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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Firefighter Hockey Tournament This Weekend

The PGFD and Hyattsville Hockey Teams each won their first game in the DC Firefighters Burn Foundation Hockey Tournament.  Each team was victorious over teams from the Baltimore City Fire Department.

The Prince George's County Fire/EMS Departments and Hyattsville Hockey teams are competing in a charity tournament this weekend.  The teams will be participating in a tournament primarily composed of public safety teams hosted by the DC Fire Hockey Team.  A portion of proceeds will be donated to the DC Firefighters Burn Foundation, a group that has been mentioned and thanked numerous times for their assistance provided to injured firefighters at the Burn Unit of MEDSTAR Washington Hospital Center.

Plenty of good hockey will be played over the course of the weekend.  Teams from New York, Atlantic City, Philadelphia, Massachusetts, Ohio and a host of local departments are participating in the tournament.  For a schedule of games visit DCFireHockey.com.  All games will be played at the Gardens Ice House, 13800 Old Gunpowder Road, Beltsville, MD. Dress Warm!!!  There is no admission and there are t-shirts, hockey sweaters and plenty of great food and beverages available.

Hyattsville Hockey are wearing the light blue and dark blue sweaters.

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The PGFD Team is wearing white sweaters with black/red trim.

Friday, March 30, 2012

PGFD Goes Pierce

I am pleased to announce that today we have executed a letter of intent to purchase 5 Pierce engines and 2 Pierce ladder trucks from Atlantic Emergency Solutions, Inc, riding the Council of Governments contract with Arlington, Virginia.
Thanks to the Volunteer and Career members of the Apparatus Maintenance Task Force, who worked hard to draw towards a consensus standard for vehicle specifications.  Additional information and detailed drawings will be available in the future.  Volunteer Corporations will also be able to benefit from the purchasing power pricing of this contract. 
Although no delivery target has been established, we will work diligently to get the equipment on time and under budget.
We have the County Executive and the County Council to thank for the funding provided for these purchases.  They have also accepted the conceptual basis of the apparatus replacement program, which will allow us to purchase an additional amount of apparatus in fiscal year 2014, and establish a rotation in years out.
Personnel should direct any questions about the purchase or equipment specs, and any Corporations with questions about riding the contract, should direct questions to Deputy Fire Chief Ben Barksdale or Deputy Fire Chief Frank Underwood.
Marc S. Bashoor, Fire Chief
Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department, Headquarters
9201 Basil Court, 4th Floor East
Landover, MD 20785
(O) 301-883-5200
(F) 301-883-5212

April 1 is “Safety First Day of the Month”

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

Sunday is April 1, 2012, and it is the first day of the month. Firefighters and Paramedics want to remind you that “Safety First Day of the Month” is the day designated for all citizens, visitors and businesses to test your smoke alarms.

To conduct your test, push the test button on the front cover of your alarm. A loud beeping noise should be emitted. If you hear the warning sound - your alarm is working. If you do not hear a warning sound, replace the battery and test your alarm again. If you still do not hear a warning sound; replace your non-working alarm with a new one.

Because our “Safety First Day of the Month” test falls on a Sunday it will also be an excellent time to review your home escape plan and what family members should do in the event of an emergency. When you test your smoke alarm let your family members hear the warning signal and instruct them what to do if they should hear the smoke alarm sounding.

Remember, home escape planning requires everyone to know two ways out of every room in the house and where to meet outside in a safe location. Call 911 once you are outside and safe.

If you are sleeping and hear a sounding smoke alarm, do not leave your room just to investigate the sounding alarm. Leave your room with the clear intent of leaving your home with your practiced escape plan for you and other family members in motion.

Remember, Safety First Ensures Everyone Goes Home.

If you are in Prince George’s County and need a working smoke alarm, call our Safety First program at 301-864-SAFE (7233). A firefighter will come to your home at a mutually agreeable time and install one in your home, free of charge.

