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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

FIRE/EMS Department Presents 2018 Valor and Excellence in EMS Awards

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

On Wednesday, April 24, 2019 the Prince George's County Public Safety Valor Awards were held at Martins Crosswinds in Greenbelt, Maryland.  the following are the recipients for events that occurred in 2018.

Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department
Line of Duty Death
Presented to


In 2012, the Maryland General Assembly passed the Fire Fighter Cancer Presumption Bill. This added several types of cancers to the list presumed to be job-related, contracted in the course of duty as a firefighter or paramedic. 

On January 31, 2017, Firefighter McCullough was diagnosed with occupational colorectal cancer. His valiant 21-month fight against this disease was a testament to his fortitude and tenacity. During his battle, Firefighter McCullough encouraged his fellow firefighters and paramedics to take precautionary measures against developing this insidious disease. He even went so far as to routinely wash his entire crew’s protective hoods. Firefighter McCullough served our Department and the residents of Prince George’s County for over 10 years. He passed away on October 9, 2018. 
For his courage in battling the job-related cancer that resulted in him making the ultimate sacrifice, Firefighter Jesse W. McCullough is awarded a Gold Medal of Valor. 

Recently, the Maryland General Assembly overwhelmingly passed the “Fire Fighter Jesse McCullough Cancer Protection Law,” named after our fallen comrade. This Law will ensure that firefighters and paramedics who serve in multiple jurisdictions will have their cumulative service count toward the time required to be protected under the Workers Compensation Law if diagnosed with an occupational cancer. In addition, the law will ensure that these protections extend to our retired firefighters and paramedics who contract a covered occupational illness. 

Accepting Firefighter McCullough’s medal is his widow, Susie. She is being escorted to the stage by Captain Stephanie Buffum and Lieutenant Erica Hasan.

Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department
Presented to


On January 4, 2016, Firefighter/Medic Lieutenant Kathleen Martell, a 19-year veteran of the Fire/EMS Department, was diagnosed with breast cancer. In the weeks following her diagnosis, Lieutenant Martell began chemotherapy treatments. The treatments made her ill, caused hair loss, and depleted her energy. All of this did not stop her from performing the duties of her position in an exemplary manner. Throughout her ordeal, Lieutenant Martell, who is assigned to the Special Events Division, worked very hard to keep the unit operating. 

Nearly one year after her chemo treatments ended, Lieutenant Martell underwent a double mastectomy. She returned to work one month later and accepted an Acting Lieutenant position, where she put forth 100 percent effort. While still receiving chemo medication, Lieutenant Martell finished the coursework requirements for the Lieutenant’s exam and even went on ride-alongs. Despite experiencing constant nausea, weakness, and extreme fatigue caused by the medication, she sat for and passed the Lieutenant’s exam. Three months later she was again diagnosed with breast cancer. 

Lieutenant Martell endured a third surgery and began a six-week course of radiation. At the completion of this treatment she reported for work daily, kept up with her responsibilities, and did so with a great attitude. However, she was placed on a new medication that made her too ill to report for duty. The medication was stopped, and another round of chemotherapy began and was administered until this past March. 
Throughout this most difficult time, Lieutenant Martell has never given up. She continues to work hard, remain positive, and make people laugh with her wonderful sense of humor. While still battling health issues, she has not faltered in managing the demanding workload in the Special Events office. 

Fire Lieutenant Kathleen Martell has demonstrated extreme courage and perseverance under the most difficult circumstances. She is a fighter and an inspiration to those who know her, and an asset to our Department. Therefore, Fire Chief Benjamin Barksdale is please to name her as the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department “2018 Firefighter of the Year.”

Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department
Gold Medal of Valor
Presented To

Firefighter/Medic Captain
Russell L. Poe

On Monday, June 11, 2018, units from Silver Hill Fire/EMS Station 829 responded to a house fire in the 3900 block of Coach Lane. Crews arrived to find heavy, dense smoke obscuring their view. The engine slowly advanced through the smoke until the house of origin was observed and reported as a single-family dwelling with fire showing. 

Crews dismounted the apparatus, gained entry through the front door, and began extinguishing the venting fire. Captain Poe advised his crew members that he was going to make his way up to the second floor to search for possible occupants. Without the protection of a hose line and under limited visibility and moderate heat he reached the second floor and heard muffled screaming. He then radioed Command and asked if there were any reports of people trapped while requesting a search crew to the second floor as soon as possible. 

