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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Carbon Monoxide Suspected in Death of Three

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

Prince George’s County Firefighters and Paramedics made a disturbing discovery in a Hyattsville home after responding to a possible carbon monoxide (CO) incident this morning. At about 9:00 am, Sunday, May 30, 2010, Fire/EMS units responded to a 2-story, with basement, single family home in the 5600 block of 38th Avenue. Firefighter/Medics arrived and conducted a search of the home for victims and for the source of the CO. Three male victims were quickly located on the second floor and after a medical assessment were determined to be deceased. The males ranged in age from 18 to 22.

Firefighters also located a running gasoline powered generator in the basement of the house.  The house did not have any electric service. The generator was turned off by firefighters and an atmospheric test determined there were upwards of 300 parts per million (PPM) of CO inside the home. Anything over 35 PPM is considered unhealthy.

A teen-aged family member of two of the victims had entered the home before 9:00 am and discovered the unconscious males and notified 911. She was subsequently transported by paramedics to a hospital for hyperbaric chamber treatment of CO exposure.

Firefighters ventilated the house and ensured the atmosphere was safe for the Hyattsville City Police Department to begin their initial investigation of the interior. There were 22 firefighters and paramedics on the scene that operated for about 1 ½ hours.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will determine the cause of death and the Hyattsville City Police Department is conducting an investigation into this incident and will release any additional information.

Gasoline powered generators produce a large amount of CO in a very short period of time and should not be used inside of any structure. CO is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas and is referred to as the “The Silent Killer.” Because the properties of CO (colorless, odorless and tasteless) make it nearly impossible to detect without monitoring equipment. A working CO alarm is the best method citizens and residents can use to detect the presence of CO. CO alarms are inexpensive and can be purchased at hardware and home improvement stores. It results from incomplete oxidation of carbon in combustion and/or the inadequate ventilation of CO after normal combustion. Sources of CO are unvented kerosene and gas space heaters; leaking chimneys and furnaces; back-drafting from furnaces, gas water heaters, wood stoves, and fireplaces; gas stoves; generators and other gasoline powered equipment including automobile exhaust.

CO Poisoning Prevention Tips

• Install at least one CO alarm on each level of your home and near sleeping areas, and make sure it is more than 5 feet from fuel-burning appliances to prevent false alarms.

• Ensure that fuel-burning appliances are properly installed and working according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Inspect these appliances for adequate ventilation.

• Do not burn charcoal inside your house, even in the fireplace.

• Do not use gasoline powered generators inside of your house.

• Keep chimneys clear of animal nests, leaves and residue to ensure proper venting.

• Do not block or seal shut exhaust flues or ducts for appliances, such as water heaters, ranges and clothes dryers.

If It Happens to You

• Never ignore your CO alarm if it sounds.

• Operate test/reset button.

• Determine if anyone in the household is experiencing symptoms of CO poisoning such as a headache, nausea, drowsiness or confusion. Call 911.

• Open doors and windows, or exit your home. Leave the CO alarm where it is.

• If you have an alarm with digital display, emergency responders can determine the highest level of CO present and decide how to treat victims.

• Do not return to your home until the emergency personnel have arrived, the home is aired out and your CO alarm returns to normal operation.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Editorial Opinion in GAZETTE NEWSPAPER Regarding Holiday Staffing

Editorial Opinion in today's edition of the GAZETTE NEWSPAPER click here.

Putting out fires

Tight budget means compromises for all — and more suggestions for coping with shortages
The decision to use more volunteers Friday and Memorial Day to staff Prince George's County fire stations has sparked outrage among firefighters, but the preparations and savings involved in the plan should douse any concerns.

The county fire department's overtime budget for the current fiscal year is $3.5 million, a decrease of $2.7 million from last fiscal year. To help keep costs down, the fire department is having more volunteers and fewer career firefighters working Friday and Monday, a practice that has raised concern among both groups. Volunteer officials feel their services are being stretched thin; career firefighters, some of whom will miss out on overtime, say the staffing change will leave gaps in service.

Mark Brady, spokesman for the county fire department, said call volume tends to be lower on holidays, and stations in close proximity of each other will help fill any holes. He also points out that volunteers regularly fill more slots on weekends.

In a nutshell: The public will be safe, and money will be saved.

