Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Disaster Preparedness Video

We here at MCFRS are always looking for ways to get safety news and information out to ALL members of our community.  I know that, between our Twitter and Facebook sites, we have many followers who happen to be deaf and/or hard of hearing.  I thought many of our friends would find the below video very useful and informative – especially after the natural disaster type events of the last week and a half! 

The video was produced by Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc. (TDI) and placed on their Community Emergency Preparedness Information Network (CEPIN) web site.  The site is a great resource for those who are deaf and/or hard of hearing. 

This video uses sign language, sub text and audio so I encourage any and all to view as it is important information for everyone.  It is just under 12 minutes long so not a lot of your time is required to learn a valuable new life safety skill!

Stay Safe,

CEPIN Deaf/Hard of Hearing Emergency Preparedness from CEPIN on Vimeo.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Carbon Monoxide Incident Sends Two to the Hospital - Be Careful Using Generators!

IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 29, 2011

Residents Need to be Especially Careful When Using Generators During Power Outages  
Rockville - - - The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service responded to the 3000 block of Ferndale Street in the Kensington area just before 9 am this morning for the report of an inhalation emergency. Crews quickly arrived on the scene and rescued two elderly residents suffering from the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning. The couple had lost power in the storm and a family member had stopped by to refuel their generator and check on their welfare. He found them disoriented and unresponsive and immediately called 911. The couple was transported to a local hospital for evaluation.  

The incident highlights the dangers of using generators and the importance of following all manufacturer instructions including having a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector, placing generators at least 15 – 20 feet from homes and in well-ventilated areas. Fire officials are reminding residents of the following important safety tips when using a generator:  

- Never operate a generator in your home, garage, basement or any other enclosed area. The exhaust from a generator contains high levels of carbon monoxide (CO) which can build up quickly and lead to serious injury or death.

- Proper ventilation is critical. A generator needs to be at least 15 to 20 feet from an enclosed area and away from any doors, windows and fresh air intakes where exhaust fumes and carbon monoxide can enter the home.

- Never plug your generator into an outlet, and don’t connect a generator directly into your home’s main fuse box or circuit panel.

- Make sure carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms have battery back-ups, are installed and are working properly.

- Never fuel a generator while it is running. Turn off the generator and let it cool before refueling.

- Keep generators away from all open windows – including your neighbors’ – so deadly exhaust does not enter.

- Always thoroughly read all manufacturer instructions. This can avoid dangerous shortcuts and assist in ensuring the safe operation of your generator.  
How to recognize a Carbon Monoxide Emergency:  Exposure to CO can cause loss of consciousness and death. The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. People who are sleeping or who have been drinking alcohol can die from CO poisoning before ever having symptoms. If a CO poisoning is suspected, get to fresh air immediately and seek medical attention.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

After the Storm Tips

1. Listen to the authorities. Remain indoors until an official "all clear" is issued.

Use extreme caution when cleaning up storm damage on your property. Downed or damaged power lines can send electrical currents through tree branches and metal fences, so survey the area carefully - especially if you'll be using a pruning pole, ax or chainsaw.

3. For downed trees on public property, Montgomery County residents should call -311 between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays (or 240-777-0311 from outside the county or from a cell phone), or file a report at If live wires are involved, the tree is blocking a roadway, the tree is on a structure or if anyone is trapped under a fallen tree, call 911.

Know your limits. Many storm-related deaths and injuries involve existing health problems exacerbated by the physical demands of cleanup activities.

 Drive with caution. Avoid areas subject to flooding, including low spots, canals and streams. Do not attempt to drive on a flooded road, which could lead to becoming stranded or trapped because the depth of the water and the condition of the road is not always obvious.

6. Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers, downed wires and other hazards.
7. Call 911 for life threatening situations only.

Call authorities to report any hazards such as downed power lines, leaking gas mains, broken water mains and overturned gas tanks.

Watch what you eat. If power was off during the storm, check refrigerated and frozen foods for spoilage. When in doubt, throw it out.

10. Avoid areas subject to flooding, including low spots, canals and streams. Never attempt to drive on a flooded road.   

Replenish supplies used from your emergency kit as soon as possible, you might need it again next week. 