Captain Poe had been searching for approximately one minute when he heard someone yelling, “Help!” Realizing his proximity to the victims, he advanced through a bedroom door and located a woman in severe respiratory distress lying on the floor in heavy smoke. Her 2-year-old daughter was also in the bedroom. Captain Poe immediately attempted to shut the door and alerted crews that he had two victims upstairs. He had selflessly removed his Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus to share with the mother and her young daughter when a fellow firefighter responded to his location and carried the child down the stairs. Captain Poe and the woman were able to take a few breaths of fresh air prior to him removing her from the structure. 

Both victims were removed from the burning structure and placed in the care of EMS personnel. The child was transported to Children’s National Medical Center in respiratory distress and the mother to MedStar. The pair has since been released from the hospital. 

For extreme personal risk and the highest degree of judgment, zeal, and ingenuity, Firefighter/Medic Captain Russell L. Poe is awarded a Gold Medal of Valor.

Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department
Silver Medal of Valor
Presented To

Volunteer EMS Lieutenant
Scott Globerman

On Wednesday, June 13, 2018, the ambulance from Laurel Volunteer Rescue Squad, Inc. responded for a car crash on the Beltway in the College Park/Beltsville area. On arrival, Lieutenant Scott Globerman noticed several bystanders looking toward the overpass and pointing to an adult female standing on the bridge edge of the guardrail. He proceeded to the distressed female’s location while his partner remained with their crash victim who had suffered only minor injuries. Upon reaching the woman, Lieutenant Globerman radioed for police assistance and requested the Rescue Squad from St. Joseph’s Fire/EMS Station 806 to provide barrier protection. 

Lieutenant Globerman and an unidentified bystander approached the female who had pulled her shirt over her head and appeared ready to jump. His attempts to engage her in conversation proved futile, as she repeatedly stated that she must wait until 5:00 P.M. Globerman determinedly continued to engage the woman and eventually persuaded her to let him move her to safety. He then escorted the female to an ambulance from Calverton and the waiting Maryland State Police. Following the patient’s transport to an area hospital, Globerman returned to his ambulance to complete transport of the crash victim. 

Lieutenant Globerman’s quick thinking and immediate action on the scene of this incident prevented a potentially tragic outcome. 

For judgement, zeal, and ingenuity, Volunteer EMS Lieutenant Scott Globerman is awarded a Silver Medal of Valor.

Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department
Silver Medal of Valor
Presented To

Volunteer Firefighter
Jordan J. Demeritt

On the evening December 17, 2018, Volunteer Firefighter Jordan Demeritt, a technical rescue member of the Prince George’s County Volunteer Marine Fire Rescue Station 57, was on Holiday Block Leave from the United States Army and returning home from Christmas shopping. Firefighter Demeritt was traveling westbound on Route 50 when he noticed fire rolling from beneath a vehicle traveling up ahead. Within seconds of Firefighter Demeritt reaching the vehicle, flames had grown in intensity and the driver was pulling over. With the presence of heavy smoke and fire, Firefighter Demeritt pulled his t-shirt up over his mouth and nose and approached the vehicle. With fuel feeding the fire, he was able to rescue 2 adults and a child prior to shutting off the engine. The grateful family was sheltered away from their vehicle that was now totally engulfed in flames. 

Firefighter Demeritt’s quick thinking heroic and actions directly contributed to saving the lives of this family. He was also awarded the Army Achievement Medal for his actions “in answering the call whenever and wherever that may be”. 

For great personal risk, judgement, and zeal, Volunteer Firefighter Jordan J. Demeritt is awarded a Silver Medal of Valor.

Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department
Bronze Medal of Valor
Presented To

Lester H. Bascom

Firefighter/Paramedic III Lester H. Bascom, assigned to the County Tactical EMS program, is being awarded a Bronze Medal of Valor along with police officers from his tactical team.  Bascom’s team was involved in an incident that included a police involved shooting.  Without his pre-hospital care aa life was saved.

For judgement, zeal, and ingenuity Fire Fighter/Medic Lester H. Bascom is hereby awarded a Bronze Medal of Valor.

Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department
Silver Medal of Excellence In EMS /
Emergency Medical Technician of the Year
Presented To

Colin M. Patterson

Silver Medal of Excellence In EMS
Presented To

Alexander L. Hamburger

In the early morning hours of June 22, 2018, Firefighter/Medic Hamburger and then Probationary Firefighter Patterson were on board the Paramedic Ambulance from Fire/EMS Station 838, which responded for an individual vomiting blood. The pair was already on the scene when Public Safety Communications advised that the incident was possibly assault-related. Firefighter/Medic Hamburger communicated that they would stage in the apparatus outside the residence until County police arrived at the location and determined the scene safe. 

