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Monday, November 30, 2015

Greenbelt Apartment Fire Quickly Extinguished - No Injuries

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

A fire in a terrace level apartment was quickly contained and extinguished on Sunday evening.  At around 9:30 pm, Sunday, November 29, fire/EMS units were alerted to a fire in an apartment in the 8500 block of Greenbelt Road in Greenbelt at the Gates of Cipriano Complex.  First arriving firefighters found a 3-story, garden style, apartment building with fire showing from a terrace level apartment with fire extending to the upper floors by way of exterior balconies.

The first arriving engine from Greenbelt and ladder truck from Berwyn Heights were able to quickly contain and extinguish the bulk of the fire which resulted in a stop of fire extension.  The terrace apartment suffered the most fire damage.

Upon arrival, with the possibility of fire extension to the upper floors a precautionary Second Alarm was sounded but staged and was never used.  The extension was quickly stopped with the rapid extinguishment of the seat of the fire.

No injuries were reported.  The County Citizen Services Unit and American Red Cross assisted four adults and 3 children from the 2 apartments declared uninhabitable.  Other building residents were allowed to return to their apartments.

The cause of the fire is undetermined and fire loss is estimated at $50,000.

Image provided by Bill Corrigan, Volunteer Chief of College Park Fire/EMS 812 and Incident Commander for this incident.  The image shows the fire leapfrogging from the ground floor unit to the upper floors and is easy to understand the need for a precautionary second alarm.

MD DNR Employee Assits in Rescue of Boater on Saturday

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

A boater was fortunate an employee of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) was on the job.  It was a beautiful Saturday morning with temperatures above average for late November in the 60’s.  Just after 1130 am, November 28th, the Fire/EMS Department water rescue units were dispatched to a man stuck in the mud and water at Magruders Ferry Landing at 18299 Magruders Ferry Road in Brandywine.  The initial call reported that there was person stuck in the mud and water and required assistance.

DNR Wildlife Response Manager Peter Bendel had walked down to the pier at Magruders Ferry while doing his rounds at the park.  He noticed a boat about 200 yards south of the ramp with no anchor line or bowline to the shore.  He thought this was strange and watched the boat for a couple minutes and then noticed a man’s hand reach over the side of the boat (the boat was between the man and the ramp so he couldn’t see the man).   Bendel and the victim were able to verbally communicate and it was determined that the lone fisherman was stuck in knee-deep mud and higher water.

Bendel called 911 and provided his exact location to call takers at Public Safety Communications and advised them of the situation.  While fire/EMS water rescue units were responding, Bendel donned his waders and walked through the marsh to where he could see the man and make visual as well as verbal contact.  This position was critical to ensuring the safety of the man in the mud. 

The ambulance from the Baden Fire/EMS Station was the first to arrive and their personnel joined Bendel.  The ambulance crew assisted in directing the Department’s Volunteer Marine Divisions airboat in to assist in rescuing the victim.  Within minutes of arrival the victim was removed from the mud and water and taken ashore where medics treated the man for exposure and exhaustion.

The victim, a male in his 70’s, had reportedly been in the water for over an hour and was transported to a nearby hospital for evaluation.  Due to Mr. Bendel’s competence in knowing that boats don’t generally just float without an anchor line and his quick response to call 911, as well as obtaining constant visual and verbal contact with the victim, the Fire/EMS Department was able to quickly remove the victim from the mud and cold water. 

MEDIA ADVISORY - (Press Conference) - Over $3 Million in New Life-Saving EMS Equipment Ready to Hit the Streets

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

The Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department recently accepted the delivery of $3.3 million worth of new life-saving EMS equipment.  The new equipment will be used on fire/EMS units throughout the County ensuring that we can deliver the highest quality of medical care to our residents.

The Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department responds to about 142,000 calls for service each year.  80% of those calls are for EMS related incidents.

The equipment will be on display and demonstrations provided prior to the equipment being distributed.

WHAT:      Press Conference to display and demonstrate new EMS equipment.

