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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fort Washington Townhouse Fire

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

Prince George’s County Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish a basement fire in a Fort Washington townhouse this morning. At about 10:15 am Fire/EMS units were alerted to the fire in the 7300 block of Crafford Place and arrived quickly to find smoke issuing from a 2-story, with basement, end of the row townhouse. Firefighters initiated an aggressive interior attack on the fire and searched for possible occupants. It appears that no one was home when the fire started. A fire was located in the basement with some fire extension to the first floor. It took 25 firefighters about 10 minutes to extinguish the fire.


The cause of the fire is under investigation and a preliminary fire loss is estimated at $75,000. The occupants, 3 adults and 1 child, will be displaced and have been offered assistance from the County Citizen Services unit. There were no injuries reported.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

ADVISORY - Career Recruit School Graduation Ceremony


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

The Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department will be conducting a Recruit Graduation Ceremony. This ceremony includes two classes of recruits that have successfully completed their training. Fifty-nine recruits will graduate.

The evening's Keynote Speaker will be Chief William Goldfeder, quite possibly the country’s leading fire service advocate for firefighter safety. Goldfeder’s son is one of the graduating recruits.

WHAT:                Career Recruit School #42 and #43 Graduation Ceremony

WHEN:               Thursday, September 1, 2011, 6:00 pm

WHERE:              Charles Herbert Flowers High School Auditorium

                            10001 Ardwick Ardmore Road, Springdale, MD 20774

WHO:                 County Executive Rushern L. Baker III,

                           Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Barry L. Stanton

                            Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor

                           59 Recruits with family, friends and co-workers

Three Homes Damaged by Early Morning Fire

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

Three Mount Rainier homes sustained damage from a fire this morning. At about 5:45 am firefighters from Bunker Hill and other nearby Fire/EMS Stations were alerted to a house fire in the 3300 block of Otis Street.

Fire/EMS units arrived to find a 2-story single family home well involved with fire. The fire was extending to neighboring homes on each side of the burning structure.  Firefighters ensured the occupants were safely outside of the homes and immediately deployed hose lines to protect the neighboring homes and than started to attack the fire in the house of origin.

It required just about an hour for firefighters to knock down and extinguish the fire.

Two adult occupants, a male and a female, were transported to a hospital for evaluation of exhaustion in combination with pre-exisitng medical conditions. A firefighter suffered an illness on the scene and was also taken to a hospital. Firefighters rescued 1 dog from the home, however, a second dog perished.

Fire Investigators have the cause of the fire listed as under investigation, however, believe it to be accidental. Fire loss to the 3 homes is still being tabulated.

A total of 11 adults and 3 children will be displaced from 2 of the homes. They are being assisted by the County Citizen Services Unit and will be staying with other family and friends.
House of Origin at 3302 Otis Street

Neighbors house at 3304 Otis Street.  This family is displaced.

Neighbors house at 3300 Otis Street.  The house sustained damage, however, the family is not displaced.

Family Overcome by Carbon Monoxide from Generator

A Fort Washington family was hospitalized after being exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide (CO). At about 11:00 pm, Monday, August 29, an occupant of a home in the 12400 block of Surrey Circle Drive called 911 to report that another occupant was semi-conscious. Through a series of questions from the 911 call taker it was ascertained that a gasoline powered generator was operating in an attached garage of a single family home with the door closed.

The community was without power since the weekend when Hurricane Irene disrupted service. The family was using the generator to power some appliances.

Firefighters and paramedics from Fort Washington, haz mat personnel and EMS supervisors were dispatched and upon arrival detected a CO level of over 900 parts per million (ppm). A normal healthy CO level is between 0 to 30 ppm.

An adult female was found unconscious in her bed, treated on the scene by paramedics and transported by meda-vac helicopter to a hospital in Baltimore for hyperbaric treatment. The other 3 occupants, an adult female and 2 adult males, were transported by paramedics to area hospitals for treatment of CO exposure.

An EMS supervisor stated, "With the high level of CO detected in this house it was only a matter of minutes before fatal injuries would have occurred."

The condition of the patients have improved since being treated on the scene and at the hospital with high amounts of oxygen.

