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Saturday, November 30, 2013

December Safety First Day of the Month


Mark E. Brady
Chief Spokesperson/PIO
240-508-7930
mebrady@co.pg.md.us
Twitter @PGFDPIO

On the first day of each Month the Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department reminds everyone that today is “Safety First Day of the Month.”  This program designates that December 1 is Safety First Day and time to test the smoke alarm and carbon monoxide (CO) alarm in your homes.


Simply push the TEST button on the front cover of your alarms.  If a loud audible warning sound is heard than you are good to go until next month.  This is also a good time to allow everyone in your home to listen to the audible alarm and explain to them what the alarm means and what to do next.  Every so many months practice your home escape plan using alternative means of egress and meet at your special place outside the home.

If your alarm does not emit the audible warning:

  • Clean the alarm using a dust cloth or vacuum.


  • Change the battery in your alarm immediately.


  • If your alarm is 10 years old or older – replace it with a new 10-year, tamper proof with hush button smoke and/or CO alarms.  If you don’t recall replacing your alarm since the tragic events on 9/11/01 – REPLACE YOUR OLD ALARM WITH A NEW 10-YEAR ALARM TODAY.


If you replaced the battery – re-test your alarm.  Still not working?? Discard that alarm, it has served you well in protecting you, your family and home.  Immediately replace your alarm with a new 10- year alarm.

New laws that affect Prince George’s County homes will soon require CO alarms and the addition of 10-year, tamper proof, with hush feature alarms on every level of your home.  Purchase new alarms and install them now.

The month of December is full of festive events and sheer.  The month of December is always worrisome for firefighters as there are multiple areas of concern.  Throughout the course of the month we will provide fire safety and injury prevention tips to keep you and family safe.  These will include information on:

Cold Weather Safety Tips

Holiday Decorations

Candles

Cooking

Christmas Trees

Celebrating responsibly.

Staying Warm Safely.

On the first Wednesday of every month firefighters will visit communities throughout Prince George’s County.  We will be going door-to-door asking to check your smoke alarms.  Firefighters will be equipped with fresh batteries and new alarms to make sure you are protected by a working smoke alarm before we leave.  Firefighters can also help you plan two ways out of every room and identify a designated meeting place outside of your home.

Any questions??  Call our Safety First Hotline at 301-864-SAFE (7233).

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Upper Marlboro House Fire - Endsley Place


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

At around 2:00 pm, Tuesday, November 26, firefighters from the Upper Marlboro area were alerted to a house fire in the 3700 block of Endsley Place.  Firefighters arrived quickly and found a 2-story, with attached converted garage, 2,200 sq. ft. single-family home with fire showing.  The home occupants escaped unharmed prior to the fire department’s arrival.

It required 35 minutes for the 45 firefighter/medics on the scene to extinguish the fire.  The fire had spread throughout the structure causing nearly $200,000 in estimated fire loss.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, however, appears to be accidental.  No injuries were reported.

The County Citizen Services Unit will be assisting 3 adults and one 7 year-old child with temporary shelter and assistance by the American Red Cross.

A neighbor, Ken Washington, that lives across the street obtained still and video images of the house fire.  Please provide credit to him if you use these images.  The still images demonstrate conditions on arrival through when extinguishment efforts start to take effect.














Monday, November 25, 2013

Weather Cancels Live Outdoor "Turkey Deep Frying" Cooking Demonstration


After consultation with local meteorologists, Fire/EMS Department Leadership and Safety Officers the Live Turkey Frying event on Tuesday is cancelled.  Inclement weather makes cooking with hot oil outdoors unsafe. Deep Frying can only be used outdoors.

We would like to thank Wegmans for donating the frozen turkeys to us and the Greenbelt Volunteer Fire Department for the cooking oil and large chefs pot.  Special thanks to retired PGFD Fire Fighter Billy Hinton
that had agreed to demonstrate his chef skills for us.  Remember "Safety First."

The men and women wish everyone a safe and festive Happy Thanksgiving Holiday.  If you are going to deep fry your turkey we ask that you and other members of your family review some safety tips!!!


The Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department offers the following safety tips, to ensure that all citizens and residents will enjoy a safe and festive Thanksgiving holiday. 

