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Friday, October 30, 2015

Our Pets and Halloween

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

Trick or Treat (image by Jenna Brady)

Let us not forget our pets during trick-or-treating.  Some pets may suffer undue stress with the ringing of the door bell and knocking on the door -  not to mention the fear of a costumed child with a large barking dog greeting them at the door.  Keep Safety First and take appropriate measures to reduce any chance of an unwanted encounter.

We are including pet safety tips from our friends at the ASPCA to keep in mind this Halloween:

Attention, animal lovers, it's almost the spookiest night of the year! The ASPCA recommends taking some common sense precautions this Halloween to keep you and your pet saying "trick or treat!" all the way to November 1.

1. No tricks, no treats: That bowl of candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for Scruffy and Fluffy. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also cause problems. If you do suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
2. Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively nontoxic, but they can produce stomach upset in pets who nibble on them.
3. Wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations should be kept out of reach of your pets. If chewed, your pet might suffer cuts or burns, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.
4. A carved pumpkin certainly is festive, but do exercise caution if you choose to add a candle. Pets can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Curious kittens especially run the risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames.  (PGFD recommends using a battery powered light to illuminate your pumpkin).
5. Dress-up can be a big mess-up for some pets. Please don't put your dog or cat in a costume UNLESS you know he or she loves it (yup, a few pets are real hams!). For pets who prefer their “birthday suits,” however, wearing a costume may cause undue stress.
6. If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume isn't annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict the animal's movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow. Also, be sure to try on costumes before the big night. If your pet seems distressed, allergic or shows abnormal behavior, consider letting him go au naturale or donning a festive bandanna.
7. Take a closer look at your pet’s costume and make sure it does not have small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that he could choke on. Also, ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.
8. All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room away from the front door during peak trick-or-treating hours. Too many strangers can be scary and stressful for pets.
9. When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, take care that your cat or dog doesn't dart outside. Keep in mind that your pet may not recognize a familiar person wearing a costume and may become aggressive.
10. IDs, please! Always make sure your dog or cat has proper identification. If for any reason your pet escapes and becomes lost, a collar and tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver, increasing the chances that he or she will be returned to you.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

MEDIA ADVISORY - COG Fire Chiefs Press Conference

The MWCOG Fire Chiefs Committee will hold a press conference this Friday. The Chiefs encourage all member jurisdictions to participate.

When:              Friday, October 30, Assemble 10:00 am, press conference 10:30 am
Where:            MWCOG, 777 North Capitol St. NE, Washington, DC Suite 300
Topic:               Smoke alarms, CO Detectors, EDITH, Cold Weather Safety Tips

Proposed Agenda:
   *   Recent Fairfax and Charles County incidents to emphasize safety points
   *   Smoke Alarms/CO Detectors: CYC-CYB – this weekend
   *   EDITH: Exit Drill in the Home
   *   Halloween Safety
   *   Cold Weather Safety: Space heaters Furnace, Fireplace, Extension cords

Please contact Chief Jason Jenkins (Jason.Jenkins@fairfaxcounty.gov) Mark Brady, PIO (mebrady@co.pg.md.us) or Lisa Ragain (lragain@mwcog.org) for additional information.

Lisa Ragain
Principal Water Resources Planner
MWCOG

202.962.3357 (O)
503.927.3322 (M)

Monday, October 26, 2015

Legislative Priorities Listening Sessions - Tuesday October 27, 2015 6:00 pm


Change Your Clock - Change Your Battery or Upgrade Your Alarms

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

Spring Forward and Fall Back.  Sunday, November 1, we will  bring Daylight Saving Time to a close and adjust our clocks back 1-hour to Eastern Standard Time.  Sunday is also our Safety First Day of the Month which is the day designated to test our smoke and CO alarms.

Change your clock and change your battery in your alarms is a nationwide theme from firefighters that you will be hearing this week and for good reason.  66% of fire fatalities occur in homes found with no smoke alarms or non-working smoke alarms due to a lack of batteries or dead batteries.  Colder weather means there will be more fires so it is important to ensure you have working alarms. Working smoke alarms increase the chances of surviving a fire in your home. 

"Press to Test"

It is important to test your alarms to ensure they are working every month. Press the test button on the front cover of your alarm on the first day of every month.  If your alarm sounds you are good until next month.  If your alarm does not sound - replace the battery and "press to test" again.  Still no alarm - remove old alarm and replace with a new 10-year alarm.

