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Monday, June 1, 2015

Flash Flood Watch for Prince George's County - Safety Tips

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

The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Watch for Prince George's County and surrounding areas.  Please take the time to read their most recent update and safety advice.

From the National Weather Service:

FLASH FLOOD WATCH THROUGH LATE TONIGHT

* SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS WILL INCREASE IN COVERAGE THIS AFTERNOON AND CONTINUE THROUGH THROUGH MOST OF TONIGHT. SOME OF THE STORMS WILL CONTAIN TORRENTIAL DOWNPOURS WHICH MAY LEAD TO FLASH FLOODING. AVERAGE RAINFALL AMOUNTS BETWEEN ONE TO TWO INCHES ARE EXPECTED...BUT LOCALIZED AMOUNTS IN EXCESS OF THREE INCHES ARE POSSIBLE IN HEAVIER THUNDERSTORMS. RAINFALL RATES AROUND ONE TO TWO INCHES PER HOUR ARE EXPECTED IN HEAVIER THUNDERSTORMS. RECENT RAINFALL HAS SATURATED SOILS WHICH WILL ALSO INCREASE THE THREAT FOR FLASH FLOODING DURING THIS TIME.

* HEAVY RAINFALL IN SHORT PERIODS OF TIME MAY CAUSE RAPID RISES ON CREEKS AND STREAMS AS WELL AS FLASH FLOODING IN URBAN AREAS.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A FLASH FLOOD WATCH MEANS THAT CONDITIONS MAY DEVELOP THAT LEAD TO FLASH FLOODING. FLASH FLOODING IS A VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION.

YOU SHOULD MONITOR LATER FORECASTS AND BE PREPARED TO TAKE ACTION SHOULD FLASH FLOOD WARNINGS BE ISSUED.

Safety Advice 

Precautionary/preparedness actions: A Flash Flood Watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding. Flash flooding is a very dangerous situation. Be prepared to take action should flash flood warnings be issued.

Turn Around - Don't Drown video from the National Weather Service - click here to watch.

Flash Flood Facts...

Flash floods occur within a few minutes or hours of excessive rainfall or a dam failure. Flooding is a longer-term event and may last a week or more.

Most flash flooding is caused by (1) slow-moving thunderstorms, (2) thunder-storms repeatedly moving over the same area or (3) heavy rains from hurricanes and tropical storms.

Flash floods can roll boulders, tear out trees, and destroy buildings and bridges.

Densely populated areas have a high risk for flash floods. The construction of buildings, highways, driveways, and parking lots increases runoff by reducing the amount of rain absorbed by the ground.

Water can erode the roadbed creating unsafe driving conditions.

Many flash floods occur at night when flooded roads are hard to see.

2 feet of water will float your car, truck or SUV!!! 6 inches of fast-moving floodwater can knock you off your feet.

Nearly half of all flash flood fatalities are auto related. If your car stalls, leave it and seek higher ground, if you can do so safely.

Underpasses can fill rapidly with water, while the adjacent roadway remains clear. Driving into a flooded underpass can quickly put you in 5-6 feet of water.

The Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department wants you to stay safe during this potentially dangerous weather conditions.  Help us by helping yourself and heed warnings and safety tips.


Flash Flood Safety Tips...

Never try to walk, swim, or drive through swift-moving floodwater. Remember, 2 feet of water will float your vehicle and 6 inches of fast moving floodwater can knock you off your feet.

If you come upon floodwaters, STOP, TURN AROUND AND GO ANOTHER WAY!!

Do not attempt to drive through a flooded road.

If your car stalls in high water, DON'T PANIC, leave your car and seek higher ground, if you can do so safely and call 911.

Stay informed about the storm and possible flooding by listening to your NOAA weather radio, commercial radio or television.


STAY INFORMED - STAY READY - STAY SAFE!!!

PGFD High School Cadets Graduate - Program Expansion Announced

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 Department conducted a graduation commencement of our second class of high school cadets from the Charles Flowers High School in Springdale.  Sixteen high school seniors successfully completed the Fire Science Cadet Program and received their certificates on Tuesday, May 26. 

This two-year high school cadet program allows students to take fire and emergency medical services classes, while earning up to 17 college credits to those who successfully complete the curriculum.  Additionally, students who graduate from the program with have received all necessary training to be nationally certified as firefighters and Emergency Medical Technicians.

