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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Marlboro Volunteers Complete Sale of Station #2 to County

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


After months of negotiations between the Marlboro Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. and Prince George’s County the sale of the Marlboro Volunteer Fire Department Station 2 and property has been completed.  The sale involved the 1- 1/2 acre parcel including the existing structure serving as a  Fire/EMS Station located at 7710 Croom Road in Upper Marlboro.  The transfer of ownership to Prince George’s County is mutually beneficial to the Marlboro Volunteers and Prince George’s County.  Citizens and residents will not see any interruptions in service as there are no operational changes planned for the Fire/EMS Station.  Currently,  the newly named Croom Fire/EMS Station is staffed by 5 career Firefighter/Medics that are responsible for response of an Engine, Water Tanker, Haz-Mat Support Unit and Paramedic Unit.

Prince George's County Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor stated, "I appreciate the leadership of the Marlboro Volunteer Fire Department working with the County to complete this transaction.  This move will allow the MVFD to consolidate volunteer staffing at the Pratt Street station and focus the Volunteer Corporations efforts on one station.  We are proud of the many hours the men and women of the MVFD have provided and continue to provide towards staffing equipment, stewarding a cadet program, and contributing to the Fire/EMS Department’s overall fire prevention efforts."

Jeff Wyvill, 2014 President of the Marlboro Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. ceremoniously hands the keys to the Croom Fire/EMS Station over to County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor

Jeff Wyvill, 2014 President of the Marlboro Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. ceremoniously hands the keys to the Croom Fire/EMS Station over to County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor

Marlboro President Wyvill, Fire Chief Bashoor, Deputy Fire Chief Ben Barksdale and crew working today at the Croom Fire/EMS Station #845





Safety First Day of the Month and Year - Fire Safety Resolutions for New Year!!!

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

Top Ten Fire Safety Resolutions for 2015 



I will test my smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms once a month on the first day of every month (Safety First Day of the Month).

 I will change my battery in alarms at least once a year. Change Your Clock – Change Your Battery.

I will discard any alarm over 10 years of age and replace with a new 10-year, tamper proof, with hush feature alarm.

 I will upgrade to a 10-year, tamper proof, with hush feature smoke and CO alarm this year.  A combination smoke/CO alarm is highly recommended.

I will install a smoke and CO alarm on every level of my home, primarily outside of sleeping areas and inside of every bedroom.

I will install a carbon monoxide alarm on every level of my home (County Law).  A 10-year, tamper proof, with hush feature alarm is highly recommended.

 I will never leave cooking unattended.

I will not overload power strips or use extension cords when not recommended, for example, space heaters and window air conditioners.

 I will never leave candles burning unattended or overnight and turn off space heaters before I go to sleep.

I will plan a home escape, identifying 2 ways out of every room and select a safe meeting place outside.  My family will practice this plan at least twice a year on the Safety First Day of the Month.

Pledge to be fire safety aware and reduce risks in 2015.  Safety First ensures everyone goes home.

PGFD 2014 Limited Statistical and Social Media Information

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

The following are statistics are from calendar year 2014.  Many of the statistics and data have a link that will provide additional information.  Simply click on the link to be taken to that information.

2014 Top 6 Highest Fire Loss Estimate Incidents


9/12/2014            5405 Doris Ct., Bladensburg                   Residential dwelling        750K
1/29/2014            416 Compton Ave., Laurel                      Residential dwelling        300K
11/16/2014         3408 Gennene Ln., Fort Washington       Residential dwelling        250K
7/13/14                222 St. Andrews Dr., Fort Washington   Residential dwelling        250K
6/3/2014              1902 Bryan Point Rd., Accokeek            Residential dwelling        250K
3/25/14                7815 Jordan Park Blvd., Forestville         Residential dwelling        250K

Source: PGFD Office of the Fire Marshal

2014 FATAL FIRES

14-042-0241
2/11/2014 (Tuesday @17:00)
Thomas, Mathew Joseph - 75 y/o
Trailer Fire – Undetermined cause, complete structural failure – Smoke alarm not found
$5,000

