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Friday, May 27, 2016

Two Arson Fires in Greenbelt Investigated - Information Needed

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

The Prince George’s County Office of the Fire Marshal is investigating two set fires that appear to have similarities.  The two fires occurred on Thursday evening, May 26, in two separate apartment buildings in the Franklin Square Apartment complex (formerly known as Spring Hill Lake), in Greenbelt. 

Both arson fires occurred just minutes apart in kitchens of vacant apartments in 3-story garden style apartment buildings in close proximity to each other.

The first fire occurred at about 10:30 pm at 5805 Cherrywood Lane in Greenbelt.   Firefighters arrived to find a working fire in the kitchen of a vacant apartment.  The fire was extinguished without incident and fire loss is estimated at $7,000.  No injuries reported.

The second fire occurred just moments later at about 10:45 pm.  Firefighters arrived at an apartment building at 5819 Cherrywood Lane and encountered a working fire in the kitchen of a vacant apartment.  This fire was also extinguished without incident.  Fire loss is estimated at $4,000 and no injuries were reported.

According to the Red Cross, 4 families, consisting of 14 people, were displaced as a result of the fires.

Prince George’s County Fire Investigators are asking for the publics help in identifying who is responsible for these arson fires.  Anyone with information is asked to call our Arson Tip Line at 301-77-ARSON (301-772-7766).  Callers may remain anonymous.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Firefighters saved more than just a baby bird

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

This rescue may not be as dramatic or heroic as the one this morning made by Anne Arundel County Firefighters on the Bay Bridge but you couldn’t tell that to the elementary school children that witnessed this rescue.   There was no helicopter hovering overhead and no video captured like the Bay Bridge rescue that should win many awards.  It was just 150+ students, staff, firefighters and a baby bird.

Personnel from the Berwyn Heights Fire/EMS Station were participating in a career day at the local elementary school on Thursday, May 26.   An excited student quickly alerted others that a baby bird had just fallen from its nest and was on the ground, helpless and chirping in distress, a horrifying sight for the students.  Over 150 children looked anxiously at the firefighters to see what they could possibly do to save the poor baby bird.

Fire Fighter/Medic Technician Timothy L. Barden and Fire Fighter/Medic Technician Stephen I. Reeves knew that they needed to act, if not for the compassion of the bird but for the children that were not taking their eyes off of the bird and them.  

Fire Fighter/Medic Lieutenant Michael V. Nasti stated, “Barden and Reeves, without hesitation, jumped into action and rescued the bird.”  Nasti described what happened, “The firefighters first put on their gloves and gently picked up and cradled the bird.  The pair used a small ladder from our unit and placed it up to the nest.”

The firefighters could sense the tension from the children as they moved carefully with the baby bird in hand.   The bird was placed gently back into it’s nest as the students and staff roared with applause and cheered for their heroes and the happy ending.

Career Day proved to be a big success.  To the students, the firefighters saved the baby bird, however, the crew knew it was for the children the bird was saved.  Job well done!!!

Images are courtesy of PGFD

Truck 814 from Berwyn Heights attended Career Day at the local elementary school

A firefighter cradles the young bird while another firefighter retired a ladder 

The bird is placed back into its nest much to the relief of the students

Pool and Grill Safety

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Safe Kids Prince George’s Statement on Heatsroke Deaths in Cars

Press Release - Rapid Response

Safe Kids Prince George’s Statement on Heatsroke Deaths in Cars

We join the communities and families of young children that suffer heatstroke deaths  in mourning their loss. To gain perspective on such a tragic incident, we ask that concerned citizens read “Fatal Distraction:  Forgetting a Child in the Back seat of a Car Is a Horrifying Mistake.  Is It a Crime?” by Gene Weingarten, Washington Post Staff Writer.

Unfortunately, no one is immune to this kind of tragedy. Parents and caregivers can cut down the number of deaths and near misses by remembering to ACT.
·         A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. And make sure to keep your car locked when you’re not in it so kids don’t get in on their own. 
·         C: Create reminders by putting something in the back of your car next to your child such as a briefcase, a purse or a cell phone that is needed at your final destination. This is especially important if you’re not following your normal routine.
·         T: Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911. Emergency personnel want you to call. They are trained to respond to these situations. One call could save a life.
Safe Kids Prince George’s  is working to ensure that no child is alone in a car, not even for a minute. We’re participating in an education and awareness program that provides posters and tip sheets at childcare centers, doctor’s offices and hospitals and police and fire stations. 