The budget pinch has been painful for everyone. Government offices are leaving positions vacant; county employees — including public safety personnel — have suffered furloughs; and teachers are facing layoffs. Property values in the county have taken a nosedive, and residents will be hit with an 8.5 percent increase in water and sewer rates beginning July 1. Every effort to save money without risking safety is appreciated.

Bill Smith, president of the Prince George's County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association, warned that volunteers cannot fill in so many gaps in the long-term.

"We are doing it now because we understand economic times," he said.

County fire officials must address Smith's concern, if they haven't already, and outline a long-term staffing plan that meets budget constraints without burning out volunteers.

Firefighters are right to raise red flags when staffing changes are introduced, but in such difficult budget times, more than criticism is needed. Residents — and public safety officials — would be better served by discussing future options that prevent overspending but still maintain public safety.

Monday, May 24, 2010

World Trade Center Memorial Piece Resides in the County for this Evening

There is a team of New York Firefighters escorting a large piece of metal from the World Trade Center spending the night in Prince George’s County.  The World Trade Center Memorial piece of metal is on the way to become part of a larger memorial in Florida.  The World Trade Center piece and the Firefighters will be spending the evening at Kentland Fire/EMS Station #833 at 7711 Landover Road in Landover.  For additional information you are welcome to visit the station this evening or contact Kentland Volunteer Joe Brown at 301-883-7733.


Mark E. Brady

Director of the Office of Public Information and Community Outreach

Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department

9201 Basil Court #452

Largo, MD 20774

Office – 301-883-7154

Cell/Text – 240-508-7930







Thursday, May 20, 2010

Fire Fighter I Job Opportunity Announced

The Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department has announced the position of Fire Fighter I.  Additional information can be obtained by clicking here.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Truck Driver Injured in Crash with Train

At about 3:15 pm today a slow moving CSX freight train struck a slow moving dump truck as it was attempting to cross an unguarded crossing in Bladensburg. The incident occurred in a heavy industrial area in the 3300 block of Kenilworth Avenue. The adult male dump truck driver is being transported by paramedics to a nearby hospital for evaluation of minor injuries. The Fire/EMS Department Haz Mat team was called to the scene to handle a 50 gallon fuel spill coming from the significantly damaged front end of the dump truck.
Mark E. Brady

Flat Pack SCBA Field Testing

PHOTOS BY: Mark E. Brady, PGFD Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930

The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), and the Prince George’s County. MD, Fire/EMS Department conducted a field test of a new self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA).

“These important field tests give us the information we need to ensure that this cutting-edge technology is safe, reliable and ready to be deployed. This is one of the most significant health and safety projects the IAFF has ever undertaken, and this new SCBA technology will improve the safety of fire fighters on the frontlines,” IAFF General President Harold A. Schaitberger said.

Prince George’s County fire fighters participated in the field test, held on Tuesday, May 18, 2010, at the department’s training academy in Cheltneham, MD. They were joined by 12 fire fighters and four law enforcement officers from surrounding municipalities, including Washington, D.C., Fairfax County and Montgomery County, in rigorously testing the new SCBA.  Firefighters went through several evolutions with  traditional SCBA and then repeated the same evolution with the flat pack SCBA.  After each evolution firefighters completed an evaluation form describing the pros and cons of the SCBA.

“We’re proud to be part of this important project to improve a piece of equipment that is so vital to fire fighters in Prince George’s County and the rest of the world,” Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department Fire Chief Eugene Jones said.

The IAFF, under contracts with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, designed the new SCBA, and global safety equipment manufacturer MSA, based in Pittsburgh, Pa., was selected to build a prototype of the new apparatus.

The IAFF’s next-generation SCBA prototype will rely on pressure-vessel technology, which promises to make fire fighting breathing apparatuses smaller, lighter and more efficient than SCBA currently in use. MSA was selected by the IAFF to build the prototype after an extensive solicitation process.

The IAFF received more than $2.7 million from the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate (DHS) to fund research and development of a next-generation SCBA.

As part of its development efforts, the IAFF and DHS Science and Technology Directorate worked with Vulcore Industrial LLC under the DHS contract to create the new pressure-vessel technology to make SCBA lighter with a greatly reduced profile when compared to current SCBA cylinders. The IAFF then selected MSA to build the final prototype, which is expected to demonstrate the superiority of the new pressure-vessel technology that would replace the single-air cylinder design of conventional fire fighting breathing apparatus.

