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Saturday, October 27, 2012

PGFD Community Outreach Advice on "Emergency Kits"

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

Many of our citizens have asked about an "emergency kit" and items they should include.  Teresa Ann Crisman is the PGFD Community Outreach Coordinator and she has compiled some general guidelines you would try to include.  Remember that an emergency kit can be adjusted to you specific needs.

Citizens, visitors and businesses can reach out to Teresa Crisman and the Fire/EMS Department Community Outreach office at TACrisman@co.pg.md.us or at 301-883-5250.

Here is a list of items you may want to consider for your emergency kit:


A disaster supplies kit is simply a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.

Try to assemble your kit well in advance of an emergency. You may have to evacuate at a moment’s notice and take essentials with you. You will probably not have time to search for the supplies you need or shop for them.

You may need to survive on your own after an emergency. This means having your own food, water and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least 72 hours. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours or it might take days.

Additionally, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment and telephones may be cut off for days or even a week, or longer.

Your supplies kit should contain items to help you manage during these outages.


A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:

Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation

Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food

Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both Flashlight and extra batteries

First aid kit
Whistle to signal for help
Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
Manual can opener for food
Local maps
Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger

Remember the unique needs of your family members, including growing children, when making your emergency supply kit and family emergency plan.
For Baby:

• Formula
• Diapers
• Bottles
• Powdered milk
• Medications
• Moist towelettes
• Diaper rash ointment

For Adults:
• Denture needs
• Contact lenses and supplies
• Extra eye glasses

Ask your doctor about storing prescription medications such as heart and high blood pressure medication, insulin and other prescription drugs.
If you live in a cold climate, you must think about warmth. It is possible that you will not have heat.

Think about your clothing and bedding supplies. Be sure to include one complete change of clothing and shoes per person, including:

• Jacket or coat
• Long pants
• Long sleeve shirt

In any emergency a family member or you yourself may suffer an injury. If you have these basic first aid supplies you are better prepared to help your loved ones when they are hurt.

Knowing how to treat minor injuries can make a difference in an emergency. You may consider taking a first aid class, but simply having the following things can help you stop bleeding, prevent infection and assist in decontamination.

• Two pairs of Latex or other sterile gloves if you are allergic to Latex
• Sterile dressings to stop bleeding
• Cleansing agent/soap and antibiotic towelettes
• Antibiotic ointment
• Burn ointment
• Adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes
• Eye wash solution to flush the eyes or as general decontaminate
• Thermometer

Prescription medications you take every day such as insulin, heart medicine and asthma inhalers. You should periodically rotate medicines to account for expiration dates.

• Prescribed medical supplies such as glucose and blood pressure monitoring equipment and supplies
Non-prescription drugs:
• Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever
• Anti-diarrhea medication
• Antacid
• Laxative

Other first aid supplies:
• Scissors
• Tweezers
• Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant

Gasoline Powered Generators Safety Tips

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

The exact location of landfall of Hurricane Sandy is not really important for us at this point.  What is important is that Prince George's County will incur the effects of this powerful slow moving storm.  High winds and heavy rains are expected to cause power outages.  Our utility companies are prompting citizens, visitors and businesses that outages could last for days and to be prepared.

Whenever power outages occur the use of gasoline powered generators increase.  Stores have been sold out of generators since Thursday adding to the number of machines that will be in use.  Gasoline powered generators pose a fire and injury as well as a health threat from carbon monoxide (CO) exposure.  The Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department offer these safety tips when operating a gasoline-powered generator.

  • Always follow manufacturers instructions on the correct and safe operation of your generator.  

  • Generators should be used in well-ventilated locations outside of your home and away from all doors, windows and vent openings to avoid CO seeping into your home. 

  • The generator should be placed as far away as possible with at least a 3-foot perimeter away from combustibles - even your house itself - firefighters have seen the heat from a generator exhaust melt a homes siding and ignite a fire.

  • Never use a generator indoors or in an attached garage, even with the door open.  CO will kill you and other home occupants in a very short period of time.

  • 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 is running.

  • 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 extension cord 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.
Carbon Monoxide is called the "Silent Killer" by firefighters and paramedics.  The properties of CO are undetectable by human senses.  CO can not be seen, tasted, smelled and it does not make a sound.  CO will make you feel sick and based on the length and amount of exposure, it can kill you.  A CO detector is the only effective way to alert residents to the presence of unhealthy levels of CO in your home.

Be advised, gasoline powered generators produce a high amount of CO.  If the generator is used indoors, the high amounts of CO will make you very sick and kill you in a very short period of time.
  • Never use a gasoline powered generator in your home and garage.
  • Buy and install a CO detector.

Remember to use good common sense safety habits.  Safety First will ensure everyone goes home.  Be part of the solution and not part of the problem.

Stay Informed - Stay Ready - Stay Safe!!!

