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Friday, June 22, 2018

PGFD Firefighters use "Cat-Like" Skills to Rescue Kitten

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

A woman driving to her local Walmart heard a funny noise coming from the front end of her car.  When she arrived in the parking lot on Annapolis Road in Landover Hills she was surprised to find a small kitten had hitched a ride within the fender.  Not being able to reach the small kitten she turned to her local firefighter/medics for help.

So it was around 8:30 am, Friday, June 22, that she called the nearby Landover Hills Fire/EMS Station 830.  It just so happened that the Fire/EMS Department's cat loving Captain was working.  Fire Fighter/Medic Captain Danon Ushinski and his wife had adopted a kitten a few months ago that she had rescued.  The Ushinski's ended up adopting that rescued kitten "Mystic" after their beloved "Jeffrey" had passed about 2 months ago.  Captain Ushinski has since earned the affectionate nickname of the "cat guy."

"We drove the engine non emergency to the scene and found a small grey kitten in the fender," explained Ushinski.  "With approval of the car owner a decision was made to try and remove the fender for better access."  After returning to the Fire/EMS Station to obtain equipment and returning to the scene, Ushinski was able to video the kitten and captured his meowing (video attached).  

Using some feline type quick thinking, Ushinski replayed the video with the audio of the "meow" combined with the quick cat skill grab of Fire Fighter/Medic Shawn Croissette the vehicle remained intact.

Ushinski stated, "I played back his meow and he started meowing and he moved closer to the bottom of the vehicle."  Captain Ushinski was joined by "cat guy #2" Croissette.   "The kitten moved to a position that Croisette was able to grab him and pull him to freedom," said Ushinski.  The kitten was assessed and placed in a box and accompanied the firefighter/medics back to the Landover Hills Station.

Plans are for Ushinski to keep the kitten at the station until 3:00 pm.  When off-duty he will bring the kitten to the Anne Arundel SPCA.   Danon and Morgan Ushinski will go through the adoption process once again of a this rescued kitten the firefighters have named "River." 

Rescued kitten  "River" temporary home at the Landover Hills Fire/EMS Station 830

L to R - Fire Fighter/Medic Captain Danon Ushinski, River and Fire Fighter/Medic Shawn Croissette - aka the PGFD Cat Guys with rescued kitten "river"

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Portable CO Device Alerts Medics to Exposure Incident

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

Medics discovered a dangerous situation this morning when they arrived to treat a 911 caller that felt sick.  At around 12:30 am, Wednesday, June 20, an ambulance and a medic unit were dispatched from the Laurel Fire/EMS Station 810 to a townhouse on Pineywood Place after an adult male occupant called 911 and reported he was ill. 

When the crews entered the home they encountered a male and female occupant, both 70ish years of age, and started their patient assessment.  A device attached to the medic’s radio went into alert indicating high levels of carbon monoxide (CO).  The ambulance crew and medics immediately knew they were dealing with carbon monoxide exposure to the two occupants.  Medics requested additional resources to the scene and evacuated the occupants to the fresh air environment of the homes exterior and started oxygen on both patients.

Firefighters arrived quickly and used their monitoring equipment to find there were upwards of 1000 parts per million (ppm) of carbon monoxide inside the townhome. A normal range of CO inside a home can range from 0 to 35 ppm.

CO is a byproduct of a fossil fuel after combustion.  CO defies all human senses and cannot be seen, smelled, heard or tasted and affects a person after being exposed and inhaling the toxic fumes earning the nickname of the “silent killer”.   After the toxic fumes are unknowingly inhaled CO displaces oxygen inside of your lungs and denies the much-needed oxygen to vital organs.  Exposures to CO will make a person sick up to being fatal depending on the level of CO and how long you are exposed.  

The only way to determine the presence of unhealthy CO levels in a home is to have working CO detectors.  County Law requires a CO detector on every level of your home if you have natural gas services, a fireplace or an attached garage.  CO detectors can be purchased at home improvement, electronic and hardware stores.

Both occupants displayed signs and symptoms of CO exposure and were transported to an area hospital with hyperbaric services.  A hyperbaric chamber is typically the treatment of choice for patients suffering from CO exposure.

Firefighters searched the townhouse for a source of the CO.  All natural gas burning appliances and ventilation systems were checked in the house as well as adjoining townhouses.  A running auto in the attached garage was found to be the source of the high levels of CO.  It appears that the vehicle was left running accidentally.

