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Monday, February 1, 2016

Safety First Day of the Month of February - Time to Press to Test

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

February 1, 2016, the start of the month that includes Valentines Day.  It is also our Safety First Day of the Month.  Combine the two and lovingly demonstrate to your valentines you will do everything possible to keep them safe.  Flowers, a gift and dinner are good but what about the gift of potentially saving their life, priceless.  "Press to Test" your smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms today to ensure your loved ones are protected from the devastation of fire and CO.  Every 1st day of every month is designated as the day to test your smoke and CO alarms to ensure they emit that life saving alert.  Simply press the test button on the front of the alarm.

This past month we tragically lost four family members in a Chillum house fire where no working smoke alarm was found.  Don't let this happen to you.  Test your alarms and if they are old or not working replace them with new 10-year alarms.

Lets set the example to show how much you truly love the ones we can protect and live with and PGFD will help by reminding you every month.    

On the first day of every month, regardless of whatever day it is, simply press the test button on the cover of your smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms.  What is important to note here is that you need to have smoke and CO alarms installed in your home for you to keep your resolution.

When you "Press to Test"

If you hear the audible warning – you are good for another month.

No audible warning?? – provide a fresh battery in your alarms and re-test.

Audible warning??  Yes – you are good until next month!!!  No tones – remove the alarm and replace it with a new 10-year alarm.

While you’re tending to your alarms – remove any dust or other particles from your alarm by dusting or using a vacuum.  Remember these alarms could be the difference between life and death of you and your family.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors - Keep in mind that some of our neighbors may not physically be able to reach their alarms to test or change batteries.  If you have senior citizens family members or neighbors, please, perform this lifesaving function for them. They may not ask for help but they certainly could use some.

Anyone that can not afford to purchase their own 10-year smoke alarm or batteries to rejuvenate your 9-volt alarms may call 311 and make arrangements for a firefighter to visit your home and install these life saving items for you.

Remember that it is now a law for homes that have gas service, fireplace and/or an attached garage are required to have CO alarms installed on every level of your h.

The Fire/EMS Department strongly endorses the use of 10-year, tamper proof with hush feature smoke and CO alarms on every level of your home, outside of sleeping areas and in every bedroom.

Also, design a exit drill in your home and identify two ways out of every room in the event of a fire.  Designate a safe meeting place outside and practice you exit drill at least twice a year.

**  Hint **  Other monthly tasks such as changing filter furnaces, providing our pets with monthly medications, etc. can be done on the safety first day of the month as well.

Install CO alarms on every level of your home, primarily, just outside of sleeping areas.

Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, primarily, just outside of sleeping areas and in every bedroom.  Sleep with your bedroom door closed.  

Plan and practice an exit drill in the home.  Identify 2 ways out of every room in your house and a safe meeting place outside.

PGFD Assistant Fire Chief Francis Awarded "Firefighter of the Year" by Bowie K of C

      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 (EMS) Department is pleased to announce that Assistant Fire Chief Alicia A. Francis was selected for The Knights of Columbus “Career Fire Fighter of the Year for 2015” award.   The annual Public Safety Award Ceremony was held on Saturday, January 30, at the Knights of Columbus in Bowie.  Francis was joined by about a dozen friends and co-workers at the ceremony.

        Some people find their life’s calling through education or by following in the footsteps of a family member.  For Alicia Francis, it was a head-on vehicle collision that led her to discover what she wanted to do with her life.  On December 25, 1990, an inattentive driver took a left turn and hit her head on, leaving her unconscious and with a nearly severed right leg.  It took two years of painful and challenging rehabilitation before she was able to walk again. However, the crash ignited within her a new passion.  After being saved by the paramedics and their assurance that she was going to be okay, Francis felt she had to give back.  She now knew without a doubt what she wanted to do and began her career with the Fire/EMS Department on July 10, 1995.

