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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Fire Apparatus Crash on Capitol Beltway


On January 30, 2013, at approximately 2:50 am,  an Engine from Company 828 (West Lanham Hills) was involved in a motor vehicle collision that took place in the southbound lanes of the Capitol Beltway (95/495) just south of the John Hanson Highway (Route 50).  The collision involved a tractor trailer and an SUV.   The Prince George’s County Police Department is handling the investigation.

A total of seven patients were taken to area hospitals.   All four of the personnel operating Engine 828 were taken to Prince George’s Hospital Center.  Three of the injured were treated and released by 9:00 this morning.  The fourth injured fire fighter, Volunteer Fire Lieutenant Ryan Emmons, age 30, has been transferred from the Prince George’s Regional Trauma Center to Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore. Initially reported to be in “very serious” condition, V/F/F Emmons’ prognosis is currently reported to “guarded”, but improving.   At the time of this release, Emmons is in surgery, which is expected to continue for the next several hours.  No further information on his injuries or condition will be made available at this time.

The remaining three crew members are identified as Volunteer Fire Lieutenant Jack Lesqure, age 24; Volunteer Fire Lieutenant Michael Simmons, age 29; and Volunteer Fire Fighter George Hirsch, age 22.   The driver of the tractor trailer and the driver and occupant of the SUV were all taken to the MedStar Regional Trauma Center at the Washington Hospital Center.  No further information is currently available on their condition.

Fire Chief Marc Bashoor and Volunteer Fire Chief 828 John Alter have both visited with the injured fire fighters and their families at the hospitals.

Further information will be released as conditions warrant.

Alicia A. Francis, Assistant Fire Chief
Executive Officer to the Fire Chief
Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department
9201 Basil Ct - Suite 452
Largo, MD 20774
Office: 301 883-5203
E-mail: aafrancis@co.pg.md.us


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Temple Hills Female Dies from Injuries Sustained in Thursday's House Fire

It is with our deepest regret that we announce the victim rescued from her Temple Hills home on Thursday, January 24, has passed away.

Christine Miller Jones, DOB 12-25-29, passed away late in the evening on Saturday, January 26, 2013, at a hospital in Baltimore.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has not yet determined the cause of death.

The Office of the Prince George's County Fire Marshal continue to investigate the cause of the fire.

Mark E. Brady
Chief Spokesperson
Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department

Friday, January 25, 2013

Busy Days for Firefighter/Medics - Remember Safety First!!!


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

Prince George’s County Firefighter/Medics have battled six home fires in just over a 24-hour period.  The six home fires caused nearly $400,000 in estimated fire loss and critically injured one civilian.  Without question sub-freezing temperatures and home occupants trying to stay warm have contributed to the cause of some of these incidents.  These unfortunate and tragic occurrences of fire should serve as a reminder to our citizens, visitors and businesses that everyone should follow and exercise appropriate safety measures while cooking and using heating appliances to stay warm. 

According to the United States Fire Administration (USFA) fires in one and two family dwellings account for 67 percent of all winter residential building fires.  Although at it’s highest in December, residential building fire incidence is collectively highest in the 3 winter months of January, February, and March.  Cooking remains the number one cause of fires, however, heating related fires are a close second and account for more fire related injuries and fatalities.

These incidents occurred within 27 hours over Wednesday and Thursday.

Wednesday, January 23, 6:30 pm.  A malfunctioning chimney was responsible for a fire in a townhouse in the 15500 block of Empress Way in Bowie.  Two adults and seven children were displaced and fire loss estimated at $75,000.

Thursday, January 24, 10:50 am.  An 82-year-old female occupant was rescued by firefighters from her burning home in the 3500 block of Everest Drive in Temple Hills.  The patient remains in critical condition.  The fire appears to have started in a first floor bedroom.  The cause of this fire is under investigation with fire loss estimated at $150,000.