Firefighters ventilated the home before leaving and ensured CO levels returned to normal levels.
Citizens and residents should never operate a gasoline powered generator or charcoal grill inside of any structure. These devices produce high levels of CO in a very short period of time. Generators and grills must be operated outside at least 15 feet away from a structure.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

PGFD - Prepared and Successful with Hurricane Irene Operations


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

The Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department started preparing for the arrival Hurricane Irene days in advance. Even while continuing to deal with the aftermath of a rare 5.9 earthquake just days earlier, Department leadership started to focus their attention to the impending storm.  Hurricane Irene's impact was forecast to start being felt in Prince George's County the afternoon of Saturday, August 27, 2011 with worsening conditions late in the evening into early Sunday morning.

Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor returned early from the International Association of Fire Chief’s Fire-Rescue International Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, to help prepare Fire/EMS Department’s assets for what had been called the “storm of the century” by analyst’s on the Weather Channel.  

Chief Bashoor focused attention to the upcoming operations by addressing the Department by writing, 

“As Hurricane Irene churns towards Prince George's County, please take the opportunity now to prepare yourselves, your families, and those less able to care for themselves.

Folks in need will depend on us as first responders.  I want to ensure you've taken care of yourselves and your families now - so you'll be available to help out if called upon.  Whether it's cleaning out gutters, ditches, and drain pipes, or ensuring you have flashlights, batteries, sandbags, and at least a 3-day supply of food/water, or ensuring vehicles and generators are fully fueled and portable supply cans filled, please take those steps now. 

We should ourselves, and as a challenge to others, also take this opportunity to make sure all of our smoke alarm batteries are fresh and working.

Career and Volunteer Command staff should anticipate the need to work rotating shifts during the height of our potential response - while updated information will be forthcoming, plan now for that eventuality.  Station and Battalion Chiefs should similarly have plans for extra coverage and deployment if it is ordered or authorized.”

A Departmental Operations Center (DOC) was established at the Cranford-Graves Fire Services Building in Landover Hills and opened on Saturday, August 27, 2011, at 7:00 am. The DOC was to work independently from the County Emergency Operations Center other than a Fire/EMS Department liaison.  The DOC was to operate under a 12-hour operational period, under an ICS format, with Command, Operations, Logistics, Public Information and Planning Sections activated initially. Meetings were held in the DOC as well as teleconferences with command officer in the field.

Being as the storm event was occurring over the weekend, several support functions such logistics and the apparatus maintenance division were staffed and operational to ensure continuity in operations.

By starting to plan for the significant weather event days in advance the Fire/EMS Department provided dedicated staffing for; 30 engines, 5 ladder trucks, 3 heavy duty rescue squads, 24 ambulances, 11 paramedic units and 5 paramedic ambulances.  An additional 16 units were placed in service that would respond on incidents such as wires down, flooded conditions and investigations.  Two personnel inside utility type vehicles staffed these units.  There were about 25 personnel operating between the EOC and DOC.  There were Federal, State and County Declarations of an Emergency for the events involving Hurricane Irene.



During the storm it was predetermined that assignments would be reduced.  For example, a box alarm would normally receive 4 engines, 2 ladder trucks, 1 squad or additional ladder truck and a command officer.  During the storm, a box assignment would receive 2 engines and 2 special services plus a command officer.

Limited access highway crashes were reduced to fire/EMS units in the direction of approach.  Normally, fire/EMS units would respond from opposite directions to the reported crash location

Fire Chief Bashoor had pre-issued a directive that if sustained winds reached 50 mph that we would suspend responses.  Operating in such conditions greatly diminishes our ability to do our job safely.  The winds came close but never reached the level where we would stop responding on calls.

Throughout the day of the storm apparatus was staffed by nearly 400 personnel that included 250 volunteers and 150 career firefighters, EMT’s, paramedics and civilian personnel.  On Saturday the Department responded on 740 calls for service compared to a normal 24-hour shift average of 375.  The highest numbers of calls were in the 11 PM hours when 90 calls were handled.  The majority of incidents, as predicated, involved utility lines and poles, transformers, flooded conditions, fallen trees and activated fire alarms.  We never had to deal a significant incident.

Fortunately, there were no injuries or significant incidents that were a direct result of Hurricane Irene.  The DOC remained functional until early Sunday afternoon.  The County EOC closed later Sunday afternoon.

Fire/EMS Department Operations Center.