Unfortunately, fire safety and injury prevention guidelines are often overlooked during the holidays. Prince George's County Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor stated, "Everyone needs to keep Safety First and by doing so our citizens, visitors and businesses can avoid tragedy and disruption of their holiday festivities."

The Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) United States Fire Administration (USFA) issued a special report recently examining the characteristics of Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings. The report, Thanksgiving Day Fires in Residential Buildings, was developed by USFA's National Fire Data Center.

The report is based on 2006 to 2008 data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS). According to the report, an estimated 2,000 Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings occur annually in the United States, resulting in an estimated average of 5 deaths, 25 injuries, and $21 million in property loss. The leading cause of all Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings is, by far, cooking. Additionally, smoke alarms were not present in 20 percent of Thanksgiving Day fires that occurred in occupied residential buildings.

While these safety and cooking tips may not make Thanksgiving dinner taste any better--they will help to avoid potential disaster;
Keep your family and overnight guests safe with a working smoke alarm on every level of the house, in each bedroom and in the halls adjacent to the bedrooms. Test smoke alarms monthly, and replace batteries at least once a year.

Overnight guests should be instructed on your home’s fire escape plan and designated meeting place for your family.
Have a fire extinguisher available not more than 10 feet from the stove, on the exit side of the room.

A standard Class ABC multi-purpose dry chemical extinguisher is recommended. Know how to use your fire extinguisher.
Start holiday cooking with a clean stove and oven.
Keep the kitchen off limits to young children and adults who are not helping with food preparations. This will lessen the possibility of kitchen mishaps.

When cooking, do not wear clothing with loose sleeves or dangling jewelry. Clothing can catch on fire and jewelry can become entangled with pot handles, causing spills and burns.
Cook on the back burners when possible, and turn pot handles inward so they don’t extend over the edge of the stove.

Never leave cooking unattended. If you must leave the kitchen while cooking, turn off the stove or have someone else watch what is being cooked. Unattended cooking is the number one cause of home fires and fire-related injuries in Prince George’s County.  According to the USFA; cooking is the leading cause of all Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings at 69 percent. Nearly all of these cooking fires (97 percent) are small, confined fires with limited damage.

If you use a deep fryer, please, exercise extreme caution and follow manufacturer instructions.  The report from the USFA found that these cooking devices accounted for about 1% of Thanksgiving Day fires.

Keep Thanksgiving decorations and kitchen clutter away from sources of direct heat.

Candles are often part of holiday decorations. The Fire/EMS Department strongly encourages the use of battery powered candles and discourages the use of candles with an open flame.  If you use candles; they should never be left burning when you are away from home, or after going to bed. Candles should be placed where children will not be tempted to play with them, and where guests will not accidentally brush against them. The candleholder should be completely non-combustible and difficult to knock over. The candle should not have combustible decorations around it.

If smoking is allowed inside, provide guests with large, deep ashtrays and check them frequently. After guests leave check inside, under upholstery, and in trash cans for cigarette butts that may be smoldering.

Overnight guests should be briefed on the home escape plan and designated meeting place outside.

Working smoke alarms are required in all residences in Prince George's County.  Consider upgrading to a 10-year tamper proof with hush feature smoke alarm and never change a battery again.  If you can not afford to purchase an alarm you can call our Safety First Smoke Alarm program at 301-864-SAFE (7233).  A firefighter will install a working smoke alarm in your home; free of charge.

The men and women, career, civilian and volunteer, of the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department wish everyone a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving!!!

  Turkey fryer hazards
    
·         Many units easily tip over, spilling the hot oil from the cooking pot.
·         If the cooking pot is overfilled with oil, the oil may spill out of the unit when the turkey is placed into the cooking pot. Oil may hit the burner or flames, causing a fire to engulf the entire unit.
·         Partially frozen turkeys placed into the fryer can cause a spillover effect. This too may result in an extensive fire.
·         With no thermostat controls, the units also have the potential to overheat the oil to the point of combustion.
·         The lid and handles on the sides of the cooking pot get dangerously hot, posing severe burn hazards.

