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Saturday, October 3, 2015

FOX 5 Coverage of PGFD Storm Preparation

PGFD Promotions Announced

Congratulations are in order for the following individuals.  
Their promotions will be effective October 18, 2015.

Promoted to rank of Fire Fighter/Paramedic Captain

Brian F. Dougherty
Christopher M. Ferrara
Benita T. Dawson
Dwight Z. Rollins
Daniel K. Frost
John L. Wiseman

Promoted to the rank of Fire Fighter/Paramedic Technician

Denise M. Boggs
David B. Snyder
Shaun M. Love
Damion R. Duncan
Donald A. Degraves

Mark E. Brady
Chief Spokesperson/PIO

Thursday, October 1, 2015

PGFD Safety First Day of the Month - October

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

Today is October 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.

While members of the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department promote fire prevention year round, October is the month we provide extra emphasis.  Fire Prevention Week is in the month of October as well.  This years theme is; "Hear the Beep Where You Sleep."

Keep your family safe with a working smoke alarm in every bedroom.

Did you know that roughly half of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., when most people are asleep? 
Smoke alarms save lives. If there is a fire in your home, smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out. In fact, having a working smoke alarm cuts the chances of dying in a reported fire in half!

The Fire/EMS Department, in cooperation with the Prince George's Sentinel and the First Tee Golf Program, are holding a Fire Prevention Poster Contest.  Read this article for additional details.

The Sentinel teams up with the PG Fire Department for Fire Prevention Week

shawnmarkThe Prince George’s County Fire Department and The Prince George’s Sentinel are teaming up to ask county residents to install smoke alarms in their homes in recognition of Fire Prevention Week.
This year the fire department will recognize Fire Prevention Week from Oct. 4 through 10, with a theme of “Hear the beep where you sleep.”
Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, a notorious blaze that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures, and burned more than 2,000 acres on Oct. 8 and 9 in 1871. Forty years after the Great Chicago Fire, the Fire Marshals Association of North America (today known as the International Fire Marshals Association), decided that the anniversary should be used as an occasion to raise awareness about the importance of fire prevention.  
“It’s required in Prince George's County to have a smoke alarm on each floor of your house, as well as in the basement and attic area,” said Mark Brady, spokesman for the Prince George’s County Fire Department. “If a resident of Prince George's County is in need a smoke alarm, the county will provide a free one.”
According to the United States Fire Administration, each year there are an estimated 405,000 fires in residential structures, which cause nearly 3,600 fatalities, 18,600 injuries, and $4.7 billion in property loss.
According to the fire department, there have been several fires this year in Prince George's County where smoke alarms have saved residents’ lives.
"This year there has been 24 house fires where county residents have been saved by smoke alarms,” said Brady. "Last year in 2014, there were 36 house fires where smoke alarms alerted residents of a fire and they were able to get out safely.” 
To help spread the word regarding smoke alarms, The Sentinel and the fire department will sponsor a poster contest for elementary school students in Prince George’s County. Students may design a poster depicting how fire alarms save lives, or demonstrate an example of a fire safety plan for their home and where to place smoke detectors.
Students may submit their contest entries at their local fire house or by emailing The Sentinel at editor-pg@thesentinel.com between Sept. 30 and Oct. 10. The winner will have their photo in the paper and will receive a one-year membership at the First Tee Program.
The First Tee of Prince George’s County offers golf programs and instruction, which focus on developing life skills using the game as its vehicle. The First Tee of Prince George’s Chapter was established in 2001 and is operated by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) and the Department of Parks and Recreation. This award is provided courtesy of the Chapter at the Paint Branch Golf Complex in College Park.
Posters will be judged by Prince George's County Fire Department officials and The Sentinel.
Several Prince George's County Volunteer Fire Departments will be holding fire prevention open-house programs. The Branchville Volunteer Fire Department at 4905 Branchville Road in College Park will host theirs on Oct. 11 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free fire trucks rides and other actives will take place. 
In November it's "Change Your Clock - Change Your Battery or Change Your Entire Alarm" to a 10-Year Model!!!!


