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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Fox5DC Coverage of College Park Recognition of Berwyn House Road Fire

PGFD Dryer Fire Safety Tips

Media Contact: Alan C. Doubleday, Assistant Fire Chief, 202-480-4776

Several business and residences have sustained some damage over the past week as a result of fires involving their clothes dryers.  The most recent incident occurred Wednesday morning in a commercial laundromat around 1030 am in the 7400 block of Annapolis Road in Landover.

Regardless if you are a business owner or home resident these safety tips from the United States Fire Administration will help to prevent a very common and easily preventable fire.

Clothes dryer do’s

Installation
  • Have your clothes dryer installed by a professional.
  • Make sure the correct electrical plug and outlet are used and that the dryer is connected properly.
  • Read manufacturers' instructions and warnings in use and care manuals that come with new dryers.
Cleaning
  • Clean the lint filter before and after each load of laundry. Don’t forget to clean the back of the dryer where lint can build up. In addition, clean the lint filter with a nylon brush at least every six months or more often if it becomes clogged.
  • Clean lint out of the vent pipe every three months.
  • Have your dryer cleaned regularly by a professional, especially if it is taking longer than normal for clothes to dry.
Maintenance
  • Inspect the venting system behind the dryer to ensure it is not damaged or restricted.
  • Put a covering on outside wall dampers to keep out rain, snow and dirt.
  • Make sure the outdoor vent covering opens when the dryer is on.
  • Replace coiled-wire foil or plastic venting with rigid, non-ribbed metal duct.
  • Have gas-powered dryers inspected every year by a professional to ensure that the gas line and connection are together and free of leaks.
  • Check regularly to make sure nests of small animals and insects are not blocking the outside vent.
  • Keep the area around the clothes dryer free of items that can burn.
  • If you will be away from home for an extended time, unplug or disconnect the dryer.

Clothes dryer don’t's

  • Don’t use a clothes dryer without a lint filter or with a lint filter that is loose, damaged or clogged.
  • Don’t overload the dryer.
  • Don’t use a wire screen or cloth to cover the wall damper. They can collect lint and clog the dryer vent.
  • Don’t dry anything containing foam, rubber or plastic. An example of an item not to place in a dryer is a bathroom rug with a rubber backing.
  • Don’t dry any item for which manufacturers' instructions state “dry away from heat.”
  • Don’t dry glass fiber materials (unless manufacturers' instructions allow).
  • Don’t dry items that have come into contact with anything flammable like alcohol, cooking oils or gasoline. Dry them outdoors or in a well-ventilated room, away from heat.
  • Don’t leave a clothes dryer running if you leave home or when you go to bed.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

PGFD Firefighter/Medics to Meet Family and Child They Saved

MEDIA CONTACT: Alan C. Doubleday, Assistant Fire Chief, 202-480-4776

On Wednesday May 24, 2017, at 12 noon several deserving members will receive recognition for their role in saving the life of a child from Fire Chief Benjamin M. Barksdale.  

The biggest award they will receive is to meet the family and the child they saved.

Media is invited to attend.


Event to be held at the 
Cranford-Graves Fire Services Building
Multi-Purpose Room
6820 Webster St
Landover Hills, MD 20784


PGFD MEMORIAL DAY SAFETY TIPS

MEDIA CONTACT: Alan C. Doubleday, Assistant Fire Chief, 202-480-4776

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.

Fire Chief Ben Barksdale and 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.  Chief Barksdale said, "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.  

Check your smoke and CO alarms to make sure they are working. Make sure overnight guest are familiar with your home escape plan and the safe place to meet outside.

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!!!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Stay safe and healthy during high heat!!!

Stay safe and healthy during high heat!!!

With high heat and humidity upon us in Prince George’s County the men and women of your Fire/EMS Department want you to stay informed and take precautions to stay safe and healthy. Temperatures nearing or above 100, combined with high humidity will create a dangerous situation for children, the elderly, and those who suffer from chronic heart or lung conditions.  Dangers also are extended to anyone that are outdoors for extended periods of time and those involved in physical or strenuous activity.