12. Check on your neighbors - especially the elderly, those with special needs or the disabled.

Brief media update

Irene 8/27/11
Approximately 334 calls for service,  No specific area hit hardest however most calls in (Bethesda, Silver Spring, Takoma park, Kensington areas)
Irene 8/28/11
From 00;00;00 (midnight) to about 530am Fire and Rescue has responded to approximately 200 (177) calls for service (mostly wires down on roadways and trees. Almost 2 dozen (17 -19) calls for trees damaging homes and town homes in the Bethesda, Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Kensington area.
400blk Boyd avenue
5500blk Oak place
6500 blk Wilmett road
7500blk Vale street
6700blk Greentree road
8900blk Old Georgetown road
11800 blk Charles street
104 am house fire in Rockville (501 Grandin ave.)
single occupant home sleeping on the second floor woke up to a noise, investigated and found fire burning in walls near electrical components in the kitchen and behind the electrical service panel to the house, evacuated and called 911 from a neighbors home. TF793 used to control/remove power to the home. He will be displaced. No injuries to fire and rescue or the occupant.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Survival Guide

The most important thing you can do is be informed and prepared 

Rockville - - - Area residents are encouraged to be prepared for the possible impacts of severe weather as Hurricane Irene heads north and expected to hit the region this weekend. Hurricane Irene is the first major storm of the Atlantic hurricane season and officials are monitoring its projected path closely.
As with any weather-related emergency, residents are urged to take steps now to ensure that their homes and families are prepared for a possible close encounter with Hurricane Irene. Hurricane hazards may come in many forms including lightening, flooding, storm surge, tornadoes, high winds, etc. With the month of September designated as “National Preparedness Month,” it’s the perfect time to review and restock your Emergency Kit supplies and ensure everyone is familiar with your family’s Emergency Communication Plan.

Before the storm

Check and restock your emergency supply kit with items such as non-perishable foods, a manual can opener, water, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra flashlights and batteries.   

Understand what the various weather advisories mean and keep apprised of conditions outside.

- Know your local radio stations for weather updates and keep a battery-powered radio on hand for changing conditions.

- Keep the lines of communication open. Charge cell phones and wireless laptop computers in advance.

- Have flashlights on hand, along with fresh batteries.

- Update your list of emergency phone numbers and include folks that may require special care, such as seniors and people with disabilities.
- Prepare your home - bring in any outdoor objects such as lawn furniture, toys, wind chimes and garden tools that you can; anchor objects that cannot be brought inside but that could be wind-tossed.
- Check all smoke alarms. Having a working smoke alarm is vital to your safety year-round and can immediately alert you to potential danger 24/7. 
- Make sure your gas tank is filled.
- Have a plan for your pets. Have adequate food and water and use caution when letting your pet outdoors after the storm. Downed power lines, glass and other hazards could present real dangers to your pet.

During the storm

- Avoid using candles for lighting - flashlights are the best and safest choice during a power outage.
- Never use a candle when fueling equipment such as a kerosene heater or lantern, since the
candle flame can ignite fumes from the fuel.
- Try to stay in an interior room or away from windows.
- Stay calm and do not call 911 unless it is an emergency.
- Unplug electronics. During a power outage, turn off as many appliances as possible. This will minimize losing power again through a power surge and protect the equipment and your home when power returns.
- Use care with generators. Carbon monoxide is a quick killer. If you have a generator, make sure you also have a carbon monoxide detector, either battery operated or with a battery backup. Never operate a generator inside a house, garage, shed or other enclosed area, even if windows and doors are open. Do not use it outside near open windows or doors.
- Do not go outside. Flying debris, downed wires from high winds are a real danger.

After the storm

Listen to the authorities. Remain indoors until an official "all clear" is issued.

Use extreme caution when cleaning up storm damage on your property. Downed or damaged power lines can send electrical currents through tree branches and metal fences, so survey the area carefully - especially if you'll be using a pruning pole, ax or chainsaw.

3. For downed trees on public property, Montgomery County residents should call -311 between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays (or 240-777-0311 from outside the county or from a cell phone), or file a report at If live wires are involved, the tree is blocking a roadway, the tree is on a structure or if anyone is trapped under a fallen tree, call 911.

. Know your limits. Many storm-related deaths and injuries involve existing health problems exacerbated by the physical demands of cleanup activities.

Drive with caution. Avoid areas subject to flooding, including low spots, canals and streams. Do not attempt to drive on a flooded road, which could lead to becoming stranded or trapped because the depth of the water and the condition of the road is not always obvious.

6. Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers, downed wires and other hazards.
7. Call 911 for life threatening situations only.

Call authorities to report any hazards such as downed power lines, leaking gas mains, broken water mains and overturned gas tanks.

Watch what you eat. If power was off during the storm, check refrigerated and frozen foods for spoilage. When in doubt, throw it out.

10. Avoid areas subject to flooding, including low spots, canals and streams. Never attempt to drive on a flooded road.   

Replenish supplies used from your emergency kit as soon as possible, you might need it again next week.

12. Check on your neighbors - especially the elderly, those with special needs or the disabled.

Important utility company numbers:
PEPCO:  To report an outage: 877-PEPCO-62 (877-737-2662) and press 1
                To report a downed wire: 877-PEPCO-62 (877-737-2662) and press 2

BG & E: To report an outage: 877-778-2222
                To report a downed wire: 410-685-0123
Potomac Edison (Allegheny Power): 1-800-255-3443
Dominion Virginia Power: 1-866-366-4357
Washington Gas: 800-752-7520
WSSC: 1-800-828-4002

Sign up for AlertMontgomery

Be sure to sign up for “Alert Montgomery” at Alert Montgomery can deliver important emergency alerts, notifications and updates to you. While signing up for Alert Montgomery is free of charge, your wireless carrier may charge you a fee to receive text messages. Check the website FAQ link and your wireless agreement to review your carrier’s pricing information.    

                                                                # # #

Friday, August 26, 2011

News Advisory: Maryland Task Force 1 – Activated

IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 26, 2011
Maryland Task Force 1 – Activated  

Rockville - - - Maryland Task Force 1 (MDTF-1) has received its activation orders and will report to the Public Safety Training Academy, 9710 Great Seneca Highway, at 7:00 p.m. tonight for their official assignment, team briefing and departure.

MDTF-1 will deploy a team of 80 highly skilled and trained responders from various disciplines including search and technical rescue personnel, structural engineers, physicians, canines, communication specialists, paramedics and other support personnel to assist in the affected area(s). In addition, 15 trucks will travel with the team carrying 35 tons of supplies, sophisticated search/rescue and logistical equipment. MDTF-1 is designed to be self-sustaining when responding to a disaster, ensuring that there is no impact to local resources.
The MCFRS Media Line (240) 777-2442 will be updated during the deployment with up-to-date information.     

Hurricane Irene May Impact Region in Coming Days; Residents Urged to Prepare for Hurricanes and Other Emergencies

Currently at category 3 status, Hurricane Irene may impact the region in the days ahead, and officials remind residents that they should prepare for the possibility of high winds, power outages and flooding. The hurricane season traditionally runs through November.

Anyone who has not already signed up for the County’s Alert Montgomery notification system is encouraged to do so by going to and selecting the types of emergency alerts they are interested in receiving regarding weather, severe traffic, schools, park and government facilities, athletic fields and public events; along with the devices they would like the messages sent to (cell phones, text pagers, wireless PDAs, home and work emails).

During severe weather and all other times, residents are reminded to call 9-1-1 only in emergencies that threaten life or property, which includes any type of fire or serious medical condition, when there is fear for personal safety or the safety of others, or during a crime in progress. Calling 9-1-1 for the wrong reason or calling the number inadvertently may keep someone else from getting the help they need. DO NOT call 9-1-1 to ask for directions; check on power, phone, or cable outages; inquire about road or weather conditions; check on the status of school closings; for information about public services; or to report situations that are not emergencies. If you do call by mistake, please stay on the line until the call taker can confirm that you do not require emergency assistance.

Whenever a hurricane threatens a region, within 24-36 hours a hurricane watch will be issued. A hurricane warning will be issued if hurricane conditions are expected within 24 hours or less. Hurricane conditions include winds of 74 miles per hour (64 knots) or greater, and/or dangerously high tides and waves. Actions to protect life and property should begin whenever a warning is issued.
Below are some more preparedness tips for hurricanes and other storms:

Before a Storm
• Put copies of important documents in a safe place, preferably a waterproof container. Important documents can include passports, birth certificates, insurance policies or anything else that might be needed immediately or cannot be easily replaced.
• Have enough cash for a few days – ATM’s may not work during power outages and stores might not be able to take debit and credit cards.
• Make sure vehicle gas tanks are full.
• Secure or bring inside exterior items that might become windborne, such as lawn furniture, toys and garden tools.
• Fill prescriptions that might be needed and stock up on any necessary medical supplies.
• Keep flashlights and battery-powered radios with extra batteries on hand, along with a basic first aid kit, emergency food and water, and a non-electric can opener. Have enough non-perishable food and water for at least 72 hours.
• Listen to the radio or television for hurricane progress reports.
• Clean out gutters.
• Turn the refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting in anticipation of a power outage. Open the doors only when necessary and close quickly.
• Refrain from putting out trash cans the night before the regular pickup.

