Friday, April 30, 2010

Happy Friday Everyone!

Hopefully everyone out there has had a great, and SAFE, week that will continue into the weekend!

Sadly, this was the last week at MCFRS for two outstanding people with over 33 years of service to the County. Happy retirement wishes to Division Chief Mike Love and Battalion Chief Wayne Courtney! Our loss is your families gain!

I also wanted to make all of you out there aware of a very good OP ED piece that appears in the Gazette Newspaper as it relates to the reimbursement for EMS service concept.

Have a SAFE weekend! Do not forget to wear your sun block and keep hydrated if you will be out and about!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Press Conference Today

National Park Service, United States Park Police, Montgomery and Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Departments, D. C. Police Harbor Patrol, and Partner Organizations Renew Effort to Eliminate Potomac Gorge Preventable Drowning and Increase Hiking Trail Safety Awareness

• WHAT: Press conference to provide context and background for wide-spread effort to prevent incidents of drowning in the Potomac River Gorge and to reduce the number of hiking accidents on the Billy Goat Trail before the height of the recreational boating, kayaking and hiking seasons begin.

News photographers will have a photo opportunity with Montgomery and Fairfax County Fire & Rescue swift water rescue boats providing access onto the river to show the hazards of the Potomac River Gorge and of the Billy Goat Trail, part of the C&O Canal National Historical Park.

National Park Service and U.S. Park Police will unveil a new video product designed to show all visitors the hazards and dangers of the Potomac River Gorge. Besides English, the video has been translated into Spanish and Vietnamese, as these communities have provided the largest number of persons recently lost to drowning. Copies in all three languages will be made available.

• WHEN: Thursday, April 29, 2010. 11:00 a.m.

• WHERE: Old Angler’s Inn, 10800-block of MacArthur Blvd., Potomac, MD. Park in C &O Canal parking lot, walk downhill and across the C&O Canal’s Tow Path down to the Potomac River to press conference site at River’s edge. News media will board the rescue boats after the press conference.

• WHO: Representatives from the National Park Service, United States Park Police, Montgomery County, MD, Fairfax County, VA and District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department’s Harbor Patrol Unit.

NOTE: The NPS, U.S. Park Police, Montgomery County Fire & Rescue and Fairfax County Fire & Rescue will have Spanish language personnel available onsite, and the U.S. Park Police will also have Vietnamese language personnel available and on-site for news media interviews.

BACKGROUND: Rescue boats will be available providing photographer and reporter access onto the river to show the danger and hazards of the Potomac River Gorge and of the hiking challenges with the C&O Canal’s Billy Goat Trail. The NPS, the USPP and Montgomery County have recorded an increase in the number of preventable hiking accidents in this area resulting in broken and sprained ankles, broken legs, head injuries including concussions and other serious injuries that result in governmental agency efforts to treat and airlift injured hikers out of the river and from the Billy Goat Trail.

Sadly and regrettably, six (6) persons drown accidentally in the Potomac River Gorge in 2009. Between 2005 and 2008, there had been no accidental drownings in the Potomac River Gorge. Prior to 2005, between two and six persons accidentally drown, on average, in the Potomac River Gorge annually. The Potomac River Gorge is a 14-mile stretch of the Potomac River defined as immediately north of Key Bridge to just north of Great Falls on the Potomac.

Federal, county, city agencies and partner organizations play a large role in helping to ensure river and trail safety and want to remind all visitors of the dangerous conditions present, and to have visitors take necessary measures to prevent hiking accidents and to prevent drowning.

NOTE: News photographers and reporters are strongly advised to wear appropriate footwear, rain gear and clothing for wet and muddy conditions!

From the National Park Service Media Advisory


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

NEWS RELEASE: Major Residential Fire Study to be Issued Today

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Maryland will issue the results of a multi-institutional landmark national study on the effects of firefighter staffing levels and crew arrival times on residential firefighting operations. The report provides scientific data that will help inform fire chiefs and public officials make decisions on firefighting budgets, crew sizes and placement of fire stations. The field experiments were conducted at the Montgomery County Public Safety Training Academy in Rockville, Md. Fire crews from Montgomery County, Maryland and Fairfax County, Virginia responded to live fires during the field experiments within this facility.
Speakers will include principal investigators from NIST and the International Association of Fire Fighters. A public stakeholder meeting follows immediately.