Starting in 2015 all radios assigned to PGFD EMS crews have a portable CO detector attached to it.  This will assist EMT’s and Medics to detect the presence of CO when confronted with a situation like today.  The rapid detection protects the crews and allows for a faster treatment of the exposure.

The yellow device is the portable CO detector attached to medics portable radio.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

PGFD receives American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline EMS Silver Plus Recognition Award

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

Prince Georges Fire/EMS Department receives American Heart Association’s
Mission: Lifeline EMS Silver Plus Recognition Award

PRINCE GEORGES MD, June, 2018 —The Prince Georges Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department has received the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline® EMS Silver Plus Award for implementing quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks. 

Every year, more than 250,000 people experience an ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) the deadliest type of heart attack caused by a blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment. To prevent death, it’s critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible, either by mechanically opening the blocked vessel or by providing clot-busting medication. 

The Mission: Lifeline initiative provides tools, training and other resources to support heart attack care following protocols from the most recent evidence-based treatment guidelines. Mission: Lifeline’s EMS recognition program recognizes emergency medical services for their efforts in improving systems of care to rapidly identify suspected heart attack patients, promptly notify the medical center and trigger an early response from the awaiting hospital personnel.

“The Prince Georges Fire/EMS Department is dedicated to providing optimal care for heart attack and all patients that request our assistance,” said Fire Chief Benjamin M. Barksdale. “We are pleased to be recognized for our dedication and achievements in emergency medical care efforts through Mission: Lifeline.” 

“EMTs and paramedics play a vital part in the system of care for those who have heart attacks,” said Tim Henry, M.D., Chair of the Mission: Lifeline Acute Coronary Syndrome Subcommittee. “Since they often are the first medical point of contact, they can save precious minutes of treatment time by activating the emergency response system that alerts hospitals to an incoming heart attack patient. We applaud our providers for achieving this award in following evidence-based guidelines in the treatment of people who have severe heart attacks.” 


About The Prince Georges County Fire/EMS Department: 

The Prince Georges County Fire/EMS Department is the busiest and largest combination, career and volunteer, Fire/EMS Departments in the Country.  950 career Firefighter/Medics and civilians in addition to 1,200 volunteers protect 500 square miles and nearly 1 million residents through a system of 45 stations that provide a variety of fire, EMS, hazmat and technical services.  The Department responds to about 145,000 incidents per year.

About Mission: Lifeline 

The American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline® program helps hospitals and emergency medical services develop systems of care that follow proven standards and procedures for acute coronary syndrome patients. The program works by mobilizing teams across the continuum of care to implement American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology clinical treatment guidelines. For more information, visit heart.org. 

WARNING - All Consumer Fireworks are Illegal in Prince George's County - Watch Video Demo

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
mebrady@co.pg.md.us     @PGFDPIO
For citizens and residents of Prince George's County the purchase and use of "backyard" fireworks for the upcoming Fourth of July celebrations may be confusing.  It is OK to purchase a Christmas Tree in another jurisdiction and bring home to the County.  The same applies for roadside purchases of flowers, fruit, artwork, etc.  As County residents travel around the region they will see roadside and parking lot booths set up promoting the sale and use of fireworks in neighboring jurisdictions.  Stores sell fireworks also.  You may ask whats up??

Prince George's County is one of three jurisdictions in Maryland that prohibit all consumer fireworks.  This law is designed to protect you and those around you.

Citizens, businesses and visitors should know that any consumer purchased fireworks are illegal in Prince George’s County.  All fireworks from sparklers up to ground display are illegal - our law removes any doubt about what is permitted and what is not!!!  All consumer fireworks are not permitted in Prince George's County.  

Consumer purchased backyard fireworks can cause injuries and damage from fires.  Please enjoy your fireworks at one of the many public displays.

Penalties for violation of this law carries up to $1,000 in fines and 6 months in jail.  Enjoy Fourth of July safely and legally, attend a public or municipal display.

To demonstrate the power of a seemingly innocent fire cracker I encourage you to watch this video.  A small firecracker is inserted into a melon.  Imagine you are holding this same firecracker in your hand when it explodes!!!

Don't try this at home.  These displays were conducted by members of the Fire/EMS Department Bomb Squad under strict safety guidelines!!!