Thursday, January 24, 12:15 pm.  A space heater is believed to have ignited a fire in the basement of a single-family home in the 2800 block of Curtis Drive in Temple Hills.  No one was home at the time the fire started.  Two occupants are displaced with fire loss estimated at $75,000. 

Thursday, January 24, 2:19 pm.  Unattended cooking is to blame for a kitchen fire at a single-family home in the 12500 block of Keynote Lane in Bowie.  Combustibles near the stove top ignited causing $10,000 in estimated fire loss.  The adult female occupant was not injured.

Thursday, January 24, 6:21 pm.  A malfunctioning wood burning stove and chimney are believed to have contributed to a fire in a single-family home in the 8100 block of Neville Place in Fort Washington.  Fire loss is estimated at $50,000.

Thursday, January 24, 9:30 pm.  A chimney fire that extended into an attached garage is a being investigated as a possible cause of a fire at a single-family home in the 12300 block of Lanham-Severn Road in Bowie.  The fire caused an estimated $25,000 in fire loss.  The official cause remains under investigation.

These six incidents only capture incidents that caused a significant fire loss and injury during this time period.  There have been additional incidents involving heating appliances; space heaters, furnaces and fireplaces/chimney that are not included in this summary.

The civilian, career and volunteer men and women of the Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department want you and your families to stay safe.  Please watch this USFA Public Service Announcement and share it with others, it might just save a life!!!





Remember to always have a working smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector on every level of your home.  Have a home escape plan in the event of a fire and practice the plan with everyone in your home.  Always watch what you heat – if you are cooking or trying to stay warm – keep Safety First to ensure everyone goes home.

This Temple Hills home on Curtis Drive sustained $75,000 in fire loss.

A Fire investigators looks at a space heater believed to have been the cause of the fire on Curtis Drive.

Firefighters rescued an 82 year-old female from this Temple hills home on Everest Drive.  The cause of this fire remains under investigation.  The female remains in critical condition.

Fire Investigators search for a cause of fire in first floor bedroom on Everest Drive.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Media Reprots on Temple Hills Fires Today


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



DC Breaking Local News Weather Sports FOX 5 WTTG




Second Temple Hills House Fire - Curtis Drive


A second home fire in Temple Hills occurred at about 12:15 pm today. Firefighters were alerted to a house fire in the 2800 block of Curtis Drive and arrived to a 1-story home with a fire in the basement.
Firefighters extinguished the fire within 15 minutes of arrival and performed searches of the home with negative results.

Fire Investigators believe a electric space heater caused the fire after being left on when the husband and wife left the house to run errands.

No injuries occurred and fire loss is estimated at $75,000. The occupants, a husband and wife in their 80's, will be displaced and will be assisted by the County Citizen Services Unit and the American Red Cross.

Mark Brady
PGFD PIO






Temple Hills House Fire with Civilian Injury

Just before 11 am today a 911 call was placed reporting a house fire in the 3500 block of Everest Drive in Temple Hills. Firefighters arrived at the 1-story, with basement, brick single family home and found fire showing from the first floor. An interior search of the home and attack on the fire immediately commenced.

The fire was extinguished within 15 minutes of arrival and a primary search resulted in a female, 60ish years of age, being located on the first floor. She was removed and treated by paramedics. She was found to be not breathing and having no pulse. Paramedics performed emergency pre-hospital care, including CPR, and transported the patient to a nearby hospital where she remains in critical condition. No other civilian or firefighter injuries were reported.

The fire appears to have started in a first floor bedroom. The cause of the fire is under investigation. Preliminary fire loss is estimated at $75,000.

Mark E. Brady
PGFD Chief Spokesperson
240-508-7930




Prevent Frozen Sprinkler Pipes Now


Prince George’s County homes constructed since the early 1990’s have a residential sprinkler system installed to save lives and protect property.  Therefore there are a large number of single family homes, in addition to commercial buildings and multi-family dwellings, that are equipped with these life-saving systems.  The Fire/EMS Department has documented hundreds of incidents since the law changed requiring residential sprinklers that demonstrate that lives have been saved and damage to property limited when fires have occurred.  Prince George’s County was the first County in the Nation to require the installation of residential sprinklers in all new home construction.