WHEN:     Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at 12:00 Noon

WHERE:   St. Joseph's Fire/EMS Station, 2901 St. Joseph's Drive, Springdale

WHO:       Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor and Firefighter/Medics

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

PIO Training Opportunity

Mark E. Brady
Chief Spokesperson/PIO
Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department
9201 Basil Court #452
Largo, MD 20774

PIO Training Opportunity

An opportunity to apply for the E953 NIMS ICS All-Hazards Position Specific, PIO, train-the-trainer class is currently open.  The weeklong class will be taught at the National Emergency Training Center (NETC) in Emmitsburg, Maryland, starting on March 14, 2016.  Pete Piringer, PIO for the Montgomery County, MD, Department of Fire and Rescue Services and myself will be the Instructors for this class. 

All-Hazards Position Specific training should be completed by personnel who are currently members of IMT’s and/or by persons seeking credentials or certification for Incident Command System (ICS) command, general staff, or unit leader positions.  The primary goal of Position Specific train-the-trainer classes is to prepare the student to teach the class in the field as a member of a two-person team of instructors.  As such, student teaching is an integral part of the class and each student will be expected to teach a portion of the curriculum during the program.

Basic prerequisites for the class include:

·         IS/ICS 100, 200, 700 & 800
·         ICS 300 & 400
·         Prior completion of the course for which the student is applying for train-the-trainer, or demonstrated experience in the position to include completion of a Position Task Book
·         Qualified as an instructor
·         Possess a thorough knowledge of the National Incident Command System (ICS)
·         Documented experience in serving on an Incident Management Team (IMT)

Persons interested in applying should submit a completed FEMA application form 119-25-1 through their State Training Officers or (for Federal employees) their NIMS Compliance Officer to NETC Admissions. These classes generally do fill up, so I would suggest making application as quickly as possible to avoid being wait-listed. All students except Federal employees who attend resident classes at EMI are eligible for student stipend reimbursements. This program will reimburse students for their travel costs, as well as provide lodging on campus at no cost. Federal employees who wish to attend classes should request a Travel Authorization from their respective agency.

Images from a recent PIO Class in Columbia, South Carolina

A Pet Owner is Thankful for Fire/EMS Actions

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

It doesn't have to a big event or large item that gives people a moment to pause and give thanks.  Often times people are thankful for the small acts of kindness demonstrated by complete strangers or the compassion shown towards something they love.  One such event occurred on Tuesday morning, November 24.  Prince George’s County Firefighter/Medics were alerted to a female experiencing a medical emergency while in a taxicab in the District Heights area.

Upon arrival, medics assessed the female patient and determined she needed additional evaluation and treatment at a hospital.  There was one tiny problem.  The problem was a small Dachshund by the name of “Dolly.”  This was one of the patient’s most valued and beloved possessions.  She considered declining medical attention if it meant leaving Dolly behind.  John L. Scruggs, The PGFD Emergency Medical Services on-duty Supervisor, who just happened to respond on this incident, intervened.  

Scruggs promised that he and firefighter/medics at the District Heights Fire/EMS Station would take care of Dolly until a family member could make arrangements to come by the station and pick her up.

So it was that Dolly spent a better part of the day at the fire station.  It appears from the pictures that Dolly was well taken care of and received a considerable amount of attention.

Someone did stop by later in the day and retrieved Dolly.  We wish our patient well and a speedy recovery.  The District Heights personnel said to bring Dolly by for a visit every so often.

Giving thanks for the small actions that make a big difference in someone’s life.

On behalf of the entire Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department we wish everyone a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving.

Images are courtesy of PGFD.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Victim Thanks Firefighter for Helping to Save His Life

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

How can anyone forget the dramatic video captured by a County Police dash-cam of a burning vehicle and heroic efforts by police officers and a volunteer firefighter to pull the man out.  Despite serious burn injuries the man survived and took the time to give thanks to one of rescuers during the week of Thanksgiving.

Larry Dunmore and Volunteer Fire Fighter "DJ" Collins
Prince George’s County Firefighters and County Police Officers teamed up to rescue the adult male from his burning vehicle at around 12:30 am, Friday, September 4.  Both public safety agencies were alerted to respond to the 2700 block of Lakewood Street in Suitland for a personal injury accident with subsequent reports of a vehicle occupant trapped in a car that was now on fire.