The High School Fire Science Cadet Program would not be possible without the phenomenal cooperation and steadfast support from County Executive Rushern L, Baker III, Chief Executive Officer of Public Schools Dr. Kevin Maxwell, and the entire cadre of staff within the school system, especially at Flowers High School. Without that cooperation and support, this program would not be possible. That cooperative effort between the County and the schools will serve us well, as we work towards opening our second Fire/EMS Cadet program at Gwynn Park High School this coming academic year.

Prince George's County Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor stated, "To our Fire/EMS cadets - I am honored to be a part of your graduation ceremony and to have you as part of our fire service family.  You and your families have reason to be excited and exceedingly proud - proud of your educational achievements, proud of your dedication to community service, and excited about the profound life-changing opportunities that rest on your doorstep.  I trust that many of you will avail yourselves of the Department entrance-exam which will be offered in the coming months."

County Executive Baker congratulated the graduates and encouraged them to continue their education and growth.  Baker stated, "I am so very proud of each and every one of you on your accomplishments.  Each of you are a shining star for Prince George’s County"

2015 Graduates of the High School Fire Science Cadet Program

JYIR BONHAM
JOHN BURGESS
DERMAINE CHAMBERS-WALKER
*TYLER COOK
JEFFREY FREELAND
ASIAH HOWARD
JUBEMI JEFFERSON
ANDY KOUACOU
REUBEN MACKINTOSH-IGHOR
*JONATHAN MITCHELL
CARTER MUNDY
*NICOLE MURPHY
*FERNANDO SERNA
*KIRK SPENCER
DANIEL WHITE
                                                                  DARIUS WHITE


*  With Honors

Several awards of distinction were presented during the graduation ceremony.  The awards presented included: 

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Scholastic Achievement Award

The Emergency Medical Services award is presented to the cadet that has achieved the highest academic average on the Emergency Medical Services written and practical examinations. The cadet average score was 84%.  The recipient of the Emergency Medical Services award is John Burgess.

Award Recipient – John Burgess

Instructor’s Award

The Instructor’s Award is presented to an individual cadet in the High School Fire Science program who has shown the highest level of development, and dedication during the class.  In short, we identify the cadet who has contributed significantly to the success of the class overall, either by helping others or through self-improvement.  The recipient of the Instructor’s award is Asiah Howard.

Award Recipient – Asiah Howard
(l to r) Gordan Brown (Principal of Charles Flowers HS), Dr. Kevin Maxwell, County Executive Baker, Cadet Asiah Howard and Fire Chief Bashoor

Fire Suppression Scholastic Achievement Award

The Fire Suppression Scholastic Achievement Award is presented to the cadet who achieved the highest academic average on the fire suppression written examinations and practical evolutions. The student average score was 82%.  The recipient of the Fire Suppression Scholastic Achievement award is Jonathan Mitchell.

Award Recipient – Jonathan Mitchell
Cadet Jonathan Mitchell with County Executive Baker and Fire Chief Bashoor

Fire Chief’s Award
The Fire Chief's Award is the highest recognition for Cadets.  This award is bestowed on an individual in recognition of achievements that have made significant contributions to the graduating class.  Selection criteria emphasize leadership, professional development, integrity, performance, and personal growth.  The recipient of the Fire Chief’s award is Kirk Spencer. 

Award Recipient – Nicole Murphy
Cadet Nicole Murphy


Principals Award

The Principal’s Award is a very special recognition presented to an outstanding cadet who has displayed that rarest combination of leadership, courage, and professionalism. This cadet has consistently demonstrated leadership, is respectful to classmates and instructors and is enthusiastic about the program.  The recipient of the Principal’s award is Fernando Serna.

Award Recipient – Fernando Serna
Cadet Fernando Serna









Safety First Day of the Month - June - Smoke/CO Alarms, Grill Safety, Swimming Safety and CPR/AED Awareness Week

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

Today is June 1, 2015, the Safety First Day of the Month.  Having a working smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarm could be the difference in life or death - yours and your family.  Today is the day that the Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department has designated for everyone to test their smoke and CO alarms.  It's simple:

Push the TEST button on the front cover of your smoke and CO alarm.

An audible beeping noise SHOULD sound.  If it does, congratulations, your done until next month.

If it does not sound an audible alarm - replace the battery.  Push the TEST button again - still no alarm - remove the alarm and immediately replace with a new 10-year, tamper proof, with hush feature smoke or CO alarm or better yet a 10-year combination smoke/CO alarm.