14-148-0399
5/28/2014 (Wednesday @ 22:15)
Raymond, John Collins - 65 y/o
House Fire – Undetermined cause, significant structure damage –No working smoke alarm found
$200,000

14-341-0402
12/7/2014 (Sunday @ 22:00)
Weyzen, Robert Walter - 26 y/o
House Fire – Accidental (Candle) – Had alarm - Not Working
$20,000

14-358-0083
12/24/2014 (Wednesday @ 08:30)
Sowder, Kenneth - 83 y/o
House Fire – Accidental (Space heater too close to combustibles) – No working smoke alarm found
$100,000

14-359-0042
12/25/2014 (Thursday @ 02:15)
Kirkland, Fannie Bell - 84
House (Duplex) Fire – Undetermined/Under Investigation – Working Alarm alerted occupants
$75,000

Source: PGFD Office of the Fire Marshal




2014 Top 5 Videos based on views on YouTube

#1 - 11,363 views - Apartment Fire 6800 block of Riverdale Road in Riverdale

#2 - 9,892 views - House Fire 9200 block of Gary Lane in Springdale

#3 - 6,354 views -  Townhouse Fire 600 block of Harry S. Truman Drive in Largo

#4 - 4,950 views - House Fire in Marlboro Meadows in Upper Marlboro

#5 - 2,293 views - House Fire 600 block of 63rd Street in Seat Pleasant

Source: PGFD PIO YouTube


2014 Top 5 Stories on PGFD Blog based on views

#1 - 4,690 views - Line of Duty Death Announcement - "Doc" Brooks

#2 - 4,584 views - Engine Damaged and Medic Equipment Destroyed in Crash

#3 - 3,673 views - Truck 832, Allentown Road, Crash with injury

#4 - 3,435 views - Technical Rescue of Horse Trapped by Heavy Snow

#5 - 3,354 views - Career Recruit School #50 Begins Training

Source: PGFD Blog - PGFDNEWS.com

2014 Twitter

@PGFDPIO started tweeting in June 2008

Total # of Tweets - 10.9K

Total Following - 879

Total Followers - 9,862

Source: Twitter Account of @PGFDPIO

Twitter Secondary Account - @PGFDNews

Fire Chief Marc Bashoor Twitter Account - @PGFD_Chief

2014 FACEBOOK

10,410 page likes

Average post reach of 8.4K

Source: Official Prince George's County FACEBOOK Page

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Morningside VFD Celebrates Anniversary of Going 100% Volunteer


Prince George's County Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor and several members of his command staff attended a celebratory dinner at the Morningside Volunteer Fire Department on Monday, December 29.  The Morningside Volunteers were celebrating their 1-year anniversary of being a 100% volunteer department.

In recognition of this achievement Fire Chief Bashoor presented Morningside Volunteer Chief Poetker with a Meritorious Service Award.



In making the presentation Fire Chief Bashoor stated;

Thank you for everything you do – especially for the service you provide to the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department and more importantly to the communities we serve.

The MVFD’s performance ensuring both fire and emergency medical transport services are provided out of the Morningside station has been tremendous – indeed there has been a significant cost savings, allowing career personnel to be redeployed to other locations where there was a more urgent need for career staffing. 

Of the nine all-volunteer stations in Prince George’s County, six provide service for both fire and EMS transport services.  Two of those, Bladensburg and Morningside have been able to provide continuous fire and ambulance coverage over the past year, congratulations.

Chief Poetker and I spoke the other day, much as Chief White and I have spoken for the past couple of years, in terms of this odyssey.  Chief Poetker told me, he “knew we were standing on opposite sides of the fence”, however he was glad to have that behind us.  I would like to say that I don’t believe we were ever on opposite sides – we were on the same track when we came to a crossroads.  Thankfully, we both stayed on the correct track – that is the track to provide fire and EMS transport service to our communities.

