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Monday, August 3, 2015

Funeral Procession and Memorial Service for County Employee and Volunteer Firefighter This Morning

The procession will depart Evans Funeral Home at about 10:00 am and include family, personnel and units from the Kentland Volunteer Fire Station.

Several intersections will be blocked by police and firefighters to allow the procession to pass through. The procession is scheduled to make 3 stops at locations that played in a role in the life of Patch.  A brief ceremony will occur at each stop.

Below is the route the procession will take starting at about 10:00 am:

From Rt. 450 and Racetrack Road, take Rt. 450 west to West Lanham Hills Volunteer Fire Department Station 828 and to Veterans Parkway - Rt.410

Left on Rt. 410 to Pennsy Drive

Right on Pennsy Drive to 75th Avenue

Left on 75th Avenue to Rt. 202 to the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department Station 833

Left on Rt. 202 to Rt. 704

North of Rt. 704 to Rt. 50

East on Rt. 50 to Melford Blvd. to a stop at the Public Safety Communications

Right on Melford Blvd. to Rt. 3

North of Rt. 3 to Columbian Way

Right on Columbian Way second entrance to the Knights of Columbus

Fire/EMS apparatus from around the County and neighboring jurisdictions will be staged along
the slow shoulder of Route 3 in the area of Columbian Way.

The procession is anticipated to take approximately one (1) hour and 40 minutes. It is a total of 25.2 miles. 

There will be three stops along the procession for brief ceremonies.

1.) West Lanham Hills VFD
2.) Kentland VFD

3.) Public Safety Communications

Mark E. Brady
Chief Spokesperson
Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department

Saturday, August 1, 2015

PGFD Safety First Day of the Month - Safety Advice for August 2015

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

Today is August 1, 2015, the Safety First Day of the Month.  Having a working smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarm could be the difference in life or death - yours and your family.  Today is the day that the Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department has designated for everyone to test their smoke and CO alarms.  It's simple:

PGFD Press to Test

Press the TEST button on the front cover of your smoke and CO alarm.

An audible beeping noise SHOULD sound.  If it does, congratulations, your done until next month.

If it does not sound an audible alarm - replace the battery.  Push the TEST button again - still no alarm - remove the alarm and immediately replace with a new 10-year, tamper proof, with hush feature smoke or CO alarm or better yet a 10-year combination smoke/CO alarm.

If your alarms are at about 10 years old or you don't remember if you ever replaced the alarm, do it today!!!  Smoke and CO alarms work all day - every day and will wear down over their 10 year service life.
County Law requires a working smoke alarm in your home.  Over the next two years the law will continue to evolve to require a working 10-year smoke alarm on every level of your home, primarily outside of sleeping areas.

County Law currently requires a working CO detector on every level of your home, primarily, outside of sleeping areas.  This law includes all homes with a gas service (natural, propane, oil, etc), a fireplace or an attached garage.  This law also requires that all hotels, motels, dormitories and all apartments and condos have working CO alarms.

Have you ever noticed that it is sometimes a challenge to reach your alarms installed on your ceiling or high on the wall.  Perhaps you use a step-ladder or stand tall on your toes to reach the test button.  Think about your senior citizen neighbors and relatives that may have difficulty even reaching a light switch.  Test their alarms for them every month, change their batteries at least once-a-year and contact 311 for them if they need a new 10-year smoke alarm installed by firefighters, free of charge.

Don't wait for a firefighter to knock on your door.  If you need a working smoke alarm and can not afford to purchase one, call 311 and ask about the free smoke alarm program.

The month of August is Summertime in Prince George's County.  A quick Safety First Day of the Month reminder of life-saving habits:

1.     Never leave children or pets in cars.  Heat stroke can occur within minutes and sickness or death will occur very quickly.  Heat Stroke Kills.  Leave your cell phone in back seat with your child.  Easy way to remember your child is back there and use of the handheld device while driving is against the law.  

I would like to share a short video from our friends at the Nashville Fire Department highlighting the dangers of the danger of heat inside cars.

2.     During our hazy, hot and humid days - remember to drink plenty of water.  Its how our firefighters and medics stay hydrated and are able to work in hot temperatures.  HHH2 - "Hazy, Hot and Humid = Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate."

3.     Always practice good fire safety habits when discarding cigarettes but pay particular attention when days are labeled "Red Flag" days where fires can start easily and spread rapidly.