Assured the scene was safe, Firefighter/Medic Hamburger and Firefighter Patterson entered the home and discovered an approximately 35-year-old male suffering from a traumatic stab wound to the face and significant blood loss. A 
large object was impaled through his cheek and had exited on the opposite side of his throat. The patient began to decompensate almost immediately upon initial contact. 
Firefighter Patterson recognized the patient’s rapid deterioration and without instruction or hesitation obtained a Reeves stretcher from the unit and quickly aided in removing the patient from the basement apartment. While Firefighter/Medic Hamburger was performing stabilization efforts, Firefighter Patterson obtained vitals, prepared ALS monitoring equipment, and maintained the rapidly deteriorating patient’s airway—all without instruction or having previously performed such tasks. 
A firefighter from another unit on the scene drove Paramedic Ambulance 838 while Firefighter/Medic Hamburger and Firefighter Patterson continued stabilizing the patient and maintaining his airway. 

Firefighter Patterson, with only 5 months on the job and this being the first shift where he provided BLS care on the Paramedic Ambulance, performed far above and beyond what is typically expected of a probationary firefighter. His 
actions greatly impacted the patient’s chances for survival in an extremely time-sensitive incident. 

One month following the incident, the patient was released from the hospital to continue care at an outpatient rehabilitation facility. He was expected to make a full recovery. It was later learned that the object impaled in the victim’s face was a 10-inch chef’s knife that barely missed his carotid artery by millimeters and other major arteries in his face. 

For the highest degree of judgement, zeal, ingenuity, and great EMS skills, Firefighter/Medic Alexander L. Hamburger and Firefighter Colin M. Patterson are awarded a Silver Medal for Excellence in EMS. 

Additionally, Fire Chief Benjamin Barksdale is pleased to name Firefighter Patterson as the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department’s “2018 Emergency Medical Technician of the Year”.

Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department
Bronze Medal of Excellence In EMS
Presented To

Firefighter/Medic Captain
Stephanie A. Buffum

Timothy L. Goldring

Sean P. Van Weems

On Saturday, July 28, 2018, units from the Fire/EMS Department were dispatched to 6800 block of Riverdale Road for the report of an unconscious child. Engine 830 from Landover Hills was the first on the scene. On arrival, Captain Buffum, Firefighter Goldring, and Firefighter Van Weems encountered a 5-year-old girl lying in the hallway of the apartment. The child, who had labored breathing and was unresponsive to verbal or painful stimuli, was immediately ventilated. Firefighter Van Weems provided ventilation and answered questions regarding compliance while Captain Buffum set up for inline nebulizer treatment. The child’s mother advised that her daughter had a significant asthma history and had taken her “rescue inhaler” just prior to collapsing. 

Firefighter Goldring quickly pulled medications as requested, and the inline nebulizer treatment was initiated while awaiting arrival of a transport unit. The patient was also ventilated by bag valve mask, as her respiratory effort was inconsistent throughout transport. The young patient, although lethargic, was verbal with the crew and able to report that her breathing had improved. The Children’s National Medical Center was consulted in route, and reassessments and treatments were completed throughout transport. The patient remained stable upon arrival at the hospital. 

This was a challenging call, as personnel had limited information and a very unstable child upon arrival. Without the calm presence and diligent actions presented by this team, this incident would have had a very different outcome. 

For judgment, zeal, and unusual EMS skills, knowledge, and abilities, Firefighter/Medic Captain Stephanie L. Buffum, Firefighter Timothy L. Goldring, and Firefighter Sean P. Van Weems are awarded a Bronze Medal for Excellence in EMS.

Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department
Bronze Medal of Excellence In EMS
Presented To

Brian Drummond

On the morning of April 27, 2018, while driving to work on westbound Sheriff Road in heavy rain, Firefighter Brian Drummond observed a car hydroplane. The vehicle that was traveling eastbound landed in a 4 to 6-foot-deep ditch on the side of the road. Firefighter Drummond quickly proceeded to the scene and taking no thought for his safety, climbed down into the ditch where he encountered a female in the driver’s seat. After conducting a search to ensure there were no other victims, Firefighter Drummond assisted the woman from the ditch and contacted Public Safety Communications. Arriving EMS personnel transported the patient to Prince George’s Hospital for further evaluation and treatment. 