County Emergency Operations Center

County Council Member Eric Olson, Fire Chief Bashoor and Homeland Security Director Brian Moe at EOC.










video



Prince George’s County Hurricane Irene Update - EOC Closed


THE PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY GOVERNMENT
OFFICE OF THE COUNTY EXECUTIVE

For Immediate Release: August 28, 2011
Contact: Scott L. Peterson, Acting Director of CommunicationsCell: (240) 619-9400
  
Prince George’s County Hurricane Irene Update - EOC Closed 
 

Bowie, Maryland –The Prince George’s County Emergency Operations Center has officially closed.   Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III will be holding a press briefing at 3:30 p.m. at the 9-1-1 Communications Center located at 17321 Melford Blvd.; Bowie, MD 20715 to update residents on the aftermath of the storm and its impact on the County.
“I want to thank all of the Prince George’s County employees that have been working around the clock to assist residents and citizens during and after the affects of Hurricane Irene.  Everyone is doing a tremendous job and I appreciate your efforts.  We will work continue to work non-stop with power companies, WSSC and other crucial entities to assure that the safety and well being of our citizens and residents are being met,” stated Baker.  “I am personally surveying the county and encourage residents to contact us if they are experiencing problems as a result of the storm.”  
Updates:
• To date, there are no injuries related to the storm or serious public safety incidents.

• PEPCO is reporting 93,126 Prince George's County customers without power.

• BGE is reporting 23,481 Prince George's County customers without power.

• SMECO is reporting 5,900 Southern Prince George's County customers without power.

• All the occupants of our 2 shelters in Brandywine and Brentwood have returned home this morning, the shelters are shut down.
Other notes:
• Prince George’s County 9-1-1 center has received 5,330 calls today.
(Yesterday, August 27th the 9-1-1 center received a total of 7,805 calls)
• The Hurricane Hotline has received 1089. 
• Prince George's County Hurricane Hotline: 301-352-1920 (all non-emergency hurricane questions or concerns) – THIS LINE WILL SHUT-DOWN AT 4:00 PM today
• Prince George's County DPW&T Hotline: 301-350-0550 (downed trees, power lines, flooding, road closings)
• Please continue to follow tweets @CountyExecBaker and Facebook at "County Executive Rushern Baker"

County EOC Tree Incident Served as a Reminder to Workers


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

Early this morning, at about 2:30 am, a large mature tree was toppled by the strong winds of Irene near the location of an open and functioning County Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

County employees, assigned to work the overnight shift at the EOC, had parked their cars in the 6800 block of Webster Street leading up to the Cranford-Graves Fire Services Building in Landover Hills.
Fire Chief Bashoor described the scene this way, "This large, nearly 100 year old tree crushed several cars and temporarily cutoff vehicular access to the County EOC. The DCAO for Public Safety, Homeland Security Director, Fire Chief, and about 40 other officials were safe inside the EOC - albeit working on generator power."

Apparently, a lesson was learned the hard way that EOC workers are not immune from incidents of damage while working to serve citizens that are dealing with the same frustrations. The incident served to remind us why we were there.

Attached picture, by Fire Chief Bashoor, shows fallen tree (cut), damaged vehicle and the Fire Services Building in the background.

Working Smoke Alarm Saves a Sleeping Family of 9

Media Contact, Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930

A Ritchie family of 9 can thank a working smoke alarm for awakening them and allowing time to escape their burning home.

At about 8:15 am this morning firefighters were dispatched to a report of a fire on the second floor of a home at 8100 Thornfield Terrace.

Firefighters arrived to find smoke coming from the house and ensured all occupants were safely outside. Firefighters then stretched hose lines inside and extinguished a fire found in a second floor bedroom.
After losing electrical power overnight, as a result of damage from Hurricane Irene, the family used candles for illumination and left one burning unattended/forgotten. The candle eventually ignited a fire.
In the initial stages of fire ignition a battery powered smoke alarm activated and alerted the sleeping family to the fire and allowed them time to escape safely and provide early notification to the fire department.

Unattended candles are one of the leading causes of home fires and during power outages we ask everyone to use battery powered flashlights and lanterns to avoid exactly what occurred here.

Working smoke alarms save lives. If this alarm was not working the potential for injury, death and additional fire damage to the home is highly probable.

County residents can receive a working smoke alarm installed in your home, free of charge, by calling the Fire/EMS Departments Smoke Alarm line at 301-864-SAFE (7233).

If you already have a smoke alarm, test it monthly to ensure it is working and provide fresh batteries at least once-a-year. Remember, Safety First ensures everyone goes home.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Temple Hills House Fire - 3 Firefighters Injured

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

Amidst an early band of heavy rain and light winds from Hurricane Irene, Prince George's County Firefighters were alerted to a house fire around 12:15 pm this afternoon.  Fire/EMS units arrived at a 2-story with basement, cape cod, single family home in the 2200 block of Jameson Street in Temple Hills and reported heavy fire coming from the basement.

