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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Prince George’s County Opens Three 24-Hour Cooling Centers

Press Release
For Immediate Release:
June 30, 2012

For Information Contact:
Barry L. Hudson
Manager of Communications
PH: 240-695-8093
(Media only please, residents should call 301-583-1950)

Prince George’s County Opens Three 24-Hour Cooling Centers  

Animal Shelter Without Power

Hyattsville, MD – The Prince George’s County Office of Emergency Management has opened three 24-hour cooling centers in the County that residents can use to find refuge from the heat.   The centers are located in the north, central and south sections of the County.

The County Animal Shelter is now without power.  Residents who have pets that need shelter should call (301) 780-7200.

24-Hour Cooling Centers

Kentland Community Center
2411 Pinebrook Avenue
Landover, MD

Prince George's Plaza Community Center
6600 Adelphi Road
Hyattsville, MD

Accokeek Academy
14400 Berry Road
Accokeek,  MD 
Cooling centers are temporary air conditioned public spaces set-up for residents to prevent the health effects of a heat wave.  They are usually located at several sites throughout a jurisdiction and are not designed for lodging.   Residents who require overnight accommodations are encouraged to go to the shelter at Northwestern High School, 7000 Adelphi Road, Hyattsville, MD.   In addition, residents who are in need of recharging their medical oxygen devices should go to one of the cooling centers, fire stations or the Northwestern High School shelter to charge their equipment. 

The Prince George’s County Fire Department reminds citizens to use battery operated lights and flash lights in lieu of candles.  A couple of post-storm fires that occurred were the result of residents using candles for light. In order to conserve cool air, residents are encouraged to use discretion in opening windows in order to keep cooler air inside as well as minimizing the time refrigerators and freezers are opened.  

The Prince George’s County Department of Family Services has been regularly communicating with all senior citizen, assisted living centers, and nursing homes in the County. Residents are encouraged to check on the elderly, neighbors, family members and those who may have special needs. 

Residents and media are encouraged to follow @CountyExecBaker on Twitter or “County Executive Rushern Baker” on Facebook for information and updates.  The phone number to the Emergency Operation Center is 301-583-1950.


Use Flashlights and Keep Candles in the Cabinet

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

With widespread power outages the use of candles to increase illumination inside of homes will increase.  The Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services department is cautioning citizens, businesses and visitors that candles should not be used for this purpose as it causes a potential for home fires.

Over 60 residents of a Landover apartment building without electrical power on 64th Avenue this morning were displaced and 5 injured when an unattended candle ignited a fire at about 1:45 am today.  The fire required a second alarm of firefighters to extinguish

Without even bringing power outages into the equation, candles present problems for firefighters everyday.
  • On average, in the U.S., there are 35 home candle fires reported per day.

  • Roughly two-fifths of these fires started in the bedroom.

  • More than half of all candle fires start when things that can burn are too close to the candle.

The problem is only compounded when power outages are involved and the first item that families reach for when the lights go out are candles and matches.  The men and women of your Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department strongly recommend that families use battery powered flash lights and lanterns instead of candles.

It is also recommended that families have a battery-powered radio available to remain informed.

Batteries, flashlights, lanterns and a radio are all items that are recommended to have in your emergency kit that should be prepared and available.  For additional information on preparing an emergency kit can be found at www.ready.gov

This is a good time to test your smoke alarm and ensure it is working.

GENERATOR SAFETY - Two Incidents Already Reported Today

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

With thousands of residences and business without power after Friday evenings powerful storm many residents will turn on their generators to keep cool and power important appliances.  Gasoline powered generators produce a large volume of carbon monoxide (CO).  CO will sicken you and when exposed to high amounts will kill you.  The use of generators have spiked in recent years due to affordable pricing and their usefulness during power outages.  With more generators being used, it is anticipated that residents may not be completely aware of the dangers associated with them.

Two homeowners experienced unfortunate experiences with gasoline-powered generators just this evening.

A resident on Jenkins Ridge Road in Bowie had the right idea. Place the generator outside.  Unfortunately they placed it on the front porch near an open door.  CO made it’s way into the home and sickened the occupant.  Firefighters arrived to find low levels of CO, however, the occupant already was suffering from exposure.  The home was ventilated and the occupant was evaluated by paramedics and did not wish to be transported to the hospital. 

Shortly after that incident a house fire was reported in the 3100 block of Teal Lane in Bowie.  Again, the family had the right idea, place the generator outside the house.  Unfortunately, the generator was placed too close to the house and ignited a fire.  When firefighters arrived they found heavy fire conditions consuming the house.  The house sustained significant damage, however, the two occupants were not injured.

With power outages anticipated to last into the week the use of generators will be on the rise.  The Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department offer these safety tips when operating a gasoline-powered generator.

  • Generators should be used in well-ventilated locations outside away from all doors, windows and vent openings.  The generator should be placed as far away as possible and at a minimum at least 3 feet away from combustibles-this includes your house.

  • Never use a generator in an attached garage, even with the door open. 

  • Place generators so that exhaust fumes can’t enter the home through windows, doors or other openings in the building.

  • Make sure to install carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in your home. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for correct placement and mounting height.

  • Turn off generators and let them cool down before refueling. Never refuel a generator while it

  • When plugging in appliances, make sure they are plugged directly into the generator or a heavy-duty outdoor-rated extension cord. The cords should be checked for cuts, tears and that the plug has all three prongs, especially a grounding pin.
  • Apartments and condos are not permitted to use generators on their balconies.  CO can enter into living areas above and on either side of your unit.

