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Wednesday, July 15, 2009


An activated smoke alarm was the first indication of danger at a Clinton home this morning. An alarm monitoring company contacted Public Safety Communications at 2:41 AM, Thursday, July 16, 2009, and advised dispatchers that they were receiving a smoke alarm signal from a home at 11201 Tippett Road. As Engine 825 from the Clinton Fire/EMS Station was being notified to respond and investigate the alarm, additional calls were received reporting a fire. The call was upgraded and a full assignment was dispatched which included 30 firefighters and paramedics on-board nine fire/EMS units and numerous command officers.

Thanks to the working smoke alarm the family received an early warning of the fire and was able to escape safely prior to the fire departments arrival. When Fire/EMS units arrived the fire had already rapidly extended and consumed the majority of the house. An exterior operation was conducted to knock down the bulk of the fire before firefighters entered the structure to ensure the fire was completely extinguished. It required 45 minutes to an hour to knock this fire down. No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire is under investigation. Fire loss is estimated at $400,000. The family will be displaced and are making arrangements to stay with other family members.

The combined volunteer, career and civilian members of the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department want you to stay safe and offer the following safety tips:

• Install at least one alarm in your home – best location is outside of sleeping areas.

• The Fire/EMS Department recommends at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home and if you sleep with your bedroom door closed – install a smoke alarm in your bedroom as well. It is mandated that every home has at least one working smoke alarm.

• Test that your alarm is working once-a-month by pushing the test button on the cover. If it does not sound an alarm – replace the batteries or the entire alarm.

• Replace the batteries in your alarm at least once-a-year – the best way to remember to do this is when you change your clocks – change your battery.

• Regular maintenance- such as dusting or vacuuming debris from your alarms is recommended.

• Alarms can only protect your family for so long before they wear out – replace CO alarms every 6-8 years and replace smoke alarms every 10 years.

And let’s remember to:

• Plan and practice a home escape plan.

• Designate a meeting place outside of your home and call 911 from a safe location.

Citizens and residents of Prince George’s County can have a working smoke alarm installed in their home free of charge. Call our Smoke Alarm Hotline at 301-864-SAFE and a firefighter will make arrangements to visit your home and install a working smoke alarm – free of charge. The Fire/EMS Department also has a limited number of smoke alarms designed for the hearing impaired that we will provide to you - free of charge.


Confusion about Inaccuracies

I would like to clear up any confusion and clarify remarks made on a STATter911.com interview and posted on his blog. On July 14, 2009, shortly after being unanimously confirmed by the 9 Prince George’s County Council members, Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones joined Dave Statter in an interview about different items of interest. One of the items discussed was an incident involving a volunteer fill-in crew at Oxon Hill Fire/EMS Station #821.

Read the story here from STATter911.com:

That didn't take long: DC's chief waited two-years before questioning the accuracy of one of our stories. The new PGFD chief waited about two-minutes. In our interview just after he was confirmed by the council, Chief Eugene Jones claimed the STATter911.com story about a volunteer fill-in crew not wanting to run the ambulance was "hearsay" and "inaccurate". We lay it all out for you here.

In the interview, Fire Chief Jones does not intend to question the accuracy of Mr. Statters original story on the incident, Jones questions the internal documentation anonymously provided to Statter that lacks any investigative authority.

An official notation was made by the on-duty Major concerning this matter as was relayed to him by others involved and familiar with the matter. A copy of the notation provided to Statter, provided by unknown sources, is correctly reflected on STATter911.com.

When Fire Chief Jones saw the notation he immediately noticed that an official investigation, including; an on-site visit, interviews and statements with persons involved, were not initiated or completed. This lack of investigative documentation is the reason that Chief Jones stated the premature information provided was based on “hearsay” and may be “inaccurate”.

It is not Dave’s reporting on this matter, simply the information provided to him. A review is still underway of the circumstances of July 8, 2009, concerning this matter and, if needed, appropriate action will be taken if it is discovered that SOP’s and General Orders were violated. It should also be noted that Ambulance 821 was not dispatched on any incidents during this time.

I hope his clears up any confusion about the reporting of this incident.


UPPER MARLBORO, MD – Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson’s nominee for Fire Chief was unanimously confirmed today by the County Council. Eugene Jones was sworn in immediately following his confirmation hearing.

“Chief Jones has a comprehensive background in fire/rescue service and emergency preparedness and an impressive record of professional achievement,” Johnson said. “Prince George’s County is fortunate to have such a competent and dedicated individual as our Fire Chief.”

Jones, a resident of Beltsville, had been Acting Fire Chief since February. He originally joined the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department in September 1983, where he served for twenty-four years before retiring at the rank of Major in October 2007. As a Major he served as the Department’s Equal Opportunity Officer and Disciplinary Coordinator for two years.

“I am honored the County Executive has given me the opportunity to serve the people of Prince George’s County in this manner. I have been a resident of Prince George’s County for the past 25 years and I have always loved my job,” Jones said. “The County Executive has made improvements in the Fire/EMS Department during his administration and he should be proud to know that he has contributed to us being one of the best Departments in the region.”

During his career in the Fire/EMS Department, he held several roles which began in the Emergency Operations Command. For 10 years, he led the Department’s Peer Mediation Team. Prince George’s County firefighters were among the first in the nation to establish this program which trains firefighters to provide peer mediation services to their colleagues. As a Battalion Chief, he supervised the day-to-day operations of more than 50 personnel and coordinated the Emergency Response Operations of Fire Suppression, Emergency Medical and Hazardous Materials calls on local, street and box alarms. He also served as the Executive Assistant to the Public Safety/Homeland Security Deputy Chief Administrative Officer where he helped to carry out the administration of the county’s public safety system.

He has received numerous awards including the Fire Chief’s Special Achievement Award for his service to the citizens of Prince George's County and his continued commitment to community service. This is the highest honor bestowed upon a firefighter. Jones manages a $112 million budget and oversees a department of 825 uniformed and civilian personnel, and has improved relations within the county’s combination system of volunteer and career firefighters. He attended Prince George’s Community College and he has earned numerous certifications and training from programs including Nationally Certified Fire Officer IV, Hazardous Materials Incident Management System, and Equal Employment Opportunity Training.

He is a member of the International Association of Fire Fighters, the International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters, and the Community Emergency Response Team Leadership Group.


Pr. George's Acting Chief Made Permanent

The Prince George's County Council yesterday unanimously confirmed acting fire chief Eugene Jones as its permanent choice, disregarding the recommendation of the firefighters union to reject him.

Dozens crowded the County Administration Building for Jones's confirmation hearing. Although many supported the confirmation, Doug Bartholomew, president of the International Association of Firefighters Local 1619, opposed it, saying the county is unsafe because Jones has not developed an adequate staffing plan in tough economic times. Council members and others credited Jones with building relationships with the volunteer firefighter community and advised him to develop a staffing plan that would mend fences with career firefighters.

Jones, of Beltsville, will be paid about $130,000 in salary, said fire department spokesman Mark Brady. Before becoming acting chief in February, Jones served as the county's exercise and training officer for homeland security. He retired as a major in the fire department in 2007. -- Matt Zapotosky

Mark Brady: the voice of P.G. County fire department | Washington Examiner

Mark Brady: the voice of P.G. County fire department | Washington Examiner

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