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

An approaching storm, Joaquin, is approaching and forecasted to impact our weather over this week and weekend.  Regardless of where it makes landfall the storm will bring heavy rains and high winds.  Driving conditions will be treaties and we advise to limit your driving and curtail all driving during periods of adverse weather.

To prepare yourself before the storm rolls into the County, heed this PGFD Safety Advice.

Please become familiar with what a Flash Flood is and advice to stay safe.

Safety Advice 
Precautionary/preparedness actions: A Flash Flood Watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding. Flash flooding is a very dangerous situation. Be prepared to take action should flash flood warnings be issued.
A Flash Flood Warning means that flash flooding is occurring and that conditions are present that flash flooding is likely to occur.
Flash Flood Facts...
Flash floods occur within a few minutes or hours of excessive rainfall or a dam failure. Flooding is a longer-term event and may last a week or more.
Most flash flooding is caused by (1) slow-moving thunderstorms, (2) thunder-storms repeatedly moving over the same area or (3) heavy rains from hurricanes and tropical storms.
Flash floods can roll boulders, tear out trees, and destroy buildings and bridges.
Densely populated areas have a high risk for flash floods. The construction of buildings, highways, driveways, and parking lots increases runoff by reducing the amount of rain absorbed by the ground.
Water can erode the roadbed creating unsafe driving conditions.
Many flash floods occur at night when flooded roads are hard to see.
2 feet of water will float your car, truck or SUV!!! 6 inches of fast-moving floodwater can knock you off your feet.
Nearly half of all flash flood fatalities are auto related. If your car stalls, leave it and seek higher ground, if you can do so safely.
Underpasses can fill rapidly with water, while the adjacent roadway remains clear. Driving into a flooded underpass can quickly put you in 5-6 feet of water.
The Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department wants you to stay safe during this potentially dangerous weather conditions.  Help us by helping yourself and heed warnings and safety tips.
Flash Flood Safety Tips...
Never try to walk, swim, or drive through swift-moving floodwater. Remember, 2 feet of water will float your vehicle and 6 inches of fast moving floodwater can knock you off your feet.
If you come upon floodwaters, STOP, TURN AROUND AND GO ANOTHER WAY!!
Do not attempt to drive through a flooded road.
If your car stalls in high water, DON'T PANIC, leave your car and seek higher ground, if you can do so safely and call 911.
Stay informed about the storm and possible flooding by listening to your NOAA weather radio, commercial radio, television or Internet.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Strength, Agility, Endurance, Mental and Physical Toughness - PGFD Iron Team

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

For the second consecutive year an all-female team was formed to compete in the 6th Annual County Police Iron Team Endurance Competition.  The team consisted of two members of the Fire/EMS Department, a police officer and a hope-to-be Fire/EMS Department member currently participating  in the hiring process.  Team members included Fire Fighter/Medic Lieutenant Katie Johnson, Fire Fighter Anna Pazmino, Police Officer, 1st Class Teresa Murphy and Brittany Forker.  The team started early this morning at Suplee Lane Park in Laurel.  Hundreds of law enforcement members from SWAT/Military/Police agencies from around the region competed in the Iron Team Event.  The image below shows the events that each team must complete.

Prince George's County Firefighter/Medics working at nearby stations in Laurel and Calverton were able to stop by and cheer the team on.  There was also several Firefighter/Medics at the event working the first aid station.

Fire Fighter Pazmino stated after the team had concluded today, "Iron Team is by far the hardest challenge I've ever competed in, in my life! And I'm so happy and proud to share the experience with these girls!  Each of us has our strengths and our weaknesses but together we were able to finish and that's the most important part!   Thank you to the many people who came out to support us!!! We truly appreciate it!