The new technology, referred to as a “flat pack,” uses a special high-temperature lining in place of conventional aluminum liners used in current SCBA cylinders. These linings are then braided with Kevlar and wound with pre-impregnated carbon fiber. The entire array is inside a soft, flexible cover, allowing the design to flex horizontally and vertically at the connection points.

This new SCBA technology will be available to fire departments once extensive testing is complete.

For additional information on the field test contact Bill Glanz of the IAFF at 202-824-1505.

Fire/EMS Department’s Very Own Cheesecake Factory

Cheesecake Johnny and his "Oreo-Style Cookies and Cream Cheesecake"

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

He is one of Prince George’s County’s Bravest and until recently his off-duty hobby was one of our best kept secrets.

Fire Fighter/Medic John L. Scruggs is a 15-year veteran of the Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department, assigned to the Northview Community Fire/EMS Station #816. His professionalism, diligence and proficiency in executing his paramedic skills onboard Paramedic-Ambulance 816 has earned him an Emergency Services Award, which was presented during EMS Week 2010.

Fire Fighter/Medic Scruggs, who is on shift work, spends as many as 24 hours with the other five members at Station #816. Shift members share the responsibility for preparing meals by using a rotation method. As time and call volume permits, the entire crew comes together and sits down to eat as a family. It’s no secret that Scruggs’ shift partners look forward to the days he’s scheduled to cook. “I love cooking!” he says. “Any kind, any style and food…”

Fire Fighter/Medic Scruggs enjoys cooking in general but is most passionate about his indescribably scrumptious cheesecake creations, for which he’s known. His fondness for cooking dates back to his days at Catholic University, where he worked in the campus cafeteria preparing close to 600 meals daily. It was then he developed a love for baking cheesecakes. “I would travel to New York City, where I’d enjoy dinner out and desert at a local dairy bar. There, I found everything dairy—strawberry cream pies, cheesecakes and etc. You name it and they had it, all fresh and wonderful!”

Scruggs says, “For over 25 years I have been developing and improving recipes, in an attempt to turn out the perfect product.” His wife and colleagues have dubbed him “Cheesecake Johnny,” which captures both his passion and his easy going personality. His wife, Bridgette Ann Greer, an Associate County Attorney with the Prince George’s County Office of Law, currently oversees legal affairs within the Fire/EMS Department.

His zeal for baking cheesecakes was initially a hobby; however, it wasn’t long before it evolved into a part-time business. Testimonials spread rapidly about “Cheesecake Johnny’s” delectable and aesthetically pleasing product; and, he soon found himself consumed with taking orders, baking and delivering during his off-duty time. Although his specialty is cheesecakes, on rare occasions he bakes other cakes or pies and sometimes caters small events for family and friends.

Scruggs’ menu includes New York, Baltimore, French and Old Style Cheesecakes in a variety of 32 flavors. To date, his most requested cheesecakes are Strawberry and Oreo- style Cookies and Cream. Asked about his personal favorites, he replied, “Strawberry, Banana and Sweet Potato are at the top of the list.” John Scruggs flavorful and decorated cheesecakes have become popular and are in high in demand, especially around the holidays. He bakes as many as 50 cheesecakes at Thanksgiving and Christmas, often having to turn down orders because he’s so busy. Ironically, it seems the demand for his delightful delicacies soared in the midst of him taking the two-week long course required by the Health Department to obtain permits as a Certified Food Handler.

“Cheesecake Johnny” keeps his recipes to himself, claiming them to be a proprietary secret. He reveals only that he uses the very best ingredients available. “The real secret,” he confided, “is in the baking and cooling process, as well as the presentation.”

The cheesecakes sell for about $40, and this author can personally attest that they’re worth every penny. He is a master chef at combining fresh products into a large bowl until there is a smooth consistency and then pouring the batter into spring form pan, intermittently pausing to add crumbled Oreo cookies or other fruity ingredients before continuing to top off the pan. He bakes at a prescribed temperature for a designated amount of time and then allows the baked creamy cheesecake to properly cool. His decorations may not occur until hours later before the cheesecake is ready for presentation. The final product almost looks too good to cut into, as cookies or large pieces of fruit adorn the top and sides.