Your best protection is to stay well hydrated. Sweat, or water, allows heat to evaporate from your skin’s surface. If you become dehydrated, it is more difficult for your body to maintain an acceptable temperature. The best thing to drink is water. Gatorade or other sports drinks are also good. Avoid drinks containing alcohol or caffeine. Limit heavy exertion when high levels of heat and humidity are present. High humidity levels make it more difficult for your body to dissipate heat.

HEAT RELATED ILLNESSES:

Any heat related illnesses will require a victim to be removed from the hot environment to an air-conditioned or cool/shaded area. 
Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heatstroke that may develop due to a combination of several days with high temperatures and dehydration in an individual. Signs of heat exhaustion include extreme weakness, muscle cramps, nausea, or headache. Victims may also vomit or faint. Heat exhaustion is treated with plenty of liquids and rest in a cool, shaded area. If the persons condition does not show signs of improvement call 911. 
Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heatstroke that may develop due to a combination of several days with high temperatures and dehydration in an individual. Signs of heat exhaustion include extreme weakness, muscle cramps, nausea, or headache. Victims may also vomit or faint. Heat exhaustion is treated with plenty of liquids and rest in a cool, shaded area. If the persons condition does not show signs of improvement call 911.

Heatstroke is a serious illness characterized by a body temperature greater than 105 degrees. Symptoms may include “dry” red skin, convulsions, disorientation, delirium and coma. Onset of heatstroke can be rapid: a person can go from feeling apparently well to a seriously ill condition within minutes. Your body has lost the ability to sweat and naturally “cool-off” – this is a true medical emergency.  Treatment of heatstroke involves the rapid lowering of body temperature, using a cool bath, bags of ice or wet towels. Place ice bags in each armpit, groin and back of the neck.  A heatstroke victim should be kept in a cool area; emergency medical care should be obtained by dialing 911. 

Stay Informed - Stay Ready - Stay Safe

Monitor weather forecast throughout weekend on TV, radio and Internet.
Stay Ready with your emergency kit  - www.ready.gov
Stay Safe and Stay Indoors

At Work

• Avoid the heat
• Reduce activity
• Drink plenty of water

Outdoors

• Wear light colored clothing
• Drink plenty of water
• Take frequent rest breaks in the air conditioning or shade

At Home

• Check on relatives and friends, especially the elderly
• Increase time spent in an air-conditioned environment
• Eat smaller meals, more often
• Take cool baths

• Make sure pets have access to water and shade

Friday, May 12, 2017

PGFD Appointment of Jurisdictional EMS Medical Director

MEDIA CONTACT
Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930, MEBrady@co.pg.md.us
Brian J, Frankel, Assistant Fire Chief - EMS, 301-583-1871, BJFrankel@co.pg.md.us
Twitter: @PGFDPIO

The Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (FMS) Department is pleased to announce that Michael G. Millin, MD, MPH, FACEP, FAEMS has been appointed as the Emergency Medical Services, Emergency Medical Dispatch, and Wellness and Fitness Medical Director for the County, effective April I, 2017.

Doctor Millin is transitioning into the role held by outgoing medical director, Doctor Terry A. Jodrie who served the County for over 23 years. "We wish Doctor Jodrie all the best in his future endeavors and owe him a debt of gratitude for his many years of dedicated selfless service to the County," said County Fire Chief Benjamin Barksdale.

Doctor Michael Millin comes to Prince George's County with years of experience in emergency and pre-hospital medicine. He is board certified in emergency medicine, completed an EMS fellowship, and holds a Master's in Public Health Management and Policy. Doctor Millin continues to practice medicine and-serves as an Associate Processor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He has served as a jurisdictional medical director for several agencies in the State and participated on numerous National and State EMS committees. In addition, he has published research in areas of field EMS care, trauma care, and disaster medicine.

“Doctor Millin brings an extensive wealth of knowledge to the County and is looking forward to the opportunity to serve within our agency.  We are fortunate to have a Director with his experience, talents and credentials," stated Chief Barksdale.

