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Monday, November 29, 2010
The various December Holidays are fast approaching and candles are in demand. See and hear a quick presentation on Candle Safety. Do not let your Holidays go up in flames!
Thursday, November 25, 2010
“Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a rookie cooking your first holiday feast, the strategies for serving up a safe meal are the same,” said Chief Bowers. “Unattending cooking is the leading cause of residential fires and we’re asking residents to follow these simple safety tips and to have a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday.”
Cooking Fires Life-Saving Tips:
• Be alert! Always keep your eyes on what’s cooking.
• If a fire breaks out while cooking, put a lid on the pan to smother it. Never throw water on a
• Clean cooking surfaces regularly to prevent grease buildup which can ignite.
• Always wear short, tight-fitting sleeves when cooking.
• Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
• If you are simmering, baking, roasting or boiling food, check it regularly. Remain in the kitchen while food is cooking and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
• Keep anything that can catch fire – oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains – away from your stovetop.
• Double-check the kitchen before you go to bed or leave the house. Make sure all other appliances are turned off.
• Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home. Test the batteries every month and change the batteries annually.
Turkey fryers are becoming an increasingly popular choice to cook the Thanksgiving turkey and can be extremely dangerous if proper precautions are not taken. If your plans include using a turkey fryer, fire department officals urge residents to follow all manufacturer directions closely and to review the following safety tips:
· Many units easily tip over, spilling the hot oil within the cooking pot.
· A small amount of cooking oil coming into contact with the burner can cause a large fire.
· Do not overfill the fryer.
· If the cooking pot is overfilled with oil, the oil may spill out of the unit when the turkey is placed into the cooking pot. Oil may hit the burner/flames causing a fire to engulf the entire unit.
· Partially frozen turkeys placed into the fryer can cause a spillover effect. This too, may result in an extensive fire.
· With no thermostat controls, the units also have the potential to overheat the oil to the point of combustion. Never leave the tryer unattended.
· The sides of the cooking pot, lid and pot handles get dangerously hot, posing severe burn hazards.
· Never let children or pets near the fryer when in use or after use as the oil can remain hot for hours.
· Make sure the turkey is completely thawed before it is placed in a fryer.
Following these simple fire safety tips can boost survival rates and reduce injuries dramatically. For more information about the department’s fire safety programs or to request a free home safety evaluation or smoke alarm check, please contact the County’s non-emergency call center at 311.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
So, please take a moment to review the below:
Stainless Steel Carafes Recalled by J & H International Due to Burn Hazard
Robert Bosch Tool Corp. Recalls Bosch Hammer Drills Due to Electrical Shock Hazard
Metallic Taper Candles Sold Exclusively at Yankee Candle Stores Recalled by General Wax & Candle Company Due to Fire Hazard
Meijer Recalls Oscillating Ceramic Heaters Due to Fire Hazard
If you are traveling today at some point PLEASE be SAFE out there!
Happy and Safe Holidays,
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Advisory Thanksgiving 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
|Click on Above Photo to Access MCFRS Flickr Slideshow|
Friday, November 19, 2010
NEWS RELEASE: Toys for the Holidays ……..Help Us Help Others - Region’s Fire Stations Are Toy “Drop-off” Sites
Help Firefighters Provide Toys for the Holidays 1110
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
|MC CERT team with Montouis Haiti 'Lifesavers' June 2010. |
CERT Program Manager Greg St. James in middle with Hawaiian shirt.
The Montgomery County trainers instructed a 'sister' team of 25 Haitian residents in the seaside town of Montrouis in first aid, basic search and rescue strategies and swift water rescue techniques using 'low tech' or minimal equipment. Since June, the Montrouis team (known as “Sove La Vie” or Lifesavers) has responded to severe flooding in July and the most recent Hurricane. The CERT “Lifesavers” team safely evacuated over 350 people from rising water, including several who had suffered serious injuries requiring additional medical treatment.
|CERT Medic David Smith instructs Haitian team in June 2010 |
The Montgomery County CERT program is comprised of over 250 volunteers and offers frequent training classes in disaster readiness, CPR, fire safety and first aid free of charge to county residents. The next CERT class is set for January 2011. To learn more visit www.montgomerycert.org, or contact Greg St. James at 240-777-2407.
My hats off and congratulations to all of the below. Lead well and be SAFE!