Grill Safety

It is anticipated that many backyard barbecue's will be in use throughout the summer months. The PGFD recommend that you exercise caution and keep safety in mind when setting up, using and cleaning your BBQ grill.   Did you know that cooking, most notably "unattended cooking" is the number one cause of fires and fire related injuries in Prince George's County, this includes both inside and outside cooking: WATCH WHAT YOU HEAT!!!

•NEVER use a grill indoors including garages, overhangs and canopies

•By Law - Grills must be at least 30 feet away from any multi-family apartment dwelling.

•When using a grill at your single family home – homeowners should use a 10-foot perimeter from anything combustible – including your house!!! Never place a grill up against your house, wood deck or fence.

•In Prince George’s County - all grills are illegal to use on balconies of apartments and condominium apartments

•Do not allow children and pets to play near a grill - set up a 10 foot safety zone around your grill.

•Only use approved ignition fluids – NEVER use gasoline to ignite a grill

•Keep a fire extinguisher, garden hose or bucket of sand nearby to douse a grill fire that gets out of control.

•Inspect your grill before you ignite to ensure everything is in working order. This inspection includes all connections on your gas grills are tight and not leaking.

Charcoal ashes and used briquettes should be disposed of in a metal container and allowed to cool down for up to 48 hours before disposal.  Keep ash container off of your wood deck and away from your house.

Swim Safely

It is anticipated that thousands of residents will be taking full advantage of swimming pools.  Keeping safety first will help to prevent such a festive occasion from becoming a tragedy.  You should know that 75% of drownings occur in backyard pools.

For parents:

•Always watch your children and never leave them unattended.  A lack of adult supervision is one of the leading contributing factors to children drowning.

•Do not rely on flotation devices to protect your children from drowning. You must supervise at all times.

•Have a phone nearby in the event you need to call 911.

•Have children swim in pairs - the "buddy system"

•If a child is missing - check the pool first.

•Teach your child how to swim. Visit www.pgparks.com/aquatics.htm for additional information.

•Learn CPR. Visit http://www.redcross.org/take-a-class or call the Fire/EMS Department CPR Information line at 301-864-LIVE (5483).

For home pool owners and managers:

•Install a fence around the perimeter of the pool.

•Use self closing latches and gates.

•Install a door alarm from the house to the pool area.

•Have life saving equipment nearby such as life rings or reaching poles

Something fun to do.

Funeral Arrangements for Donald Irving (Patch) Aker, Jr.,

Funeral arrangements for Donald Irving (Patch) Aker, Jr., President and Life Member of the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department and employee of Prince George's County Public Safety Communications are as follows:

Sunday, August 2, 2015
3:00 - 5:00 PM and 7:00 - 9:00 PM
Robert E. Evans Funeral Home
16000 Annapolis Road
Bowie, MD  20715
(301) 464-8836

A Fire Department Memorial Service will be held at 7:00 PM.

Funeral Service
Monday, August 3, 2015
12:00 PM
Knights of Columbus Boswell Hall
6111 Columbian Way
Bowie, MD  20715

Repast to follow service at the same location.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center or to the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department.  Check memos should indicate the this gift is in memory of Donald I. Aker, Jr., and mailed to the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, PO Box 17029, Baltimore, MD 21297-1029 (payable to Johns Hopkins University); or the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department, Attn:  Captain Oleg Pelekhaty, 7701 Landover Road, Landover, MD  20785, or via PayPal to Kvfdfoundation@gmail.com.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Landover House Fire - East Forest Road

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

Just after 11:00 am, Friday, July 31, firefighters were alerted to a house fire in Landover.  Kentland Firefighters were the first to arrive at a 2-story duplex  in the 7200 block of East Forest Road and encountered fire showing from the first floor.

Crews mounted an interior attack and search of the structure finding no one inside.  The fire was knocked down within 15 minutes of arrival.  Three occupants were home when the fire started and escaped safely prior to the fire departments arrival.

The  accidential fire started in the kitchen and caused an estimated $50,000 in fire damage.  There were no civilian or firefighter injuries.  Three adult occupants are displaced and provided with assistance from the American Red Cross.

Photo of conditions on arrival courtesy of PGFD

PGFD Statement Concerning Laurel Regional Hospital Plan

Media are reporting there is a plan to reduce services the current Laurel Regional Hospital provides to the community.

The Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department has, to date, not been made aware of this plan or provided a written copy and therefore not aware of its contents. 

Once received the plan will be reviewed in its entirety.  The Fire/EMS Department will then determine what impact the plan will have on the EMS services we provide between the community and Laurel Regional Hospital.