On behalf of County Executive Rushern Baker III, I applaud your service to Prince George’s County.  As your Fire Chief, I thank you for the time, service, dedication, and the sacrifices that you and your membership make everyday to ensure fire and ambulance service is maintained at Morningside.

Chief Poetker, on behalf of all of your membership, please accept my thanks and appreciation, and this Department Meritorious Service award.

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

Monday, December 29, 2014

Leave Backyard Fireworks Out of Your New Year Celebrations


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

The goal of the Fire/EMS Department is not to dampen the celebration of a New Year - our goal is to keep you safe from hazards that you may not think of.  The use of fireworks on New Years Eve into New Years Day is second only to the Fourth of July.   Citizens, residents and visitors should be aware that the use of all consumer fireworks in Prince George's County is illegal.  Firefighters and Paramedics recommend that you leave the pyrotechnics to the experts and leave consumer purchased fireworks out of your celebration planning.

Prince George’s County has banned the sale, use and possession of these fireworks based on the danger to our citizens caused by the misuse of these products.  The danger is particularly high and a matter of concern for firefighters and paramedics as many New Year celebrations involve the consumption of alcohol.  Alcohol may impair the judgement and common sense of the most well-intentioned individual and cause injury to themselves or innocent by-standers and ignite a fire.

The Law in Prince George’s County.

• It is illegal for any person to manufacture, possess, store, offer for sale, sell, discharge, use, burn, or explode any fireworks in Prince George's County, Maryland, except that an authorized display may be conducted by a licensed pyrotechnic professional. Penalties for violations of the law include a fine of up to $1,000 and/or six months in jail.

• Each year, thousands of people are injured and some killed in accidents involving the use of fireworks. These primarily involve those fireworks classified as 1.4g explosives by the U.S. Department of Transportation, commonly referred to as "consumer fireworks." 

Remember, SAFETY FIRST, will ensure everyone goes home.

Keep in mind that other jurisdictions allow the use of certain consumer fireworks.  Do not be confused with our law in Prince George's County, regardless of where they are purchased legally, you can not transport or use retail fireworks - all fireworks are illegal in Prince George's County.  

If you purchased or possess fireworks and are in Prince George's County call 301-583-2200 to surrender your items.  A member of the County Office of the Fire Marshal will come to pick up your fireworks without fear of prosecution.
Some neighboring jurisdictions can legally sell fireworks.  Fireworks are being sold in some big box warehouse stores, among other places - they are illegal to transport and use in Prince George's County.

Some neighboring jurisdictions can legally sell fireworks.  Fireworks are being sold in big box warehouse stores, among other places - they are illegal to transport and use in Prince George's County.





Friday, December 26, 2014

Fire/EMS Department Press Conference, Neighborhood Canvass and New Home Safety Initiative


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

Prince George's County Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor updated members of the media and community today in front of the home where an 83-year-old man lost his life on Christmas Eve morning.  During his update Bashoor officially released the names of the two deceased individuals from the Christmas Eve fire and also from the one occurring early Christmas morning.  Chief Bashoor also announced a "Adopt A Neighborhood" program and an internet based GIS program to track homes that have working smoke alarms and those that need them.

Fire Chief Bashoor was joined by City of Bowie Mayor Fred Robinson, Deputy Fire Chief Ben Barksdale and Jim McClelland and Firefighter/Medics from the Departments 2nd Battalion.

Here are Fire Chief Bashoor's comments from the press conference.

We welcome everyone to a beautiful sunny morning – a sun that only briefly masks the grief that several families and our Fire/EMS Department in Prince George’s County have experienced over the past 2 days.