“Cheesecake Johnny” is the chef on his shift at while at the fire station; but, he is unable to bake cheesecake for his crewmembers. “I sometimes wish I could, but being assigned to a busy EMS unit makes it impossible to produce the best cakes. Timing is critical. If I’m on a call and can’t check or remove the cake when it's done, it’s no good,” he says. His wife, Bridgette, on the other hand, is co-chairperson of the Fire Chief’s Sunshine Committee, designed to ensure everyone’s special day is recognized with a brief celebration. Recent Headquarters celebrations have had the pleasure of enjoying cheesecakes, rather than the usual cupcakes. As you probably have guessed, there’s been a dramatic increase in attendance.

Fire Fighter/Medic John “Cheesecake Johnny” Scruggs received an Emergency Services Award from Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones on May 17, 2010. He and his partner’s actions were recognized by personnel at the catherization lab at the Prince George’s Hospital Center as being “above and beyond the normal call of duty.” After delivering a patient to the Bowie Health Center, Scruggs and his partner, Joe Vigneault, were packing up their equipment and heading back to their unit. Fire Fighter/Medic Scruggs’ attention was drawn to a male who was being brought to the emergency room by family members. He knew instinctively that their services would soon be needed for this patient. Scruggs could see the adult male was in cardiac distress and would most likely need a catherirization—the sooner the better. He immediately conferred with the emergency room physician and remained at the hospital, preparing for an emergency transport to the cath lab at Prince George’s Hospital Center (PGHC) about 15 miles away. The diagnosis was rapidly confirmed; and within minutes the patient was onboard the Paramedic Ambulance with Scruggs and Vigneault, on his way to the cath lab. The Charge Nurse at the PGHC cath lab stated that through the intuitive observation by Scruggs and Vigneault, and their willingness to remain at the Bowie Health Center to facilitate an emergency transport, provided the patient with the best possible chance of survival, both short and long-term. The patient has since made a full recovery from his cardiac episode.

Monday, May 17, 2010

EMS AWARDS and a Paramedic Reunites with Victim

Cindy Mathieu, Chris Larsen, Fire Chief E.A. Jones and Paramedic K.E. Murphy

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

Several members of the Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department were honored on Monday, May 17, 2010. To help kick-off National EMS Week, Fire Chief Eugene Jones presented several awards. The best award of the day, however, wasn’t on a plaque or certificate. The best award a paramedic could ever receive is when a victim is able to walk up and say, “Thank you for saving my life.” Fire Fighter/Paramedic Kathleen Murphy was greeted by 21-year-old Chris Larsen and his mother Cindy Mathieu. Chris Larsen was a multi-system trauma patient that sustained critical, life threatening, injuries when a vehicle fell on top of him. Paramedic Murphy and her partner, Fire Fighter/Paramedic Scot A. Williams, worked relentlessly providing pre-hospital care to the critically injured victim. Trauma physicians credit the care provided by these paramedics for sustaining his life until he could reach the Trauma Center. Both victim and his mother thanked Murphy and called her and Paramedic Williams everyday heroes that go about their jobs everyday doing everything they can do to save lives.

Fire Chief Jones feels the same way about all his personnel and honored several today with Emergency Service Awards, Employee of the Month Award and a Fire Chiefs Award.


Fire Fighter/Medic Scot A. Williams
Fire Fighter/Medic Kathleen E. Murphy

This paramedic crew from Medic 829 is being recognized for their actions on September 15, 2009, when they responded on a call in the 100 block of Panorama Drive in Oxon Hill. Upon arrival they were presented with a 20-year-old male that sustained a multi-system trauma after an automobile he had been working underneath fell on top of him. Their diligence in providing advanced life support to this young man was a key factor in saving his life. Emergency Room Physicians told the victims family that her son is alive today because of the pre-hospital care administered by the Paramedics. These actions reflect favorably upon themselves and on the Fire/EMS Department as a whole.


Fire Fighter/Medic John L. Scruggs
Fire Fighter/Medic Joseph M. Vigneault

This crew from Paramedic 816 is being recognized for their assessment of an adult male experiencing a cardiac emergency in the waiting room of the Bowie Health Center. The crew observed the patient being brought into the Emergency Room by his family members and immediately brought this patient to the attention of the ER physician. He concurred with the crew’s intuition that this patient was in dire need of a cardiac catherization. To save time, the medics waited at the facility until arrangements were made for an emergency transport to the Cath Lab at Prince George's Hospital Center. Their unselfish and intuitive actions resulted in this patient being at the Cath Lab in record time. He has since fully recovered from his cardiac episode. The patient’s condition may have worsened if it were not for their initial intervention and continued assistance. Their actions reflect favorably upon themselves and of the entire Fire/EMS Department as a whole.


