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Sunday, October 29, 2017

Statement from Prince George’s County Fire Chief Benjamin M. Barksdale in regards to this morning’s rescue

Statement from Prince George’s County Fire Chief Benjamin M. Barksdale 
in regards to this morning’s rescue

Benjamin M. Barksdale
I would like to commend the crew from Silver Hill Fire/EMS Station 829 for their actions this morning at the scene of a Temple Hills house fire.  The entire crew worked cohesively as a team and followed direction from the officer in charge to ensure a quick arrival, adequate water supply, charged hose lines, 360 check of structure and assigned personnel to simultaneously extinguish the fire and perform search.  The teamwork resulted in a rescue of three occupants from a heat and smoke charged environment on the second floor all done before the arrival of other fire and EMS units.

Furthermore, the crews performed life-saving measures once the victims were removed to the safety of the exterior.  Their actions had an direct impact on saving these young lives.  Medics continued treatment while transporting four home occupants to the hospital.

I’m proud of the actions of everyone on this call, in particular, the first arriving crew from Silver Hill.  Your actions reflect favorably on yourself, your ability to work as part of a team and on the entire Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department.  Congratulations on a job well done!!!

3 children rescued & resuscitated from Temple Hills house fire

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

Firefighters rescued 3 young occupants of a Temple Hills home fire this morning.  Just after 7:00 am, Sunday, October 29, 2017 firefighters and medics were alerted to a house fire in the 4700 block of Alcon Drive.  A 911-call taker received an emergency call from a female stating that her house was on fire and her children were trapped on the 2nd floor of the home.  The children were unable to escape due to the thick smoke and high heat in the hallway.  This information was relayed to responding firefighters by dispatchers at Public Safety Communications.

First arriving firefighters from the Silver Hill Fire/EMS Station 829 arrived with smoke showing from the house.  A rapid circle check of the house revealed to the officer-in-charge, Fire Lt. Michael Perritt, that there was a fire located in the 1st floor kitchen.  With a crew of five firefighters onboard the engine Lt. Perritt was able to split his crew.  He directed a firefighter to advance a hose line to the first floor kitchen and extinguish the fire while Perritt and 2 other firefighters went to the 2nd floor to search for the trapped occupants. 

Despite high heat and near zero visibility the crews located 2 children in one room and an infant in another.  The 3 children were brought down through the interior stairwell to the exterior where firefighters initiated immediate rescue breathing on 2 and cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on the infant.  All 3 children responded to the life-saving efforts and started breathing on their own.  The fire was extinguished within 2 minutes of arrival with search and rescues occurring shortly thereafter.

An adult male escaped the 2nd floor by jumping out of a window.  He was not injured.  A secondary search of the house found that all other occupants had escaped prior to the fire departments arrival.

A total of 4 occupants between the ages of 17 years of age and 4 months old were transported to a hospital suffering from heat and exposure to smoke.  They were transported in serious but stable condition.

 A working smoke alarm could be heard by firefighters as they entered the structure.

There were 8 occupants inside the house this morning.  A total of 9 normally reside there and will be displaced.  They are being assisted by the County Citizen Services Unit and the American Red Cross.   

The cause of the fire is undetermined and fire loss is still being estimated.  No additional injuries were reported.

The Fire/EMS Department believes the working smoke alarm alerted and awoke the sleeping occupants.   Occupants stand a 50% better chance of surviving a home fire if you have working smoke alarms. 

This upcoming weekend, when we adjust our clocks back 1 hour we also need to change the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms as well.  Smoke and CO alarms should be tested on the Safety First Day of every month to ensure they are working.

A new law will go into effect on January 1st, 2018 requiring all battery operated smoke alarms to be a 10-year, sealed battery, model.  10-year smoke and CO alarms eliminate the need to change batteries.  Firefighters frequently find smoke alarms not working due to dead or missing batteries.  As many as two-thirds of residential fire fatalities occur in homes with non-working smoke alarms or no smoke alarms at all.  The Maryland State Law will require homeowners to install 10-year smoke alarms on every level of your home, primarily just outside of sleeping areas.  Smoke alarms also need to be installed in every bedroom and we encourage everyone to sleep with their bedroom door closed.

Additionally, families need to plan an escape plan, which identifies 2 ways out of every room in the house and a safe meeting place outside.

If any County resident is in need of a working 10-year smoke alarm and cannot afford to purchase one themselves to call 311.  A firefighter will come to your home and install 1 alarm for you, free of charge.