County Police Officers arrived just moments before Fire/EMS units to confirm an adult male was trapped in a burning car.  A police officer used his extended baton to open the door handle of the burning vehicle as firefighters from the Morningside Volunteer Fire Department arrived.  Volunteer Fire Fighter Daniel "DJ" Collins, wearing his personal protective gear, moved quickly and because of the police officers being able to open the door, was able to reach into a fairly well involved fire to grab the victim and pull him out as other crew members used extinguishers to knock down the fire while the rescue was being made.

Paramedics transported the adult male victim to a Burn Unit with serious burn injuries.  Had it not been for the rapid response and teamwork of police and firefighters and without a second to spare, the burn injuries were minimized and the victim is expected to survive.

It was quite a surprise today when a healthy Larry Dunmore, of Suitland, walked into the Morningside Volunteer Fire Department on Suitland Road seeking to speak with DJ.  They met for the first time and spoke of the rescue, how the fire, EMS and police worked together, the month and a half at the Burn Unit and many thanks being bestowed to the firefighters at the station.  Dunmore said to Collins, "You gave me a second chance at life."  Dunmore provided Volunteer Fire Fighter Collins with several momentous and exchanged phone numbers.

Collins explained the meeting as, "A good thing, we don't often see or hear of the outcome of most of our patients, it feels good to know we made a difference."

It's Thanksgiving Week - Safety Tips for Cooking and More

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

The Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department offers the following safety tips, to ensure that all citizens and residents will enjoy a safe and festive Thanksgiving holiday. Unfortunately, fire safety and injury prevention guidelines are often overlooked during the holidays. Prince George's County Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor stated, "Everyone needs to keep Safety First and by doing so our citizens, visitors and businesses can avoid tragedy and disruption of their holiday festivities."

The Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) United States Fire Administration (USFA) issued a special report recently examining the characteristics of Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings. The report, Thanksgiving Day Fires in Residential Buildings, was developed by USFA's National Fire Data Center.

The report is based on 2011 to 2013 data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS).  For each year, an estimated 2,100 residential building fires were reported to fire departments in the U.S. on Thanksgiving Day and caused an estimated 10 deaths, 50 injuries and $28 million in property loss.  The leading cause of all Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings is, by far, cooking. Additionally, smoke alarms were not present in 20 percent of Thanksgiving Day fires that occurred in occupied residential buildings.

If your Thanksgiving plans include a Turkey Fryer, this is another whole story by itself, click here for Turkey Fryer Safety Tips.

These safety tips work for every day of the year, however, home fires increase dramatically, twice as many, on Thanksgiving Day.  While these safety and cooking tips may not make Thanksgiving dinner taste any better--they will help to avoid potential disaster;

    Overnight guests should be instructed on your exit drill from the home and designated meeting place for your family.  Sleep with bedroom doors closed.

    Have a fire extinguisher available not more than 10 feet from the stove, on the exit side of the room.

    A standard Class ABC multi-purpose dry chemical extinguisher is recommended. Know how to use your fire extinguisher.

    Start holiday cooking with a clean stove and oven.

    Keep the kitchen off limits to young children and adults who are not helping with food preparations. This will lessen the possibility of kitchen mishaps.

    When cooking, do not wear clothing with loose sleeves or dangling jewelry. Clothing can catch on fire and jewelry can become entangled with pot handles, causing spills and burns.

    Cook on the back burners when possible, and turn pot handles inward so they don’t extend over the edge of the stove.

    Never leave cooking unattended. If you must leave the kitchen while cooking, turn off the stove or have someone else watch what is being cooked. Unattended cooking is the number one cause of home fires and fire-related injuries in Prince George’s County.  According to the USFA; cooking is the leading cause of all Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings at 69 percent. Nearly all of these cooking fires (97 percent) are small, confined fires with limited damage.

    If you use a deep fryer, please, exercise extreme caution and follow manufacturer instructions.  The report from the USFA found that these cooking devices accounted for about 1% of Thanksgiving Day fires.

    Keep Thanksgiving decorations and kitchen clutter away from sources of direct heat.

    Candles are often part of holiday decorations. The Fire/EMS Department strongly encourages the use of battery powered candles and discourages the use of candles with an open flame.  If you use candles; they should never be left burning when you are away from home, or after going to bed. Candles should be placed where children will not be tempted to play with them, and where guests will not accidentally brush against them. The candleholder should be completely non-combustible and difficult to knock over. The candle should not have combustible decorations around it.