Since 1998, more than 660 children across the United States have died from heatstroke while unattended in cars. You can help us spread the word to your community to stop these preventable tragedies. Additional prevention information can be found at www.safekids.org/heatstroke, and statistics on child heatstroke deaths can be found at www.noheatstroke.org   

About Safe Kids – Prince George’s

Safe Kids Prince George’s works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability to children.  Safe Kids Prince George’s is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global organization dedicated to preventing unintentional injury, the number one cause of death to children in the United States. Throughout the world, almost one million children die of injuries each year, and every one of these tragedies is preventable. Safe Kids Prince George’s is led by Fire/EMS Department. For additional information call Teresa Crisman, Safe Kids Coordinator, at 301-883-5250 or Email at TACrisman@co.pg.md.us.

About General Motors and Safe Kids Buckle Up

Beginning in 1997, General Motors and the GM Foundation have served as Safe Kids Worldwide’s exclusive funding source and helped build the Safe Kids Buckle Up program into a multifaceted national initiative, bringing motor vehicle safety messages to children and families through community and dealer partnerships.  To date, more than 23 million people have been exposed to Safe Kids Worldwide events and community outreach efforts. Certified child passenger safety technicians working through Safe Kids coalitions have examined over 1.89 million child safety seats at more than 94,000 events, and the program has donated more than 667,000 seats to families in need.

Chloe’s Special Day

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

It’s Chloe’s special day.  At around 9:00 am on Friday, May 27, the Morningside Volunteer Fire Department will chauffeur Chloe and her family from their Upper Marlboro home to her school.

The convoy of Fire/EMS apparatus will arrive at Benjamin Foulois Creative and Performing Arts Academy around 9:20 am so 6-year-old Chloe can attend a Pep-Rally in her honor.

Chloe has been diagnosed with and is battling late-stage cancer.  In addition to arriving with lights on and sirens blaring Chloe will enjoy an event filled with cheerleaders, step teams, jazz bands, etc. in her honor to support and encourage her and her family.

Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor will be there with a surprise of his own for Chloe!!!

The school is located at 4601 Beauford Road in Suitland.  Media is invited to attend and cover Chloe’s special day.


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

Memorial Day is commonly thought of as the start of summer.  Most students are still in school and the pool water may might be a little chilly after several days of cool temperatures and plenty of rain, however, the traditional start of summer is here.  Summer vacations are being planned with "staycations" becoming more popular with residents enjoying swimming, BBQ'ing and planning many other fun activities right here in Prince George's County.  The Memorial Day weekend is when many private, public and home swimming pools open as well as BBQ grills are cleaned off and readied for summer cook-outs.

The men and women of your Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department (PGFD) unfortunately have seen many festive occasions quickly turn into tragedy when a swimming incident or BBQ grill fire erupt.  We want to help you avoid those circumstances.

Everyone needs to keep safety at the forefront of every activity.  We offer these common sense safety tips that will help to keep everyone safe including our firefighters and paramedics.  By you staying safe keeps our emergency personnel in the Fire/EMS Station and available for other incidents.  Remember, "Safety First Ensures Everyone Goes Home."

Grill Safety

It is anticipated that many backyard barbecue's will be in use over the course of this upcoming long holiday weekend and throughout the summer months. The men and women; volunteer, civilian and career of 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

Currently our forecast calls for a beautiful Holiday weekend and 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.

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 and how to use an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED). 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.  Commercial and public pools should have an AED readily available and personnel trained on how to use it if needed.

Speaking of swimming pools, Firefighter/Medics can perform a wide variety of services, emergency and non-emergency, to assist our citizens, visitors and businesses.  One of the services we do not provide is to fill your swimming pool with water.  Please contact a contractor that can provide this service for you.   

As always, never drink and drive.

The combined volunteer, civilian and career men and women of the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department wishes everyone a festive and safe Memorial Day.  Keep safety in every aspect of your event!!!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

PGFD EMS Night at Bowie Baysox

National EMS Memorial Bike Ride Rolls Through County

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

The Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department was pleased to serve as co-host rest stop for the National EMS Memorial Bike Ride on Friday, May 20.  The 100+ members of the ride rolled into FedExField in Landover at around 12 Noon.  The Redskins were generous hosts and provided a lunch buffet for both building carbs and a healthy lunch.

Riders started their journey on May 14 from Boston and ended their ride this weekend in Arlington, Virginia, at the National EMS Memorial.  The NEMSMBR is held annually to honor the men and women of EMS that lost their lives in the line of duty in 2015.  "Skillet" Ulmschneider was honored with an on-site marker along with his personalized dog-tags being worn by members of the ride.  He will receive additional honors during next years ride.

Riders arrived through a large inflatable Redskins helmet and were greeted by some of the First Ladies of Football Redskins Cheerleaders.  Many rival NFC East fans had the opportunity to visit inside the stadium and capture some photos of the field.