If your alarms are at about 10 years old or you don't remember if you ever replaced the alarm, do it today!!!  Smoke and CO alarms work all day - every day and will wear down over their 10 year service life.
County Law requires a working smoke alarm in your home.  Over the next two years the law will continue to evolve to require a working 10-year smoke alarm on every level of your home, primarily outside of sleeping areas.

County Law currently requires a working CO detector on every level of your home, primarily, outside of sleeping areas.  This law includes all homes with a gas service (natural, propane, oil, etc), a fireplace or an attached garage.  This law also requires that all hotels, motels, dormitories and all apartments and condos have working CO alarms.

Have you ever noticed that it is sometimes a challenge to reach your alarms installed on your ceiling or high on the wall.  Perhaps you use a step-ladder or stand tall on your toes to reach the test button.  Think about your senior citizen neighbors and relatives that may have difficulty even reaching a light switch.  Test their alarms for them every month, change their batteries at least once-a-year and contact 311 for them if they need a new 10-year smoke alarm installed by firefighters, free of charge.
Don't wait for a firefighter to knock on your door.  If you need a working smoke alarm and can not afford to purchase one, call 311 and ask about the free smoke alarm program.

The month of June ushers us into summer and warmer temperatures.  A quick reminder of life-saving actions:

1.     Never leave children or pets in cars.  Heat stroke can occur within minutes and sickness or death will occur very quickly.

2.     During our hazy, hot and humid days - remember to drink plenty of water.  Its how our firefighters and medics stay hydrated and are able to work in hot temperatures.  HHH2 - "Hazy, Hot and Humid = Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate."

3.     Always practice good fire safety habits when discarding cigarettes but pay particular attention when days are labeled "Red Flag" days where fires can start easily and spread rapidly.

Grill Safety

It is anticipated that many backyard barbecue's will be in use throughout the summer months. The PGFD recommend that you exercise caution and keep safety in mind when setting up, using and cleaning your BBQ grill.   Did you know that cooking, most notably "unattended cooking" is the number one cause of fires and fire related injuries in Prince George's County, this includes both inside and outside cooking: WATCH WHAT YOU HEAT!!!

•NEVER use a grill indoors including garages, overhangs and canopies

•By Law - Grills must be at least 30 feet away from any multi-family apartment dwelling.

•When using a grill at your single family home – homeowners should use a 10-foot perimeter from anything combustible – including your house!!! Never place a grill up against your house, wood deck or fence.

•In Prince George’s County - all grills are illegal to use on balconies of apartments and condominium apartments

•Do not allow children and pets to play near a grill - set up a 10 foot safety zone around your grill.

•Only use approved ignition fluids – NEVER use gasoline to ignite a grill

•Keep a fire extinguisher, garden hose or bucket of sand nearby to douse a grill fire that gets out of control.

•Inspect your grill before you ignite to ensure everything is in working order. This inspection includes all connections on your gas grills are tight and not leaking.

Charcoal ashes and used briquettes should be disposed of in a metal container and allowed to cool down for up to 48 hours before disposal.  Keep ash container off of your wood deck and away from your house.

Swim Safely

It is anticipated that thousands of residents will be taking full advantage of swimming pools.  Keeping safety first will help to prevent such a festive occasion from becoming a tragedy.  You should know that 75% of drownings occur in backyard pools.

For parents:

•Always watch your children and never leave them unattended.  A lack of adult supervision is one of the leading contributing factors to children drowning.

•Do not rely on flotation devices to protect your children from drowning. You must supervise at all times.

•Have a phone nearby in the event you need to call 911.

•Have children swim in pairs - the "buddy system"

•If a child is missing - check the pool first.

•Teach your child how to swim. Visit www.pgparks.com/aquatics.htm for additional information.

•Learn CPR. Visit http://www.redcross.org/take-a-class or call the Fire/EMS Department CPR Information line at 301-864-LIVE (5483).

For home pool owners and managers:

•Install a fence around the perimeter of the pool.

•Use self closing latches and gates.

•Install a door alarm from the house to the pool area.

•Have life saving equipment nearby such as life rings or reaching poles   

CPR and AED Awareness Week


As previously mentioned in swimming pool safety, everyone should take the time how to learn how to perform CPR and use an AED.  June 1 through June 7 is CPR and AED Awareness Week and is an excellent opportunity to learn both.  You can call 301-864-LIVE (5483) and find locations that teach CPR/AED or click here for additional information.