      During her tenure, the 20-year veteran has served at several fire stations throughout the County and even went back through the academy and cross-trained to become a firefighter.  Assistant Fire Chief Francis climbed the ranks of the Department and was promoted every two years since 2006.  Fire Chief Marc Bashoor, recognizing her hard work and dedication, selected her to be his executive officer.  She accepted the position and became the first African-American woman to work directly with the fire chief in that capacity.  Two years later, in February 2014, the woman who at one time wasn’t sure she would ever walk again became the first female director of the Fire/EMS Department’s Training Academy as an Assistant Fire Chief.    
       Becoming a member of the Fire/EMS Department presented many challenges for Assistant Fire Chief Francis, including and especially handling the pressure of being a woman.  The Bowie resident was once told that women don’t belong in the fire service.  However, she feels times have changed since that time and is proud that women are finally being recognized and respected in the male-dominated field.  She is honored to have been instrumental, along with other female pioneers in the fire service, in the breaking of those barriers. 
        Assistant Chief Francis, who believes that one should endeavor to remain in a life-long posture of learning, mentors both high school students and adults.  Her philosophy is “My hands are extended to the next person to pull them up beside me or even push them ahead of me.” She is a woman of strong faith in God and enjoys singing with her church choir, The Levites.

        Assistant Fire Chief Alicia A. Francis, currently the Director of Operational Compliance and Officer Development, has over the years proven to be an asset to the Fire/EMS Department.

       Also receiving special recognition on Saturday evening was Mark Magaw, Public Safety Director of the County.  The Bowie Knights of Columbus recognized Magaw for his many dedicated years to Prince George’s County while serving as Police Chief.

Assistant Fire Chief Francis and Public Safety Director Macaw at the Knights of Colobus Award Ceremony

AFC Francis receives her "Career Firefighter of the Year" Award

Public Safety Director and Retired County Police Chief Mark Macaw receives his recognition award
from the Knights of Columbus.

Super Tips from PGFD and USFA for the Super Bowl

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

Super Bowl 50’s line up has been set.  Denver Broncos VS Carolina Panthers!!!  
Many people will tune in to the match up or maybe tune in for the commercials. 
Here are cooking safety tips you can share to help people celebrate safely. 

Getting your Super Bowl game face on? Score more points this year by putting kitchen fire safety in your line up

Super Bowl Sunday is the USA’s second biggest day for food consumption. That means a lot of time spent planning and preparing game day snacks. Before you kick off your menu, take a look at these tips for safer cooking.

Kitchen Huddle

Prepare your cooking area. Use back burners or turn pot handles toward the back of the stove. Move things that can burn away from the stove. Keep a timer handy and use it when you’re roasting or baking.

Penalty Flag

Frying poses the greatest risk of fire. Keep an eye on what you fry. Start with a small amount of oil and heat it slowly. If you see smoke or if the grease starts to boil in your pan, turn the burner off. Even a small amount of oil on a hot burner can start a fire.


Stay awake and alert while you’re cooking. Stand by your pan. If you leave the kitchen, turn the burner off. Keep a large pan lid or baking sheet nearby in case you need to smother a pan fire.

Illegal Contact

Prevent burns when you’re cooking. Wear short sleeves, or roll them up. Don’t lean over the burner. Use potholders and oven mitts to handle hot or steaming cookware.

Defensive Linemen

Children need constant adult supervision. If you have young children in the home, keep them three feet from anything that can get hot, including the stove. Put hot objects and liquids beyond a child’s reach so they can’t touch or pull them down. Never hold a child when you cook.


Keep safety in mind when serving on game day too. If you burn candles, position them out of reach of children and away from anything that can burn. Consider using flameless candles that are lit by battery power instead. Food warmers and slow cookers get hot. Place them toward the back of the serving table so they won’t get knocked off. Provide hot pads to prevent burns. Light the chafing dish fuel can after it is placed under the warmer. Make sure nothing comes in contact with the flame. If young children are in your home, supervise them and keep matches and lighters locked away.

Take the time to "Press to Test" your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors today -  the Safety First Day of the Month of February.  This test will ensure if your alarm is working or not.  Non-working alarms could cost you your life!!!. These working life saving devices will protect you, your loved ones and Super Bowl party guests.

If you do not have a working smoke alarm and can not afford to purchase one yourself call 311 and a firefighter will visit your home and install one for you, free of charge.

If you purchase your own smoke or CO alarm make sure they are the 10-year type with a hush feature available at most home improvement stores.