Lowe's of Clinton Answers the Call for Help

Two weeks ago Captain Dana Brooks, Fire/EMS Training Academy (FETA), approached several of the Home Improvement stores to see if they would sponsor a prop for fire ground survival training. The Lowe’s in Clinton was more than willing to provide the material for the IAFF Fire Ground Survival Reduced Profile Prop. The Fire Ground Survival training is part of career recruit school. The props at FETA have become weathered and worn and some are in need of replacement.

Ms. “E” as she prefers to be called said she was so glad she could assist the department. She said when she saw the news report about our recent injuries she was wondering if there was something she could do. When Captain Brooks approached her she was delighted that she could help.

The material picked up today was 20 2”x4”x8’, 4 sheet of plywood and 3 boxes of nails and screws for the assembly of the prop. I presented her with a certificate of appreciation on behalf of the Academy and the Department.

Fire Department Battalion Chief Fusco and Fire Fighter Mandragos with Mrs. "E" and 2 other employees from Lowes.  Mrs. "E" proudly displays her Certificate. (Picture by Fire Fighter Hunter.

Kenneth F. Fusco
Battalion Chief, Assistant Director
Fire/EMS Training Academy
Prince George's County Fire/EMS Dept.
9190 Commo Rd.
Cheltenham, MD 20623

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Townhouse Fire - Andrews Air Force Base

Prince George's County Firefighters responded onto Andrews Air Force Base this afternoon to help battle a fierce fire involving a row of townhouses.  At about 3:45 pm Fire/EMS units responded to the 2000 block of Madison Drive for a 3-story, middle of the row, townhouse and arrived to find heavy fire showing.  The fire eventually spread to two other townhouses before the fire was extinguished after about 1 hour.  No injuries were reported to PGFD Firefighters.

Please contact AAFB for any additional information concerning cause/origin and estimated fire loss.

Photos by Billy McNeel

PGFD Hockey Participates in Tournament for Charity

The Prince George's County Fire/EMS Departments hockey team will compete in a charity tournament this weekend.  Team PGFD will be participating in a tournament primarily composed of public safety teams hosted by the DC Fire Hockey Team.  A portion of proceeds will be donated to the DC Firefighters Burn Foundation, a group that has been mentioned and thanked numerous times for their assistance provided to injured firefighters at the Burn Unit of MEDSTAR Washington Hospital Center.

The PGFD Hockey Team will play their first game on Friday, March 30, 2012, at 4:30 pm.  All games will be played all weekend long at the Gardens Ice House, 13800 Old Gunpowder Road, Beltsville, MD.

UPDATE - A Personal Visit with Kevin O'Toole - Week 5

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

To provide this week’s update I had the privilege of visiting and spending some time with Kevin O’Toole at Medstar Washington Hospital Center on Thursday.  Kevin had just completed a physical therapy session and was sore and in obvious pain.  Joining us were Jane O’Toole, Kevin’s mother, and Fire Captain Charles Flinn.  Kevin was moved to a step down unit on the third floor last week, which makes it easier for visitors to stop in and see him.

Kevin O'Toole on Thursday, March 29.
Volunteer Fire Fighter Kevin O’Toole was injured with six other firefighters as they battled a house fire in Riverdale on February 24.  Kevin sustained burns over a large portion of his body and has been in the Burn Unit since the night of the incident.

I asked Kevin if there was a message I could convey for him and he quickly responded, “Yes, I’m 21 not 22 years old.”  Easy enough, consider that done.  He also reiterated what one of the Burn Unit Doctors told him, ‘You may be out of the ICU but you are not out of the woods yet.’  “I’m forever grateful for the prayers,” stated Kevin.  “Please continue to pray as I need your support.” 

The start of week 5 in the hospital will include an eighth surgery on Friday.  Once released, Kevin said he is looking forward to spending time back home in Bethpage, NY, where he will participate in outpatient physical therapy.  He is also looking forward to attending the concert of one of his favorite performers, Kenny Chesney, at Fed Ex Field on August 12.