This Sunday, November 1, we are asking you to replace the battery in your alarm with a new battery. The Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department highly recommends you replace your older 9-volt battery powered alarm with a 10-year alarm.

A new law became effective on July 1, 2013 involving “battery only” smoke alarms used in Maryland residential properties.  When these “battery only” smoke alarms have reached their 10-year life span, they need to be replaced with new long-life sealed lithium battery smoke alarms with silence/hush button features.  The silence/hush button feature temporarily disables the alarm so the occupant can ventilate the space from mild smoke conditions typically created during some cooking operations.  The use of these alarms eliminates the need to replace the batteries during the 10 year life of the alarm. 

The new law also requires homeowners to ensure they have a smoke alarm installed on each floor and outside each sleeping area, per National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommendations.  It is recommended to install smoke alarms inside each bedroom as well.

If your property is protected with 120 volt electric smoke alarms, they also should be replaced every 10 years with new 120 volt smoke alarms w/ battery back-up to ensure proper and timely operation in the event of a fire.  NOTE **Manufacturers have recently made available: 120 volt electric smoke alarms with 10 year lithium batteries to eliminate the need to replace batteries during the suggested life of the alarms.

State Fire Marshal - “CHANGE YOUR CLOCK – CHANGE YOUR BATTERY” - MAINTAIN WORKING SMOKE ALARMS

STATE FIRE MARSHAL BRIAN S. GERACI RECOMMENDS

CHANGE YOUR CLOCK – CHANGE YOUR BATTERY
MAINTAIN WORKING SMOKE ALARMS


          Statewide (October 26, 2015) – In anticipation of daylight savings time ending in the early morning hours of Sunday, November 1st, the State Fire Marshal is urging Marylanders to “Change Your Clock – Change Your Battery” in both smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors in their homes.  Recognizing that working smoke alarms and CO detectors double a family’s chance of surviving a home fire and/or an unsafe carbon monoxide level, the State Fire Marshal says Daylight Savings Time is a great opportunity for families to change the batteries.  “This simple procedure can help us avoid tragedies in the place we should feel the most secure – our homes.”

          REMINDER - A new law became effective on July 1, 2013 involving “battery only” smoke alarms used in Maryland residential properties.  When these “battery only” smoke alarms have reached their 10-year life span, they need to be replaced with new long-life sealed lithium battery smoke alarms with silence/hush button features.  The silence/hush button feature temporarily disables the alarm so the occupant can ventilate the space from mild smoke conditions typically created during some cooking operations.  The use of these alarms eliminates the need to replace the batteries during the 10 year life of the alarm. 

          The new law also requires homeowners to ensure they have a smoke alarm installed on each floor and outside each sleeping area, per National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommendations.  It is recommended to install smoke alarms inside each bedroom as well.

          If your property is protected with 120 volt electric smoke alarms, they also should be replaced every 10 years with new 120 volt smoke alarms w/ battery back-up to ensure proper and timely operation in the event of a fire.  NOTE ** Manufacturers have recently made available: 120 volt electric smoke alarms with 10 year lithium batteries to eliminate the need to replace batteries during the suggested life of the alarms. **

          Along with working smoke alarms and CO detectors, home escape plans are another way Marylanders can avoid injury or death in their homes.  By identifying at least two different escape routes, families can practice the plan together – before an emergency strikes.  Practicing the plan helps educate younger children to the danger of hazardous situations and the importance of recognizing that the sound of a smoke alarm or CO detector signals a potential hazard in the home.  “Changing the battery in your smoke alarms and CO detectors, along with developing and practicing a home escape plan, are three of the best ways to protect your loved ones and yourself from fire and carbon monoxide poisoning,” stated Fire Marshal Geraci.  These life saving electronic devices have a life expectancy of ten years for smoke alarms and seven years for CO detectors.  Please replace the units at these intervals to ensure optimal performance in the event an incident involving fire or a carbon monoxide leak was to occur.

          Please observe the overhead electronic signs as you travel throughout the State this weekend.  The Office of the State Fire Marshal and all Marylanders thank the Maryland Department of Transportation and the State Highway Administration for assisting to spread the word about this life saving reminder.
###

          The Office of the State Fire Marshal is an agency of the Department of State Police dedicated to helping protect citizens from fire and explosion through a comprehensive program of education, inspection, investigation and fire protection engineering.  For more information on fire safety call 1-800-525-3124, log onto our website at: www.firemarshal.mdsp.gov and/or http://facebook.com/MarylandStateFireMarshal.