For unusual personal risk, judgment, and zeal, Firefighter Brian Drummond is awarded a Bronze Medal for Excellence in EMS.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Remembering Our Own (04-15-2016) "Skillet" by Fire Chief Barksdale

Remembering Our Own (04-15-2016)
Benjamin M. Barksdale
Fire Chief - Prince George's County, MD

      May the distance of time in no way diminish our resolve to ensure that our Fallen Heroes are never forgotten.  Let us pause to remember our Fallen Hero from the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department, Lieutenant John E. Ulmschneider, known by most as “Skillet,” lost this day in 2016 while in response to a call.

      “Skillet” was born on February 24, 1979, in Baltimore, Maryland. He moved to Prince George's County at the age of 10 and graduated from Surrattsville High School.  He joined the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department on March 10, 2003, as a member of Career Recruit School 32.  Upon entering the field, Ulmschneider made great friends and became a great friend to many. 

      At approximately 1930 hours on the evening of April 15, 2016, Ulmschneider and his partner responded on Paramedic Ambulance 823 with Rescue Engine 827 to a “check on the welfare” call.  After several attempts to make contact with the home occupant, forcible entry was initiated.  Upon entry into the home, multiple gunshots were fired, leaving several wounded.  Brother Ulmschneider was fatally shot in the upper torso.

      John served the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department for 13 years.  At the time of his death, John “Skillet” Ulmschneider was 37 years old, andsurvived by his wife Dawn and their daughter Abigail.

      Let us learn from their stories so that our safety today stands as a lasting tribute to those who have gone before us....and let us keep their memory forever in our hearts.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Fire/EMS Recruits Receive Police Awareness Class

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

Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department Career Recruit School 59 receiving Police Awareness 101 class taught by Cpl. Alerte of the Prince George's County Police Department and Assistant Fire Chief Michael Marino.  Police 101 reviews the capabilities of patrol officers and expectations of how the Fire/EMS Department and Police Department interact on a daily basis to serve the citizens of Prince George's County.

Photo Credit: Capt M. Buffum, 4/11/19

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

MEDIA ADVISORY - Unit Citation Presentation for WWB Crash, Fire and Rescue

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

In June 2018, a horrific crash occurred on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge that left several vehicles on fire and 3 workers dangling from the underside of the bridge.  First arriving fire, EMS and police personnel played an integral role and work collaboratively as a unit to save lives, limit damage and ensure the safety of everyone involved.  Tragically, a civilian perished in the crash and subsequent fire.  The initial personnel are being recognized for their actions with a PGFD Unit Citation. 

A Unit Citation is the highest level award bestowed upon a group of individuals that acted as a unit to mitigate the incident.

WHAT: Unit Citation Presentation

WHEN: Tuesday, April 16, 2019, 1:30 pm

WHERE: Stage at National Plaza, National Harbor (near entrance to Capital Wheel)

WHO: Prince George's County Fire Chief Benjamin Barksdale, County Police Chief Stawinski and Fairfax Fire Chief Butler, Unit Citation recipients

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Message of Condolence - Christopher A. Slutman

The Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department stands with the many family, friends, co-workers and Americans grieving the death of Christopher A. Slutman.  Christopher was killed along with two other servicemen when their convoy hit a roadside bomb on Monday near the main U.S. base in Afghanistan.

Chris Slutman first served as a volunteer firefighter with the Upper Marlboro Volunteer Fire Department.  His father was a career firefighter assigned to the Croom Station, a sister station at the time to Upper Marlboro.  We have heard from other retired firefighters who said they remember seeing Chris grow up while visiting the station where his father worked.  

Chris later joined the District Heights Volunteer Fire Department, and then settled in at the Kentland Station on Landover Road.  He started his career as a firefighter with the District of Columbia before being hired as a firefighter for the City of New York.

The Department shares the words of Kentland Volunteer Chief Oleg Pelekhaty in describing Chris: “Through this trying time, we will remember Chris for the father, husband, brother, son, and friend that he was, the moral character he displayed daily, and the courage and conviction to serve his fellow Americans, both at home and abroad.”

We have communicated with many Fire Department members and friends about this tragedy, and we ask that you continue to pray for Chris’s wife and daughters as well as his family and loved ones.

