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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

PGFD Strategic Apparatus Replacement Program

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

The Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department continues to receive deliveries, implementing a strategic apparatus replacement program.  The most recent arrivals include 12 ambulance/paramedic transport units to be distributed to various stations around the County.  These transport units are part of the 3rd year receipts, out of the overall ten year strategic plan for all county-owned apparatus replacement.

Since 2011, the Department has now added 36 ambulances, with an additional 13 ambulances now on order, programmed for calendar year 2016 delivery.  The replacement of these 49 units amounts to approximately ½ of the existing County’s ambulance fleet.  The strategic plan seeks to continue replacing ambulances at the rate of 15 per year.  The cost of a new ambulance/medic transport unit is approximately $230,000 each.

In addition to the 36 ambulances received, the PGFD has added/replaced nine (9) engines, three (3) ladder trucks, one (1) heavy-duty rescue squad, and has replaced the majority of the command vehicle fleet.  In addition to the 13 ambulances on order, there is one (1) tower-ladder, one (1) hazardous materials squad, one (1) rehabilitation unit, and one (1) rehabilitation support unit on order with delivery expected on all units in calendar year 2016.  In addition to the County apparatus, Volunteer Fire Company Corporations continue to replace volunteer-owned apparatus through fundraising and with State funds administered through the Fire Commission.  During the same time frame Volunteer Corporations have replaced nine (9) engines, one (1) ladder truck, one (1) tower-ladder, 1 engine-tanker, 1 rescue squad and 10  ambulances.  Two (2) additional engines and 1 additional ambulance are on order.

In 2011, Fire Chief Marc Bashoor presented County Executive Rushern Baker and the County Council with a proposal to not only replace aging County-owned apparatus, but to also resolve long-term purchase decisions  keeping the fleet in a continuous state of readiness.  The plan included a “branding” change from white to red equipment with the new Department motto “Safety First, Everyone Goes Home”, and the ‘marking’ of all new administrator and Chiefs vehicles.  County Executive Baker remarked, “Public Safety is and has been a cornerstone of this administration.  The men and women of the Fire/EMS Department, who put themselves in harms way and risk their lives to save others every day, deserve the best and most effective firefighting and medical transport equipment we are able to purchase.  I am proud of the progress we have made to provide our firefighters and paramedics with state of the art equipment.”

Chief Bashoor said, “I am thankful to the County Executive Baker, the Office of Management and Budget staff, and to the County Council for ensuring our strategic plan could come to fruition.  Without all of their support, this would not have been possible.  I look forward to continuing to fulfill the strategic plan, placing the Department on level footing for years to come.”

Good Fire Safety Habits We Can Live With

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
mebrady@co.pg.md.us     @PGFDPIO
Regionally, two recent house fires in Reston, VA and Waldorf MD communities occurred that have claimed lives and injured occupants.  Both occurred while residents were sleeping.  While the investigation into these two tragic incidents are on-going it highlights the need for everyone to review some basic fire safety habits.
  • Have a working 10-year smoke alarm on every level of your home and in every bedroom.
  • Design and practice an escape drill from your home.  Identify 2 ways out of every room and a safe meeting place outside.  Practice your plan, at least twice a year, when you test your smoke alarms on the first day of every month.  Sadly many residential fire related fatalities involve our senior and our youngest family members.  Often this is due to mobility challenges and not knowing what to do in an emergency.  Plan and Practice escape drills.
  • As we transition into colder weather and less daylight, use space heaters safely providing a safety area of 3-feet from anything that can burn and never leave space heaters or candles burning unattended.
  • Now is a good time to call a HVAC Technician to have them check your heating system and have your fireplace and chimney cleaned and inspected.

Fire Departments around the region have been conducting fire prevention open houses throughout the month of October.  Our theme this year is to Hear the Beep Where you Sleep to encourage residents to install 10-year smoke alarms just outside of sleeping areas and one in each bedroom as well.

Fire Safety is a year-round project and should always be included in your everyday life.

This upcoming weekend Maryland State Fire Marshal Brian Geraci is encouraging firefighters to go our into the community and promote fire safety.  There are two fire prevention open houses this weekend that residents are encouraged to attend and bring their children.  These open houses are as follows:

31st Annual Open House and Fire Prevention Day - Sunday, October 18, 11:00 am until 4:00 pm

Open House and Fire Prevention Day - Sunday, October 18, 12:00 Noon until 4:00 pm

On Saturday, October 24, volunteer and career firefighters from Bowie will be going door-to-door in the Old Town community to check for working smoke alarms and provide fire safety information to residents.  Don't wait for a firefighter to knock on your door - test smoke alarms today and if they don't work - replace with a new 10-year alarm available at home improvement stores.

As I mentioned before, our days are getting colder and shorter.  They are about to get even colder and shorter and families need to be prepared as it is no secret that fires occur more frequently in colder weather.  Daylight Saving Time will end Sunday, November 1, 2015 and we will change our clocks back one hour.  It is this time of year that we must insist that when you change your clocks to change the battery in your smoke and CO alarms, better yet, upgrade to a new 10-year, tamper proof with hush feature alarm and never change a better again.