Kevin’s room, 3 East 322, is decorated with photos, cards, hand-written notes and fire department patches.  Jane O’Toole stated that we were only seeing about ¼ of the well wishes that had been sent to Kevin.  He reads each and every card sent to him and often rereads them.  The Zac Brown Band and Bucky Covington wrote personal notes to Kevin and included autographed items, which elevated Kevin’s spirits and morale last week.  “When I receive cards and read all the well wishes on FACEBOOK, it makes me feel incredible,” Kevin said.  “I have recently started collecting fire department patches and posting them on my hospital room wall, often times it is the little things that are the highlight of my day.”

Spending time recovering in the hospital is a long process with many hours spent passing the time in between doctor visits, surgeries and physical therapy.  Kevin spoke of his "mental strength" and how it does him good to receive cards and visit with family, friends and co-workers.

I encourage everyone and anyone to take the time and send Kevin a card, patch or FACEBOOOK post.

If sending a note or a fire department patch can be the highlight of Kevin’s Day and if these gestures make him feel incredible, than lets get this done.  Send a card or note, post on his wall, send a patch for his hospital room wall and visit him.

Patient  - Kevin O’Toole
MEDSTAR at Washington Hospital Center
Room 3 East 332
110 Irving Street NW
Washington, DC  20010

- OR -

Volunteer Fire Fighter Kevin O’Toole
c/o Bladensburg Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad, Inc.
4213 Edmonston Road
Bladensburg, MD 20710

UPDATE - Glensford Pool House Fire

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

Prince George's County Fire Investigators have determined the cause of the fire that damaged a pool house on Wednesday, March 28.  Investigators have labeled this fire as "accidental" and attributed to an electrical malfunction.  Fire loss is estimated at $150,000.  No injuries were reported.

Jonathan D. Howard, Sr., Deputy Fire Chief 43A - Bowie Volunteer Fire Department, provided us with these images he captured when he arrived on the scene.

Lifesaving Leadership - An Emergency Service Provider Seminar

Lifesaving Leadership Flyer -  

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Glensford Community Pool House Fire - Glenn Dale/Bowie

Firefighters from Glenn Dale and other nearby communities arrived on the scene of a community pool house with heavy fire coming through the roof this afternoon.   Fire/EMS units arrived at the 1-story structure at about 3:30 pm on River Glen Court in the Glensford Community in the Bowie/Glenn Dale area.  It required 32 firefighters about 20 minutes to extinguish the fire that burned off about 50% of the roof.

The Fire/EMS Departments Hazardous Materials Team was brought to the scene to secure commonly used pool chemicals that were not involved in the fire.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.  Dollar loss estimates are not yet available.  There were no injuries.

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

Be "Street Smart" - Safety First

Members of the Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department participated in a press conference held today to raise the awareness of pedestrian safety. “Street Smart” is an annual public education, awareness and behavioral change campaign in the Washington, DC, suburban Maryland and northern Virginia area. Since its beginning in 2002, the campaign has used radio, newspaper, and transit advertising, public awareness efforts, and added law enforcement to respond to the challenges of pedestrian and bicyclist safety. The press conference was held in a parking lot at the busy intersection of Marlboro Pike and Silver Hill Road in District Heights.

Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor was one of the featured guest speakers and spoke of the Fire/EMS Department support for enforcement efforts and also on the strain on fire and EMS resources when required to respond to a pedestrian incident. “Pedestrian accidents consume not only our responder’s physical presence, but also the psychological edge for the rest of their shift, and certainly that of the victims’ families. In addition to the law enforcement presence, every pedestrian accident brings at least a fire engine, basic life support ambulance, and a paramedic - upwards of 8 to 10 responders - for every additional patient, another two responders, and if meda-vac helicopter is needed, another fire engine with additional personnel is needed,” said Bashoor. “Fortunately we have a very robust trauma care network in the State of Maryland, but it is a network filled with traumas like pedestrian events that should never happen.”

