@PGFDPIO Twitter

Monday, March 31, 2014

New Explosives Detection Canine Team Graduates

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

New Explosives Detection Canine Team Graduates

The Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department, Office of the Fire Marshal has added a new member to their roster. K-9 Tango and her partner, Captain Bino J. Harris, recently completed a 16 week explosive detection training program offered by the Central Intelligence Agency. K-9 Tango, a 21 month old Labrador retriever, has been conditioned to detect explosives, explosives residue, and post-blast evidence. 

In Prince George’s County, the Bomb Squad is a function of the Fire/ EMS Department and housed within the Office of the Fire Marshal. Due to recent retirements, the Office of the Fire Marshal had a need for an explosives detecting canine capable of detecting explosives and firearms threats in an effort to support its mission.

K-9 Tango was hand selected by CIA trainers from a nonprofit organization called Puppies Behind Bars. This program pairs inmates with puppies to teach the dogs basic commands. 

She was then taught explosives odor recognition through a food and praise reward system. K-9 Tango is trained to detect chemical compounds used in an estimated 19,000 explosives formulas. 

This explosive detection canine team joins an accelerant detection canine team already in service in the department.







Don't be Foolish - Make it a Combo!!! Safety First Day of the Month - April 1, 2014

Don't be Foolish - Make it a Combo!!!

Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
MEBrady@co.pg.md.us     Twitter: @PGFDPIO


Don't be foolish.  April 1, 2014, is the designated day to perform your monthly task of testing your smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms to ensure they are working.  The first day of every month has been designated as the Safety First Day.  Not only is it the day to test alarms, you can also use it to practice your exit drills in the home (2 ways out of every room & designated meeting place outside), change air filters, clean clothes dryer vents, remove clutter from furnaces and water heaters and clean out fireplace ashes by placing them in a metal container and removing them to the exterior at least 10-12 feet from any that can burn (including your house).

If your alarms are 10 years old, they need to be upgraded.  Even if they emit an alarm during the monthly test they need to be removed and upgraded with a new 10-year alarm.  If your home has the 9-volt battery style of alarm - upgrade now to the new 10-yer alarm.  Make it a combo - a 10-year, tamper proof, with hush feature, smoke/carbon monoxide alarm.  New laws will require both by the end of the year anyway.  Make it a combo today!!!

Don't be a fool, test your alarms for the sake of your family, friends, visitors, yourself and firefighters.  You may have heard that over the past two months there have been 9 families that will tell you how important working smoke alarms are.  When a fire started in their homes, a working smoke alarm sounded and alerted the family to get out!!!  In all but one of the incidents everybody made it safely outside.  Minor injuries occurred in one incident which demonstrates the precious few seconds you have to get out.

On July 1, 2014, a law will go into effect that is a law we can live with.  In Prince George's County all applicable homes and commercial establishments, new and existing, will be required to install and maintain carbon monoxide alarms.  I have made a copy of the law for you.  The underlined sections are the new parts of the law that were added to the existing law.  Again, this goes into effect on July 1.

The Fire/EMS Department highly recommends the purchase and installation of combined smoke and CO 10-year, tamper proof with hush feature alarms.  Another new law that goes into effect on January 1, 2015, will require these style smoke alarms (10-year) so upgrade now and make it a combo!!!




Sec. 11-295.  Carbon Monoxide Detectors.

        (a)   This Section shall apply to any new residential unit for which an initial building permit is issued on or after January 1, 2007, and which is to be constructed with a gas heating system, fuel burning appliances, and/or an attached garage.  This Section shall also apply to all new and existing One- and Two- Family, Multi-family, Hotel, Motel, and Dormitory residential dwellings with a gas heating system, fuel burning appliances, and/or an attached garage.  Carbon Monoxide detectors shall be installed in new and existing residential dwellings by July 1, 2014, in the manner hereinafter provided, unless any other provision of County, State or Federal law shall require installation before that date.

        (b)   General Requirements.
                (1)    Requirements for new and existing one- and two-family residential dwellings.  The requirements for installation and maintenance of a carbon monoxide detector in a new or existing one- and two-family residential dwelling shall be at least one (1) carbon monoxide detector installed on each level of the dwelling in close proximity to sleeping quarters in a residence constructed or to be constructed with a gas heating system, fuel burning appliances, and/or an attached garage.  For a new residence, [C]carbon monoxide detectors shall be directly hardwired to the building’s power supply and have a battery-powered backup.  For an existing residence, carbon monoxide detectors shall be AC and/or battery powered/backup.  Each carbon monoxide detector must comply with all applicable Federal and State regulations and must bear the label of a nationally recognized standard testing laboratory.  Each detector must be an Underwriters Laboratory (U.L.) 2034 listed product or its equivalent.  The owner/occupant of each dwelling unit shall be responsible for installing, inspecting and maintaining the carbon monoxide detectors in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications.
               