Home, apartment, condos and commercial building owners and management companies should take the time now to ensure that sprinkler systems are adequately protected against pipes freezing.  During long periods of below freezing temperatures exposed water-filled sprinkler pipes can freeze expanding the pipe to the point when it will break.  Sprinkler pipes tend to freeze before other water pipes because the water is not moving.  Most sprinkler systems are wet systems that contain water all the time.

When water freezes inside a sprinkler pipe, it creates an obstruction that can render the sprinkler system useless in the event of a fire. As the ice expands, it increases the internal water pressure in the pipe and causes the pipe to burst. Interestingly, the burst is often in a section of pipe that did not actually freeze.
Alternatively, the expanding ice can cause a pipe, fitting or sprinkler head to crack but the ice will block the flow of water while it is solid. In this case, the actual water damage will not be apparent until the ice melts and water flows out of the burst section.

Preventing Frozen Pipes

The best way to protect a residential fire sprinkler system from freezing is to provide sufficient insulation and maintain adequate heat during the winter months.   Insulation helps block the flow of heat or cold from one space to the next. Most sprinkler pipes are within the walls or ceilings of a home. Cold air can enter these concealed spaces through small gaps in the exterior sheathing and insulation and find its way into pipe chases and soffits that focus the air directly onto the sprinkler piping and accelerate freezing.

In attics, piping should be as close to the ceiling as possible with insulation placed over the sprinkler pipe.  If you inspect your sprinkler pipes that are in the attic and you can see exposed pipes; they need to be insulated immediately to prevent freezing.

When sprinklers are required in unheated spaces such as attics or crawl spaces, the use of a dry system, or special dry sprinkler heads are required.

If a sprinkler pipe bursts ensure that the location of the water shut-off valve is known and the proper method to turn it off.  Contact a residential sprinkler professional immediately to initiate repairs.  It is recommended that a sprinkler system is tested and inspected on a periodic basis to ensure it is in proper working order to prevent against rupture and flooding.

Mark E. Brady
Chief Spokesperson/PIO
240-508-7930

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Kentland Volunteers Receive Grant from BG&E

The Baltimore, Gas and Electric Company (BGE) recognized the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. this morning and the work that they do as BGE announced grants totaling more than $300,000 to emergency response non-profits. The grants awarded will fund a wide range of emergency response and safety equipment and training programs to help benefit the communities in which we live and work. The Kentland Volunteers received a Grant amount of $9,350 from BGE at a ceremony held this morning in Pikesville, Maryland.

According to Donald Aker, Kentland Volunteer President, “Natural gas emergencies are some of the most potentially dangerous calls that the Kentland VFD responds to. The objective of this program is to equip the department with gas detection devices for each piece of apparatus, so that members can quickly and accurately identify the presence of hazardous atmospheres and determine the source of natural gas leaks. The goal is to keep at least 1 set of meters in service at all times, with a reserve meter available for use in case one of the frontline units malfunctions.”

Kentland will request quotes from a variety of vendors, and the meters will be purchased from the most cost efficient option. All of their members are already trained in the operation of gas meters so transition from the box to apparatus will be immediate.

“Operationally, we will equip each piece of suppression apparatus with a Sensit HXG-3 meter and an appropriate carbon monoxide or 4 gas meter, said Tony Kelleher, Kentland Volunteer Chief. “All suppression units including the engines at the Landover Road and Campus Way Stations, ladder tower and the rescue engine would all be equipped with 1 set of meters. One set would be kept at the station as a reserve.”

Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor congratulates the Kentland Volunteers for seeking and securing the BGE Grant. He stated, “I commend the Kentland leadership for securing a Grant to purchase meters that will benefit citizens, visitors and business in the greater Landover and Largo communities but also serve a mutual benefit throughout the entire County.”

Don Akers said the meters they plan to purchase will carry a 2-year limited warranty from the manufacturer. Both Akers and Kelleher expect these units to remain in service for a period of up to 10 years.

For additional information on the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department Inc. visit their website or call Volunteer President Aker or Volunteer Chief Kelleher at the fire station; 301-883-7733.


Mark E. Brady
Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department
Chief Spokesperson/PIO
240-508-7930
Twitter: @PGFDPIO

Preventing Hypothermia: A Dangerous Health Condition

                                                                             PRESS RELEASE


                                                                           For Immediate Release:

                                                                                 January 23, 2013

                                                                              For more information:

                                                                  Dellia Williams, Press Information Officer
                                                                Prince George's County Health Department
                                                                        301-883-7835 240-417-8443

                                                      Preventing Hypothermia: A Dangerous Health Condition

LARGO, MD—The Prince George’s County Health Department wants residents to be aware of the impact that over exposure to cold weather can have on your health during the winter months. Hypothermia and frostbite are two fairly common conditions that typically affect people at this time of year and residents should take precautions in order to ensure that they keep themselves and family members safe and warm.

“We want to remind residents to dress in layers, wear mittens versus gloves and to cover your head when outside for significant periods of time. These are just a few of the simple ways to prevent illness that may result from extreme cold weather conditions,” said Pamela B. Creekmur, Health Officer. “When exposed to cold weather, our bodies lose heat faster than it can be produced which could result in bodily injury, illness, and even death.”

The Health Department advises all residents to check on your elderly relatives and neighbors to ensure they have adequate heat and protection from the cold.

Hypothermia is one of the serious health problems that can be caused by exposure during cold weather. If a person’s body temperature drops below 95 degrees, immediately seek medical attention.

In mild cases the symptoms include:

• Uncontrollable shivering

• Pale and cold skin

Other more serious signs include:

• Confusion or sleepiness

• Slurred speech

• Shallow breathing

• Weak pulse

• Stiffness in the arms or legs

• Or, poor control over body movements

In the case of serious symptoms, contact the victim’s doctor or call 911.

In either case, until help arrives or the person is seen by a doctor, move the person to a warm room, warm the body with dry layers of blankets or clothing, and give warm beverages.

Frostbite refers to actual freezing and subsequent destruction of body tissue which is likely to occur any time skin temperature gets much below 32F. The areas most likely to freeze are toes, fingers, ears, cheeks and the tip of the nose.

Individual at risk for frostbite include those with impaired circulation, the elderly, the very young and anyone who remains outside for prolonged periods. The danger increases if the individual becomes wet.

Symptoms of frostbite include:

• Gradual numbness;

• Hardness and paleness of the affected area during exposure,

• Pain and tingling or burning in affected area following warming; and

• Possible change of skin color to purple

NEVER MASSAGE OR RUB FROSTBITTEN AREAS AS THIS MAY CAUSE FURTHER DAMAGE TO THE SKIN.

Follow these tips to weather the winter in a healthy way:

• Cover your head. You lose as much as 50 percent of your body heat through your head.

• Wear several layers of lightweight, loose-fitting clothing. The air between the layers acts as insulation to keep you warmer.

• Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect lungs from direct, extremely cold air. Cover your ears and lower part of your face as well.

• Wear mittens rather than fingered gloves. The close contact of fingers helps to keep your hands warm.

• Wear warm leg coverings and heavy socks or two pairs of lightweight socks.

• Wear waterproof boots or sturdy shoes to keep your feet warm and dry.

For additional information about Hypothermia and Frostbite visit,

www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/Government/AgencyIndex/Health/hypothermia.asp

###

K of C - Bowie to Recognize Members of Fire/EMS Department

The Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department was honored to hear that the Knights of Columbus in Bowie will be recognizing two members for their actions over the past year.