Facts & Figures from the National Fire Protection Association
  • In 2011, fireworks caused an estimated 17,8000 reported fires, including 1,200 total structure fires, 400 vehicle fires, and 16,300 outside and other fires. These fires resulted in an estimated eight reported civilian deaths, 40 civilian injuries and $32 million in direct property damage.
  • In 2011, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 9,600 people for fireworks related injuries; 61% of 2011 emergency room fireworks-related injuries were to the extremities and 34% were to the head.
  • The risk of fireworks injury was highest for children ages 5-19, and adults 25-44 in an atypical year of a very comparable risk across much of the population
  • On Independence Day, in a typical year, far more U.S. fires are reported than on any other day, and fireworks account for two out of five of those fires, more than any other cause of fires.
  • The Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department sincerely wishes everyone a happy and safe Independence Day celebration.  We understand that fireworks are a traditional component of the celebration and we strongly encourage everyone to visit one of these approved fireworks displays.

Over the past several years, during the July 4th week, there has been two significant injuries, this one in Capitol Heights and this one in District Heights.  No significant property damage in Prince George's County were documented from fireworks.  Our fireworks law is a law we can live with!!!  If you have purchased your own backyard fireworks and were not aware of the County Law, call 301-583-2200 and request a Fire Investigator to come by your residence to confiscate them.  You will not be charged with a crime if you use this method of surrendering fireworks.

  • All consumer purchased fireworks are illegal to purchase, posses, transport and use in Prince George's County.  This law has help to reduce the number of injuries and fires typically experienced during this festive time of year.

Beat the Heat with AC and Hydration

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

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 in the nineties, combined with high humidity may create a dangerous situation for children, the elderly, and those who suffer from chronic heart or lung conditions, primarily, however, everyone can be exposed to unhealthy conditions if precautions are nor followed.

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.

Stay in an air conditioned environment and drink plenty of water!!!

Remember to check on neighbors, particularly, our senior citizens that may not have air conditioning or choose not to run the cool air due to being on limited incomes.  Being in a home without air conditioning in these temperatures is unhealthy and dangerous!!!

Don't forget our pets.  Keep them indoors in an air conditioned environment and have plenty of water available for them to drink as well.  Remember if the sidewalk and road are hot to he touch of the back of your hand - its too hot for a pets paws.


Any heat related illnesses will require a victim to be removed from the hot environment in 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

At Work

• Avoid the heat - stay in an air conditioned environment 
• Reduce activity
• Drink plenty of water


• 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

Staying in an air conditioned environment and drinking plenty of water is a key to staying healthy during the high heat and humidity!!!

Remember to Stay Safe to ensure everyone goes home.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Career & Volunteer Fire/EMS Recruitment Expo

MEDIA CONTACT ONLY: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson

Additional Information on Expo visit www.tinyurl.com/pgfdrecruiter
Fire/EMS Department Recruiter at 301-883-3164 or at PGFDRecruiter@co.pg.md.us.

Have you ever thought about being a firefighter, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) or a paramedic???  Start your adventure to fulfilling your career dreams by attending the Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department “Career and Volunteer Recruitment Expo.”  The  Recruitment Expo is scheduled for Saturday, June 23, 2018,  9 AM - 3PM,  at the Largo Plaza Shopping Center, 10500 Campus Way South, Largo, Maryland 20774.

The purpose of the Expo is to serve as a recruitment activity that will attract a pool of diverse individuals to apply for job opportunities within the Fire/EMS Department (career, volunteer, civilian); to involve the community in the recruitment process; and to serve as a community outreach event to provide Fire/EMS informational and educational materials and activities.

There will be career, volunteer and civilian members of the Fire/EMS Department on hand to talk about their experiences and answer any questions you may have.

Recruitment displays will include:

Hazardous Materials Demonstration
Bomb Squad Demonstration 
K-9 Demonstration
Smoke Alarm Information and Demonstration Table
Hands Only CPR Demonstration and Information Table
Stop the Bleeding Information Table
Project Safe Kids Information Table

Fire/EMS Apparatus on Display
ReHab Unit 800
Engine “Courage"
Ambulance “Hope”

Mass Casualty Bus 
Collapse 806 – Technical Rescue Unit
Tiller Truck 801
Tanker 823
Engine 819

Fire/EMS Department Command Bus

Monday, June 11, 2018

Mother and Daughter Rescued from Burning House - Coach Lane

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

An adult female and her 3-year old daughter were rescued form the second floor of their burning Suitland home this morning.

