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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Prince George’s County Participating in Regional Test of Wireless Emergency Alerts System



MEDIA ADVISORY




Prince George’s County Participating in Regional Test of Wireless Emergency Alerts System
Country’s first live regional test using geo-target capabilities, reaching up to 5.2M
                                                           
What: Twenty jurisdictions, including Prince George’s County, will simultaneously issue a test message to the public through the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) system. WEA is a public safety alerting system allowing government officials to target emergency information to a specific geographic area using an individual’s cell phone or other mobile device. WEA allows the messaging to be more targeted and efficient which is critical during an emergency.

Individuals in the participating jurisdictions will receive the following message: “A test of the Prince George’s County Emergency Alert System. No action required.” The alert triggers a loud noise while displaying the text message on cell phones and mobile devices. Individuals do not sign up to receive a WEA alert.

Who:   City of Alexandria, City of Bowie, City of College Park, City of Fairfax, City of Falls Church, City of Gaithersburg, City of Greenbelt, City of Takoma Park, City of Manassas, City of Manassas Park, City of Rockville, District of Columbia, Arlington County, Charles County, Fairfax County, Frederick County, Loudoun County, Montgomery County, Prince George's County and Prince William County. People in these jurisdictions during the WEA test will receive an alert on their cell phone or other mobile device(s).

When: Thursday, April 5, 2018, between 10-11 a.m.
If a real-world event impacts the WEA test on Thursday, April 5, the back-up test date is Monday, April 9, between 10-11 a.m.

Where:            Each jurisdiction participating in the exercise will draw a geo-targeted map in their WEA system. Cell phones or mobile devices located outside, but near, the participating jurisdictions may receive the WEA test because this technology uses carrier towers.
                              
Why:   Periodic testing of public alerts and warning systems helps local governments assess the system and identify any needed improvements. Public safety officials need to be sure that in times of an emergency or disaster, they have reliable methods and systems that will deliver urgent alerts and warnings to the public. Conducting a regional test supports the continued use, training, and improvement of the WEA system.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

PGFD Firefighter & Owner of "Advent Comics" Planning a Comic-Con

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

Most firefighters make good use of their shift schedule and during their off-duty time have a part-time job or hobby.  Some are carpenters, plumbers, HVAC technicians, landscaping, driving limousines, DJ's and more.  We recently became aware of a firefighter that has used his talents to develop an entertainment company and is about to embark on a big adventure.

One of the original “Emergency Response Technicians" (ERT), Firefighter/Medic Tony Kittrell has had an almost 20-year career with the Prince George’s Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department.  Distinguishing himself over the years with his selfless service to the citizens of Prince George’s County, Tony has chosen to embark on another mission to give something back to the entire National Capital Region. 

When he is not serving the community, Tony has owned and managed an entertainment company for well over a decade.  As the Owner and Publisher of "Advent Comics", he creates comic books and graphic novels.  His line of books are sold on six continents in 45 countries and can be found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, various other outlets across the country and on his website.  It was this endeavor that caused him to want to bring a big San Diego Comic-Con type of event here to the East Coast.

Universal Fan Con is that event.  Created with a dedicated group, the fruits of their labor will be evident on April 27-29, 2018 when the Universal Fan Con lands at the Baltimore Convention Center. Universal Fan Con is the first large-scale, 24-hour, inclusive event that celebrates the diversity of fandom and the diversity of fans. 

When asked about this event, Tony describes it as “San Diego Comic–Con on steroids”.  This event was created to include not just the comic book fans but everyone!  “We sought to include those who are normally overlooked at these types of events and have made sure to have something of interest for Persons of Color, Women, the Disabled, LGBTQ Community and other marginalized groups within our area.”  Anime, Comics, Cosplayers, Film, Gaming, Movies, Music and Television are the themes (called Fandoms) that are represented at Universal Fan Con.  And with one look at the lineup assembled, it is clear there is no holding back with this star-studded event.  