Fire Fighter/Medic Michael S. Williams
Fire Fighter/Medic Curk M. Smart

This crew from Paramedic Ambulance 826 are being recognized for actions that occurred on November 11, 2009, in the District Heights area. The crew responded to a sick person call and encountered an adult male that was refusing any treatment. Rather then leave the patient the crew sensed something was not quite right and were successful in having the patient allow them to check his vitals. Unable to palpate a radial pulse, they hooked the patient up to a cardiac monitor and found the patient to be in Ventricular Tachycardia. This cardiac rhythm left untreated will lead to cardiac arrest. Following protocol, they cardio-verted the patient into a normal sinus rhythm. The patient was delivered to the hospital with an improved medical outlook. The patient’s condition surely would have deteriorated if it were not for their initial intervention and continued assistance. Their actions reflect favorably upon themselves and of the Fire/EMS Department as a whole


Fire Fighter/Medic Carey D. Holsey
Fire Fighter/Medic Bryan Spies

This crew from Medic 829 are being recognized for their assessment and pre-hospital care provided to an elderly female experiencing 3rd degree heart blockage; a condition rarely encountered by field EMS personnel. The crew performed advanced life procedures while en route to Southern Maryland Hospital. They continued to provide patient treatment for up to an hour assisting the emergency room staff. Their treatment had a direct impact on saving this patient’s life as stated by hospital staff, “The Paramedics did an excellent job. The patient would not have survived without their initial intervention and continued assistance.” Your actions reflect favorably upon yourself and of the entire Fire/EMS Department as a whole.


Fire Fighter/Medic Lieutenant Brian J. Frankel

Fire Fighter/Medic Lieutenant Frankel researched and applied for a grant. The grant was successfully awarded to the Fire/EMS Department in the amount of $120,000. This grant will allow the Department to purchase two (2) next generation full-bodied patient simulators, one (1) ambulance environment simulate, and the associated audio-visual equipment needed to enhance the current patient simulation lab in use at the Fire/EMS Training Academy.

Because of Fire Fighter/Medic Lieutenant Frankel’s passion for the training and educating of our employees and members, his insight into the needs and acquisition for this type of training equipment to improve and enhance the delivery of the EMS materials will allow us to be more self-sufficient and provide state-of-the-art training techniques and create a more realistic training environment with instant feedback for the student.


Fire Fighter Lieutenant Timothy J. Street

Fire Chief Jones recognized Lt. Street for going above and beyond the call of duty. While returning from a call in the College Park area Fire Lieutenant Street found a pocket book in the street. He stopped and retrieved the pocketbook and found it to still contain valuables and personal contents. Street took it upon himself to track down the owner return her purse saving her the trouble and stress of having to cancel her credit cards and obtaining new documents.

Friday, May 14, 2010


Players on the team come from many of the area’s public safety agencies, including some great players from the Prince George's County Police Department. The team's annual National Police Week game again will be held in Washington D.C. on Saturday, May 15, 2010 at 7 p.m. We would like to invite you,
your command staff, and other guests from your agency.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

USFA Administrator Cochran Particpates in Career Day at Elementary School

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

The Prince George’s County MD Fire/EMS Department was pleased to assist the United States Fire Administrator today with a “career day” visit. Kelvin J. Cochran, U.S. Fire Administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's United States Fire Administration, participated in a career day at the Skyline Elementary School in Morningside. On Thursday, May 13, 2010, Chief Cochran spent the afternoon addressing three classes of elementary students. He spoke of his childhood dream and the incident that motivated him to become a firefighter. When he was just 5 years of age, his neighbor’s house was on fire and he watched as firefighters went about doing their job and putting out the fire. Ever since that night his dream was to become a firefighter.

Chief Cochran urged the students to stay out of trouble and continue to go to school and graduate. He stressed to them there is no such thing as an impossible dream. He spoke of his personal childhood dream of becoming a firefighter and hoped that they would see his accomplishments and work hard to reach their dreams. He stated, “Dreams are possible if you work hard.” He spoke of how he grew up as a member of a large family with limited resources and that he eventually fulfilled his childhood dream of becoming a firefighter. He exceeded his dreams by becoming a Fire Chief in Shreveport, LA and Atlanta, GA and now he is the Fire Administrator for the United States of America.