When: Wednesday, April 28, 2010 9:00 a.m. EDT

Where: Washington Hilton, Jefferson East (Concourse Level) 1919 Connecticut Avenue NW Washington, D.C. 20009 202-483-3000

Teleconference Call in Number for Reporters: after 8:45 a.m. (800) 857-9638 Passcode: 29459

Background: For an earlier report on the study see a February 10, 2009 article at

Note to Editors: B-roll video is also available upon request.

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

MCFRS At Washington Freedom First Responder Night

We are here at the Germantown Sportsplex promoting fire safety to the many families attending tonight's Freedom soccer game. Kids also have a chance to see some of our fire trucks and meet our fire fighters.
Stay Safe,

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Friday, April 16, 2010

Gaithersburg High School Arson Arrest

Fire explosive investigators arrest 2 individuals in an 8 day old investigation

On April 6, 2010 around 4:30 am Montgomery County Fire and Rescue units were originally dispatched to the unit block Oceania Avenue for a house fire. While units responded, the Emergency Communications Center provided additional information indicating an unknown fire to the rear of Gaithersburg High School (314 South Frederick Avenue). Fire and Rescue personnel from Station 8 (Gaithersburg) arrived on the scene to find the press box behind home plate on fire. The fire was quickly extinguished and Montgomery County Fire and Explosive investigators were requested to the scene for an origin and cause investigation. Fire and Explosives investigators determined the fire to be incendiary in nature.

A joint investigation began and included Montgomery County Fire and Explosive investigators, Gaithersburg City Police, District of Columbia Fire Department accelerant canine (FM203) and Montgomery County Public Schools security which includes the Educational Facilities Officer. The accelerant canine alerted investigators to ignitable liquids along an area of the burned press box. The press box contained the public announcement system, athletic equipment for the baseball program and grounds maintenance equipment. Damage was estimated at over $20,000 (building structure and contents).

On Wednesday, April 14, 2010 Montgomery County Fire and Explosive Investigators arrested 2 individuals for their involvement in this incendiary fire. Fire and Explosive investigators made the arrest of Zachariah Maurer (DOB 3/24/1992) of Gaithersburg and charged him with one count each of the following: 2nd Degree Arson, 1st Degree Malicious Burning, Conspiracy to Commit 2nd Degree Arson, Conspiracy to Commit 1st Degree Malicious Burning, Disrupting School Activities and two counts of Trespassing/Destroying school property. Bond status for Zachariah Maurer is unknown at the time of this release. A 16 year old male juvenile was also arrested and released to his parents under house arrest and a juvenile hearing is scheduled for Thursday April 15, 2010. Charges for a second 16 year old juvenile are pending.

Arson is one of the leading causes of property loss due to fire in Montgomery County, Maryland and in the United States. Nationally, one-fourth of all fires are arson and over one-half of them are set by juveniles. Fire and Explosive Investigators are asking anyone with information about arson fires to contact the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service ARSON Tip Line at 240-777-2263.


House Fire in Glen Echo Station 11's First Due

Raw Video from WUSA9 along with an interview with Assistant Chief Scott Graham.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Washington Freedom and the Fire Department are Teaming up! Photo Op

Public Information Office
Media line – 240.777.2442
When: April 15, 2010

Time: 4:00 p.m.

Where: Bethesda Fire Department, 6600 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland
(parking behind the station)

ROCKVILLE, Maryland - - The Washington Freedom is the region's elite, professional women's

soccer team and Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) is honored to have been selected by the club to be recognized at this weekend's game recognizing First Responders.

Stars from the Freedom will be stopping by Bethesda Fire Station 6 TODAY to test their skills off the turf. Sliding down the firehouse pole may prove more challenging than the pressure of rocketing a soccer ball thru the goalposts at high velocity … or not. These seasoned athletes definitely have what it takes and are going the extra mile to ensure that the community also has what it takes to be fire safe - - - working smoke alarms.

“The Washington Freedom is an outstanding organization and is doing great things in the community,” said Fire Chief Richie Bowers. “If any one can KICK off our Spring into Summer Safely campaign - - - it’s these athletes who are champions both on the field and off.”

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Fire in Landscaping Materials and Mulch

The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service reminds residents to use caution and common sense when it comes to fire safety as warm weather arrives. One of the most common causes of fires this time of year is improperly discarded smoking materials.