The Fire/EMS Department will release a statement once our position has been determined, until then, we cannot comment on a plan we have not yet received.

Mark E. Brady
Chief Spokesperson
Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department

Local Fire Fighting Chef Competes on Food Networks "CUTTHROAT KITCHEN"

By: Mark E. Brady, PGFD Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
mebrady@co.pg.md.us     @PGFDPIO

It seems every firehouse has at least one individual who really enjoys cooking for their shift partners.  Chris Hebert is that person.  He started his fire service career with the Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department in Prince George’s County, Maryland.  Chris aspired to be a career firefighter and his dream would soon become reality with the District of Columbia Fire & EMS Department (DCFEMS).   As much as he loves being the shift chef, it can be bit challenging at times—especially when a bunch of very hungry people are ready to eat, and at just about the last few minutes before the food is done, an alert for service comes into the station.  Duty has called and off goes the stove, on goes the turnout gear, and out the door we go to potentially save a life, limb, or property.  Interestingly, it appears fire stations that have a good firefighting chef typically have a more cohesive crew.

Chris Hebert, a life member of the Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department, has held various positions since joining in 1994, including driver, Sergeant, Lieutenant Captain, Board Member, and Treasurer.  Chris knew early on that he wanted to pursue firefighting as a profession and has spent a little more than the last fifteen years as a career firefighter in the DCFEMS. 

Although Chris remains somewhat active in an administrative capacity of the volunteer department, the demands of a full time job, growing family, and numerous hobbies prevent him from riding the apparatus.  One of Chris’ hobbies happens to be cooking, and being a firehouse chef at DCFEMS Engine 13 over the years has given him plenty practice in the kitchen.  This hobby-turned-passion also recently landed him a spot on “Cutthroat Kitchen,” a top-rated Food Network show.

Chris and wife Jillyn have been married for 14 years and have two children, Kayla and Kamryn, ages 11 and 8.  The family shares a home in Croom, which they hope to return to upon repairing the damage caused by a lightning strike earlier this year.  Aside from his love for cooking, he enjoys home brewing beer, bike riding, running, and recently started woodworking.  He was about to start on a dining room table project when his home was hit by lightning.  In his “spare” time, Chris completed both the Marine Corps Half & Full Marathons and some other small events.     

When asked about his home-based brewing, Chris stated, “I'm always in search of creating the best IPA ever...almost there!”

Chris will be competing on a Firefighter edition of Cutthroat Kitchen this coming August 16th, at 10:00 p.m.  I did my best to find out the results of the pre-taped show, but Chris remained loyal to his commitment that I would have to watch the episode to find out.  He described the show, saying, “Cutthroat Kitchen isn't a typical cooking competition.  In order to win, a player, in addition to being a good chef, must be able to outwit and, at times, sabotage their opponents.  Each episode features four people vying in three rounds to win up to $25,000 cash.  At the beginning, $100,000 is split evenly among the players to spend however they wish during the game.  The chefs purchase at auctions things that could help them—like buying exclusive use of salt, or hindering their opponents by prohibiting them from tasting a recipe in progress.  One chef is eliminated each round until there is a winner.  Although the competitors want to make purchases at auction to improve their chances of winning, they are cautious about overspending.  The ultimate prize is determined by the amount of money remaining in the winner's bank.  The show is hosted by Alton Brown, who also hosts Good Eats and many other Food Network shows.” 

Upon questioning Chris about his future plans and aspirations, he replied, “I would certainly like to compete on other Food Network shows.  I’d really like to test my abilities on the "Next Food Network Star” or “Chopped”.  If the stars align, hosting my own cooking show that would bring together both of my passions, firefighting and cooking, would be awesome.  A lot of GREAT food is being prepared and shared in firehouse kitchens around the country and, more importantly, even better stories.  I would love the ability to highlight these amazing cooks in a uniquely fun and tasty way.”    

For now, Chris Hebert will continue to fight fires and save lives in the District of Columbia, as well as work on developing and growing “First Arriving Network and Go Forward Media” along with his friend, business partner and fellow Hyattsville member Dave Iannone.  Oh yeah…and find that perfect IPA recipe. 

Firefighting Chef Chris Herbert, we wish you the best of luck on Cutthroat Kitchen.  We will be watching August 16th, at 10:00 pm (EST) on the Food Network.  air date is subject to change.

A viewing party will be held with Chris, his family, friends and co-workers.  Members of the media are invited to attend.  Please contact me if you would like to join us for the viewing party location.