Previous article on Associate Medical Director Millin


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

PGFD Assistant Fire Chief is American Legion "National Firefighter of the Year"

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


For extreme personal risk and the highest degree of judgment, zeal and ingenuity, on April 26, 2017, County Executive Rushern Baker, III and Fire Chief Benjamin Barksdale bestowed on Assistant Fire Chief Darren O. Ware the Fire/EMS Department’s Gold Medal of Valor.  He was honored for his quick thinking and heroic efforts that saved the life of a female victim who was experiencing a medical emergency while trapped inside her burning SUV.  






The award was presented at the 40th Annual Public Safety Valor Awards. 

For Assistant Fire Chief Ware, Wednesday April 20, 2016, was challenging from the onset, as the Department was conducting funeral services for a member killed in the line of duty.  Additionally, he was tasked with coordinating mutual aid resources and ensuring that personnel who do not work in our system or typically work together could do so safely and efficiently.  Finally, upon concluding his shift and heading home, Chief Ware noticed smoke on the road ahead of him and suspected it was likely a vehicle fire.  

Nearing the incident, Chief Ware’s suspicion of a vehicle fire was confirmed.  He was surprised, however, to discover an adult female driver still inside.  After contacting Public Safety Communications for resources, he attempted to remove the victim from the vehicle.  His efforts were unsuccessful, as all four doors were locked; and the woman was unresponsive to his instruction to open the door.  With the fire beneath the vehicle was growing larger and progressing into the free burning phase, Chief Ware realized the increasing urgency of the situation.  He hurriedly returned to his vehicle, surveying the immediate area and hoping to find an object suitable to force entry into the SUV.  Things were happening quickly, but to Chief Ware it seemed like eternity in the face of the life-threatening situation confronting the victim. 
    
Retired Fire/EMS Department Lieutenant Colonel Tyrone Wells, also returning from the funeral, spied the incident and stopped to provide assistance.  A construction tool belonging to an unidentified bystander was used in a second attempt to access the SUV.  Forcible entry was in progress when the victim inadvertently stepped on the gas pedal, driving the vehicle down the slope and off the shoulder of the road.  The fire was now at a difficult angle with extension into the engine compartment, posing greater peril to an already demanding situation.  The SUV’s new position had rendered the driver’s side inaccessible.  It was imperative to affect this rescue immediately or prepare for a tragic outcome.  Chief Ware and Colonel Wells, with the bystander’s help, managed to get down the slope and access the passenger side of the vehicle. 

The Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department isn’t the only organization to commend Chief Ware’s heroism, as he was also named the American Legion’s “2017 National Firefighter of the Year”.  Notification of this honor came from George Wehrli, Chairman of the American Legion National Law and Order Committee, who stated, “To maintain law and order” is one of the major objectives included in the American Legion’s Preamble to its Constitution.  As a National winner, you personify the meaning of America’s Bravest.  I wish you continued success in your career and look forward to meeting you at the National Convention.”

In July, Chief Ware will travel to Ocean City, Maryland, where he will be honored by the American Legion at the state level.  The following month, he will attend the organization’s 99th National Convention in Reno, Nevada, for the presentation of the National Firefighter of the Year Award at the National Commander’s Banquet. 

In January 2017, Chief Ware was awarded “Career Fire Fighter of the Year” by the Knights of Columbus Sacred Heart Council No. 2577.  In addition, in March 2017, the Largo-Kettering Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States awarded him “Outstanding Firefighter of the Year,” and the “National Firefighters Citation”.  

