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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Off Duty and Retired PGFD Medics Save a Teen's Life

The Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department recently became aware of life saving actions by two members. Fire Fighter/Medic Antonio D. Cole and retired Fire Fighter/Medic Melvin Batts performed cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on a 13-year-old male drowning victim and were successful in his resuscitation. Antonio Cole, off-duty at the time and Melvin Batts, retired from the Department, are credited with saving the young man’s life.

Cole and Batts were attending a July 4th family gathering in Waldorf, MD. A 13-year-old male was swimming in the deep end of a backyard pool and accidentally swallowed a large amount of water and subsequently resulted in him losing consciousness and sinking to the bottom. It is not clear how long he lay at the bottom of the pool but when he was noticed, two of his uncles dove into the pool and brought him to the top. Family members described the unconscious teen’s condition as lifeless with no pulse, no respirations and a blue skin tone in his extremities. Cole and Batts immediately went to the teen’s aid and after a rapid patient assessment, initiated CPR. Bystanders estimated that CPR had been administered for nearly 7 minutes when the teen started to cough and display some signs of life. The two veteran medics loaded the teen into their own vehicle and drove him to the closest hospital.

The teen’s condition and vital signs were closely monitored while en route and prior to arriving at the hospital, the teen had regained a pulse and was breathing on his own. Emergency Room staff conveyed to family members that if it had not been for the skills of the EMS providers that the outcome would have been tragic. After stabilizing the patient he was transferred to Children’s Hospital in Washington, DC, where he spent two days in the Intensive Care Unit before being released.

While at home and being told of his ordeal, the teen cannot stop expressing his thanks to everyone involved in his rescue.

Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Chief Eugene A. Jones stated, “Congratulations to the victim who has survived a close call and congratulations to Cole and Batts for their quick actions that resulted in saving a life. Your actions are held in the highest regard of the Fire/EMS service and exemplifies that your firefighting and EMS training and skills are a valuable resource, no matter where you use them.”

High Temperatures Continue - Tips for Health and Wellness

A heat wave continues in Prince George’s County and the Atlantic Coast States as temperatures continue to reach into the upper 90’s. Humidity levels will push the heat indexes into the 100’s. This year 8 people, 1 in Prince George’s County, have died in Maryland from heat related illnesses according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Prince George’s County Paramedics have transported nearly 3 dozen people to area hospitals over the last six days with heat related illnesses. Other illnesses are often triggered by high heat and unhealthy air quality which are harmful to children and anyone with breathing or heart conditions causing additional responses by fire/EMS personnel. Call volume during the past 2 weeks has been up about 10-20%.

The volunteer and career men and women of the Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department want you to stay safe during this current heat pattern. It is important to recognize symptoms of heat related illness and take action quickly.


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. Treatment of heatstroke involves the rapid lowering of body temperature, using a cool bath or wet towels. A heatstroke victim should be kept in a cool area; emergency medical care should be obtained by dialing 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.

Follow these safety tips to help keep you safe.


• Drink plenty of fluids such as water and fruit juices to prevent dehydration -- be aware that alcohol can impair the body's sweat mechanism, as can fairly common medications such as antihistamines and diuretics;

• Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothes;

• Avoid direct sunlight by staying in the shade and by wearing sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses;

• When possible, stay in air-conditioned areas. If your home is not air-conditioned, consider a visit to a shopping mall or public library.

• NEVER leave pets or young children in a car, even with the windows cracked;

• Check on elderly relatives or neighbors at least daily; and

• Take it easy when outdoors. Athletes and those who work outdoors should take short breaks when feeling fatigued. Schedule physical activity during the morning or evening when it is cooler.