2-Alarm Apartment Fire - 64th Avenue in Landover

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

Firefighters rescued two residents from a Landover apartment building this morning when a neighbor’s apartment was on fire.  At about 1:45 am, Saturday, Fire/EMS units were dispatched to 3839 64th Avenue in Landover for a fire reported on the second floor.  Units arrived at the multi-level, 4 stories in the front and 7 in the rear, with heavy smoke coming from a second floor unit and the fire extending to apartments above.  High heat and thick smoke in the hallway prevented the egress of some occupants that retreated to their windows and awaited rescue. 

Firefighters entered the building to extinguish the fire and search for trapped occupants.  A team of firefighters used ground ladders to remove 2 occupants from their apartment window.  Firefighters encountered several occupants suffering from various injuries incurred while escaping the heat and smoke.  All five occupants were treated on the scene and transported to a hospital for treatment.  All the patients were transported in good condition.

A Second Alarm was sounded bringing additional resources to the scene.  The fire was contained and extinguished within 20 minutes.  Assistant Chief Paul Cruz stated that the fire was contained to the apartment of origin and that several occupants would not be able to return to their apartments.  Displaced residents were being assisted by the County Citizen Services Unit (CSU) with temporary shelter.   Steve Stearns, a CSU representative, stated that he was assisting 50 adults and 14 children that are displaced with temporary shelter.

A County “GO” Bus was brought to the scene and provided an air conditioned temporary shelter for displaced residents.

The cause of the fire is under investigation and fire loss estimates are still being tabulated.

All photos by Jim Davis of pgfdfire.com (not affiliated with the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department)

Prince George’s County Cooling Centers

Updated Press Release
For Immediate Release:
June 30, 2012

For Information Contact:
Scott L. Peterson
Deputy Manager of Communications/Press Secretary
PH: 240-619-9400
(Media only please, residents should call 301-583-1950)

Update: Prince George’s County Cooling Centers

Hyattsville, MD – The Prince George’s County Office of Emergency Management continues to monitor power outages and subsequent problems due to the heat.  The Office of Emergency Management encourages residents, especially the elderly, without power or air conditioning to go to a local cooling center.  A cooling center is a designated public space that has been confirmed to have power and air conditioning.  Unlike a shelter, a cooling center is not staffed with social service personnel nor provides food or water. If residents need personal County assistance they are encouraged to go to the shelter at Northwestern High School, 7000 Adelphi Road, Hyattsville.

As of 12:00 p.m., the County has identified and opened the following locations that have power in the County where residents can find refuge from the heat. (BOLD = New facility or update since previous release)  
·         Baden Community Center, 13601 Baden-Westwood Road, Brandywine
·         Bowie Community Center, 3209 StonyBrook, Bowie
·         Bowie Senior Center, 14900 Health Center Drive, Bowie
·         City of Bowie Gymnasium 4100 Northview Drive, Bowie
·         OakCrest Community Center, 1300 Capitol Heights Blvd, Capitol Heights
·         Camp Springs Senior Activity Center, 6420 Allentown Road, Camp Springs (lost power, will no longer be a cooling center)
·         Suitland Community Center, 5600 Regency Lane, Forestville
·         Prince George's Plaza Community Center, 6600 Adelphi Road, Hyattsville
·         Curry Sports and Learning Complex, 8001 Sheriff Road, Landover
·         Kentland Community Center, 2411 Pinebrook Avenue, Landover
·         Palmer Park Community Center, 7720 Barlowe Rd., Landover
·         Glassmanor Community Center, 1101 Marcy Avenue, Oxon Hill
·         Pepper Mill Community Center, 610 Hill Road, Seat Pleasant
·         Show Place Arena, 14900 Pennsylvania Avenue, Upper Marlboro

The following Prince George’s County Public Libraries have been identified as being open from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. with working air conditioning:
·         Accokeek Library, 15773 Livingston Rd., Accokeek
·         Bladensburg Library, 4820 Annapolis Rd, Bladensburg
·         Beltsville Library, 4319 Sellman Rd, Beltsville
·         Hyattsville Library, 6530 Adelphi Road, Hyattsville
·         Kettering-Largo Library, 9601 Capital Lane, Largo
·         Laurel Library, 507 7th Street Laurel,

Additionally, due to the lack of power at the Prince George's African American Museum & Cultural Center, the Independence Day Celebration scheduled for today has been rescheduled for July 7th. 

At this time, Pepco is reporting approximately 141,593 customers in the County without power.  BGE and SMECO are reporting 52,548 and 2,817 respectively. Residents without power are encouraged to use flashlights as candles may cause fires. Residents are reminded to only call 9-1-1 if there is an emergency and to not call 9-1-1 to report power outages.
Water restrictions remain in place and are mandatory for all Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) customers, residential and commercial in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. Last night’s severe storms knocked out power to WSSC’s two water filtration plants and other facilities.
Partial power has been restored at the water filtration plants; however, some pumping stations remain without power which makes it challenging to move water through the distribution system. Crews from BGE and Pepco continue working to fully restore power their operations.
WSSC’s water is safe to drink, however it is imperative all customers follow the mandatory water restrictions as we work to refill our distribution system. Their ability to support fire protection is limited at this time which is why everyone needs to abide by the water restrictions to ensure water is available in the event of a fire.
Until the distribution system has refilled, it is imperative that all business and residential customers restrict their water use.

Residents need to:
·         Stop all outside water use – no watering lawns, shrubs, flowers; no washing cars, no topping off swimming pools
·         Use water only as necessary – i.e., shorter showers and turn off faucets after washing hands
·         Limit flushing toilets (do not flush after every use)
·         Postpone using washing machines and dishwashers

Residents and media are encouraged to follow @CountyExecBaker on Twitter or “County Executive Rushern Baker” on Facebook for information and updates.  The phone number to the Emergency Operation Center is 301-583-1950.