Legendary actors such as Billy Dee Williams, Game of Thrones’ Kristian Nairn, the casts of top-rated shows like Starz American Gods and SyFy’s Killjoys and The Magicians will be in attendance.  

There will be live concerts and performances by artists such as Big Daddy Kane, Bit Brigade, Ducky Dynamo, The Triforce Quartet, a comedy show hosted by film/tv star Orlando Jones, 24-hour Arcade, eSports Tournaments, Fandom themed parties, Anime and Movie Screenings, Kid’s Programming and STEM Events are just some of the activities taking place during this show.  

Public Safety Employees are invited to attend the weekend long show and can receive discounted tickets with a special PGFD discount code “ADVENTUFC10”.  To get tickets and for more information, go to www.universalfancon.com.


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Four Fires on Tuesday in County - Firefighter Seriously Injured

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

Prince George’s County Firefighters battled four structure fires within an 8-hour period on Tuesday.  The fires caused significant damage to two occupied homes, displaced four occupants and injured two firefighters.

The string of home fires started at around 3:30 pm, Tuesday, March 13 when firefighters from the Clinton area were alerted to a house fire in the 6100 block of Willow Way.  Firefighters from Clinton Fire/EMS Station 825 were the first to arrive finding a 2-story single family home with fire showing from the top floor and roof area.  During the interior search for occupants and fire suppression a partial roof collapse occurred injuring two firefighters.  The fire was brought under control within 25 minutes of arrival.   No one was home at the time of the fire.  Two adult occupants were displaced and assisted by the American Red Cross.  Fire loss is estimated at $150,000.  The cause and origin of this fire is undetermined and remains under investigation.

Two firefighters sustained burn injuries and were transported by medics to the Burn Unit at Medstar Washington Hospital Center.  One firefighter was treated and released.  The other injured firefighter suffered serious burn injuries including 2nd and 3rd degree burns to a large area of his body.  Fortunately his airway remained protected and was not burned.  He has been admitted and will remain in the Burn Unit for several days.

The second fire occurred just after 6:00 pm in the 200 block of North Huron Drive in Oxon Hill.  Firefighters arrived to find a vacant 2-story house with smoke coming from the 2nd floor.  Firefighters extinguished the fire shortly after arrival.  Fire Investigators determined an unknown person set a fire in a bedroom on the 2nd floor.  The cause of this fire is incendiary and remains under investigation. 

At around 8:40 pm firefighters from the Accokeek area were alerted to a fire in the basement of a 1-story, with basement, single-family home in the 14600 block of Cactus Hill Road.  Firefighters arrived and discovered a working fire with both occupants having escaped thanks to a working smoke alarm.  This area is not protected by a water hydrant system and firefighters had to rely on water tankers to shuttle water back and forth to the scene.  Firefighters initially used what water they had on their engines in an attempt to extinguish the fire, however, the fire had grown in intensity and was rapidly extending to the floor above forcing firefighters to evacuate and await a established water supply.  The fire was extinguished after 1 hour of arrival.  The fire loss is estimated at $200,000.  No injuries were reported.  The American Red Cross assisted the two adult displaced residents.  The cause and origin of this fire is undetermined and remains under investigation.

At About 11:15 pm firefighters were alerted to a vacant structure fire at the corner of Bock Road and Livingston Road in Oxon Hill.  Firefighters arrived to find a 2-story vacant structure with fire throughout.  Firefighters battled the blaze from exterior positions and had the fire extinguished within 30 minutes of arrival.  No injuries were reported.  Incident Commanders determined the fire was incendiary.

Firefighters from Charles County, Alexandria and Fairfax assisted Prince George’s County firefighters on these incidents.


No information is currently available to link the two arson fires.  Anyone with information about the arson fires on North Huron Drive and Bock Road in Oxon Hill are asked to call our Arson Hot Line at 301-77-ARSON (301-772-7766).  Callers can remain anonymous.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Acting Deputy Fire Chief Announced

Statement from Fire Chief Ben Barksdale

It is my pleasure to announce on Sunday, April 1st, 2018 Assistant Chief, Brian Frankel has been selected to replace DFC Dennis Wood as the Emergency Services Command Deputy.  In addition, Battalion Chief Ernest Lindqvist will serve as the Assistant Chief/EMS Commander.  Both will serve in an acting capacity and will be confirmed in the very near future.  Their advancement is a direct reflection of their hard work and dedication to this Department, as well as to the residents and visitors for which they serve.  