Important safety information

If you absolutely must use a turkey fryer, please use the following tips.
·         Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors a safe distance from buildings and any other flammable materials.
·         Never use turkey fryers in a garage or on a wooden deck.
·         Make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.
·         Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls. If you do not watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.
·         Never let children or pets near the fryer even if it is not in use. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot hours after use.
·         To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer.
·         Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter.
·         Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil and water do not mix, and water causes oil to spill over causing a fire or even an explosion hazard.
·         The National Turkey Federation (NTF) recommends thawing the turkey in the refrigerator approximately 24 hours for every five pounds in weight.
·         Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. If the fire is manageable, use your all-purpose fire extinguisher. If the fire increases, immediately call the fire department for help.



Sunday, November 24, 2013

RED FLAG WARNING - Help Prevent Outside Fires


RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 7 AM THIS MORNING TO 6 PM EST
THIS EVENING FOR CENTRAL AND NORTHERN VIRGINIA...THE EXTREME
EASTERN PANHANDLE OF WEST VIRGINIA...SOUTHERN AND CENTRAL MARYLAND
AND WASHINGTON DC... 


THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN STERLING VIRGINIA HAS ISSUED A
RED FLAG WARNING FOR THE POTENTIAL OF RAPID WILDFIRE GROWTH...
WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 7 AM THIS MORNING TO 6 PM EST THIS
EVENING. THE FIRE WEATHER WATCH IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT.


 * HUMIDITY...25 TO 30 PERCENT. 
 * WINDS...NORTHWEST 20 TO 25 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 40 MPH. 
 * FUEL MOISTURE...LESS THAN 8 PERCENT. 


PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A RED FLAG WARNING MEANS THAT CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS
ARE EITHER OCCURRING NOW...OR WILL SHORTLY. A COMBINATION OF
STRONG WINDS AND LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY CAN CONTRIBUTE TO EXTREME
FIRE BEHAVIOR.

Prevention Tips From PGFD


* Dispose of smoking materials in an appropriate container and ensure they are completely extinguished. Do not discard these items into any open area as they may start a fire that will spread rapidly. Do not dispose of smoking materials out of your vehicle when traveling.
* Use caution when using power tools outdoors, especially those that will generate a spark.  Have a extinguishing agent; water hose, bucket of sand, portable extinguisher, etc. nearby while working outdoors.
* Business owners and property managers should have appropriate disposable containers in areas where smoking occurs outside.
* Burning brush or trash is illegal within Prince George's County without appropriate approval and permits.  If the Fire Weather Watch is upgraded to a Red Flag Warning then any permitted burns may be cancelled.
* We request that you limit the use outside grills or cooking equipment during these times. If you must, ensure you have some type of extinguishing agent nearby (water hose, bucket of sand, fire extinguisher, etc.)  Stand by for Red Flag Warning when we recommend all outdoor cooking be terminated.
* If you have fireplace ashes; you must put them into a sealed metal container placed on a concrete surface away from any structures. If possible – wait to clean your fireplace until this weather event is over.
* Never park your vehicle on top of a pile a leaves.  
* Use common sense and practice sound fire safety habits.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Fire Weather Watch for Sunday - Safety/Prevention Tips Included



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

Dry conditions with low humidity combined with a forecast of high winds has prompted the National Weather Service to issue a "Fire Weather Watch" for Prince George's County for Sunday. This warning means that everyone should be aware of the potential of outside fires with a rapid spread.  Large amounts of leaves are capable of providing plenty of fuel for a fire.

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN STERLING VIRGINIA HAS ISSUED A
FIRE WEATHER WATCH...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM SUNDAY MORNING
THROUGH SUNDAY AFTERNOON.


* HUMIDITY...LESS THAN 25 PERCENT.
* WINDS...NORTHWEST 20 TO 25 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 40 MPH.
* FUEL MOISTURE...LESS THAN 10 PERCENT.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A FIRE WEATHER WATCH MEANS THAT CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS
ARE FORECAST TO OCCUR. LISTEN FOR LATER FORECASTS AND POSSIBLE
RED FLAG WARNINGS.


The Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department suggest the following safety actions to avoid starting an accidental fire.

