relief agencies.  Additionally, the home did not have a working smoke alarm.  Anyone that requires a working smoke can contact our Safety First Smoke Alarm Line at 301-864-SAFE (7233).

This Seneca Drive home sustained $150,000 in damages after a fire started in a first floor kitchen.  (photo by Steve Hess - PGFD)

Monday, February 21, 2011

County Executive and Fire Chief Comment on One of the Busiest Days in PGFD History

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

On Sunday, February 20, 2011, Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker and Fire Chief Marc Bashoor provided comments concerning the wind driven incidents from the day before.  Saturday, February 19, 2011, is being called one of the busiest days in the departments history.

At the conclusion of the 1:00 pm media briefing the County Executive thanked some of the firefighters that had worked at the Van Dusen fire and then lead a contingent of public safety officials and media on a tour of damaged areas.








Examiner Article -Dangerous stretches cause most fatalities on the Beltway


Dangerous stretches cause most fatalities on the Beltway

Angela Haughney/Examiner
Click to expand map
While thousands of people crash on the notoriously congested Capital Beltway each year, lethal accidents are clustered in just four dangerous zones, according to an analysis by The Washington Examiner.
The 64-mile long highway is the site of nearly 3,000 accidents a year -- about eight a day -- and claims the lives of 18 people a year on average, according to a review of data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and transportation officials and police in Virginia and Maryland.
Ten Years on the Beltway
YearCrashesInjuriesFatalities
2000:3,1911,38513
2001:3,0401,34913
2002:2,8491,29419
2003:2,9031,34816
2004:2,7581,17116
2005:3,0791,24020
2006:2,8781,17116
2007:2,7121,09134
2008:2,4471,01912
2009:2,9221,19720
Maryland State Police speed citations
YearForrestvilleCollege Park
2007:4,1134,330
2008:4,8283,508
2009:6,7932,571
2010:5,6633,279
But not all stretches of the Beltway are equally dangerous.
Fifty of the 58 fatal accidents on the Beltway between 2007 and 2009 occurred on a 27.5-mile stretch that begins just before the Woodrow Wilson Bridge in Virginia and runs to the intersection of the Beltway and Interstate 95 in the north.
Within that deadly stretch are four spots where fatalities cluster: Twenty deaths have occurred between Ritchie-Marlboro Road and Central Avenue in Prince George's County. Another dozen have been near the spot where Interstate 95 merges with the Beltway. And nine have happened in the last few miles of highway in Northern Virginia before it crosses the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. Nine more are in the vicinity of Branch Avenue.
AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman John Townsend likens those stretches of road to the Bonneville Salt Flats, characterizing them as relatively flat and straight segments along an otherwise curving highway that encourage time-conscious drivers to speed up.
"It's a violent scene," Townsend said, "and it's just so much traffic. People are so [exasperated] because it's just absolute gridlock. People lose their patience and do stupid things."
The most dangerous locations in Prince George's are near the entrance and exit ramps, where cars are merging into or trying to pull out of high-speed traffic.
"It makes sense," Townsend said. "You have to understand that one of the busiest highways in the nation is the I-95 corridor. ... If you're going south or north, at some point you go through that section of road."
Weather doesn't appear to be a factor in the Beltway crashes. Fifty-three of the 58 fatal accidents between 2007 and 2009 occurred under clear skies.
Congestion may have played a part in some accidents. Twenty-two of the fatal crashes involved more than one vehicle.
Still, most of the lethal crashes were single-car accidents, indicating that fast speeding drivers, drunk drivers, distracted drivers -- those talking on the phone while driving, for instance -- and motorists who are just plain weary are the chief cause of accidents, according to John Saunders, director of Virginia's Highway Safety Office. Most fatal accidents occurred between midnight and 4 a.m., the traffic data show.
In Montgomery County in Maryland and on the western side of the Beltway running through Northern Virginia, where the roadway curves more sharply and more often, traffic is slowed and there are far fewer fatal crashes, records show.
Data indicate that while the number of accidents each year has slightly declined, fatalities and injuries on the Beltway remained steady from 2000 to 2009. I-495 averaged 2,876 crashes each year in the time span, with 2,878 crashes in 2009, down from the 3,191 that occurred on the highway in 2000.
However, an average of 18 deaths occurred on the road each year, including 20 in 2009, up from the 13 that occurred in 2000.
At the Maryland State Police barracks in Forestville and College Park, whose officers patrol the Beltway from the Woodrow Wilson Bridge to the Montgomery County line, the number of speed citations issued each year since 2007 has gone up and down in proportion to the number of fatalities -- the more fatal crashes there are, the more citations are issued.
But in 2009, officials began taking an aggressive approach under the direction of Capt. Clifford Hughes. The state police reorganized enforcement efforts by placing more officers on the highway between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. Thursday to Sunday, times when records show fatal crashes most often occur.
The targeted enforcement shows signs of success. Police reported only three fatalities on the Beltway in Prince George's in 2010.


Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://washingtonexaminer.com/local/virginia/2011/02/dangerous-stretches-cause-most-fatalities-beltway?sms_ss=twitter&at_xt=4d627e699223a260,0#ixzz1EbeABkqv