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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Memorial Day Safety Tips - Grilling and Swimming

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

Memorial Day is commonly though of as the start of summer.  Some schools have already started their summer recess with others closing within the next couple of weeks.  Summer vacations are being planned and enjoyed.  The Memorial Day weekend is when many private, public and home swimming pools open as well as grills are cleaned off and readied for summer cook-outs.

The men and women of your Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department
unfortunately have seen many festive occasions quickly turn into tragedy and we want to help you avoid those circumstances. 

Everyone needs to keep safety at the forefront of every activity.  We offer these common sense safety tips that will help to keep everyone safe including our firefighters and paramedics.  By you staying safe keeps our emergency personnel in the Fire/EMS Station and available for other incidents.  Remember, "Safety First Ensures Everyone Goes Home."

Grill Safety

It is anticipated that many backyard barbeque's will be in use over the course of this long holiday weekend and throughout the summer months. We ask that you exercise caution and keep safety in mind when setting up, using and cleaning your BBQ grill. Did you know that cooking, most notably "unattended cooking" is the number one cause of fires and fire related injuries in Prince George's County, this includes both inside and outside cooking: WATCH WHAT YOU HEAT!!!

•NEVER use a grill indoors including garages, overhangs and canopies

•By Law - Grills must be at least 30 feet away from any multi-family apartment dwelling.

•When using a grill at your single family home – homeowners should use a 10-foot perimeter from anything combustible – including your house!!! Never place a grill up against your house, wood deck or fence.

•In Prince George’s County - all grills are illegal to use on balconies of apartments and condominium apartments

•Do not allow children and pets to play near a grill - set up a 10 foot safety zone around your grill.

•Only use approved ignition fluids – NEVER use gasoline to ignite a grill

•Keep a fire extinguisher, garden hose or bucket of sand nearby to douse a grill fire that gets out of control.

•Inspect your grill before you ignite to ensure everything is in working order. This inspection includes all connections on your gas grills are tight and not leaking.

Charcoal ashes and used briquettes should be disposed of in a metal container and allowed to cool down for up to 48 hours before disposal.  Keep ash container off of your wood deck and away from your house.
Swim Safely

Even though our temperatures are only forecast to be in the 70's over the Holiday weekend, thousands of residents will be swimming this weekend and keeping safety first will help to prevent such a festive occasion from becoming a tragedy.

For parents:

•Always watch your children and never leave them unattended.  A lack of adult supervision is one of the leading contributing factors to children drowning.

•Do not rely on flotation devices to protect your children from drowning. You must supervise at all times.

•Have a phone nearby in the event you need to call 911.

•Have children swim in pairs - the "buddy system"

•If a child is missing - check the pool first.

•Teach your child how to swim. Visit www.pgparks.com/aquatics.htm for additional information.

•Learn CPR. Visit http://www.redcrossnca.org/ for additional information.

For pool owners and managers:

•Install a fence around the perimeter of the pool.

•Use self closing latches and gates.

•Install a door alarm from the house to the pool area.

•Have life saving equipment nearby such as life rings or reaching poles   Speaking of swimming pools, Firefighter/Medics can perform a wide variety of services, emergency and non-emergency, to assist our citizens, visitors and businesses.  One of the services we do not provide is to fill your swimming pool with water.  Please contact a contractor that can provide this service for you.   The Fire/EMS Department wishes everyone a festive and safe Memorial Day.  Keep safety in every aspect of your event!!!

Fort Washington House Fire - Loughran Terrace

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

A fire that was accidental in origin caused significant damage to a Fort Washington home and displaced the family.  At around 10:00 pm, Wednesday, May 22, 2013, firefighters were alerted to a house fire in the 8900 block of Loughran Terrace.  Upon arrival, fire/EMS units found a 2-story in the front, 3-story in the rear, single family home with fire showing from the rear.  The fire touched all 3 levels before being brought under control.  Additional personnel were brought to the scene to assist in the extinguisment.  There were 40 firefighters on-board 11 pieces of apparatus in addition to command officers that operated on this incident.

For whatever reason the house had no electricity and occupants were using a gasoline powered generator on the exterior of the structure under a upper level deck.  The generator ignited nearby combustibles which spread up the structure exterior including the wooden deck and then inside the homes interior.

The family was displaced and assisted by the County Citizen Services Unit.

No injuries were reported and fire loss is estimated at $100,000.

Images provided by Assistant Fire Chief Steve White.

Rear of the house shows basement level and 2 upper floors.  The fire started on the ground level, extended to the deck and into the homes interior.