Congratulations, Assistant Fire Chief Darren! Your actions reflect well on you personally and professionally and exemplify the excellent caliber of service we strive to provide to the residents of Prince George’s County

County Executive Baker, AFC Ware and Fire Chief Barksdale at recent Valor Award presentation.
Image by Matt Fisher, PGPD
AFC Ware and Tyrone Wells at Valor Award presentation. Image by Matt Fisher, PGPD



Office of the MD State Fire Marshal - "Preventing Arson at Houses of Worship"

NATIONAL ARSON AWARENESS WEEK

“PREVENTING ARSON AT HOUSES OF WORSHIP”


      STATEWIDE (May 5, 2017) – National Arson Awareness Week will be in full swing from May 7th through May 13th this year.  The theme for this year’s awareness campaign focuses on protecting houses of worship from intentional fires through prevention.  The honorable Governor Larry Hogan has proclaimed May 7 – 13, 2017 as National Arson Awareness Week in Maryland.
       Deputy State Fire Marshals are currently going to houses of worship in the communities they are assigned in order to promote prevention efforts and risk assessments in and around the sacred properties.  
       Arson is the act of deliberately setting fire to a building, car or other property for fraudulent or malicious purposes and is a crime in all states.  Insurers have an interest in preventing and detecting arson because such fires cause needless loss of life and property and also push up the cost of insurance.
      Great strides have been made in fighting arson since the 1973 report; “America Burning” raised awareness of arson losses and led to a decade of action that marked the beginning of a cooperative national effort to combat the crime.  Some of the achievements of the four decades since are improved training in arson detection, the establishment of insurer-administered computerized databases of property claims to help identify suspicious fires, the formation of special units in insurance companies to investigate suspected arson and state laws allowing the free exchange of information between insurers and law enforcement agencies without the threat of civil suits for libel or violation of privacy.
1.   In every place of worship the most important single measure is for a particular individual to take         responsibility for security.  Responsibility may be delegated to another member i.e. secretary,             administrator or a member of the congregation.
2.  The person responsible needs to carry out their own "risk assessment" of the property to identify        ways in which intruders, thieves or vandals could start fires.  Determine what the effect would be        and how to prevent or reduce the risk.  Help is available from the insurer of the place of worship,        Office of the State Fire Marshal, local county or city fire marshal and local police department.
3.  If there have been any small fires or malicious damage to the church or in the locality (there may        be an arsonist at work), inform the authorities immediately. A small fire could be the warning of          worse to come.
Please refer to these general tips to help curb the likeliness of an intentionally set fire:
Security - 
1.    Restricted entry - It is often the case that when the church is unoccupied the door is locked.              Where it is required to keep the place of worship open it is recommended that someone is on the        premises. This may be achieved by having a roster of members willing to give up an hour or so          of their time to act as "caretaker". Arrangements have to be made for passing on the key and for        return of the key at the end of the day to the person in charge. Never hide keys or leave keys on        the premises.
2.    Doors and windows should of good repair and locked when not in use.
3.    Walls, gates and fences should be of good repair.
Halls, Community Centers -
1.    These areas tend to be targets for thieves and vandals. Ensure that doors and windows are                securely locked after use, keys returned to the person in charge and provide a general inspection        before the last person leaves.
2.     Valuables, as much as possible, should be securely locked away.
3.     Worship offices when not in use must be kept locked.  These are areas where many arson fires         occur.
4.     If appropriate enlist the help of neighbors in keeping an eye open for suspicious behavior.
5.     Sheds/outbuildings may contain tools, (which help intruders to break into places of worship) or           flammable liquids to help an intruder start a fire. Keep outbuildings securely locked.
Good housekeeping -
1.     Vandals or thieves (to cover their tracks) will use any "fuel" available to light fires.
2.     Try to ensure there is no combustible material lying around for an arsonist. This is particularly             important where churches are used for recreational and educational uses and in church halls.
3.     Don't let trash or dry vegetation accumulate - inside or outside the church.  
4.     Matches, candles, and fuels can all be used to start a fire and help it spread. Keep all such               materials locked away.
Equipment -
1.     Intruder alarm which will sound an audible warning and which should preferably be linked via a supervised central alarm. 
2.     Fire extinguishers for use by people on the spot who are trained in their use.
3.     Security lighting - Intruders like to work in the dark. Security lighting of areas adjacent to doors           or windows can be a powerful deterrent.
4.     CCTV Installation of one or more closed-circuit-television cameras well act as a deterrent to               intruders.

Prince George'sCounty Fire/EMS Arson Tip Line 301-77-ARSON (301-772-7766)