The following personnel have been promoted to the rank of Assistant Chief:
o Stephen R. Jones
The following personnel have been promoted to the rank of Battalion Chief:
o Michael D. Hanson
The following personnel have been promoted to the rank of Captain:
o Brent D. Hopkins
o Christopher S. Crittenden
o Kirk R. Wims
o Marc W. Worton
o David E. Anderson
o David S. Gooding
o Ratana (Rick) Koung
The following personnel have been promoted to the rank of Master Firefighter:
o April L. Evans
o James A. Gaines
o Jason R. Light
o Noel P. Hull
o Scott A. Ward
o Scott L. Bragunier
o Steven M. Dodson
o Anthony (Jake) E. Hoover
o Larry E. Curry
o Seth F. Miller
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
The door to door program was initiated by Fire Chief Richard Bowers two years ago after a tragic year in which we lost 13 of our fellow residents in home/apartment fires. That, sadly, was our largest one year loss of life in over 30 years! In many instances there were no working smoke alarms in the home/apartment.
Below, you will find the number of homes we visited during September and October as well as the totals for the last two years. Pretty impressive!
Homes Visited: 492
Smoke Alarms Installed: 18
Batteries Installed: 11
Homes Visited: 734
Smoke Alarms Installed: 34
Batteries Installed: 40
Grand Totals since program implementation:
Homes Visited: 37,653
Smoke Alarms Installed: 1,158
Batteries Installed: 1,307
Monday, November 8, 2010
Hopefully you, your family and friends took a few minutes at some point over the weekend to perform this vital life safety check. This led me to wonder: how many of you out there did take the opportunity to check your alarms? In addition, how many of you discovered that one or more alarms were not working and took steps to correct that?
Toward that end, I have placed a very quick survey on the right side bar of the blog to perhaps answer my questions above. Please take a moment to click the answer that relates to your experience.
Also, if you found your alarms were not working and you were unable to fix the issue, please contact MC311 and request help. Our fire and rescue personnel will be more than happy to drop by and help you out. In addition, we provide free batteries and alarms to those who need them but can not afford them.
Friday, November 5, 2010
I have posted a video below of the Chief and the Fire Fighters of Fire Station #34 accepting this generous donation from PEPCO representatives Ms. Kim Watson and Mr. Pete Pedersen. Below the video you will also find quotes.
THANK YOU PEPCO!
Link to Video if above does not work: http://twitvid.com/MTVNT
“We are proud to partner with PEPCO and their generous donation will continue to have significant impact in keeping residents safe and saving lives.”
From Kim Watson, PEPCO VP of Governmental Affairs:
“All of us at Pepco are very proud of the excellent working relationship we have with our first responders throughout the service territory. These smoke alarms are just another way for Pepco to support the life saving work that the dedicated men and women of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service perform everyday.”
Montgomery County Fire Chief Richard Bowers will accept a generous donation of smoke alarms from PEPCO officials on Friday, November 5th. The smoke alarms will be used in conjunction with the fire department’s “Safety in Our Neighborhood” door-to-door safety and injury prevention campaign.
“PEPCO’s Emergency Services Partnership Program has donated smoke alarms to the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service for several years as part of their long-standing commitment to public safety,” said Chief Richard Bowers. “Based on today’s challenging budgets, this donation comes at a critical time and will fill an important need.”
“All of us at Pepco are very proud of the excellent working relationship we have with our first responders throughout the service territory. These smoke alarms are just another way for Pepco to support the life saving work that the dedicated men and women of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service perform everyday,” said Kim Watson.
As residents prepare to change their clocks this weekend, firefighters are reminding residents to check their smoke alarms and install new batteries. With cold weather arriving, working smoke alarms provide vital, early warning of a fire and are truly life-saving. “We are proud to partner with PEPCO and their generous donation will continue to have significant impact in keeping residents safe and saving lives,” said Chief Bowers.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
“Put a Finger on It!” Fire Chief Richard Bowers recommends that all residents adopt a lifesaving habit by checking your home’s smoke alarms and batteries when changing clocks twice a year. Protect your family in the event of a home fire – change the battery if it is dead or at least yearly!
The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service recommend that homeowners follow these tips to help prevent fires, deaths, and injuries:
* Install and maintain smoke alarms on every level of the home
* If your smoke alarm is older than 10 years, it needs to be replaced
* Properly dispose of all smoking materials
* Maintain and properly use gas and electrical appliances.