Prince George’s County Paramedics Stephanie Buffum and Amy Gunn provided a personal overview of senseless traumatic pedestrian incidents that they worked which highlighted the challenges in dealing with victims and their families.

The Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department strongly support "Street Smart" and the enforcement effort that is required by our public safety partners which help to raise the awareness of pedestrian laws.  We know that often times the motorist is not at fault and it is the pedestrian that could have avoided the crash had they followed the law. 
Use crosswalks and obey traffic/pedestrian control devices at intersections are just two safety tips that will help pedestrian's from being struck and motorists should drive defensively, slow down in areas of high pedestrian traffic and obey all traffic control devices.
For additional information about the Street Smart program, click here.  Remember, Safety First Ensures Everyone Goes home.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fire/EMS Promotional Ceremony

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

On March 22, a ceremony was held to recognize all the members of the Fire/EMS Department that were promoted over the past year.  The ceremony was hosted and dnner provided by the Prince George's County International Association of Firefighters and Paramedics Local 1619 and held at their Florian Hall in Bowie, Maryland.  Guests included Council Member Mary Lehman, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Public Safety Barry L. Stanton, County Police Chief Mark Magaw, County Assistant Police Chief Kevin Davis, Department of Corrections Director Mary Lou McDonough and Director of the Office of Emergency Management Ron Gill.

The ceremony was well attended by nearly 150 people including the Fire/EMS Departments Deputy Fire Chiefs, a majority of the Assistant Fire Chief's and those promoted along with their family, friends and co-workers.  The event opened with a Presentation of Colors by the Fire/EMS Departments Honor Guard with a beautiful offering of the National Anthem by Bridgette P. Wilson.  Chaplain Paul Brown opened and closed the event with blessing and prayers.  Speakers included Local IAFF 1619 President Andrew Pantelis, Council Member Lehman, Mr. Stanton and Fire Chief Bashoor.

Fire Chief Bashoor stated, "Over the past year, you have accepted a new opportunity of leadership within the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department. If you have not heard it from me before, you will now. As you ponder your responsibilities, use your education, experience, and these few simple words as the foundations for your success – those words – 'Just Do The Right Thing.'   I have lived by that quote my entire career."  he continued saying, "There's no book on the shelf and no plaque on the wall to explain what the right thing is. You have to learn it - you have to know it."

Each promotee that attended the event was presented a certificate of promotion and a congratulatory letter.

Congratulations to all those promoted, we look forward to seeing you again next year!!!. 

List of Promotions from March 2011 to March 2012 -

Fire Chief's Special Achievement Award Presented to Two Members

MEDIA CONTACT: Diane V. Cunningham, PIO Administrative Aide, 301-883-5222 

On Thursday, March 22, 2012, Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor presented two members of his Department with The Fire Chief’s Special Achievement Award. This is an honorary award that is presented each year to an individual or individuals who exemplify a spirit of service, evidenced by their unselfish commitment to others.

William J. Hawkins, Aide to the Fire Chief, was the first recipient of the Fire Chief’s Special Achievement Award. He has served the Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) for over 30 years, initially as a volunteer then as an employee. Chief Bashoor stated, “Hawk has continually absorbed every task put in front of him, even after having suffered several personal and family tragedies in the past year. He has done absolutely everything I and this department has asked, and more. From loading and distributing protective gear to recruits; running the breathing air truck and filling breathing air bottles all over the County; setting up public outreach displays; managing vehicle maintenance for the Fire Chief’s office; or driving me from point A to point B, this guy does it all without complaint. It is my honor to award the 2011 Fire Chief’s Special Achievement award to William Hawkins.”

