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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

News Talk on News Channel 8 - How to Survive a Burning House

WUSA 9 News report on utility pole piercing vehicle on Beltway

WASHINGTON POST - Man narrowly escapes injury after falling light pole pierces his car on Beltway

Man narrowly escapes injury after falling light pole pierces his car on Beltway

Luis Abrego didn’t even notice when the metal pole impaled his car.
He was sitting in the driver’s seat, stopped at the scene of an accident he had just witnessed on the Beltway. He inched forward just a bit, then heard a noise, no louder than the tap of a hammer.
And then all of a sudden a police officer was peering in his window, seemingly shocked that Abrego was unhurt.
“Yes, why wouldn’t I be okay?” Abrego said. Then he turned around.
A light pole had fallen onto his car and pierced it, all the way from the roof down through the floor. And it had only missed striking Abrego in the head by about two inches.
Authorities in Prince George’s County described the incident Monday evening as “bizarre” and said Abrego was very lucky to walk away unharmed.
It started when a vehicle on the inner loop of I-495 sideswiped an ambulance near St. Barnabas Road in Oxon Hill. The ambulance was returning to its station on Livingston Road after responding to an incident.
Authorities said the vehicle hit the ambulance so hard that the ambulance went off the road and onto a steep, muddy embankment with trees.
Abrego, who said he was driving about 15 feet behind the ambulance at the time, stopped short.
The ambulance then hit the light pole. That’s what caused the pole to break away from its base and fall over the travel lanes of the Beltway.
The pole pierced the roof of Abrego’s car, went through the interior and came out the bottom of the car, according to county firefighters.
The light pole missed Abrego’s head “by mere inches,” officials said.
“When I turned my neck and I saw the post in the car, I said, ‘Oh my God,’” Abrego said.
He immediately called his wife and daughter to tell them what had happened, and they couldn’t believe his luck. “Everybody said, ‘Hey, you need to play the lottery.’”
Authorities said that two medics who were in the ambulance were taken to a hospital to get treatment for non-life-threatening injuries.  
The vehicle that started the incident by hitting the ambulance went another 200 yards up the Beltway before it stopped on the shoulder of the road, authorities said.  That driver was interviewed by police. Officials said they do not yet know whether the driver will face charges.
When the incident occurred, Abrego, 60, was driving to his home in Alexandria from his job in Maryland — where he works as a detailer, fixing cars. He has never seen a car damaged quite the way his was.
“Never in my life. Believe me, I never saw something like this happen,” he said. When he tried to sleep Monday night, he said he kept seeing that post right behind his head every time he closed his eyes. But he went back to work on Tuesday, to fix other people’s cars.
Julie Zauzmer is a local news reporter.
Dana Hedgpeth is a Post reporter, working the early morning, reporting on traffic, crime and other local issues.

All images and videos are by Mark E. Brady, PGFD PIO
See PGFD Press Release by clicking here

Fire/EMS Safety Tips for a Winter Storm - Stay Informed - Stay Ready - Stay Safe

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

The men and women of your Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department want you to help us by staying safe yourself.  There is a potential for a winter storm this weekend and everyone needs to stay informed, stay ready and stay safe.  Some of our highest concerns during a winter weather event are driving, staying warm and power outages. Stay Informed, Stay Ready, Stay Safe

• Stay prepared by bringing out your emergency preparedness kit and having a supply of essential items (food, water, warming items, radios, batteries, flashlights, etc.) available.

• Stay informed by monitoring TV news, news radio, National Weather Service radios and the Internet. Important information may be broadcast that could affect you and your family. Ensure your cell phones and lap top computers are fully charged now – before the storm occurs.

• Stay safe by keeping fire safety and injury prevention a priority in your activities. It is important to remember that fire apparatus and ambulances will be slower to respond to your emergencies due to the weather and hazardous driving conditions. Check your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms now to ensure they are working. In the event of an emergency, have an escape plan and call 911 immediately from a safe location. 

• If possible, stay indoors and off the roads at all costs. Reduced traffic on roadways will allow public works crews an opportunity to clear a path that can be used by first responders to handle emergencies. If you must venture outdoors, dress warm and in layers, wear a hat and gloves, and cover your face with a scarf. 

• A winter storm always has the potential to cause power disruptions as snow and ice will collect on power lines and tree branch’s that will then come in contact with power lines. Do not approach a downed power line – always consider downed power lines to be “live.” Restrict access to the downed lines and call 911.  Never operate a generator indoors or near exterior doors and windows as lethal carbon monoxide could make its way indoors.

• Speaking of calling 911 – please – only call 911 for emergencies. Activity for Fire and EMS service could be high. If you do not have an emergency you should call 311 for assistance.

• In the event of power outages – use flashlights and battery powered lanterns for illumination – do not use candles. Ensure you have a battery-powered radio.  Never operate a generator indoors, including garages, or near exterior doors and windows.

• Give space heaters space – keep space heaters at least 3-feet away from anything combustible like bedding, furniture, paper, etc. 

• Use only seasoned wood products in your fireplace and use extreme caution when disposing of fireplace ashes, as they can remain hot for days after the fire is out. Dispose of ashes in a metal container outside and away from the house.

• Some winter storms produce enough snow and ice that will make it difficult to shovel, especially for those that have an existing heart condition or anyone over the age of 50. Limit shoveling to only a few minutes at a time, shovel smaller amounts, and take frequent breaks. 

• It is time to be a good neighbor – check on your senior citizen neighbors and ensure they have heat and food. Shovel their sidewalks and check on them frequently.

• Clear away snow from the fire hydrant on your street. If the fire hydrant is on your property; you are required to clear away the snow.

• If you must drive – reduce your speed, increase the distance between you and the car in front of you, turn on your headlights, and do not be distracted by cell phones. Keep an eye out for pedestrians, as they will venture out into the streets as sidewalks disappear. This information especially applies to 4-wheel drive SUV operators.

  • Road condition could be dangerous to travel to your appointments over the weekend.  Dialysis patients please contact your centers and discuss your access to the center.  You might arrange for a delay in your treatment until Monday.  Consult your center as soon as possible. 

Finally, remember to think of our four-legged furry friends and keep your pets indoors. 

The Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department stands ready and prepared to provide the best emergency and non-emergency services available. We ask you to help us by preventing emergencies from ever occurring to avoid the need for us to have to respond to that emergency. Remember, Safety First ensures Everyone Goes Home.