At around 9:30 am, Monday, June 11, Prince George’s County Firefighter/Medics were alerted to a house fire in the 3900 block of Coach Lane.  Firefighters from the nearby Silver Hill Fire/EMS Station arrived quickly and encountered a 2-story, with basement, single family home with fire showing from the front of the house.  

The crew of four firefighters initiated operations with the Officer, Captain Russell Poe performing a check of all sides of the house, the wagon driver establishing a water supply and two firefighters stretching a hoseline into the house.  Poe provided a radio return of conditions and entered the house with his firefighters.  As the two firefighters were extinguishing the fire Poe could hear screams for help coming from another area of the house.  He moved ahead of the hoseline and followed the calls for help to a 2nd floor bedroom.  He entered the closed bedroom door and found an adult female with her 3-year old daughter.  The occupants were exposed to smoke and heat and were experiencing symptoms of smoke inhalation and respiratory distress.

Intense heat and thick smoke consumed the top floor.  Poe alerted other firefighters of his location and that he located two occupants.  Realizing additional firefighters were still responding to the scene and moments away Poe sheltered-in-place with the two occupants and provided his air mask to the 3-year-old female to assist with her breathing.  Despite having a closed door the heat and smoke inside the room was increasing from the fire which was located almost directly below them in an adjacent room. 

Moments later, with the bulk of the fire extinguished, one of his firefighters, Matthew Tippett, was able to leave the hoseline to assist with the trapped occupants.  Poe and the Tippett successfully removed the pair down the interior stairs and out through the front of the house.

Medics and an ambulance crew from the Silver Hill Fire/EMS Station were already on the scene and quickly provided treatment on the scene for exposure to smoke and heat and transported to area hospitals for treatment.  They were in “Good” condition and expected to make a full recovery.

The fire started in a first floor room towards the front of the house and was started accidentally by a discarded cigarette.  Fire loss is estimated at $45,000.  A smoke alarm was found inside the home but determined to be non-working due to the age of the alarm.  The smoke alarm appeared to be 20+ years old whereas smoke alarms need to be replaced every 10 years.

The Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department cannot stress enough the importance of having a 10-year working smoke alarm on every level of your home, primarily just outside of sleeping areas.  We further encourage everyone to sleep with their bedroom door closed and install smoke alarms inside of your bedroom as well.  Additionally, plan and practice a home escape in the event of an emergency.  During your plan identify 2 ways out of every room in your house.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Veteran Volunteer EMT Saves Female From Possible Suicide Attempt

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

A 33-year veteran EMT from the Laurel Rescue Squad saved a woman who appeared to be just moments away from jumping off a bridge this afternoon.

At about 3:30 pm, Saturday, June 9, 2018 a Laurel Volunteer Rescue Squad Ambulance, Ambulance 849B, was on the scene of a car crash involving minor injuries on the Capital Beltway near the I-95 overpass in the College Park/Beltsville area. 

The driver of the ambulance, Volunteer Lieutenant EMT Scott Globerman, was about to commence with transporting a person from the crash with minor injuries to the hospital when he witnessed several bystanders looking and pointing up at the I-95 ramp and overpass.   He looked and focused on the area where they were pointing. 

Globerman, a 33-year member of the Laurel Rescue Squad, saw an adult female standing on the bridge edge of the guardrail and she appeared distressed. 

He notified his partner to remain with the patient already loaded in their ambulance from the crash and he immediately went to the distressed females location. 

Globerman called on his radio for police assistance and asked St Joe's Heavy-Duty Rescue Squad 806 to provide barrier protection. Squad 806 had just cleared the crash and was still in the immediate area. 

Globerman engaged the female in conversation in an attempt to talk her to safety.  The female only repeated she "must wait until 5:00 pm."  Globerman realized the situation was dire and only had moments to act before the female jumped from the bridge.  He and an unidentified bystander calmly approached when she suddenly pulled her shirt over her head and appeared ready to jump off the bridge. Globerman reached out and grabbed the female preventing her from jumping. 

Still holding on to her he asked her to move with him to a safe area and she complied.  Globerman escorted her away from the edge of the bridge to a safe area where another ambulance and Maryland State Police met them. The ambulance transported the female to an area hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. 

Globerman returned to his ambulance and completed the transport of their crash victim. 

The on-duty Prince George's County Battalion Chief, Lee Collins, states that he feels confident that Globerman saved the life of this female.