Fire Chief Presents Special Achievement Awards

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

Two individuals were recognized with the Fire Chiefs Special Achievement Awards recently.  Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor made these presentations on April 7 during a ceremony held at the First Baptist Church of Glenarden.  Before making the presentations Bashoor stated, “I am honored to have the opportunity to recognize two individuals for my Special Achievement Award.  The two highest awards that a Fire Chief has the honor of presenting are Unit Citations and the Fire Chiefs Special Achievement Award.”

The Fire Chiefs Special Achievement Award recognizes an individual’s extraordinary performance or service which contributes significantly to the overall mission of the Fire/EMS Department.

Battalion Chief Christian Wargo 
“Our first recipient willingly accepted my challenge to coordinate a large scale, multi-jurisdictional training opportunity,” Bashoor said.  “The Market Place Project took on a life of its own, with roof and roll-up door cutting, long-attack-line-advance drills, explosives entry training, partition wall perforating, rapid intervention training and many more opportunities.  These were rare opportunities presented to the department, which required organizational commitment as well as strong and professional leadership to pull off effectively.” 

This Battalion Chief enthusiastically accepted to take on this responsibility.  This was not a mandatory assignment – he could have taken the easy road and passed, but he did not.  With the help of many others, he coordinated the effort which brought personnel from around the region, including Fire/EMS and Police  Departments, K-9, Investigative teams and bomb squads.  Over 1,000 personnel were afforded the opportunity to train for extended periods, days, nights, and weekends during the four month project.  Making the award presentation Bashoor said, “For his tireless efforts as the Market Place Coordinator, I am honored to present Battalion Chief Christian Wargo with the Fire Chiefs Special Achievement Award.

Chief Bashoor also selected a second recipient for his Special Achievement Award.  In doing so, he stated, “It is unusual that I present a 2nd Fire Chiefs award within a given year.  It is equally unusual that this award will be presented to a civilian employee who works for a different County government agency.” 

After the tragic Christmas Eve and Christmas day fatal fires in 2014, the program now known as Adopt-a-Neighborhood was developed. The program compliments our long established smoke alarm programs, with a proactive door-to-door campaign aimed at ensuring all homes in the county have working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors where needed.

Senior GIS Analyst Teddy Hailegeberel
One of the Departments historic problems with smoke alarm efforts has been tracking where alarms have been installed and more importantly, not installed.  With advances in technology there had to be a new hi-tech effort to accomplish this.  After a couple of meetings with the County Office of Information Technology and their talented staff the “right guy” was identified who had the talent and thankfully the time to help the Department leap to that hi-tech place.  The ARCGIS application was developed and used with some refinements. This app is downloaded onto smart phones and updates performed on site by firefighters.

Although it may never be “complete” the program is now being used at many of our 45 stations with paid, volunteer and civilian members using the application as we go door to door.  Existing GIS data is used to track our door to door campaigns, including real time recordings of installations, failures, and rejections – the real-time database provides an instantaneous capacity for follow-up that did not exist before to ensure neighborhoods are completely protected.  The development of this program has revolutionized our record keeping efforts and significantly reduced the amount of time spent managing the program and measuring effectiveness.

The program is also directly responsible for convincing several businesses to contribute to the adopt-a-neighborhood program.  After developing the program, OIT personnel have accompanied us on at least three of our weekend community events.  The program, which may be the first of its kind in the nation, has garnered national attention. As a result of the application effort, the OIT staff has been requested to present at several GIS Conferences. 

Fire Chief Bashoor presented his Special Achievement Award to the app developer by saying, “Without his efforts, the Adopt-a-Neighborhood program would be ‘just another program’ on the shelf.   It is my honor to recognize Senior GIS Analyst Teddy Hailegeberel for his tireless efforts, including going door-to-door with us on several Saturdays, with the Fire Chiefs Special Achievement Award.”

Back row - Fire Chief Bashoor, Deputy fire Chief ben Barksdale, Deputy Fire Chief James McClelland
Front Row - Patrick Callahan (County OIT) Teddy Hailegeberel, Battalion Chief Christian Wargo