Firefighters quickly accounted for the occupants and ensured they were safely outside the house.  Crews then initiated an interior attack on the fire which had now extended to the upper floors.  At one point in the operations firefighters evacuated the structure so incident commanders could account for the safety of all personnel before regrouping and mounting another interior attack on the fire.  It required 35 firefighters about an hour to knock down the bulk of the fire.

Two firefighters sustained minor burn injuries and were transported to a local burn unit; it is anticipated they will be treated and released.  Another firefighter experienced chest pains after being involved in suppression efforts and has been transported to a local hospital by paramedics.

Fire Investigators are currently conducting an investigation into the cause and origin of the fire.  The fire remains open and on-going.  Fire loss is estimated at $200,000 for the structure and contents.

An adult female and her dog will suffer long term displacement.  The County Citizens Services Unit assisted the homeowner.  She will be staying with other family members.








Donated Girl Scout Cookies will Fuel County EOC This Weekend

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

A welcomed donation of Girl Scout Cookies this morning was well received.  County personnel greatly appreciated the concern, compassion and generosity demonstrated by the Girl Scouts of America for our first responders. 


Dozens of County personnel are staffing Departmental Operations throughout Prince George's County.  The County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and the Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department are operating at the Cranford-Graves Fire Services Building in Landover Hills.  


With many long hours of work yet to come over the course of the weekend the spirits of personnel at the EOC were lifted when Cheryl Delmater, Service Unit Manager 221, Troop Leader 2385, Girl Scouts of America and Debbie Delmater, Gold Awardee, donated 60 boxes of Girl Scout cookies to the County EOC workers during the initial phase of the EOC activation.  Thank you to Cheryl, Debbie and the Girl Scouts.


(L toR) Calvin Hawkins; Homeland Security, Brian Moe; Director of Homeland Security, Cheryl Delmater, Debbie Delmater, Fire Chief Bashoor and Tyrone Wells (back row);  Homeland Security at the County Emergency Operations Center this morning.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Fire/EMS Department Prepares for Irene


The Fire/EMS Department Command Staff met with their counterparts from other County agencies in a planning meeting to discuss preparations for the arrival and recovery from Hurricane Irene.  The meeting was held at the Cranford-Graves Fire Services Building in Landover Hills with coordination by the Office of Homeland Security Director Brian Moe and Public Safety Director Barry Stanton as agencies discussed their action plans.  The Office of Homeland Security will take the lead in the activation of the County Emergency Operations Center throughout the weekend.  Prince George's County is currently under a Tropical Storm Warning and a Flash Flood Watch.

After the planning meeting concluded, Fire Chief Marc Bashoor conducted a 4:00 pm conference call to discuss preliminary information about the Departments action plan.  Key points from both meetings are detailed below.

All non-essential Fire/EMS Department activities for Saturday and Sunday August 27 & 28 are hereby canceled.  All Volunteer Departments are urged to similarly cancel any non-essential activities – including securing all outside materials or equipment and taking down of all temporary structures/tents/etc…

BELOW IS A RECAP OF THE 4 PM CONFERENCE CALL, and INFORMATION FROM A 2 PM MEETING

Clearly, our largest threats from Hurricane Irene will be sustained winds and heavy rain (current forecast for 2” to 6” of rain or more), along with the resulting impacts.  Colonel Barksdale and staff are currently working on the Incident Action Plan, which will be available electronically when complete.  All planning with respect to resource allocations, reassignments, and/or staffing must ultimately be funneled to the Planning Section for inclusion in the IAP

There will be various centers in place to deal with this emergency - the terminology can be confusing so here is the explanation:

County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) - Set-up by the County Office of Homeland Security, Office of Emergency Management, in the multi-purpose room at the Fire Services Building at 1200 Noon on Saturday.  The EOC will operate with an Emergency Support Function (ESF) setup, with Fire/EMS staffing the ESF 4/8 table.  The ESF 4/8 desk phone number will be transmitted when available, however this will not be a public contact number.

Department Operations Center (DOC) - Will be set-up in the training room of the FSB beginning 0700 on Saturday.  This will operate under a 12-hour operational period, under an ICS format, with Command and the Operations and Planning Sections activated initially.  Contact numbers will be provided when available, however these will not be  public contact numbers

Fire/EMS Department Call Center (FECC) – Normal day-to-day FD Operations Center at the Fire Services Building, with public contact at 301-583-2200.