The recipient of the second award was Assistant Fire Chief Richard M. Lambdin, Manager of Facilities/Resource Planning. “I am equally honored to present this award to Assistant Fire Chief Lambdin. He has answered the call whenever it comes. His responsibilities for facilities and resource planning cross the gamut, from testing and vetting new recruits to coordinating construction and facility maintenance concerns at nearly 50 facilities—including coordination with the 37 Volunteer Fire/Rescue Corporations that reside in those facilities. Along with others, he has overseen the hiring of nearly 300 personnel; the construction and opening of 3 new fire/EMS stations; and the planning for 3 additional stations. After 20 years on the job, he has recently announced his retirement. He has accepted the position of Fire Chief for the Whispering Pines North Carolina Fire Department. They are fortunate to get him, and he will be sorely missed in our Department,” said Chief Bashoor.

This year's Special Achievement Award recipients will have their names entered on a plaque that resides in the Office of the Fire Chief.  Previous recipients of this prestigious award include:

The following individuals are the Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department’s past recipients of this award.

James R. Miller 1978

Allan Hamilton 1979

John Jarboe 1980

Emory E. Berry 1981

Pierce M. Damewood 1982*

Ralph N. Small 1982

Barbara “Sandy” Lee 1983

Walter S. Lanier 1984

Karl Granzow 1985

H. J. (John) Crisman 1986

Elezabeth J. Redding 1987

Edward L. Killen 1988*

Richard T. Williams 1988

Mary Helen Naecker 1989

Stephen M. Ager 1990

Michael L. Wright 1991

Marie Newman 1992

Richard A. Rahilly 1993*

William J. Hawkins 1993

Charles B. Burton 1994

Stephen E. Allen, Sr. 1995

William R. McGown 1996*

Eugene A. Jones 1996

Warren D. Litchfield 1996

George H. Linnell 1997

Marc S. Bashoor 1998

Elizabeth U. Berg 1999

Ryland O. Jones 2000

Reginald A. Parks 2001

William H. McNeel 2002

Sylvia M. Franklin, Ph.D 2005

Victor Stagnaro 2008

Angela M. Peden 2009*

Mark E. Brady 2009

Denise L. Dickens 2010

An asterisk has been placed beside each year in which there were multiple award recipients. Please note there were no recipients in 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2007.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Firefighter/Medic Competes for a Spot on "America Ninja Warrior"

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

A Prince George’s County Firefighter/Medic is competing for a spot on “America Ninja Warrior.”  Aric Lee, 36 years of age and a 7-year-member of the Fire/EMS Department, is competing in this weeks regional tryouts in Miami, Florida.

Lee, of Alexandria, Virginia, is currently assigned to the Bunker Hill Fire/EMS Station #855 and was able to attend the tryouts by using a combination of personal leave and fellow Firefighter/Medics covering his shifts.  If he is successful in advancing to the next level, Lee will compete in the finals held in Las Vegas in late April.

Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor stated, “On behalf of the entire Fire/EMS Department I wish Aric the very best in this competition.  I fully support his efforts and know he brings tremendous agility, strength and tenacity to the competition.  I fully expect him to advance to the finals.”

Lee stated just before leaving for Miami, "I am looking forward to not only representing firefighters and Paramedics/EMT's, but also the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department. I may not win, but I am not going there to lose."

America Ninja Warrior is a popular cable TV show whose website states, “American Ninja Warrior 2012!  1 course, 100 finalists. The ultimate obstacle course comes to the US for the first time ever. Will any American have what it takes to become the first American Ninja Warrior?”  The show is broadcast on the G4 network.

To be successful in this competition contestants must be in top physical condition.  There are several videos and pictures of Aric's workouts on his Facebook page.  He will be updating his Facebook page this week posting his progress in Miami.  To follow Aric Lee click here.

Fire Fighter/Medic Lee and the fire station dog. (file photo)

Fire Fighter/Medic Lee (far right) with his crew. (file photo)