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief PIO, 240-508-7930

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

PGFD Firefighter/Medic Receives Two Awards for Tactical EMS

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

Firefighter/Paramedic III Lester H. Bascom, assigned to the County Tactical EMS program, received two unit citations for his involvement in two police involved shootings.  In one instance, Bascom provided immediate Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (TECC) at the point of wounding of two County police officers both of whom survived.  In the other incident, Bascom provided immediate hot zone pre-hospital care to a suspect injured before the execution of a search warrant.  The PGFD Tactical EMS program is one of the busiest full-time operational medicine programs in the country.

Fire Chief Benjamin Barksdale attended the award ceremony and congratulated Bascom on his awards.  "Your actions are truly commendable and performed in the highest tradition of this Department," said Chief Barksdale.


L to R Public Safety Director Mark Magaw, Fire Chief Barksdale, Firefighter/Medic Bascom and Police Chief Stawinski

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Prince George’s County Firefighters Prioritize Performance & Wellness

O2X Human Performance to provide training and education for local firefighters 

O2X Contact: Alison Levy, 303-506-2943 or ali@o2x.com 

Prince George’s County, MD -- Over a span of 12 days this April, 250 members of the Prince George’s County Fire Department will participate in a comprehensive EAT SWEAT THRIVE workshop series delivered by O2X Human Performance, a Boston-based company started by former Navy SEALs.  All O2X training will be held at the Cranford-Graves Fire/EMS Services Building at 6820 Webster Street in Landover Hills.

During the sessions, firefighters will learn about nutrition, conditioning, sleep, stress management and resilience training from O2X’s team that includes U.S. Special Operations veterans, strength and conditioning specialists, yoga teachers, mental performance experts, PhDs in nutrition and psychology, and sleep scientists.

As tactical athletes, firefighters put themselves in harm’s way daily in order to keep their community safe. Along with facing adverse weather conditions and unpredictable dangerous environments, they deal with heightened levels of job-related physical and mental stress for the duration of their long careers. As a result, it is critical that they train properly not only to stay healthy and fit, but also to optimize their performance under pressure and to cope with chronic stress.

“Like all firefighters, our members face high injury rates, elevated cancer and cardiac health risks, poor sleep hygiene, and behavioral health issues - just as a product of the job.” Said County Fire Chief Benjamin Barksdale. “This is where O2X comes in. They provide a comprehensive approach to performance that tackles every aspect from nutrition, conditioning, and yoga to sleep, stress management, and mindfulness. This program will help keep our members safe and effective.”

O2X has worked with hundreds of public safety agencies nationwide - including many in the DMV area - to provide innovative training and education aimed to help first responders finish their careers as strong as they started.

About O2X: O2X Human Performance provides comprehensive, science-backed training and education so tactical athletes can finish their careers as strong as they started. The results driven O2X EAT SWEAT THRIVE curriculum encompasses all areas of human performance: nutrition, conditioning, sleep, stress management, and resilience. The O2X team is comprised of U.S. Special Operations veterans, Olympic, professional, and All-American collegiate athletes, and 70+ human performance experts who teach the latest cutting-edge research in each of the primary fields of health and wellness.

More Information: https://o2x.com/ and Follow us at @o2xhumanperformance
Media Inquiries:
Alison Levy
303-506-2943 ali@o2x.com / press@o2x.com

Monday, April 1, 2019

PGFD Hosts Training for K9 Tactical Emergency Casualty Care

K9 Tactical Emergency Casualty Care
by: PGFD Assistant Fire Chief Michael Marino

Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department recently hosted area Police K-9 Handlers and Tactical EMS Operators to participate in a 3 day Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (TECC) program for operational canines.  Tactical Emergency Casualty Care is a medical and operational capability maintained throughout Prince George's County for atypical and high risk situations for both humans and now working K9's!  National K-9 TECC guidelines are best practices adapted locally which include specific pre-hospital lifesaving interventions. Dr. Lee Palmer DVM, who was the course facilitator, is a national expert in K9 medicine and TECC.  He summarized that Prince George's County has excellent traditional and special operations capabilities and being able to apply TECC to working animals prior to definitive veterinarian care is an important and worthwhile effort given that specialized medics and handlers are now properly trained and equipped.

“This training is part of a continued regional partnership across numerous police, fire, and emergency medical services departments to enhance medical care during high threat events," said Brian J. Frankel, Prince George's Fire/EMS Department Deputy Fire Chief.  "The course was sponsored by the Maryland Emergency Response System through a grant from the Urban Area Security Initiative, a federal program that supports efforts to build and sustain the capabilities necessary to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from acts of terrorism.”

Picture Credit: Assistant Chief Mike Marino

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