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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Firefighter/Medics Return to Bowie Home and Install CO Alarm

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

On the morning of Thursday February 25, 2010, Bowie resident Naila Ferkic awoke and prepared to get ready for work. She did not feel well, perhaps the flu, she thought. She called her work to say she would not be in and lay back down. Later that morning, her fiancé, Dave Teat, arrived at their home in the 12200 block of Maycheck Lane and discovered Naila unable to talk or walk and was in obvious distress. He called 911 and an ambulance from the nearby Bowie Fire/EMS Station #839 was dispatched and arrived quickly. The ambulance crew conducted a patient assessment and at first thought they were dealing with a severe case of the flu. That assessment quickly changed when the Firefighter/Medics happened to see the family dog that was nearly unconscious and drooling. The crew immediately considered the possibility of carbon monoxide exposure (CO) and removed the patient from the house and initiated treatment for CO poisoning.

As the ambulance crew continued to treat the patient they summoned additional assistance to investigate their belief of CO inside the home. Firefighters from the Bowie Fire/EMS Station #839 arrived and began to investigate the atmosphere inside the 1-story single family rancher style home. Their gas meter detected a level of 400 parts per million (PPM) of CO. Any reading above 35 PPM is unhealthy.

The ambulance crew had departed the scene and was transporting the 36 year-old-female patient to a local hospital. They were notified by the firefighters on the scene that they were correct in the assessment and the patient was exposed to high levels of CO. After reaching the local hospital the patient was stabilized and transferred to the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore for hyperbaric treatment. She was released later that night. Her dog, a 3-year-old toy poodle, “Trupco,” was taken by a neighbor to a local veterinarian and held overnight for treatment of CO exposure and was released the next day.

Firefighters determined that the high levels of CO were being generated by a malfunctioning furnace. The furnace was shut down and is awaiting repairs.

Firefighters from the Bowie Station returned to the home today on Maycheck Lane, Tuesday, March 9, 2010, and installed a combination CO and smoke alarm for the family. The house was already equipped with working smoke alarms and is now protected by a CO alarm. Naila told firefighters, “I have had sleepless nights since that day for fear of something being wrong. Now I feel better with the CO alarm.”

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. High levels of CO 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; automobile exhaust from attached garages.

CO Poisoning Prevention Tips

• Install at least one battery-powered 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.

This weekend, when clocks are moved forward to Daylight Savings Time, is a good time to remember to change the batteries in your smoke and CO alarms as well. “Change your clock – Change your battery.”

FF/Medic Zach Myers, FF Technician Kevin Roberts, resident Dave Teat, resident Naila Ferkic and Trupco, FF/Medic Jonathan Coleman and Fire Captain John Beck after the installation of a combination CO and smoke alarm.  FF/Medic Myers and Fire technician Roberts were on the original call.

PGFD Personnel are Textbook Models for EMT

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

Numerous members of the Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department are models for two recently released textbooks and accompanying workbooks. Dozens of volunteer and career members of the Department are depicted in photos throughout the textbooks including the cover of each book. The images show PGFD personnel correctly demonstrating a skill required of an Emergency Medical Technician.

The books, EMERGENCY MEDICAL TECHNICIAN and EMERGENCY MEDICAL RESPONDER, Second Edition of each, are authored by Barbara Aehlert and published by McGraw Hill were released in February 2010. The images of Prince George’s County personnel were photographed by Rick Brady. Rick is well known within the emergency service and healthcare textbook industry and is a veteran photographer with over 40 years of experience. As a matter of full disclosure; Rick Brady is the brother of the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Departments Chief Spokesman and PIO Mark Brady.

PGFD, Pepco and Metro Partner for Fire Safety

Contact: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
Pepco’s Emergency Services Partnership Program (ESPP) will sponsor a specially wrapped Metro bus to promote the critical safety message that “Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives." This is part of Pepco’s continuing effort to support the vital partnerships that exist with our first responders in Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department. Pepco’s sponsorship of this initiative further demonstrates our corporate commitment to public safety. The mobile message comes at a time when firefighters are urging residents to check their alarms and remind them that when they change their clocks this coming weekend to Daylight Savings Time to also change the batteries in their smoke alarms.

The wrapped Metro buses resemble a red fire truck and display the logos of the public safety units charged with delivering the life saving smoke alarm message to the greater Washington Metropolitan area. PEPCO is also sponsoring wrapped METRO Buses in the District of Columbia and Montgomery County as well. “Over the next three years, these buses will travel throughout the Pepco service territory to be seen by thousands of our customers, local government officials and our first responders to publicize and promote the importance of having a working smoke alarm,” said Joseph M. Rigby, Chairman, President and CEO of Pepco’s parent firm, Pepco Holdings, Inc

Mr. Rigby’s image is featured on the bus backs along with those of Chief Rubin, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service Chief Richard R. Bowers and Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Chief Eugene A. Jones, who adds, “The men and women of the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department are proud to be partners with Pepco in promoting fire safety and injury prevention. This is a pubic safety partnership designed to save lives.”

“I want to give a special thanks to Metro for their contributing three busses to the cause,” concluded Mr. Rigby. “We could not have this unique message without the vehicle to deliver it across the region. Metro is performing a life-saving public service that is greatly appreciated.”

Any Prince George’s County citizen and resident can have a smoke alarm installed in their home, free of charge, by contacting our Livable Communities Smoke Alarm Hotline at 301-864-SAFE.

The men and women of your Fire/EMS Department remind you to:

 Place properly installed and maintained smoke alarms both inside and outside of sleeping areas and on every level of your home. In Prince George’s County, the law requires that every home have at least one working smoke alarm.

 Test your smoke alarm monthly and change batteries at least once every year. Use the reminder that when you “Change your clock – Change your Battery.”

Fire Chief Jones stated, “Everyone should have working smoke alarms and a home escape plan in the event of an emergency. Having a working smoke alarm increases your chances of surviving a fire by 50%. Also consider the installation of a residential sprinkler system and carbon monoxide alarms to further protect your family and home.”