During a Storm
• Avoid using candles for lighting. Use a battery-powered flashlight.
• Never use a candle when fueling equipment such as a kerosene heater or lantern, since the candle flame can ignite fumes from the fuel.
• Try to stay in an interior room or away from windows.
• Stay calm and do not call 911 unless it is an emergency.
• If flooding occurs, turn off electricity at the main breaker.
• During a power outage, turn off major appliances. This will minimize losing power again through a power surge and protect the equipment when power returns.
• Do not go outside. Flying debris from high winds is a danger. As the eye of the storm passes, there will be a short period of calm followed by rapid wind speed increases to hurricane force that will come from the opposite direction.

After a Storm
• Do not touch fallen or low-hanging wires of any kind under any circumstances. Stay away from puddles with wires in or near them. Do not touch trees or other objects in contact with power lines.
• USE PHONES ONLY FOR EMERGENCIES. Call 911 only for life-threatening situations.
• Call police or your utility companies immediately to report hazards such as downed power lines, broken gas or water mains or overturned gas tanks.
• Avoid areas subject to flooding, including low spots, canals and streams. Do not attempt to drive on a flooded road –you can be stranded or trapped. The depth of the water and the condition of the road is not always obvious.
• Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers, downed wires and other hazards.
• For downed trees on public property, call 3-1-1 between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays (or 240-777-0311 from outside the County or from a cell phone) or go to at any time to report the problem. If live wires are involved, the tree is blocking a roadway, the tree is on a structure, or if persons are trapped under the fallen tree, call 9-1-1.
• Trees that have fallen on private property are the responsibility of the property owner. The County’s Office of Consumer Protection advises homeowners to deal with established businesses only, and to call Consumer Protection first to check a business’ complaint record. Consumer Protection can be reached at 240-777-3636.
• For non-emergency police assistance, call the police non-emergency number, 301-279-8000.
• If case of a power outage, residents are urged to take steps to ensure that food left in the refrigerator and freezer is safe. According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service, meat, poultry, fish and eggs should be refrigerated at 40° F and frozen food at or below 0° F, which may be difficult with a prolonged power outage. Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature. A refrigerator will only keep food safely cold for about four hours if it is unopened. Food such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, soft cheeses, butter and leftover cooked meats, casseroles and pizza should be thrown out if they have been held above 40° F for over two hours. A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed. To be sure a particular food is cold enough; take its temperature with a food thermometer. Never taste food to determine its safety.
• Do not operate charcoal grills, propane camping stoves or generators indoors.

Important Utility Numbers:
o Pepco: 1-877-737-2662
o BG&E: 1-877-778-2222 or 1-800-685-0123
o Potomac Edison (Allegheny Power): 1-800-255-3443
o Washington Gas: 800-752-7520
o WSSC: 1-800-828-4002

When Power Is Out PLEASE Use Battery Powered Lighting Equipment!

Be a good friend, neighbor, and/or family member and spread the message below!  Media Friends: With Irene on the way, please take a moment to remind your listeners and/or viewers of the following:

Please remember that when severe storms hit, and the power goes out, use battery powered lighting equipment and NOT candles!  Candle related fires always occur around the Washington-Metro area during power outages.  

“Together We Can Save Lives And Prevent Injuries”

Thursday, August 25, 2011

News Advisory: Maryland Task Force 1 - On Alert

IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 25, 2011
Maryland Task Force 1 - On Alert

Rockville - - - Maryland Task Force 1 (MDTF-1) has been placed on “Alert Status” by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) along with Virginia Task Force 1 (VATF-1) for possible deployment as Hurricane Irene strengthens. Hurricane Irene is the first major storm of the Atlantic hurricane season and officials are monitoring its projected path closely.