I stopped by the competition this morning and witnessed several evolutions of our all-female and other teams.  This was not fun and games time.  I was amazed at the number of competitors and the level of competition.  It was amazing to witness the competition with each evolution proving extremely challenging for all the teams.  The strength, agility and endurance required throughout the day demonstrated the mental and physical toughness required of our competitors.  To have competed and completed this endurance challenge is a remarkable feat itself.  Congratulations!!!

Pazmino, Johnaon, Murphy and Fork 


Crew from Calverton payed a visit to cheer on our team

PGFD Tips for Before the Storm

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

mebrady@co.pg.md.us     @PGFDPIO


An approaching storm system could impact our normal way of life over the next several days.  "Joaquin" became a hurricane on Wednesday, September 30.  Forecasters have the Delaware, Maryland and Virginia coasts as potential landfall over the weekend or early next week.  If this storm has a direct impact on our area or not it will still bring heavy rains and high winds.

Much of our area has already been saturated with rains on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.  The potential for tree falls and power outages will be high.  Today is a good time to prepare yourself and keep some good common sense tips at the forefront of your preparations.

Stay informed by monitoring local news broadcasts on TV and radio as well as reliable news  Internet sites about approaching weather.  Sign up to ALERT - Prince George's and receive important news and storm updates on your mobile device.  Follow @PGFDPIO on Twitter,  www.PGFDNEWS.com  and PGFD Facebook for up to the minute Fire/EMS news and safety advice.  Have all mobile devices fully charged before and during the storm.

Have your emergency kit prepared, stocked and ready.  For additional information on what should be in your kit go to: www.ready.gov

Your emergency kit should include a battery operated radio and flashlights.  We do not recommend the use of candles during power outages.

Ensure your Smoke alarm and CO detector are tested and have fresh batteries.

Consider purchasing bags of ice that can be stored in your freezer.

Ensure your cell phones, lap tops and tablets are completely charged.

Ensure your vehicle has a full tank of gas.

Consider having a quantity of cash on hand in the event that ATM's and banks are out of power.

Remove any objects in your yard that could become airborne during periods of high winds.  Secure larger items by tying them down.

Clean and clear your storm and outdoor basement drains of any debris that could clog and back up rain water.

Management companies should safely inspect their rooftops to ensure all gutters and roof top drains are clear and clean up any debris that will clog drains when it rains.  Pooling water on roof tops could cause water damage inside and cause a possible collapse.

Stay ready to take quick actions in the event of severe weather including remaining indoors and going to the lowest possible level or floor and if possible in a room with no windows. Have your emergency kit ready. 

Check with your work location on what is the plan and notification for cancellations.

Set up a communications plan with family members and friends.  Remember that "texting" has been more reliable then cell phone calls and emails during times of high usage and outages.

If you have a generator - follow manufacturer's instructions on how to use it safely, position it far enough away from your residence to avoid CO finding it's way inside, refuel after cool-down, use approved outdoor heavy-duty extension cords that are free of any rips and tears.

Stay Informed, Stay Ready, Stay Safe.  Don't panic, stay calm and prepare.

Monday, September 28, 2015

NASA Goddard Haz-Mat Incident

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

The Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department's Hazardous Materials Team responded as part of a full box assignment to NASA Goddard in Greenbelt just before 2:00 pm, Monday, September 28.  A chemical reaction had occurred when nitric acid was combined with water.  The worker stated there was sudden heat from within the container and a vapor cloud.

NASA Building #11 was immediately and orderly evacuated of all employees.  The haz-mat team was briefed by PGFD HM Coordinator Craig Black before donning protective gear and entering the hot zone.  Has-Mat techs found negative readings and the container with product still intact.

The building was ventilated by firefighters before NASA officials were allowed to re-enter the building.  The four haz-mat techs were decontaminated and had vitals signs recorded before Incident Command gave the all-clear around 4:00 pm.

Images and video by Mark E. Brady, PGFD PIO