Please be sure to reference the appropriate term and numbers when relaying information, etc.

PERSONAL AND FAMILY PREPARATIONS

All members are reminded to take care of themselves and their family/neighbor needs now so that they may be available if needed.  Please prepare yourself for extended working operational periods if necessary (i.e. - food, drink, flashlights, change of clothes, phone chargers, rain gear, etc.)

PUBLIC SAFETY COMMUNICATIONS

We are working with PSCC to develop a plan in the event of any type of radio failure.  Field and office personnel should keep in contact with their supervisors to ensure a continuity of contact and operations.  The DOC will ensure a FD Command officer coordinates activities from the PSCC,  once call volumes increase significantly – you should anticipate reduced assignments and potential lengthy response times depending on conditions.  The problems with Channel 3 from the past couple weeks has been repaired.  We will also be incorporating the International Association of Fire Chiefs recommendations for hurricane response into our IAP, which includes but is not limited to, cessation of response activity when there are sustained winds over 50 m.p.h.  Field commanders can make that unilateral decisions based on conditions on the ground, however an area or system-wide decision will only be made by the DOC.

STAFFING

The Department is working with the  Volunteer Association and the Volunteer Majors to coordinate volunteer staffing and assets.  We will be up-staffing several units/stations, not exclusively – but primarily in the areas of Technical Rescue and Swift Water Rescue.  The Technical Rescue Companies will most likely be pulled from standard EOC responses at the height of the anticipated events.














Fire Chief Bashoor leads a 4:00 pm conference call with the Departments Command Staff on
preliminary preparation plans for Hurricane Irene.



Thursday, August 25, 2011

PGFD Prepares for Weekend Arrival of Irene


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

Weekend Arrival Will Assist Firefighter/Medics

If there is a “silver lining” in the timing of Hurricane Irene is that her mean arrival will occur on a weekend.  Emergency officials continue to monitor Hurricane Irene, while making plans to ensure protection over the weekend.  From a public safety perspective, it is to our advantage that the destructive and potentially deadly forces of Hurricane Irene may affect our area during the weekend as opposed to during the week.  The timing will remove many concerns for first responders.  A few days ago, a 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck the east coast on a weekday; and schools, businesses, retail stores, and government facilities were damaged and evacuated, which required some degree of attention from firefighters and paramedics.  Gridlock developed on area roadways, and public transportation was limited.   The Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department and associated public safety partners handled the unannounced earthquake exceptionally well, while handling thousands of calls for service from our citizens and residents.

By comparison, the earthquake was not predicted, while Hurricane Irene has been monitored with predictions of “significant impact” to Prince George’s County.    

With Irene expected to arrive on a weekend, the Fire/EMS Department can remove the immediate concern for high population buildings such e.g. schools and office buildings, and focus their attention on other urgent matters.  With warnings being broadcast well in advance, it is anticipated that the majority of our citizens and residents will heed our advice and stay safe indoors.

Additional staffing, firefighters and paramedics, on weekends are high as a pool of personnel available for callback to duty is plentiful.  Volunteer firefighters and EMTs tend to respond in high numbers to the call for assistance with staffing fire/EMS stations around the County.  Emergency planners will also have additional time to assess the storm’s damage, and plan ahead for decisions that will need to be made for the upcoming week.  The Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department is fully aware of the potential of Hurricane Irene and are taking all precautions and preparations to stand ready.

County Executive Rushern Baker has already demonstrated his ability to lead in these types of situations, having initiated two activations of the Emergency Operations Center for the Fire Storm of February 19, 2011, and the recent earthquake.  Mr. Baker and his cabinet staff have received high marks for their ability to respond to the needs of our citizens and residents in times of crisis.   Citizens and residents, however, need to take personal responsibility to prepare for this impending storm.  To be perfectly clear, Hurricane Irene is a dangerous and potentially deadly storm that will have an impact on Prince George’s County—DO NOT WAIT TO PREPARE!  Everyone needs to take steps now to remain safe.

The men and women of your Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department want you to Stay Informed – Stay Ready – Stay Safe.  Take actions now to prepare yourself and your property for this impending storm. 

Residents of Prince George’s County can anticipate heavy rains, flooding and high winds, which will equate to power outages and unsafe conditions outside.