(2)    Multi-family apartment house.  It shall be the responsibility of the owner of each new or existing multi-family apartment house to install carbon monoxide detectors in each such multi-family dwelling unit intended to be used or originally built or designed to be used for residential purposes, not to include any dwelling unit within any structure which has been wholly converted to a non-residential use.
                
(3)    Hotels, motels, and dormitories.  The owner of each new or existing hotel, motel and dormitory shall install carbon monoxide detectors near sleeping areas, in the manner hereinafter provided[, unless any other provisions of County, State or Federal law requires installation before January 1, 2007].
        (c)   Location.  At least one (1) carbon monoxide detector installed in close proximity to the access for each sleeping area in a residence constructed or to be constructed with a gas heating system, fuel burning appliances, and/or an attached garage.
        (d)   Installation.  For a new residence, [C]carbon monoxide detectors shall be directly hardwired to the building's power supply and have a battery-powered backup.  For an existing residence, carbon monoxide detectors shall be AC and/or battery powered/backup.  Each carbon monoxide detector must comply with all applicable Federal and State regulations and must bear the label of a nationally recognized standard testing laboratory.  Each detector must be an Underwriters Laboratory (U.L.) 2034 listed product or its equivalent.
*                *                *                *                *                *                *                *                *

Saturday, March 29, 2014

PGFD Expands PINK Breast Cancer Awareness Program Pink Paramedic Unit


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

The Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department cares enough to go pink year round.  An engine was wrapped in PINK and has been seen by thousands as the PGFD Pink Pumper visits various events in support of Breast Cancer Awareness over the past 2 years.  During the month of October, Prince George's County Firefighter/Medics swap their standard work shirts for pink ones to help raise awareness and to raise funds for various charities working to find a cure.

The Department is looking forward to expanding our awareness program by adding a new PGFD Pink Paramedic unit.  The transport unit is painted pink and is adorned with graphics supporting awareness and finding a cure.  The Fire/EMS Departments very own Jeff Callaway designed the graphics.

The PINK medium-duty unit will be on display at the Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) in Indianapolis, Indiana before being delivered to Prince George’s County.  We anticipate the in-service date of this $240,000 unit to be in early May.  The pink unit is scheduled to go in-service as a paramedic unit at the College Park Fire/EMS Station 812.



All of these images by PGFD Spencer Stevenson









Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Maryland Police Chiefs "Nano News" Video

On Tuesday, March 25, I will have the honor of presenting a brief overview of "public information and the use of social media."  My presentation has been limited to 15 minutes.  I will mention this video in my presentation and encourage that everyone take a moment to watch this video.

My presentation is to the Maryland Police Chiefs Association.  Some of which are already very good at social media while others may be a little slow to get started.

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


Monday, March 24, 2014

Landover House Fire - Greenleaf Road - Family Alerted by Firefighter Installed Smoke Alarm - Dog Rescued


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

A fire damaged both sides of a 1-story duplex this afternoon in Landover.  It was about 1:45 pm when firefighters were alerted to a 911 report of smoke coming from a house in the 7700 block of Greenleaf Road.  Units arrived on the scene to find “smoke showing” and advised of a working fire. 

The fire appears to have started on the first floor and extended up into the attic area.  Once in the attic the fire appears to have breached the protective firewall in between the two homes with fire extending into the attached structure.

As the fire continued to grow in intensity a “Task Force” was requested bringing additional firefighters and paramedics to the scene.  The fire was extinguished within 30 minutes of arrival.

A working smoke alarm emitted a warning of the fire.  The warning was the only notice to a grandmother and two additional females.  The activated smoke alarm allowed a few precious moments for everyone to exit the home without injury.   The smoke alarm had been installed by firefighters on a previous door-to-door campaign designed to ensure homes were equipped with the life-saving device.

No one was at home in the attached structure with the exception of the family pet dog.

A small black poodle was found and removed from the attached exposure.  The dog appears to have had his hair singed and was exposed to heavy smoke.  A family friend took possession of the pet and he was advised that immediate vet care was in order.

No firefighter or civilian injuries were reported.

Both families will be displaced as significant fire damage prevents them returning.  The cause of the fire remains under investigation.  Fire loss estimates are still being tabulated.

Any resident that cannot afford a smoke alarm is encouraged to contact our Safety First Smoke Alarm Program by calling 301-864-SAFE (7233).  A firefighter will come to your house and install a smoke alarm for you, free of charge.

All images courtesy of Mark E. Brady, PGFDPIO
Conditions shortly after arrival initial units.