I would like to take this opportunity to thank DFC Wood for twenty-three years of dedicated service.  His accomplishments in community risk reduction, hiring diversity, modern facilities, EMS performance and production, budget performance measures are a few examples of his efforts in making our Department better to serve the residents of Prince George’s County.  I would like to wish DFC Wood all the best in his new position with the National Fire Sprinkler Association.

Congratulations to all of them!



Benjamin M. Barksdale, MS, EFO, CFO
Fire Chief
Prince George's County Fire/EMS 

PGFD Deputy Fire Chief Wood Announces Retirement and New Job

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

Prince George's County Deputy Fire Chief Dennis C. Wood at 44 years of age and nearly 23 years of service announced his retirement effective March 31, 2018.  During the most recent three years, he served the personnel that provide direct fire suppression and emergency medical services to the community as the Emergency Services Deputy Chief.  He leaves the Department with a sense of pride and accomplishment about the growth and innovation that has resulted in improved effectiveness and efficiency.  

When asked about his career, he said "Any person's goal in their employment should be to leave it better than they found it.  The combined efforts within the Department and the Baker Administration has truly accomplished that.  I am proud of our accomplishments and to have had the privilege to guide those efforts.  The Department is on an excellent path, I look forward to seeing even greater things in the future."

Deputy Chief Wood has accepted a position that allows him to serve the fire service as the Director of Operations for the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA).  This opportunity allows him to follow a leadership role that can influence the effectiveness of the fire service and improve fire safety on a national level.  The NFSA seeks the "widespread acceptance of the sprinkler concept" and Prince George's County is a national leader in support of residential sprinklers, his experiences in the County will undoubtedly contribute to future successes in his new role.   


"Congratulations to Deputy Fire Chief Dennis Wood on his retirement after 23 years of dedicated service to Prince George's County,” said County Fire Chief Benjamin Barksdale. “I was happy to hear he will be taking a position with the NFSA where he will continue to serve as a residential fire sprinkler advocate not only for personnel and residents here in Prince George’s County but also around the Country." 

No word yet on his replacement.


Colmar Manor House Fire with Civilian Fatality

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

“Change your Clock – Change your Battery” is a battle cry from firefighters heard across the Country urging residents to remember to check their smoke alarm when they move their clock forward one-hour to reflect Daylight Saving Time.  On this very day Prince George’s County firefighters battled a well-advanced fire and removed an occupant that was later pronounced at the hospital.  No smoke alarms were found inside the home.

Colmar Manor community members saw the fire coming from the roof of the 2-story split-foyer single-family home in the 4200 block of Monroe Street just after 10:00 pm, Sunday, March 11.  They did everything they possibly could including banging on the front door of the house, calling 911 and reporting what they were seeing but there was nothing more they could do.

Firefighters arrived and encountered fire conditions throughout the top floor of the structure.  The fire had already extended into the attic and through the roof.  A simultaneous interior attack on the fire and search for occupants ensued resulting in finding an unconscious adult male occupant.  He was removed and medics initiated pre-hospital emergency care and transported to a nearby medical facility.  Sadly, the 70-year-old man was pronounced a short time later.  No other civilian or firefighter injuries were reported.

The fire was extinguished and personnel from the County Office of the Fire Marshal started their investigation into the cause and origin of the fire.  They estimate that $150,000 in fire loss occurred to the structure and contents.  The cause and origin remain under investigation.  An autopsy will be performed to determine if this will be the 4th fire fatality of 2018.  There were a total of 5 residential fire fatalities with accidental causes in calendar year 2017.  Fire related fatalities in 2017 and to date in 2018 have occurred in homes that did not have a working smoke alarm.