  • Remove items outside of your home that could become “projectiles” in high wind.
  • Have a supply of fresh batteries for radios and flashlights.  Anticipate power outages.  Stay informed on battery operated radios.
  • Ensure your vehicle has a full tank of fuel.
  • Consider non-perishable food and beverage items for several days.
  • Charge cell phones and other electronic items to a full charge now and as long as you have power.
  • Have a plan that you discuss with other family members.


If you have a power outage:

  •      Never use candles for illumination.  Use flashlights or battery powered lanterns.
  •      Never use a generator inside your home, including garages.  Carbon monoxide from the generator will kill you.  Generators should be several feet away from your home.


Residents are encouraged to follow the activities of the Fire/EMS and important messages and updated by following PGFDPIO on twitter, www.twitter.com/PGFDPIO

Our friends at the Federal Emergency Management Agency provide the following information.

Step 1: Build A Kit / "To-Go Bag"
Get an Emergency Supply Kit, which includes items like non-perishable food, water, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra flashlights and batteries. You may want to prepare a portable kit and keep it in your car in case you are told to evacuate.
Step 2: Make A Plan
Prepare your family. Make a Family Emergency Plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency. You should also consider:
    Safety skills
Prepare Your Business. Businesses have a critical role in preparedness. Putting a disaster plan in motion now will improve the likelihood that your company will survive and recover.  Ready Business outlines commonsense measures business owners and managers can take to start getting ready.
Plan to Protect Property. Hurricanes cause heavy rains that can cause extensive flood damage in coastal and inland areas. Everyone is at risk and should consider flood insurance protection. Flood insurance is the only way to financially protect your property or business from flood damage.  To learn more about your flooding risk and how to protect yourself and your business, visit the NFIP Web site, www.floodsmart.gov or call 1-800-427-2419.
You can also:
    Cover all of your home's windows with pre-cut plywood or hurricane shutters to
     protect your windows from high winds.
    Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that
    is not tied down.
    Keep all trees and shrubs well trimmed so they are more wind resistant.
    Secure your home by closing shutters, and securing outdoor objects or bringing them
    inside.
    Turn off utilities as instructed. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest
    setting and keep its doors closed.
    Turn off propane tanks.
    Install a generator for emergencies
    Reinforce your garage doors; if wind enters a garage, it can cause dangerous and
    expensive structural damage.
    Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets.
    Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.
    Find out how to keep food safe during and after and emergency by visiting

Step 3: Be Informed
Hurricane hazards come in many forms: lightning, tornadoes, flooding, storm surge, high winds, even landslides or mudslides can be triggered in mountainous regions.  Look carefully at the safety actions associated with each type of hurricane hazard and prepare your family disaster plan accordingly. But remember this is only a guide. The first and most important thing anyone should do when facing a hurricane threat is to use common sense.
    Care for pets

Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify a hurricane.
    A hurricane watch means a hurricane is possible in your area. Be prepared to evacuate. Monitor local radio and television news outlets or listen to NOAA Weather Radio for the latest developments.
    A hurricane warning is when a hurricane is expected in your area. If local authorities advise you to evacuate, leave immediately.

Federal and National Resources. Find additional information on how to plan and prepare for a hurricane by visiting the following resources:
     U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Disease Control

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

District Heights Townhouse Fire


For Immediate Release: August 24, 2011
Contact: Erroll W. George, Spokesperson, 240-832-5761
www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/FireEMS/ (Homepage)
www.pgfireems.com (Newsroom)
District Heights Townhouse Fire
Firefighters from District Heights and surrounding stations were alerted to a townhouse fire in the 6000 block of South Hilmar Circle this evening shortly after 8:00 pm.
Fire/EMS units arrived within minutes and encountered heavy fire on the first and second floors of the 2-story middle of the row townhouse.  A fire task force was quickly sounded bringing additional units to the scene due to the amount of visible fire upon arrival of the first units. 
Initial reports indicated that there was a trapped occupant of the home, however, all occupants were able to escape without injury.  Unfortunately, a deceased dog was found on the second floor of the home.
It required about 30 minutes to extinguish the bulk of the fire. There were 35 firefighter/medics, command officers and support personnel that operated on the scene of this incident.  Despite a partial roof collapse resulting in the building being evacuated by personnel, there were no reported civilian or fire fighter injuries.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation and fire loss has been estimated at $250,000.00 for structure and contents.  Three townhomes were affected by the fire including the house of origin, which was significantly damaged.  Three families were displaced as a result of the fire, 8 adults and 2 children.  Red Cross assisted some of the occupants while others self relocated with other family members.