Paramedic Amy Gunn and Fire Chiefs Aide William Hawkins were selected as Paramedic of the Year and PGFD Employee of the Year, respectively. An award ceremony will be held this Saturday where our two members will be recognized and awarded. The Knights of Columbus will also recognize a Bowie Volunteer Firefighter and members of law enforcement for their meritorious service in 2012 at this event.

Congratulations to all!!!

Knights of Columbus
Sacred Heart Council #2577

17th ANNUAL PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICER

RECOGNITION NIGHT

BULL AND OYSTER ROAST

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

Boswell Hall
6111 Columbian Way
Bowie, MD 20715-4302

DOORS OPEN at 4:00PM
BAR OPEN 4:30 TO 10:00PM
FOOD SERVICE 5:00 TO 7:00PM
DANCING 8:00PM-10:00PM

BIG SIX WHEEL — PULL TAB MACHINE

TICKETS - $35 (reserve a table of 8 or more and pay $30 per person)

CHILDREN UNDER AGE OF 12 – $10

Menu: Raw Oysters, Fried Oysters, Oyster Stew, Pit Beef, Pulled Pork,
Barbecued Ribs, Italian Sausage, Pasta, Chicken, Sodas and More.

Seafood Provided by Shoreline Seafood

ALL YOU CAN EAT ON PREMISES

FOR TICKETS CONTACT:
PGK Mike Garner (202) 359-9527      Rick Marek (410) 721-0004
Jim Nelson (301) 249-5675                  Ray DeVous (301) 731-0073



Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Home Heating Safety Tips



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


The Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department is sharing fire safety and injury prevention advice from our friends at the United State Fire Administration (USFA).  The high cost of home heating fuels and utilities has caused many Americans to search for alternative home heating sources such as wood burning stoves, space heaters, and fireplaces. Heating is one of the leading causes of residential fires. Over one-quarter of these fires result from improper maintenance of equipment, specifically the failure to clean the equipment.

Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is another danger when using heating equipment fueled by fossil fuel. It occurs most often when equipment is not vented properly. CO deaths have been on the rise since 1999. On average there were 181 unintentional non-fire deaths from CO poisoning associated with consumer products per year from 2004-2006 compared to 123 from 1999-2001 (Source: Consumer Product Safety Commission). Carbon monoxide poisoning is most fatal to adults age 65 or older.

PREVENTING HOME HEATING FIRES

In 2003-2006, the leading factor contributing to home heating fires (28%) and deaths (46%) was heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattress, or bedding (Source: NFPA). Many heating fires can be prevented by following basic safety tips when dealing with any heating equipment:
  • Keep or maintain a 3 foot clearance between all heating equipment and anything that can burn.
  • Inspect and maintain heating equipment regularly for safety.
  • Be sure to have fixed space heaters installed by a qualified technician, according to manufacturer’s instructions or applicable codes.  Or, make sure a qualified technician checks to see the unit has been properly installed.
  • When buying a new, portable space heater, make sure it has the label showing it is listed by a recognized testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
  • Space heaters should be turned off every time you leave the room and before going to bed.
  • Keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn - including furniture, blankets, curtains, and paper products.
  • Choose space heaters that turn off automatically if they tip over.
  • Never use a space heater to dry clothing.
  • Do not use your oven to heat your home.
  • Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of the home.  For the best protection, interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home.  When one sounds, they all sound. 
  • Test smoke alarms monthly.
  • Install and maintain carbon monoxide alarms to avoid risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Wood Burning Stoves and Fireplaces