Several members of the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department were on hand to assist Chief Cochran, including: Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones, Major Tyrone Forby, Battalion Chief Steve White, the crew from Morningside #827, Community Developer Teresa Crisman and Administrative Assistant Kova Blake.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Landover MVC with Critical Injuries

At about 7:40 pm, Wednesday, May 12, 2010, fire/EMS units from the Landover area were dispatched to the area of Brightseat Road and Arena Drive for a motor vehicle crash. Units arrived to find a female child ejected from a vehicle during the crash and was in cardiac arrest. The child is of toddler age. An adult female was also injured and both have been transported to a nearby Trauma Center. No further details are available. The County Police are investigating.
Mark E. Brady

Monday, May 10, 2010

Ritchie House Fire

Just after 2:00 pm firefighters from the Ritchie area were alerted to a possible house fire. Fire/EMS units arrived in the 1800 block of Berry Lane and found a 1 1/2 story single family home with heavy fire showing. firefighters had the fire knocked down in about 15-20 minutes. There were no reported injuries. A family of 3 will be displaced. The cause of the fire is under investigation and a preliminary fire loss is estimated at 150K.
Mark E. Brady

MVC with Critical Injury to Pedestrian

An adult male standing on the sidewalk of a CVS store in the Eastover Shopping Center in Oxon Hill was struck and critically injured by a SUV that drove up and onto the sidewalk leaving a trail of damage. The adult male was transported by paramedics to a Trauma Center with trauma to his lower legs. His injuries are considered life threatening.  The single vehicle crash occurred at about 1:15 PM, Monday, May 10, 2010, in the 4900 block of Indian Heady Highway.

The adult male driver of the Cadillac SUV is currently being questioned by the County Police. Witnesses reported erratic driving of the SUV just prior to it leaving the parking lot roadway and onto the sidewalk.  The SUV traveled about 300 feet on the sidewalk taking out support beams and overhead window security grills. Five stores including the CVS were evacuated and closed until a building inspector can review the damage.

The Prince George's County Police Department is conducting the investigation.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Freon Leak Causes Evacuation of Retirement Building

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

At about 9:15 am, Friday, May 7, 2010, Firefighter/Medics from the Calverton Fire/EMS Station #841 were dispatched to investigate an automatic fire alarm sounding at 3152 Gracefield Road. The address is located within the sprawling retirement community of Riderwood Village in Calverton. The firefighters arrived at the 6-story senior citizen apartment building and found a release of Freon occurred and was dispersed on the top two floors through the HVAC system. A vapor cloud was found on the top floor and firefighters, with the assistance of Riderwood Village personnel, immediately evacuated the residents on the 5th and 6th floors and requested additional assistance. Additional suppression and EMS units as well as the Departments Hazardous Materials Team were dispatched to assist.

The Firefighters from the Calverton Fire/EMS Station #841 also serve as a satellite station for the Hazardous Materials Team and were able to trace the source of the Freon to a malfunctioning air conditioning system that services the entire building. The HVAC system was shut down to stop the release of freon into the building.  Firefighters and Riderwood Personnel then proceeded to evacuate the entire building while the haz-mat leak was contained and the building ventilated.

Freon is a non-toxic gas that is widely used as a refrigerant. While non-toxic, if inhaled, can cause severe inhalation injuries up to death by asphyxiation.

About 60 residents were evacuated. Some residents stayed outside while others were relocated to other areas of the complex that were not affected by the leak.

EMS personnel from the Fire/EMS Department as well as from the Riderwood Village maintained contact with the temporarily displaced residents. Five residents and a maintenance worker complained of minor illness symptoms and were evaluated on the scene. After being exposed to fresh air their conditions rapidly improved and they all declined to go to the hospital.

All six floors were ventilated of the product as haz mat personnel used equipment to constantly monitored the atmosphere. At about 1:00 pm the atmosphere was clear of any Freon and residents were allowed to return to their apartments. The HVAC system was still being repaired by maintenance workers from Riderwood Village and their contractors.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Marine Division Training

Marine Division personnel that completed a 64-hour United States Coast Guard (USCG) Certified Boat Captains Course at the Northview Community Fire/EMS Station #816.