Media contact: Bruce D. Bouch, Deputy State Fire Marshal; 443-324-6876

Halloween Safety for Kids, Adults and Pets

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

The fun and excitement surrounding Halloween can suddenly turn to sorrow and misfortune through one careless act. The incidence of fire, accident, and injury often increases during holidays and festive events. Each year, firefighters and paramedics witness incidents on Halloween that could have been prevented had simple safety rules been followed. Among the high-risk activities on Halloween; door-to-door trick-or-treating is one of greatest concerns to Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department personnel. Between 4:00 PM and 10:00 PM on Halloween, there is a significant increase in falls, burn-related injuries, and pedestrian injuries. Children are four and a half times more likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than on any other night during the year. Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injuries on Halloween. Additionally, many parties and festivities are planned over the Halloween weekend which could result in an increase in adult alcohol consumption with inherent dangers. 

Often, there are safe alternatives to trick-or-treating that can be fun and also risk-free. For example, Council Member Karen Toles will be holding a District 7 Harvest Festival from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm on Friday, October 30, to which members of the community are invited.




Other local places of worship and schools may plan Halloween parties, or families may get together and conduct games and activities instead of allowing young children to engage in trick-or-treating in neighborhoods or along busy streets. Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor urges adults to take a more pro-active role in activities on Halloween. Additionally, he reminds adults to be vigilant and exercise due caution when traveling to avoid automobile related crashes. Bashoor stated, “Remember Safety First ensures everyone goes home.”

For those who plan to venture out trick-or-treating, the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department would like to offer the following safety tips so that all might enjoy a happy and safe Halloween:

• Costumes should be made of flame resistant light-colored fabric or have reflective qualities. They should be short enough so as not to interfere with walking or become entangled in bicycle chains. Use facial makeup rather than masks so children can see easily. 

• Children should carry flashlights and not use candles or torches. Before leaving the home, children should discuss the proposed route, time of return, and companions. An adult should always accompany younger children. It is advisable to visit the homes of persons you know or local familiar neighborhoods, stopping at well-lit houses only. As a general rule, children should avoid entering homes or apartments and always travel with a companion. 

• Children should avoid busy streets, always use sidewalks, and follow all traffic rules and regulations. Motorists should avoid all unnecessary travel on Halloween evening, and when driving they should drive slowly and be alert to small children crossing streets. Many accidents occur when motorists are backing vehicles out of driveways, unaware of the presence of small children. 

• Halloween treats should be saved until children return home where adults can examine all items closely. Treats that are unwrapped, or show signs of having been opened, should not be eaten. Fruit should be sliced into small pieces and checked for foreign objects. Keep small pieces of candy away from infants and very small children, as they can easily become lodged in the throat and cause choking. 

• Persons receiving trick-or-treaters should keep a light on and pick up obstacles that could cause a child to trip and become injured. Jack-o-lanterns should be kept clear of doorsteps and landings. Consider the possibility of using flashlights instead of candles to light Jack-o-lanterns. Keep dogs and other pets away from doors so children will not become frightened.

A recent trend in celebrating Halloween has been to celebrate as groups at parties or community events in addition to more adult Halloween parties being held. This trend has resulted in fewer door-to-door trick-or-treaters, however, creates additional vehicles on the street. With Halloween falling on Saturday, October 31, there are numerous additional Halloween parties planned for both adults and children over the weekend. Traditionally, when festive occasions are celebrated involving adults, the consumption of alcohol goes up. The Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department offer these everyday reminders and safety tips to party-goers:

• Never drink and drive. 

• Always wear your seat belt and ensure everyone in your vehicle is buckled up as well. 

• If you are wearing a costume – vehicle occupants, including the driver, should not wear a mask or head dressing as this may block the view of the driver. 

• Be aware that there are still many trick or treaters walking and crossing streets – slow your speed and use extreme care while driving. 

• Use battery powered illumination instead of candles at your Halloween celebration, including inside of your carved pumpkin.

Trick or Treat (image by Jenna Brady)

Let us not forget our pets during trick-or-treating.  Some pets may suffer undue stress with the ringing of the door bell and knocking on the door -  not to mention the fear of a costumed child with a large barking dog greeting them at the door.  Keep Safety First and take appropriate measures to reduce any chance of an unwanted encounter.