    If smoking is allowed inside, provide guests with large, deep ashtrays and check them frequently. After guests leave check inside, under upholstery, and in trash cans for cigarette butts that may be smoldering.

    10-year smoke alarms are required on every level of your home, in hallways just outside of sleeping areas and in every bedroom.  Sleep with your bedroom door closed and test smoke alarms on the Safety First Day of every month.

Working smoke alarms are required in all residences in Prince George's County.  Consider upgrading to a 10-year tamper proof with hush feature smoke alarm and never change a battery again.  If you can not afford to purchase an alarm you can call 311.  A firefighter will install a working smoke alarm in your home; free of charge.

The men and women; volunteer, civilian and paid, of the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department wish everyone a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving!!!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Colder Weather Moving In - Stay Warm Safely

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

Colder temperatures are in our forecast and this cold spell will usher in the cold winter weather of December, January and February.  The Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department (PGFD) is reminding everyone that home fires are more prevalent in cold weather than in any other time of the year. This is due in part to an increase in cooking and heating fires.  This reminder involves the safe use of space heaters and general heating safety tips.

Stay Safe

The civilian, volunteer and paid men and women of the Fire/EMS Department want to remind everyone that fire safety and prevention are especially important during times of cold temperatures.  

“Temperatures drop and fires increase,” said Prince George's County Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor.  According to National Fire Protection Assoction (NFPA) statistics space heaters account for about one third of the home heating fires yet more than 80 percent of the home heating fire deaths.  The Winter Residential Building Fires report released by United States Fire Administration (USFA), reports an estimated 108,400 winter residential building fires occur annually in the United States, resulting in an estimated average of 945 deaths, 3,825 injuries, and $1.7 billion in property loss.  Cooking and heating are the top causes of fires during cold weather. 

“Colder temperatures during the Fall and Winter Season brings the highest number of home fires than any other time of year,” said Fire Chief Bashoor. “Each season, home fires increase in part due to cooking and heating fires. Fire safety and injury prevention must not be lost in an effort to stay warm. Stay warm and do so safely.  Safety First ensures everyone goes home.” 

The Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department recommend the following safety tips for space heaters. 

Space Heaters

·      Buy only heaters evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). 

·      Check to make sure it has a thermostat control mechanism, and will switch off automatically if the heater falls over or if placed too close to an object.

·      Heaters are not dryers or tables; don't dry clothes or store objects on top of your heater. 


·      Space heaters need space; keep combustibles at least three feet away from each heater.

·      Always unplug your electric space heater when not in use. 


·      Turn off at night or whenever you sleep. 
·      Never use an extension cord with space heaters - plug directly into wall socket.

Kerosene space heater 

·      Never refuel indoors.  

·      Remove the kerosene heater outdoors, turn off and wait for it to cool down before refueling and only use the correct type of fuel.

General Heating Tips     

•    Furnaces, fireplaces and chimneys should be cleaned and checked each year by an appropriate professional prior to using.  Clear away any clutter from these heating devices, at least 3 feet away.

•    Only use seasoned wood in fireplaces, never use ignitable liquids to start a fire and do not overload your appliance.

•    The 3-foot rule also applies to furnaces and fireplaces.  No combustibles items within 3 feet of these heating appliances.

•    Dispose of fireplace ash into a metal container and store outdoors away from structures on a concrete surface.  Fireplace ash can ignite a fire days after they have been discarded.

Finally, ensure your smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms are working by pushing the test button on the front cover.  Your alarms should be tested monthly on the first day of every month - Safety First Day of the Month.  If you do not hear an audible warning, replace your alarm with a new 10-year, tamper proof, with hush feature alarm.  Having a working smoke alarm on every level of your home, in hallways just outside of sleeping areas and in every bedroom in addition to a exit drill in the home plan and practiced dramatically increases your chances of surviving a burning home.   Remember to sleep with your bedroom door closed.

A working CO detector will protect you and your family from deadly "silent killer" fumes that may be building up in your home.  Remember to practice a home escape plan frequently with your family. 

For additional information from the USFA on Winter Fire Safety; click here.usfire.gov.

Residents are encouraged to utilize Prince George’s County’s County 311 system to obtain information about public services and obtaining a smoke alarm installed in your home.