Montgomery County Fire Chief Richard Bowers is urging residents to be aware of the dangers of improperly discarded cigarettes, particularly around landscaping. “The risk of a mulch fire is more common than one might expect. We have seen a steep increase in mulch fires as commercial and public facilities ban smoking inside buildings and smoking materials are discarded into landscaped areas as people enter and/or exit a building presenting a significant safety hazard,” said Chief Bowers.

In order to reduce the potential for a fire in landscaping materials and mulch, the following guidelines are recommended:

• If you smoke, PLEASE properly dispose of all smoking materials and matches.

• If you see anything smoking in a landscaped bed, put it out safely if possible and immediately report it to someone inside the building. If the burning material is not thoroughly doused with water or removed, it may re-ignite.

• Grounds maintenance crews should be aware of the conditions that are favorable for mulch fires and increase surveillance of mulched areas.

• Businesses should provide proper receptacles for smoking materials at all entrances to public buildings and in designated smoking areas. Do not use mulch in or near these areas.

• Provide a minimum of an 18-inch clearance between landscaping mulch beds and combustible building materials. Ensure proper clearance to electric devices, such as decorative lights, by following the manufacturer’s instructions.

• Do not use old planter pots that contain potting soil as an ashtray. Many mixtures include different types of fertilizers that are oxidizers and will accelerate the rate that a fire will grow.

• Although mulch helps retain soil moisture, when dry, it can become flammable. Keep landscaping moist if possible.

The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service also reminds citizens to always have working smoke alarms on every level of their home and a home fire escape plan. It is best to practice that plan at least twice a year – more often with small children. The plan should include two ways out of every room, a meeting place outside the home and instructions for calling 9-1-1 immediately after exiting the home. For more fire and life safety information, visit us at

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Home Fires Can Start Outdoors!

With warm weather upon us, many people are taking an opportunity to enjoy various outdoor activities after a cold and snowy winter. Unfortunately, some of these outdoor activities can lead to serious fires in and around your home if you are not careful. Yesterday, Montgomery County experienced several fires that started outside but next to houses/buildings that placed people and property in danger. In the recent past the County experienced a fire in an Alzheimer care facility that was severely damaged by a fire started outside of the building by a cigarette!

To help people enjoy outdoor activities around your home in a safe manner, the women and men of Montgomery County Fire and Rescue ask that you please take a moment to review the below safety tips from some of our safety partners (listed below). Also take a moment to review the video above from our safety partners at the National Fire Protection Association on grilling safety.

Plants, Mulch, Potted Plants

 Clean – Remove all dead plant material from around your home; this includes dead leaves, dry grass and even stacked firewood

 Although mulch helps retain soil moisture, when dry, it can become flammable. Mulch as well as all landscaping should be kept well watered to prevent them from becoming fire fuel.

 Do not use old planter pots that contain potting soil as an ashtray. Many mixtures include different types of fertilizers that are oxidizers which will make a fire that does start, grow at an even faster rate.

 Keep an ashtray in areas where someone might be smoking around potted plants.

 If you have dead plants in pots in and around your home, discard them properly by throwing them out in the trash or spreading the soil from the pots in your yard or garden.

 Keep your potted plants well watered and maintained.

 If you keep potting soil in your garage or on your deck, do not leave it near any combustible material.

Barbeque Grills

 In 2003-2006, one-third (33%) of the home structure fires involving grills started on an exterior balcony or unenclosed porch, 18% started on a courtyard, terrace or patio, and 11% started on an exterior wall surface.

 The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.

 Keep children and pets away from the grill area.

 Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.

 Never leave your grill unattended when in use.

Propane grills

Check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles. If your grill has a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off the gas tank and grill. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If the leak does not stop, call the fire department. If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill.

Charcoal grills

If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire. Always keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources. There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use a UL approved extension cord for outdoor use. When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.

Smoking materials

 Smoking materials (i.e., cigarettes, cigars, pipes, etc.) are the leading cause of fire deaths in the United States.

 If you smoke outside, use deep, wide ashtrays on a sturdy table or surface

 Before you throw out butts and ashes, make sure they are out, and dousing in water or sand is the best way to do that.

 Check under outdoor furniture cushions and in other places people smoke for cigarette butts that may have fallen out of sight.

 If you smoke, choose fire-safe cigarettes. They are less likely to cause fires.

 Keep matches and lighters up high, out of children's sight and reach.

Several tips gathered from the NFPA and USFA.