A small black poodle was found and removed from the attached exposure.  The dog appears to have had his hair singed and was exposed to heavy smoke.  A family friend took possession of the pet and he was advised that immediate vet care was in order.


A fire ground view from above courtesy of our local news media chopper.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Woodmore House Fire - Good News and Concerning News


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

Photo Credit: Billy McNeel, Citizen Services Unit

I have some good news that came out of a tragic house fire and I have some news that is very concerning to firefighters.

Prince George's County
Firefighter/Medics responded to a house fire today, Sunday, March 23, just before 9:30 am.  Fire/EMS units arrived at a 3800+ sq, ft. custom built single family home located in the 11900 block of Pleasant Prospect Road within the gated community of Woodmore.  The house is 2-stories in places and 3-stories in other portions.  Upon arrival firefighters saw heavy smoke billowing from the 2nd floor and roof of the spacious home.

Firefighters initiated an interior attack on the fire and an aggressive search for residents that normally occupy the home.  The fire was contained and extinguished within 20 minutes of arrival and all searches were negative.  For the fourth time, that we know of, in the month of March, a working smoke alarm sounded a loud and distinct warning of a fire in the home.  The two occupants heeded the warning of the smoke alarm and exited the home.  No one was injured.  6 adults are displaced.

Having a working smoke alarm increases the chances of surviving a fire in your home by about 50%.
Smoke alarms should be tested on the first day of every month, discard smoke alarms that are 10 years old or older and provided fresh batteries at least once-a-year.  Property owners are asked to upgrade to the new 10-year, tamper proof, with hush feature smoke alarm for added protection.  Alarms should be installed on every floor of your home and inside bedrooms.  The request becomes a mandate at the end of the year.

While a house was damaged, the good news, a working smoke alarm is credited with saving another family from injury and an early notification to firefighters.  Fire loss is estimated at $100,000 and the cause was accidental and attributed to an unattended candle on the second floor.

The news that is causing concern for firefighters is that this was the third fire "THIS WEEKEND" that was caused by unattended candles.  The combined fire loss from these three incidents is estimated at $170,000.  Three families are displaced from their homes and will be inconvenienced for months while fire damage is repaired.  Remember, a candle has an open flame capable of igniting combustibles.  The men and women of our combined career, civilian and volunteer members of the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department is joining with the United States Fire Administration in providing the following information to help prevent fires caused by candles.

Causes and Circumstances of Home Candle Fires

  • On average, 42 home candle fires are reported every day.
  • More than half of all candle fires start when something that could burn, such as furniture, mattresses or bedding, curtains, or decorations is too close to the candle.
  • In one-fifth (20%) of candle fires, the candles are unattended or abandoned.
  • Over one-third (36%) of home candle fires begin in the bedroom.
  • Falling asleep is a factor in 12% of home candle fires and 36% of the associated deaths.
  • December is the peak time of year for home candle fires.  In December, 13% of home candle fires begin with decorations compared to 4% the rest of the year.
  • One-half of home candle fire deaths occur between Midnight and 6 am.
  • Young children and older adults have the highest death risk from candle fires.
  • The risk of fatal candle fires appears higher when candles are used for light.
Sources: NFIRS, NFPA

Candle Safety Tips



  • Consider using battery-operated or electric flameless candles and fragrance warmers, which can look, smell and feel like real candles – without the flame.
  • If you do use candles, ensure they are in sturdy metal, glass or ceramic holders and placed where they cannot be easily knocked down.
  • Avoid using candles in bedrooms and sleeping areas.
  • Extinguish candles after use and before going to bed.
  • Keep candles at least 12 inches from anything that can burn.
  • Keep candles out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Set a good example by using matches, lighters and fire carefully.
  • Children should never be allowed to play with matches, lighters or candles.
  • Never use a candle where medical oxygen is being used. The two can combine to create a large, unexpected fire.
  • Always use a flashlight – not a candle – for emergency lighting.
  • Never put candles on a Christmas tree.
  • When using in home worship, don't place lit candles in windows, where blinds and curtains can close over them, or pass handheld candles from one person to another. To lower the risk of fire, candles should be used by only a few designated adults.
  • And NEVER leave burning candles unattended!
Remember!  Candle fires are PREVENTABLE!
In the event of a fire, remember time is the biggest enemy and every second counts!
Escape first, and then call for help. Develop a home fire escape plan and practice it frequently with your family.  Designate a meeting place outside. Make sure everyone in the family knows two ways to escape from every room.
Never stand up in a fire, always crawl low under the smoke, and try to keep your mouth covered. Never return to a burning building for any reason: it may cost you your life.
Finally, having a working smoke alarm dramatically increases your chances of surviving a fire.