The Fire/EMS Department's Marine Division, under the command of Acting Fire Fighter/Medic Captain Anthony McCormick, has participated in and is currently scheduled to participate in over 1000 hours of in-service training. Ten members of the Department assigned to the Marine Division recently completed a 64-hour United States Coast Guard (USCG) Certified Boat Captains Course at the Northview Community Fire/EMS Station #816. Scheduled in-service training includes a 32-hour USCG Certified Inland Radar Observer Course.

Deserving Awards - "No One Expected Her to be There"

Battalion Chief Denise L. Dickens receives the County and District level Fire Fighter of the Year Award from the American Legion.  Presenting the award is Prince George’s County Commander Robert Wilson from Clinton Post 259.

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930

The American Legion has selected two members of the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department as their Career and Volunteer Fire Fighter of the Year. Battalion Chief Denise L. Dickens and Volunteer Fire Fighter Tim McCloskey have received the American Legion Award at the County level and at the Southern Maryland District Level as well. They were recognized at an award ceremony on Sunday, May 2, 2010. The duo also received the Southern Maryland District nominations to the Department of Maryland for their respective awards. No word yet on from the American Legion Public Safety Committee on these nominations.

Battalion Chief Denise Dickens was recognized by the American Legion, County and District, as the Career Fire Fighter of the Year. She impressed the American Legion with her resume, previous awards and excellence in performance of her duties as a member of the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department.  She exemplified her professional and personal characteristics by attending Sundays event.  No one expected Battalion Chief Dickens to attend the recent award ceremony as she recently suffered the death of husband, Jack Dickens, a retired member of the Fire/EMS Department. Jack succumbed to his battle against cancer in the early morning hours of Wednesday April 21, 2010. With the short time between her husband’s passing and the awards ceremony, no one believed that Denise would be in attendance. However, Jack Dickens had other plans for his beloved wife; Jack made his wife promise that if she was selected as the award recipient that she would attend, she kept the promise and attended the award ceremony with her dad. American Legion representative Bill Milligan stated, “We were not expecting Denise to attend the awards ceremony due to the recent passing of her husband. We were very pleased that she attended with her dad and very proud to present the Career Fire Fighter of the Year award from both Prince George’s County and the Southern Maryland District to a very outstanding and deserving individual.”

Kentland Volunteer Fire Fighter Tim McCloskey is being recognized as the Volunteer Fire Fighter of the year for his impressive resume and actions for his role in saving two lives from burning homes in 2009. He recently received a Silver and Gold Medal of Valor for those actions at the Prince George’s County Public Safety Valor Awards.

Another award for a volunteer member of Kentland occurred on Wednesday, April 28, 2010, Kentland Volunteers were joined by County Fire Department officials and the Liberty Mutual Insurance Company for an award luncheon at the Fire/EMS Station in Landover, MD. The event was held in recognition of Volunteer Fire Fighter/EMT Fred Caramiello's actions in saving unconscious and non-breathing infant child on April 6, 2010.

Representatives from the Liberty Mutual Insurance were on hand to present their “FIREMARK” award to Caramiello. Twenty years ago Liberty Mutual started honoring America’s firefighters with the prestigious FIREMARK Award. Liberty Mutual Insurance standard for the awards is that while fires and life threatening events are riddled with chaos and tragedy, they also spotlight the tremendous good displayed by our nations firefighters, paramedics and EMT’s; good that is embodied by the selfless deeds of brave men and women who enter burning homes to save victims or to save a life regardless of circumstances. This award is presented annually to one individual from the metropolitan area. This is the second consecutive year that a member of the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department has received this award.

After the award presentation, Liberty Mutual provided lunch for the members and guests in attendance. The entire Fire/EMS family congratulates Kentland Volunteer Fire Fighter Fred Caramiello on his award and in keeping with the highest tradition of the fire service. Emergency Operations Commander Lt. Col. Derrick Lea represented the Fire/EMS Department at the award presentation.

          Volunteer Fire Fighter Fred Caramiello
Volunteer Fire Fighter Tim McCloskey

Presenting the American Legion Awards to Dickens and McCloskey is Southern Maryland District Commander -- Steve Tatro from Calvert Post 85, Huntingtown, MD.