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Monday, January 20, 2014

Knights of Columbus Recognizes Fire Fighter and Paramedic of the Year

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
mebrady@co.pg.md.us     Twitter: @PGFDPIO
Two Prince George's County employees were recognized by the Knights of Columbus in Bowie for their actions on the scene of an aircraft crash on Route 50 earlier this year.  Fire Fighter/Medic Anthony L. Taylor was awarded the Knights of Columbus Career Fire Fighter of the Year and Paramedic Captain Roland D. Berg as the Career Paramedic of the Year.  The awards ceremony was held at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Columbine Way on Saturday, January 18, 2014.
On Monday, September 2, 2013,  Fire Fighter/Medic Taylor responded on board the advanced life support (ALS) unit from Northview Fire/EMS Station 816 for a reported plane crash at Freeway Airport in Bowie.  Taylor was the first paramedic to arrive on the scene and encountered three victims with obvious serious injuries.  A female victim, who was suffering from severe facial injuries, had been removed from the wreckage prior to the arrival of Fire/EMS units and was lying on the shoulder of the highway.  Two critically injured male victims were trapped inside the plane and would require extensive extrication.  Using his training and experience, he instructed the only basic life support transport unit on the scene to quickly load and transport the female patient to a nearby Trauma Center.  This enabled Taylor to then focus the remaining victims, whose injuries were life-threatening.  He provided ALS care to both patients while they were being extricated from the wreckage.  One patient sustained a severe head injury and was presenting a decreased level of consciousness.  The second patient complained of a possible broken back and could not move his legs.  
(L to R) Paramedic Captain Berg and
Fire Fighter/Medic Taylor (Bashoor pic)
Upon the arrival of the Northern EMS Duty Officer, Paramedic Captain Roland D. Berg, Taylor provided an update on the patient’s condition, including the female transport.  His concise information was beneficial in ensuring appropriate resources were requested for the care and transport of the remaining patients.  After giving the update, you continued to provide patient care until additional ALS resources arrived. 
Paramedic Captain Berg realized both patients would need specialized medical care and transport to Shock Trauma in Baltimore and he requested additional air medavac resources.  With additional ALS resources still a considerable distance away, Berg retrieved the ALS equipment from his vehicle.  Berg began treating the patient whose back was possibly broken, while Fire Fighter Taylor attended the patient with the severe head injury.  At the arrival of Glenn Dale Paramedic Unit 818, Captain Berg updated the Incident Commander on the patients’ status.  Berg contacted Shock Trauma, via the Emergency Medical Resource Center, and gave them vital information that assisted with preparing for the patients’ arrival.  When the 2 medavac helicopters, MSP Trooper 2 and US Park Eagle 1, arrived to transport, Berg directed and coordinated the quick and efficient transfer of care to the medavac crews. 
Fire Fighter/Medic Anthony L. Taylor was presented with the Knights of Columbus Firefighter of the Year for his quick thinking to transport the female patient by BLS which is credited with saving her life.  Immediately upon reaching the hospital, she was intubated and placed on a ventilator to protect her airway.  Had he waited for another ALS unit to arrive and transport, the outcome could have been tragic.  Taylor's decision also enabled him to concentrate on the two critically injured males and provide them the best possible chance for survival.  His performance on the scene of the aforementioned incident helped save three lives.  
Paramedic Captain Roland D. Berg was recognized as the Knights of Columbus Paramedic of the Year Award for his his quick and deliberate actions and expertise in mitigating the multi-casualty incident  and helped to save the victims’ lives.  
Prince George's County Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor was in attendance at the awards ceremony and stated, "I am constantly amazed at the level of professionalism and care that our firefighters and paramedics perform on a daily basis.  I also am extremely grateful to the Knights of Columbus for recognizing our members and for their service to the community."

Prevent Frozen Sprinkler Pipes Now - More Arctic Air on the Way!!!

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

mebrady@co.pg.md.us     @PGFDPIO
The National Weather Service has forecast another Arctic blast of freezing temperatures this week.  A similar forecast earlier this month resulted in frozen and broke water pipes in homes and businesses throughout the region. The Fire/EMS Department responded to over 2000 calls for service over a 3 to 4 day period to assist property owners in shutting off utilities to avoid additional damage.  Today is the day to have exposed interior water pipes, including residential and commercial sprinkler systems, properly insulated to help avoid freezing.

If property managers and homeowners can do so safely, replace insulation that may have been shifted to cover exposed water pipes, primarily, in attics and garages.  If you can not do so safely you should contact one of the many fire protection company's or plumbers that can assist you.

Property managers and homeowners should also locate their water main valves and know how to turn the water off in the event of a broken water pipe.
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.  Since the residential sprinkler law went into effect there has not been a single fire fatality in single family homes protected by this system.

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 can safely inspect your sprinkler pipes in the attic and you can see exposed pipes; they need to be insulated immediately to prevent freezing.  An open attic hatch will allow heat to rise into the attic and could provide enough heat to keep pipes from freezing.

Plumbing pipes providing water to the inside are also prone to freezing during long periods of freezing temperatures.  Open cabinet doors that house water pipes and allow the homes heat inside.   Slightly open a faucet to allow a small trickle of water - flowing water is more difficult to freeze than standing water in pipes.  Remember to shut off and drain the water to all outside hose bibs. 

If a water 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.