Follow @PGFDPIO on Twitter for breaking news and safety information.

Call 911 if you have a life or death and property emergency.

Call 311 if you have a question about services, a non-emergency situation or inquiries about County Government in general.

WJLA REPORT on Automobile Arsons

Anyone with information about the person(s) responsible for these crimes are encouraged to contact Fire Investigators by calling the Arson Tip Line at 301-77-ARSON (27766).  
Tips may be left anonymously.  
Arson Tips can also be emailed to 77ARSON@co.pg.md.us.

Fire/EMS Prepares Before the Arrival of Sandy - Community Asked to do the Same

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

The Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department, in concert with other County agencies, are making preparations for a significant weather event, SANDY, that is forecast to impact our area starting Sunday.  Firefighters and Paramedics are ensuring all emergency response apparatus and personnel are ready to respond and that all public safety facilities are prepared.  All apparatus and Fire/EMS Station generators are being topped off with fuel and prepared to operate for numerous days.  Technical Rescue Teams, which include our Swift Water Rescue Team, are in a state of readiness and are performing safety checks on resources including boats, apparatus, rescue gear, personal flotation devices and the availability of off-duty personnel.  Emergency personnel are prepared to be "part of the solution and not part of the problem."

All personnel have been reminded to prepare their families and homes well in advance and prepare them in the event of being called back to duty.  Events where personnel have been called to duty and leave their families and homes are perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of this job.

Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor and members of his command staff have been monitoring weather reports and the anticipated arrival of "Sandy."  Chief Bashoor was part of a Friday, 1:30 pm conference call and is scheduled to participate in a second County conference call Saturday at 6:00 pm.  The Fire/EMS Department is anticipated to have a partial implementation as early as Sunday with a full stand-up as of Monday morning.  Of course all of our emergency plans are contingent upon the weather and could be changed at any time.

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley has issued a State of Emergency and the State Emergency Operations Center, MEMA, is already up and running.

As expected the National Weather Service has issued a Flood Watch for Prince George's County over the next several days.  It is anticipated that numerous Watches and Warnings will be issued during this weather event.

Over the next several days Hurricane Sandy will approach the mid-Atlantic with the exact landfall location still uncertain.  Wherever the storm comes on shore, the National Capital Region, including Prince George's County, will feel the impact of the storm with high winds and heavy rain early next week.  Power outages and flash flooding are expected.  Citizens, residents and businesses should be making preparations for the storm now.  Do not panic, the storm is still days away with the heaviest impact arriving Monday afternoon through Tuesday. Everyone should be taking action now to allow plenty of safe preparation time.  The National Weather Service is forecasting we could start seeing some rain and wind as early as Sunday and weather progressively worsening through Tuesday and into Wednesday.

Citizens, residents and businesses are advised to take appropriate precautions now to stay safe.


Stay informed by monitoring local news broadcasts about approaching weather.  Sign up to Notify Me- Prince George's and receive important news and storm updates on your mobile device.  Follow @PGFDPIO on Twitter,  www.PGFDNEWS.com  and PGFD Facebook for up to the minute Fire/EMS news and safety advice.  Have all mobile devices fully charged before and during the storm.

Have your emergency kit prepared, stocked and ready.  For additional information on what should be in your kit go to: www.ready.gov

Your emergency kit should include a battery operated radio and flashlights.  We do not recommend the use of candles during power outages.

Ensure your Smoke alarm and CO detector are tested and have fresh batteries.

Call 911 in the event of a life or death and property emergency.  Call 311 if you have a question about services or general county information.
Consider purchasing bags of ice that can be stored in your freezer.

Ensure your cell phones, lap tops and tablets are completely charged.

Ensure your vehicle has a full tank of gas.

Consider having a quantity of cash on hand in the event that ATM's and banks are out of power.

Remove any objects in your yard that could become airborne during periods of high winds.  Secure larger items by tying them down.

Clean and clear your storm drains of any debris that could clog and back up rain water.

Management companies should safely inspect their rooftops to ensure all gutters and roof top drains are clear and clean up any debris that will clog drains when it rains.  Pooling water on roof tops could cause water damage inside and cause a possible collapse.

Stay ready to take quick actions in the event of severe weather including remaining indoors and going to the lowest possible level or floor and if possible in a room with no windows. Have your emergency kit ready. 

Check with your work location on what is the plan and notification for cancellations.

Set up a communications plan with family members and friends.  Remember that "texting" has been more reliable then cell phone calls and emails during times of high usage and outages.

If you have a generator - follow manufacturer's instructions on how to use it safely, position it far enough away from your residence to avoid CO finding it's way inside, refuel after cool-down, use approved outdoor heavy-duty extension cords that are free of any rips and tears.

Stay Informed, Stay Ready, Stay Safe.  Don't panic, stay calm and prepare.