Maryland residents are reminded to have 10-year smoke alarms on every level of your home, primarily, in hallways just outside of sleeping areas.  Additionally, 10-year smoke alarms should be installed in every bedroom and residents should close their bedroom doors when they go to sleep.

Regardless of the type of smoke alarm you have, test your alarms on the Safety First Day of every month to ensure they are working.  In addition to having working smoke alarms an escape plan should be planned and practiced with all home occupants identifying 2-ways out of every room in your house and a safe meeting place outside.

Prince George’s County residents that need a 10-year smoke alarm installed in their home and can not afford to purchase one themselves should call 311 and ask about the free smoke alarm installation program.

Please install and maintain working smoke alarms – they save lives!!!

Identity of deceased:


William Mobley – DOB 1-14-1948

Friday, March 9, 2018

UPDATE on 3/10 at 2:40 pm - Fort Washington House Fire with 2 Civilian Fatalities

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

A Fort Washington house fire claimed the life of a husband and wife late Thursday night.  Just after 11:30 pm, Thursday, March 8, 2018 a neighbor called 911 to report a nearby house was on fire.  Firefighters arrived in the 500 block of Round Table Drive and encountered a 2-story split-level single family home with fire showing throughout the structure.  First arriving firefighters were able to make a brief attempt at an interior attack and search of the structure.  Although the efforts were hampered by excessive storage conditions on the interior firefighters located an adult male and female near the foyer of the house.  Medics performed pre-hospital emergency resuscitative measures but were never able to regain spontaneous pulse or breathing.  The husband, 75 years-of-age, and wife, 80 years-of-age, were pronounced on the scene just after midnight, Friday, March 9th.

Due to the well advanced fire combined with the unsafe interior conditions all firefighters were evacuated from the burning home and continued to battle the fire from the safety of exterior positions.  Once the bulk of the fire was knocked down from the outside firefighters re-entered the home to complete the extinguishment and start the task of overhaul, which included the removal of the excessive storage of materials.

During fire suppression a firefighter experienced a sudden onset of respiratory distress and was transported to an area hospital.  This firefighter has since been released from the hospital.  No other injuries were reported.

It appears the fire started in the lower level of the house, however, the cause remains under investigation.  Firefighters could not locate a working smoke alarm in the house.  Fire loss is estimated at $150,000.

Fire Investigators will typically wait for an autopsy to positively identify the deceased and release their cause and origin findings.  Family members have gone on record with the identity of their parents.

These are the 2nd and 3rd residential fire related fatalities in Prince George’s County this calendar year.  There were a total of 5 such deaths in 2017.  All of the residential fire deaths with accidental origins in 2017 and to date 2018 have occurred in homes without a working smoke alarm.

This Sunday residents are asked to move their clocks forward 1-hour and firefighters also remind residents that it is a good time to check their smoke alarms as well.  Maryland residents are reminded to have 10-year smoke alarms on every level of your home, primarily, in hallways just outside of sleeping areas.  Additionally, 10-year smoke alarms should be installed in every bedroom and residents should close their bedroom doors when they go to sleep.

Regardless of the type of smoke alarm you have, test your alarms on the Safety First Day of every month to ensure it is working.  In addition to having working smoke alarms an escape plan should be planned and practiced with all home occupants identifying 2-ways out of every room in your house and a safe meeting place outside.

Prince George’s County residents that need a 10-year smoke alarm installed in their home and can not afford to purchase one themselves should call 311 and ask about the free smoke alarm installation program.


Update Saturday March 10th at 2:40 pm.


INVESTIGATION DETAILS:
The identity of the deceased have been confirmed by the OCME. They have been identified as: Mr. Harry Proctor (75/M) and Mrs. Clara Proctor (80/F). Their cause of death was Smoke Inhalation.

There was no working smoke alarm found during the scene examination.

RESOLUTIONS:

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Investigators continue to conduct further scene examinations with engineers, interviews, etc. It is currently still listed as UNDETERMINED.

Mark Brady PGFD PIO