We are including pet safety tips from our friends at the ASPCA to keep in mind this Halloween:

Attention, animal lovers, it's almost the spookiest night of the year! The ASPCA recommends taking some common sense precautions this Halloween to keep you and your pet saying "trick or treat!" all the way to November 1.

1. No tricks, no treats: That bowl of candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for Scruffy and Fluffy. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also cause problems. If you do suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
2. Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively nontoxic, but they can produce stomach upset in pets who nibble on them.
3. Wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations should be kept out of reach of your pets. If chewed, your pet might suffer cuts or burns, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.
4. A carved pumpkin certainly is festive, but do exercise caution if you choose to add a candle. Pets can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Curious kittens especially run the risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames.  (PGFD recommends using a battery powered light to illuminate your pumpkin).
5. Dress-up can be a big mess-up for some pets. Please don't put your dog or cat in a costume UNLESS you know he or she loves it (yup, a few pets are real hams!). For pets who prefer their “birthday suits,” however, wearing a costume may cause undue stress.
6. If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume isn't annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict the animal's movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow. Also, be sure to try on costumes before the big night. If your pet seems distressed, allergic or shows abnormal behavior, consider letting him go au naturale or donning a festive bandanna.
7. Take a closer look at your pet’s costume and make sure it does not have small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that he could choke on. Also, ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.
8. All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room away from the front door during peak trick-or-treating hours. Too many strangers can be scary and stressful for pets.
9. When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, take care that your cat or dog doesn't dart outside. Keep in mind that your pet may not recognize a familiar person wearing a costume and may become aggressive.
10. IDs, please! Always make sure your dog or cat has proper identification. If for any reason your pet escapes and becomes lost, a collar and tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver, increasing the chances that he or she will be returned to you.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

PGFD NEVER FORGET - October 25 - three firefighters LODD over 75 years on this date

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

On Sunday, October 25, 2015, the combined volunteer, civilian and paid members of the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department will remember three firefighters that died on this date.  Three members from three different volunteer departments suffered Line of Duty Deaths on this date over 75 years, including the first volunteer in the history of the department to have been killed while on duty.

On October 25, 1930 - Marlboro Volunteer Captain B. Wesley Cranford was killed in a crash while responding to an emergency call.  His death is recognized as the first volunteer death in the Department.  His name is part of the title of the Fire Services Building in Landover Hills along with the name of the first career firefighter Line of Duty Death - "Cranford-Graves" Fire Services Building.

On October 25, 2001 - Past Chief and President of the Glenn Dale Volunteer Fire Association, William Howzdy, passed away on this date after suffering a medical emergency at the station after Fire Prevention Open House.

On October 25, 2005 - Forestville Volunteer Chief Paul H. Thorne, Sr. passed away on this date after suffering a medical emergency while working a fund raising event at the station.






Saturday, October 24, 2015

Smoke Alarm Saturation Effort in Old Town Bowie - Community Risk Reduction

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

A working smoke alarm increases the chances of surviving a fire in your home by about 50%.  10-year, tamper proof, with a hush feature smoke alarms should be installed on every level of your home just outside of sleeping areas and one in every bedroom.  Having a 10-year smoke alarm means you will never have to change a battery again. 

10-year alarms will reduce the number of fatalities that occur in homes found with no smoke alarms or alarms found with a lack of or dead batteries.  66% of fire fatalities occur in homes with a non-working smoke alarm or no smoke alarm at all.

Each home should also have a pre-designed and practiced escape plan which identifies 2 ways out of every room and a safe meeting place outside.  Once out of a burning house, stay out!!!

Today, Saturday, October 24, firefighters and officials from the City of Bowie will be going door-to-door checking smoke alarms.  Personnel will ask residents if they can check their smoke alarm to see if it working.  If there is no smoke alarm present or if we find a smoke alarm that is not working and appears to be 10-years of age or older a new 10-year smoke alarm will be installed at no cost.  This community risk reduction effort is made possible by a generous donation of new smoke alarms by Lowes of Bowie and lunch provided to firefighters and city officials by TJ Elliot’s.

Firefighters also reviewed escape drills and provided ideas on 2 ways out of every room and a safe meeting place outside.

Firefighters were able to track the homes they visited and what action was taken at a specific address in an app on their phones.  The collector app, developed by County IT staff, allows firefighters to record the address they visited and note no answer, alarms already work  or installed 10-year alarm, etc.