We’re standing in front of this burned out home, where 83 year old Kenneth Sowder lost his life in a Christmas Eve fire.  Another occupant of the home smelled the smoke from the fire – a fire that probably started about 8:15 a.m..  I say probably 8:15, because it took time for that fire to develop, and for the smoke to make it down to the bedrooms where both occupants laid.  Sadly, there was no working smoke alarms in this home to give both occupants early notification of the growing fire.  The first calls came into the 911 Center at 8:30 a.m. – by that time, the fire was already well advanced.  Helped by neighbors, the female occupant was able to exit the home through a window.  Firefighters were able to quickly reach Mr. Sowder, remove him to the outside, and immediately begin advanced life support efforts.  Sadly, Mr. Sowder succumbed to injuries from the smoke and fire.  Fire investigators have determined that a space heater too close to combustibles was the cause of this fire.

Fast forward to Christmas morning, about 2:15 a.m.  A working smoke alarm in a duplex on Booker Drive in Seat Pleasant, awoke 2 sleeping residents.  Experiencing very similar circumstances, one occupant was able to jump out of a top floor window, while that occupant and neighbors tried valiantly to pull 84-year-old Fannie Kirkland out of another top floor window – That attempt was complicated by the high windows and an open staircase inside the home, which unfortunately provides an internal chimney for heat and smoke to rapidly expand.  While the working smoke alarm gave the residents early warning and extra time to try and escape, sadly the results on Booker Drive were the same as here on Park Drive.  One occupant was able to escape through a window, while firefighters were unable to get to 84-year-old Fannie Kirkland in time – she succumbed to the smoke and fire in an upper floor bedroom.  This fire remains under active investigation.

Even with these sad events, Prince George’s County has experienced a 70% reduction in fire fatalities in 2014 over 2013.  There is a very sobering statistic though, that needs immediate attention.  Four of the five fire fatalities this year occurred in residential dwellings where we found NO WORKING SMOKE ALARMS… let me say that again, 4 out of 5 fire deaths in the past year occurred in homes where there was NO WORKING SMOKE ALARM.  Three of the 4 fatalities have been in single family homes here in Bowie communities.  Staff and I will be addressing the City of Bowie Council meeting on January 5 as part of a public education effort.  As Fire Chief, I take each and every one of these fatalities personally – frankly I approach them partially as a failure of our fire prevention and fire safety public education efforts, not that we did anything wrong, but we obviously need to do more.  We should be at ZERO.

While the 4 out of 5 fatalities in homes with NO WORKING SMOKE ALARM is a sobering statistic, we have also documented over 3 dozen instances in 2014, where working smoke alarms have successfully alerted residents to a fire in their home – 9 of those instances actually awoke residents from a deep sleep.  On December 21st, the Rojas family was alerted to a fire in their Bunker Hill home by their smoke alarm – all 4 family members escaped unharmed.  In fact, until the tragic Booker Drive incident, EVERY ONE of those alerted by those smoke alarms in 2014 was able to escape uninjured.  Despite Mrs. Kirklands tragic death, the early notification those smoke alarms provided is a success story that every resident listening to me today, should take to heart.

Prince George’s County enacted legislation in 1982 that REQUIRES smoke alarms in every residential dwelling unit.  Further, in 1987, Prince George’s County enacted legislation that requires residential sprinklers in all new homes.  The smoke alarm legislation was retro-active to ALL homes, the sprinkler legislation only affected new homes or major renovations moving forward.  The Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department has some of the best fire prevention legislation in the United States, however we continue to have fire fatalities in homes that we find unprotected. 

We have wonderful corporate relationships with PEPCO, KIDDE, & FIRST ALERT along with others, who donate smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors to the Department annually.  Our firefighters and paramedics, operating out of 45 neighborhood fire/EMS stations come out to homes and install these alarms FREE of charge – we KNOW that working smoke alarms save lives, but clearly we need to do more.