Fireplace screen
Use a metal or glass fireplace screen to keep sparks from hitting nearby carpets or furniture.
Be sure the fireplace or stove is installed properly.  Wood stoves should have adequate clearance (3 feet) from combustible surfaces and proper floor support and protection.
  • Wood stoves should be of good quality, solid construction and design, and should be evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
  • The stove should be burned hot twice a day for 15-30 minutes to reduce the amount of creosote buildup.
  • Have your chimney inspected annually and cleaned if necessary, especially if it has not been used for some time.
  • Don’t use excessive amounts of paper to build fires in fireplaces.  It is possible to ignite creosote in the chimney by overbuilding the fire.
  • Make sure your fireplace has a sturdy screen to prevent sparks from flying into the room. 
  • Keep flammable materials away from your fireplace mantel.  A spark from the fireplace could easily ignite these materials.
  • Before you go to sleep, be sure your fireplace fire is out.  NEVER close your damper with hot ashes in the fireplace.  A closed damper will help the fire to heat up again and will force toxic carbon monoxide into the house.
  • If synthetic logs are used, follow the directions on the package.  NEVER break a synthetic log apart to quicken the fire or use more than one log at a time.  They often burn unevenly, releasing higher levels of carbon monoxide.
  • Do not use flammable liquids to start or accelerate any fire.
  • Never burn charcoal indoors.  Burning charcoal can give off lethal amounts of carbon monoxide.
  • Allow fireplace and wood stove ashes to cool before disposing in a metal container.

Kerosene Heaters

  • Read and follow the procedure in the owner’s manual before you attempt to operate or service the unit.
  • Learn the safety and maintenance procedures necessary to safely operate the heating unit.
  • Always use water clear K-1 grade kerosene.
  • Never use gasoline or any other volatile fuels in the unit.
  • Never refuel the heater indoors, when it is hot, or in use.
  • Do not fill the fuel tank past the full mark.  The space above the full mark is there to allow expansion of the fuel when it is operated.
  • Always provide adequate ventilation for the unit.  Burning kerosene consumes oxygen, and produces carbon monoxide and other dangerous gases which may cause you to suffocate or have other respiratory problems.
  • Check with your local fire department to make sure kerosene heaters are allowed in your community.

Electric Heaters

Space heater
Keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn - including furniture, blankets, curtains, and paper products.
  • Check to ensure the heater has a thermostat control mechanism.
  • Choose a heater that will turn off automatically if it tips over.
  • Never dry clothes or store objects on stop of the heater.
  • Never use extension cords with electric heaters.
  • Keep anything that may burn at least 3 feet away from the heater.
  • Never allow children to play with, or around, the heater.
  • Never place anything inside the grill on the front of the heater.

CARBON MONOXIDE SAFETY

Each year unintentional carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning claims hundreds of lives and sends several thousands of people to the emergency room for treatment.  At lower levels of exposure, CO causes mild effects that are often mistaken for the flu.  These symptoms include headaches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea, and fatigue.  The effects of CO exposure can vary greatly from person to person depending on age, overall health, and the concentration and length of exposure.
You can protect yourself and your family by following a few easy steps:
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless and toxic gas. Because it is impossible to see, taste, or smell the toxic fumes, CO can kill before you are aware it is in your home.
CO can come from several sources: gas-fired appliances, charcoal grills, wood-burning furnaces or fireplaces, and motor vehicles.
  • Install at least one CO alarm with an audible warning signal evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), near sleeping areas and outside individual bedrooms.  CO alarms measure levels of the gas over time and are designed to sound an alarm before an average, healthy adult would experience symptoms.
  • Have your heating system, water heater, and any other gas, oil or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
  • Never use your range or oven to help heat your home and never use a charcoal grill or hibachi in your home or garage.
  • Never keep a car running in a garage.  Even if the garage door is open, normal circulation will not provide enough fresh air to reliably prevent a dangerous buildup of CO.
Having a working smoke alarm dramatically increases your chances of surviving a fire. And remember to practice a home escape plan frequently with your family.  County residents can call 301-864-SAFE (7233) and have a working smoke alarm installed in your home, free of charge.