Any family requiring assistance in planning an exit drill in your home can contact our Community Risk Reduction program at 301-883-5250.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Statement from PGFD Fire Chief Barksdale on Sudden Passing of John Burns

It is with profound sadness that the Fire/EMS Department has suffered another on-duty death within our agency.  John Burns was the Assistant Chief and President of the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department, as well as a Public Safety Communications Fire Dispatcher.  John suffered a medical emergency while on duty at Station 833 on Sunday night, and his medical condition quickly deteriorated.  Unfortunately, and after several hours of expert medical care, he was declared deceased at Baltimore Shock Trauma in the early morning hours yesterday.

Every loss of life in the fire service is difficult to absorb and hits home for all of us, and this is why we will stand beside the Kentland VFD and the Burns family during these difficult times.  To honor the service that Assistant Chief/President Burns has provided to the citizens and visitors of Prince George’s County, I am hereby asking for all County flags to be lowered to half-staff at all Fire/EMS Department stations. The Prince George’s County flags will remain at half-staff from dusk today through dawn of the day after his funeral.

Funeral plans have not yet been determined, and additional details will be provided at they become available.  Please keep the Burns family, the Kentland VFD, and our extended family at PSC in your thoughts and prayers.

Benjamin Barksdale, MS, EFO, CFO
Fire Chief
Prince George's County Fire/EMS Dept.
9201 Basil Ct., Suite 452
Largo MD, 20785

Tuesday, October 24, 2017


Correction: The original press release indicated the suspect fled twice in a marked vehicle. While he did flee twice, the first time was in his personally owned truck (the Ford F-150). He switched vehicles at the Silver Hill Fire Department and returned to his house in the fire department’s marked Ford Explorer. Also, Mr. Fowler was charged in both cases and was issued a total of49 traffic citations. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Thank you.  

PRESS RELEASE                                    
Charles County Sheriff’s Office
Sheriff Troy D. Berry 
Commission on the Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies
Recipient of Gold Standard of Excellence Award
DATE: October 24, 2017         
Diane Richardson 
Media Relations Office 
The following is a sample of recent Charles County Sheriff’s Office investigations. For information about crimes not included in this report, visit CrimeReports.com and search by county, city, zip code or street address.
OFF-DUTY PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY VOLUNTEER FIRE CHIEF ARRESTED: On October 24 at 4:50 a.m., officers were dispatched to the 2500 block of Lisa Drive in Waldorf for the report of a man threatening to slash the tires on his girlfriend’s car. Officers arrived and observed the suspect in a silver Ford F-150 truck, marked with PGFD logos from the Silver Hill Fire Department. They initiated a traffic stop, but the driver fled. Officers pursued the driver a short distance, but stopped when he entered Prince George’s County. While officers continued investigating, they received a call at 6:11 a.m. that the man had returned to Lisa Drive. Officers responded and attempted to stop the suspect, but he fled again. Officers pursued the driver who eventually stopped about a mile away. Matthew Reginald Fowler, 49, of Waldorf, was taken into custody and transported to the Charles County Detention Center. He was charged with 22 traffic violations including negligent driving and reckless driving. It was learned Fowler is a Volunteer Chief of the Silver Hill Fire Department and was operating one of the fire department vehicles when the incidents occurred. The investigation is ongoing. 
Charles County Crime Solvers offers rewards of up to $1,000 for information that leads to the arrest or indictment of a person responsible for a crime in Charles County. Anyone with information about an unsolved crime or the location of a fugitive may contact Charles County Crime Solvers by calling 1-866-411-TIPS, or submitting tips online at tipsubmit.com. All individuals who provide tips through Crime Solvers will remain anonymous. Learn more at the CCSO’s website.
The Charles County Sheriff’s Office is a full-service law enforcement agency comprised of more than 600 police, corrections and civilian personnel responsible for protecting more than 150,000 residents. The CCSO was accredited by the Commission on the Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) in 2001 has been designated as a CALEA Gold Standard of Excellence agency since 2011. Established in 1658, the CCSO is one of the oldest law enforcement agencies in the United States. For more information, visit www.ccso.us.       
Join us on the WebFacebookTwitter and YouTube.
To unsubscribe from the CCSO Press Releases distribution list, email richardsond@ccso.us with REMOVE as the subject line.
Diane Richardson
Media Relations 
Charles County Sheriff's Office

PGFD and ASPCA Halloween Safety Tips for our Pets

Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween can be the spookiest night of the year, but keeping your pets safe doesn’t have to be tricky. The ASPCA recommends taking these simple, common sense precautions to keep your pet happy and healthy all the way to November 1.