Saturday's Agenda included:

Meeting at Bowie Fire Department Station 819
13008 9th Street, Bowie at 10:00 am

Teams will visit as many as 88 homes in all in the following areas:

Maple Ave, from 9th street to 6th Street
Old Laurel Bowie Rd, from 9th Street to 5th Street (east side)
6th Street from Maple Ave to Old Laurel Bowie Rd
7th Street from Maple Ave to Old Laurel Bowie Rd
8th Street from Maple Ave to Old Laurel Bowie Rd
Chapel Ave from 8th Street to 9th Street.

Sunday, November 1, is the Safety First Day of the month and is also the day we adjust our clocks back 1 hour for Daylight Saving Time.  It is also the time we remind everyone that when we change our clocks to change the batteries in your smoke and CO alarms as well.  Better yet.  If you still have 9-volt battery powered smoke alarm or your current alarm is 10-years old than consider changing to the 10-year smoke alarms.  Never change a battery again but remember to continue to test all alarms once a month on the Safety First Day of each month.

Bowie City Manager David J. Deutsch greets firefighters and provides encouragement with Fire Chief Marc Bashoor looking on.

Bowie City Manager David J. Deutsch greets firefighters and provides encouragement with Fire Chief Marc Bashoor looking on.
Firefighter Chris Moore is assigned to the office of the Fire Chief and ensures field readiness for the
 Adopt a Neighborhood program.


Larry Schultz, City of Bowie Emergency Management Resources Coordinator and volunteer member at Bowie VFD provided a coordinated and well organized smoke alarm saturation program  

Larry Schultz, City of Bowie Emergency Management Resources Coordinator and volunteer member at Bowie VFD provided a coordinated and well organized smoke alarm saturation program  



Assistant Fire Chief Alan Doubleday is all smiles with a stockpile of new 10-year smoke alarms waiting to be installed.


Firefighters and Chief Bashoor work on the phone app that allows tracking of where smoke alarms have been checked.


This home did not have a smoke alarm and the homeowner requested one installed where she can reach
the alarm to test it every month.















Bowie Volunteer Chief Jonathan Howard joined firefighters installing alarms.

Landover Hills Family Saved by Smoke Alarm - Neighborhood Safety Effort in Bowie this AM

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

A Landover Hills family is alive and well today after being awakened by a working smoke alarm at about 3:30 this morning.  Firefighters were alerted to a house fire in the 6800 block of Farragut Street and arrived to find a 1-story, with basement, duplex with fire and smoke showing from one side.   A quick search of both sides of the duplex resulted in no one being found in the duplex of origin and 2 residents assisted out of the other half.  The fire on the first floor had extended up into the attic and was soon contained and extinguished by first arriving firefighters.

Unattended cooking was the cause of the accidental fire that resulted in an estimated $100,000 in fire loss to the structure and contents.  The family was awakened by a working smoke alarm that emitted the audible warning of fire.  The family exited the home safely prior to the fire departments arrival.  One resident became emotionally overwhelmed by the situation and was taken to a local hospital for an evaluation.  One firefighter sustained a minor burn injury while fighting the fire he was treated and released from a burn unit.  Both duplex families are displaced and the Office of Emergency Management is assisting the residents.

A working smoke alarm increases the chances of surviving a fire in your home by about 50%.  10-year, tamper proof, with a hush feature smoke alarms should be installed on every level of your home just outside of sleeping areas and one in every bedroom.  Having a 10-year smoke alarm means you will never have to change a battery again. 10-year alarms will reduce the number of fatalities that occur in homes found with no smoke alarms or alarms found with a lack of or dead batteries. 

Each home should also have a pre-designed and practiced escape plan which identifies 2 ways out of every room and a safe meeting place outside.  Once out of a burning house, stay out!!!

Today, Saturday, October 24, firefighters and officials from the City of Bowie will be going door-to-door checking smoke alarms.  Personnel will ask residents if they can check their smoke alarm to see if it working.  If there is no smoke alarm present or if we find a smoke alarm that is not working and appears to be 10-years of age or older a new 10-year smoke alarm will be installed at no cost.  This community risk reduction effort is made possible by a generous donation of new smoke alarms by Lowes of Bowie and lunch provided to firefighters and city officials by TJ Elliot’s.

This is our agenda this morning.