Today, as a direct result of this fire and the others like it, I am announcing a renewed effort within our Safe Families Program.  While Firefighters and paramedics will be going door-to-door after this press conference here in this community, and this afternoon in the Booker Drive community as part of our Post Incident Neighborhood Intervention Program (PINIP), as neighbors within these communities, we can NOT let the effort stop when we leave these two communities today.  As part of the Neighbors-Helping-Neighbors initiative, I am calling on all of our neighborhoods to help us out – the Fire/EMS Department can NOT do this alone. 

We are developing a new Adopt-A-Neighborhood effort where we will ask neighborhood businesses to step up and help us fund the smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector effort.  The Fire/EMS Department will track the Neighborhood efforts, with a web-GIS based program that will verify homes have been properly equipped and tested.  The Fire/EMS Department will continue to install the alarms (as long as we have a supply), free of charge to those who are unable to afford their own.  If you have a detector or alarm and just need a little help putting it up or checking it, call 311 and we will come put it up the same day that we receive the information.  The Adopt-A-Neighborhood effort will endeavor to develop improved fire prevention and public education efforts, using the both paid and volunteer members of our Fire/EMS Department who already operate in our neighborhoods.  We will not just come and go – we will remain in the neighborhood until all homes are protected, and we will develop lasting Neighbors-Helping-Neighbors efforts that will ultimately improve everyone’s safety.

I am pleased to announce the first business who has stepped up to Adopt–A-Neighborhood.  The International Association of Firefighters and Paramedics, Local 1619, whose corporate offices are located on Melford Boulevard at the entrance to this neighborhood, has agreed to adopt the Sherwood Manor neighborhood.  The Local will work with the Department to identify funding to ensure every home in this neighborhood is safer.

I am challenging any business, municipality, 501c3, or other business entity within our neighborhoods to step up and participate in this program.  I said it before, it bears repeating… Your Fire/EMS Department can NOT do this alone, and it is clear that our neighborhoods need help.  Any business or neighborhood entity willing to become a partner in the program is urged to call the following number; 301-864-SAFE (7233).  As we develop the mechanisms to track the information and expand our Adopt-A-Neighborhood program, I am confident that we will experience a safer Prince George’s County.

President of the Prince George's County Professional Firefighters and Paramedics Association, IAFF Local 1619, Andrew Pantelis spoke on his organizations commitment to ensuring homes are equipped with working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.  Pantelis challenged other organizations and businesses to step and join the program that will save lives.

After the press conference firefighter/medics started their door-to-door campaign to talk with residents about the Park Drive incident, check smoke alarms, offer advice on homes escape plans and provide general fire safety information.

Firefighters will also conduct a PINIP in the Capitol Heights neighborhood on Booker Drive this afternoon at 4:00 pm.


2014 FATAL FIRES

14-042-0241
2/11/2014 (Tuesday @17:00)
18151 Horsehead Road, Brandywine ,MD 20613
Thomas, Mathew Joseph - 75 y/o
Trailer Fire – Undetermined cause, complete structural failure – Smoke alarm not found
$5,000

14-148-0399
5/28/2014 (Wednesday @ 22:15)
6410 Grendel Place, Bowie, MD 20720
Raymond, John Collins - 65 y/o
House Fire – Undetermined cause, significant structure damage –No working smoke alarm found
$200,000

14-341-0402
12/7/2014 (Sunday @ 22:00)
13105 11th Street
Weyzen, Robert Walter - 26 y/o
House Fire – Accidental (Candle) – Had alarm but not working
$20,000

14-358-0083
12/24/2014 (Wednesday @ 08:30)
5710 Park Drive
Sowder, Kenneth - 83 y/o
House Fire – Accidental (Space heater too close to combustibles) – No working smoke alarm found
$100,000

14-359-0042
12/25/2014 (Thursday @ 02:15)
915 Booker Drive
Kirkland, Fannie Bell - 84 (corrected - originally reported age 87)
House (Duplex) Fire – Undetermined/Under Investigation – Working Alarm alerted occupants
$75,000




A 2nd Battalion Firefighter/Medic installs a 10-year smoke alarm in a home on Park Drive in Bowie