Stash the Treats

The candy bowl is for trick-or-treaters, not Scruffy or Fluffy. Several popular Halloween treats are toxic to pets. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for cats and dogs, and sugar-free candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can cause serious problems in pets. If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately.

Watch the Decorations and Keep Wires Out of Reach

While a carved jack-o-lantern certainly is festive, pets can easily knock over a lit pumpkin and start a fire. Curious kittens are especially at risk of getting burned or singed by candle flame. Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered relatively nontoxic, but can produce stomach discomfort in pets who nibble on them.

Be Careful with Costumes

For some pets, wearing a costume may cause undue stress. The ASPCA recommends that you don’t put your dog or cat in a costume unless you know he or she loves it. If you do dress up your pet for Halloween, make sure the costume does not limit his or her movement, sight or ability to breathe, bark or meow. Check the costume carefully for small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that could present a choking hazard. Ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.
Be sure to have your pet try on the costume before the big night. If he or she seems distressed or shows abnormal behavior, consider letting your pet wear his or her “birthday suit” or don a festive bandana instead.

Keep Pets Calm and Easily Identifiable

Halloween brings a flurry of activity with visitors arriving at the door, and too many strangers can often be scary and stressful for pets. All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room away from the front door during peak trick-or-treating hours. While opening the door for guests, be sure that your dog or cat doesn’t dart outside. And always make sure your pet it wearing proper identification—if for any reason he or she does escape, a collar with ID tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver for a lost pet.

MEDIA ADVISORY: Diabetes Detection Dog meets 5-Year Old companion - Meet and Greet with PGFD

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 Department will host a “meet and greet” with a service dog and new family.  The canine is a “Diabetes Detection Dog” and will be acquainted and undergo training with his new family this week. 

Diabetes detection dogs are assistance dogs trained to detect high or low levels of blood sugar levels, known as hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia in humans with diabetes

As part of that training the trainers wanted to make local authorities aware of the dog and its capabilities in working with a 5-year old with Type 1 Diabetes, including how the service dog alerts first responders to a potential diabetic emergency.

The media is invited to attend the “meet and greet” and document the capabilities of this service dog.

WHAT:           Meet and Greet Type 1 Diabetes Detection Dog and new family

WHEN:           Wednesday, October 25, 2017, 10:00 am

WHERE:         Bunker Hill Fire/EMS Station, 3716 Rhode Island Avenue, Brentwood, MD

WHO:             5-year old child, his mother, service dog trainer, PGFD Firefighter/Medics, other local authorities and the service dog.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Halloween Safety

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

The fun and excitement surrounding Halloween can suddenly turn to sorrow and misfortune through one careless act. The incidence of fire, accident, and injury often increases during holidays and festive events. Each year, firefighters and paramedics witness incidents on Halloween that could have been prevented had simple safety rules been followed. Among the high-risk activities on Halloween; door-to-door trick-or-treating is one of greatest concerns to Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department personnel. Between 4:00 PM and 10:00 PM on Halloween, there is a significant increase in falls, burn-related injuries, and pedestrian injuries. Children are four and a half times more likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than on any other night during the year. Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injuries on Halloween. Additionally, many parties and festivities are planned over the Halloween weekend which could result in an increase in adult alcohol consumption with inherent dangers. 

Often, there are safe alternatives to trick-or-treating that can be fun and also risk-free. Local houses of worship and schools may plan Halloween parties, or families may get together and conduct games and activities instead of allowing young children to engage in trick-or-treating in neighborhoods or along busy streets. Prince George’s County Fire Chief Benjamin M. Barksdale urges adults to take a more pro-active role in activities on Halloween. Additionally, he reminds adults to be vigilant and exercise due caution when traveling to avoid automobile related crashes. Barksdale stated, “Remember safety should be a priority and lets work together to ensure everyone goes home.”

For those who plan to venture out trick-or-treating, the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department would like to offer the following safety tips so that all might enjoy a happy and safe Halloween:

• Costumes should be made of flame resistant light-colored fabric or have reflective qualities. They should be short enough so as not to interfere with walking or become entangled in bicycle chains. Use facial makeup rather than masks so children can see easily. 
• Children should carry flashlights and not use candles or torches. Before leaving the home, children should discuss the proposed route, time of return, and companions. An adult should always accompany younger children. It is advisable to visit the homes of persons you know or local familiar neighborhoods, stopping at well-lit houses only. As a general rule, children should avoid entering homes or apartments and always travel with a companion. 