* Never leave food cooking unattended; turn off the burner if you leave.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Montgomery County volunteers Stepping Forward to Join Career Firefighters and Paramedics in Supporting the County’s Ambulance Reimbursement Program
When residents of Montgomery County go to the polls on November 2nd, they will be presented with County Question A, a ballot initiative on whether to allow the County to recover costs from insurers for ambulance transport. There is a lot of misinformation floating around about so-called “ambulance fees.”
Many of the volunteer fire departments in the County are staunchly against transport fees, a position I believe is short-sighted and based on some bad misconceptions. Such fees are more than just a good idea – they’re an essential means to preserve high-quality EMS in Montgomery County.
Simply put, without ambulance billing, Montgomery County is leaving millions of dollars in revenue in the corporate coffers of insurance companies. This is money that is urgently needed right now, as the County is facing unprecedented budget shortfalls and the real possibility of implementing fire-rescue service cut-backs. The County Council did the fiscally responsible thing in adopting ambulance billing, moving Montgomery County in line with almost every other jurisdiction in the National Capital Region. This action is long overdue.
Here are the chief arguments advanced by those against the fee and why those arguments are incorrect:
Assertion: Tax dollars already pay for EMS; therefore users of the system should not be expected to pay for the service.
Fact: Taxes support the overall operation and readiness of the EMS system (i.e., equipment, infrastructure, dispatching, training, etc.) but the County’s Fire Tax doesn’t cover all the costs at the present – and will cover fewer in the future. The transport fee will be paid by Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance – not by County residents, and co-pays will not be required from County residents. In other words, the County will only be seeking payment from insurance companies – not individuals.
Assertion: Premiums will rise if insurance companies have to pay ambulance bills.
Fact: Insurance premiums anticipate the projected use of ambulance service by an insured party. In other words, County residents presently pay premiums which assume that the insurance company will need to pay for an ambulance transport. When someone uses a “free” (i.e., non-billing) ambulance service, the insurance company pockets the money it has already calculated it will need to lay out on behalf of its insured population. Insurance premiums won’t rise because the insurance companies are already expecting to pay out that money.
Assertion: Ambulance fees will deter people from calling EMS in an emergency.
Fact: There is no evidence to support the notion that people will be less likely to call for an ambulance because a jurisdiction imposes an ambulance fee. In fact, according to the billing records of Intermedix, the largest ambulance service billing company in the nation, jurisdictions which have recently implemented ambulance fees have not seen a decrease in the number of transports.
So, the arguments against an ambulance fee don’t really hold water, but the arguments for the fee are strong:
First, the County needs the money. The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service has already undergone some service cutbacks, and more are on the table in order to close budget gaps.
Second, the fee will be paid by users’ health insurance, and the County has carefully crafted mechanisms for non-County uninsured, low-income users to request a fee waiver. Insurers of non-residents will receive a bill, meaning Montgomery County taxpayers will not be subsidizing ambulance service for people who do not pay taxes in the County.
The bottom line is this: A vote FOR Question A is a vote to preserve and strengthen fire-rescue service levels. A vote against Question A is essentially a vote to CUT BACK fire-rescue service, while leaving County taxpayers to foot the bill and letting insurance companies keep premiums already paid.
The author is a Nationally Registered Paramedic and has been a volunteer paramedic/firefighter in Montgomery County since 1986. He has been a consultant to fire and EMS agencies across the United States since 1993, teaches EMS management at the National Fire Academy, and sits on the Editorial Review Board of two EMS-related publications.
Ambulance Reimbursement from a Volunteer Paramedic’s perspective
By Pamela Boe
I am Pamela Boe, and I am a paramedic associated with the Upper Montgomery County Volunteer Fire Department, who wishes to clarify some misinformation being spread about Question A, the Ambulance Reimbursement ballot measure.
A primary reason the Volunteer Association does not wish to see this pass is because they fear it would result in fewer donations to the individual Volunteer Fire Departments by the community. They fear the community would think, “Why would I donate when the insurance company is already paying?” The answer is that the insurance company won’t pay for all of it. Furthermore, dear taxpayer, you are already paying for it in both your insurance AND your taxes. How does that make sense?
If this law gets repealed, and the ambulance reimbursement requests do not go to insurance companies, there are going to be fewer ambulances and medic units available. The loss of $14 million dollars in an already VERY tight budget will result in the loss of career firefighters and therefore the loss of emergency services.
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