Meeting at Bowie Fire Department Station 819
13008 9th Street, Bowie at 10:00 am

Teams will visit as many as 88 homes in all in the following areas:

Maple Ave, from 9th street to 6th Street
Old Laurel Bowie Rd, from 9th Street to 5th Street (east side)
6th Street from Maple Ave to Old Laurel Bowie Rd
7th Street from Maple Ave to Old Laurel Bowie Rd
8th Street from Maple Ave to Old Laurel Bowie Rd
Chapel Ave from 8th Street to 9th Street.


Sunday, November 1, is the Safety First Day of the month and is also the day we adjust our clocks back 1 hour for Daylight Saving Time.  It is also the time we remind everyone that when we change our clocks to change the batteries in your smoke and CO alarms as well.  Better yet.  If you still have 9-volt battery powered smoke alarm or your current alarm is 10-years old than consider changing to the 10-year smoke alarms.  Never change a battery again but remember to continue to test all alarms once a month on the Safety First Day of each month.

Friday, October 23, 2015

The PGFD Pink Story

The PGFD Pink Story

PGFDs "Pink-Team" campaign was born after Firefighter/Paramedic Rebecca Richardson and Firefighter Brandon Goff  approached Fire Chief Bashoor with an extremely unusual offer.  Adam J. Blackman, who owns and operates Three-Four Wraps, offered to donate the wrap and services to outfit one of our County fire engines in a pink cover.  Blackman had lost several close family members to breast cancer was was on a "mission of Love"  in wrapping the engine in pink.  

Montgomery County Fire Fighter Marshall Moneymaker has spoke at two of our pink apparatus housing events and  shared his personal story of a family history ravaged by the affects of breast cancer.  Three sisters in Moneymakers's family have succumbed to the affects of this insidious disease over the past several years.  The first engine, wrapped in pink, is currently assigned to full time emergency response service at the Croom Road fire station, was named "Pinky" by PGFD staff.  As they say, "the rest is history".

Subsequently, with funding provided by County Executive Rushern Baker and the Prince George's County Council, Chief Bashoor has commissioned the manufacture of two brand new pink-painted response units.  There is no difference in cost to paint a unit pink vs. red or any other traditional color.  One pink fire engine and one pink transport ambulance have been placed into full time service around the County. This is the only in-service fleet of pink response units in the region.

With the advent of these new units, the Department conducted a social media 'naming' campaign to provide identity for the units. The 2014 Pierce engine assigned to the Capital Heights station was named "Courage", while the 2014 Freightliner/Horton paramedic transport unit assigned to the College Park station was named "Hope."  In addition to being painted pink and white, "Courage" sports a lavender reflective safety-stripe.  Together the pink and lavender design represents cancer-awareness across the disease spectrum.

These pink units have been showcased at events across the region, including; the United States Congressional Women's Softball tournament, the Naval District Washington 5k run, the NBC4 Health and Fitness Expo, Annapolis St Baldricks fundraisers, and various other events and conferences.  The units are always favorites and are routinely recognized as emotional boosters for cancer survivors and those now suffering from the disease.

The next phase of the "pink-team campaign" was allowing employees and volunteers to wear pink uniform shirts during the month of October (breast cancer awareness month),  Members voluntarily purchase their own shirts and sport them during emergency responses during October, further spreading the cancer awareness message across all 45 community-based fire/EMS stations. Over 900 of the 2015 shirts were purchased, resulting in a contribution of over $6,000 to a local charity.  The sale of PGFD pink shirts has raised an estimated $30,000 for local Breast Cancer associated charities over the 5-year campaign.

Chief Bashoor said, "Our folks are proud to help not only raise awareness, but also to raise funds for cancer research.  Breast cancer has recently affected my immediate family, so I am especially honored, humbled, and very proud to steward our efforts in cancer awareness.  The message and mission of cancer awareness and research are especially poignant and personal for me this year.  Together, the unique 'PGFD Pink Team' raises cancer awareness and encourages cancer research and prevention across our communities."

The Fire/EMS Department is honored to be able to present a replica model of our pink engine "Courage" that is available to order and arrive in time for the holiday season.  A donation from each sale of this replica model will be made to the American Cancer Society.  For information on ordering this replica model, please click here


Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker comments on PGFD Pink Campaign

2 engines and a medic unit comprise of our PGFD Pink Fleet.  Image by Mike Yourishin

County Executive Baker, Fire Chief Bashoor with PGFD personnel.  Photo by Mike Yourishin

PGFD pink replica model engine "Courage" that is available to order and arrive in time for the holiday season. 

PGFD pink replica model engine "Courage" that is available to order and arrive in time for the holiday season.