* Dispose of smoking materials in an appropriate container and ensure they are completely extinguished. Do not discard these items into any open area as they may start a fire that will spread rapidly. Do not dispose of smoking materials out of your vehicle when traveling.
* Use caution when using power tools outdoors, especially those that will generate a spark.  Have a extinguishing agent; water hose, bucket of sand, portable extinguisher, etc. nearby while working outdoors.
* Business owners and property managers should have appropriate disposable containers in areas where smoking occurs outside.
* Burning brush or trash is illegal within Prince George's County without appropriate approval and permits.  If the Fire Weather Watch is upgraded to a Red Flag Warning then any permitted burns may be cancelled.
* We request that you limit the use outside grills or cooking equipment during these times. If you must, ensure you have some type of extinguishing agent nearby (water hose, bucket of sand, fire extinguisher, etc.)  Stand by for Red Flag Warning when we recommend all outdoor cooking be terminated.
* If you have fireplace ashes; you must put them into a sealed metal container placed on a concrete surface away from any structures. If possible – wait to clean your fireplace until this weather event is over.
* Never park your vehicle on top of a pile a leaves.  
* Use common sense and practice sound fire safety habits.

WEEKEND MEDIA ADVISORY - Branchville Volunteers Provide to Families in Need

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, PGFD Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
mebrady@co.pg.md.us     @PGFDPIO

The Branchville Volunteer Fire Company and Rescue Squad, Prince George's County Fire/EMS Station #811, will continue their annual tradition of "Giving" during this thankful time of year.  The Branchville Volunteers will depart their station in College Park to deliver up to 8 Thanksgiving Food Baskets to pre-identified families within their response area.

Branchville worked with the County Public Schools to identify families that could use some assistance to ensure a festive family dinner on Thanksgiving.

Items in the food baskets were purchased entirely by the Branchville Volunteers.

The Branchville engine will depart the Station, located at 4905 Branchville Road in College Park, at 1:30 pm on Sunday, November 24.  The first house they will visit is in the 5000 block of Mineola Road.  The family has approved media participation at this event and will be available for interviews and photo ops.  Media may visit the fire station first for interviews with the volunteers and are invited to ride on-board their engine that will be loaded for other visits throughout the afternoon.  Media may also meet the volunteers on Mineola Road with an anticipated arrival time of 1:45 pm.  Any media riding on-board the engine will be dropped off back at the station prior to the second visit.

For additional information about this annual effort and the Branchville Volunteer Fire Company and Rescue Squad, contact; Spiro Dimakas at 301-883-7711.  Please remember that families have already been pre-identified and no additional food baskets are currently available.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Deputy Fire Chief Underwood Leaving

In an Email sent to the Fire/EMS Department this afternoon, Fire Chief Bashoor acknowledged the departure of Deputy Fire Chief Frank Underwood. The Email from Chief Bashoor reads;

All; This email is to inform you that after careful consideration, Frank has chosen to leave his position as Deputy Fire Chief, effective November 27, 2013.

While I'm confident Frank will continue to be active within the Department, please join me in thanking Frank for his 21 months of dedicated paid service, on top of the nearly 49 years of exemplary volunteer service to the County.

Thank you Frank.

Marc Bashoor, Fire Chief
Prince George's County Fire/EMS











Prince George's and Montgomery County Fire/EMS Departments Participate in Exercise

PGFD MEDIA CONTACT: Mark Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
mebrady@co.pg.md.us
@PGFDPIO

After months of meetings and planning "Vigilant Response 2013" (VR13) was held at the Adelphi Laboratory Center (ALC) on Powder Mill road on Wednesday, November 20.

VR13 was an exercise designed to test the response and capabilities of first responders and their work with ALC staff.  Montgomery County Department of Fire and Rescue Services took the lead during the exercise assisted by units from the Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department.

Prince George's County Units included; Paramedic Engine and Ambulance from Calverton #841, Ladder Truck from Berwyn Heights #814, Engine from Bunker Hill #855 and an Ambulance from District Heights #826.

The drill involved an explosion, chemical vapor cloud with multiple injuries.  The exercise tested the interoperability and working relationship of Fire/EMS personnel from neighboring counties as well as the interaction of first responders with ALC personnel.

Overall, the exercise was a success in testing the capabilities of everyone involved.  Most of the training evolutions went extremely well while areas of improvement were also identified.