• Children should avoid busy streets, always use sidewalks, and follow all traffic rules and regulations. Motorists should avoid all unnecessary travel on Halloween evening, and when driving they should drive slowly and be alert to small children crossing streets. Many accidents occur when motorists are backing vehicles out of driveways, unaware of the presence of small children. 

• Halloween treats should be saved until children return home where adults can examine all items closely. Treats that are unwrapped, or show signs of having been opened, should not be eaten. Fruit should be sliced into small pieces and checked for foreign objects. Keep small pieces of candy away from infants and very small children, as they can easily become lodged in the throat and cause choking. 

• Persons receiving trick-or-treaters should keep a light on and pick up obstacles that could cause a child to trip and become injured. Jack-o-lanterns should be kept clear of doorsteps and landings. Consider the possibility of using flashlights instead of candles to light Jack-o-lanterns. Keep dogs and other pets away from doors so children will not become frightened.

A recent trend in celebrating Halloween has been to celebrate as groups at parties or community events in addition to more adult Halloween parties being held. This trend has resulted in fewer door-to-door trick-or-treaters, however, creates additional vehicles on the street. With Halloween falling on Tuesday, October 31, there are numerous additional Halloween parties planned for both adults and children over the October 27, 28 and 29th weekend. 

When festive occasions are celebrated involving adults, the consumption of alcohol goes up. The Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department offer these everyday reminders and safety tips to party-goers:

• Never drink and drive. 

• Always wear your seat belt and ensure everyone in your vehicle is buckled up as well. 

• If you are wearing a costume – vehicle occupants, including the driver, should not wear a mask or head dressing as this may block the view of the driver. 

• Be aware that there are still many trick or treaters walking and crossing streets – slow your speed and use extreme care while driving. 

• Use battery powered illumination instead of candles at your Halloween celebration, including inside of your carved pumpkin.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Great Shakeout - Earthquake Drill

The Prince George’s County Office of Homeland Security/Office of Emergency Management (OHS/OEM) joins FEMA, the Ready Campaign PrepareAthon to promote Earthquake Preparedness this October and encourages employees to take part in The Great Shakeout Earthquake Drills on Thursday, October 19th at 10:19 a.m.   

OEM encourages all employees to participate in the Great ShakeOut by dropping, covering, and holding on for earthquake preparedness;
    • DROP to the ground (before the earthquake drops you!),
    • Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table; and
    • HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops.

For additional information about the Earthquake Preparedness drill, visit Shakeout.organd the OEM's website.  Also follow us on Facebook and Twitter to obtain current preparedness tips. 


Sunday, October 15, 2017

PGFD Open House at St Joes

Images from an Open House event held at the St Joeesph Fire/EMS Station in Springdale.  Thanks to Alan Doubleday, Steve Tabak and Marvin Perry for the video and images.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Assistant Fire Chief Graduates from Institute of Regional Excellence

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

Congratulations are in order for Assistant Fire Chief Dana Brooks for her participation and graduation as a Prince George’s County representative in the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) Institute of Regional Excellence (IRE) Program through George Washington University (GWU).  Brooks received her Certified Public Manager (CPM) recognition on Friday October 6. 

"I am proud of Assistant Chief Brooks accomplishments with the Institute of Regional Excellence as well as her daily efforts to keep Prince George's County a safer place to live, work and visit," said Fire Chief Benjamin Barksdale.

Dana Brooks is currently working as a Special Assistant to the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Public Safety, Mr. Mark Magaw.  Mr. Magaw, Deputy Fire Chief Tiffany Green and Captain Aaron White were in attendance at the graduation ceremony.  

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

"Job Well Done" from The Dictionary Initiative

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

Prince George's County Fire Chief Benjamin Barksdale recently received a very complimentary letter  concerning the actions of his personnel.  Sarah Cavitt, Project Chair of the Dictionary Initiative, wrote to Barksdale saying, "Thank you, Battalion Chief Catterton and all the other fire/ems personnel for participating in the distribution of dictionaries at the Fort Foote ES on Thursday, October 5, 2017. The children were really thrilled to see all the 'uniformed' personnel." 

The books distributed to the students were sponsored by the Riverbend Estates Neighborhood Association. 

"I am always pleased to hear that our personnel made a difference at an event or in someones life," responded Fire Chief Barksdale.  "I also would like to thank Battalion Chief Ashley Catterton and the 5th Battalion personnel for representing the Fire/EMS Department in such an outstanding manner. Job well done."

Pictures provided courtesy of Sarah Cavitt, The Dictionary Initiative