If activated, MDTF-1 will deploy a team of 80 highly skilled and trained responders from various disciplines including search and technical rescue personnel, structural engineers, physicians, canines, communication specialists, paramedics and other support personnel to the affected area(s). In addition, 15 trucks will travel with the team carrying 35 tons of supplies, sophisticated search/rescue and logistical equipment. MDTF-1 is designed to be self-sustaining when responding to a disaster, ensuring that there is no impact to local resources, and would deploy within 4-hours by ground, should the team be activated.
Should MDTF-1 be activated, the Media Line will be updated with current information.     

Preparing for Irene

NOTE: Mr. Lopes, a life long Montgomery County resident, is an emergency management professional and has published numerous articles and information on disaster safety for some 25 years. I am grateful he is sharing his knowledge with all of us.  Bill Delaney, MCFRS

by Rocky Lopes
Emergency Manager and Disaster Preparedness Guy

It's all over the news, Hurricane Irene is making its way up the East Coast.  We haven't had a visit from a tropical system in Montgomery County in quite some time, so it's time to dust off our preparedness plans.

However, we have to be realistic.  We don't live on the ocean here in Montgomery County, so we think that a hurricane won't really affect us like it may affect homes, condos, and other structures on the Atlantic coastline.  If you own property or are visiting this blog from a location on the coast, you should consult your local emergency management (county, city) for information applicable directly to your area of concern.  Here is a link to a list of all emergency management agencies serving Maryland jurisdictions.

Here are some realistic preparation tips for a visit from what we may call a "brush-by" of a tropical system. These preparation tips have been adjusted to apply to an inland area such as Montgomery County.  There are three major issues that we need to be concerned with:
Rain and localized flooding
Power Outages

Keep Informed

Make sure that you arrange to get storm alerts in real-time.  A  NOAA Weather Radio provides location-specific information in real-time, and will sound an alert for events like floods, tornadoes, high winds, tropical storms, and much more.  You can get one of these radios at any local electronics specialty store.  Also consider signing up for  Alert Montgomery if you haven't already done so. It's a great way to get localized and personalized information from our County's Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Be aware that tropical systems are variable and may change direction and intensity quickly.  Continue to watch local TV and listen to local radio for updated information.  Also, do NOT pay attention to the projected "center" of the storm.  The storm will affect large areas over hundreds of miles.  Areas where the eye of the storm are not the only places where damage and destruction can happen -- tropical systems can wreak devastation in a path over 400 miles wide.

Get Ready

Discuss with your loved-ones what plans you have made.  If a problem happens like localized flooding from heavy rain, what will you do?  Where will you go if advised to leave for a while?  Choose a family or friend's place that is located on higher ground.  Call them in advance to see if you can come stay with them for a while.  It's always best to have these arrangements made in advance.

Bring things inside that could blow around and cause damage to your or a neighbor's home.  Trash cans, lawn furniture, picnic table umbrellas, outdoor decorations, wind chimes, hanging baskets, and so forth -- anything that could be blown by gusts of winds should be brought indoors, such as into a garage, basement, or shed.  We have to remember that even if we don't get a full-frontal assault of a major hurricane, it's the winds that cause a lot of damage where we live away from the coast.  Get ready for wind.

Be a leader:  advise your neighbors why you are bringing things inside and ask them to do the same.  Do it for elderly, disabled, or neighbors who are out of town who may not be able to take the precautions themselves.

In case the power may go out for a prolonged period of time, take time now to fill voids in your refrigerator and freezer.  That is, fill plastic bags with ice and fill your entire freezer.  Foods will keep frozen longer if there is less empty space in the freezer.  The same is true for the fridge. Rinse out and fill empty plastic bottles with water, and put them in the fridge.  Do it days in advance of the storm so the water can chill.  Turn the fridge to a colder setting, but not so low as to cause things to freeze.

Be realistic when stocking up on perishables. You don't really need five gallons of milk, 10 pounds of butter, and 19 dozen eggs.  Streets may be impassable due to debris in the road or stores may be closed, but only for a relatively short time.  Sure, stock up, but buy things that you and your family ordinarily will consume within a week's time. 

Get out the old-fashioned time-passers to keep kids (and adults) occupied.  Amazing how technology-dependent we all are these days, and kids become agitated if their favorite things to do don't work because the power is out.  Get some good books, and plan to read together as a family if the power is out.  (What a novel idea!)  Also, card games, Parcheesi, Monopoly, or other board games can be a lot of fun, especially because you probably haven't played these games together in a long time. 

It is a good idea to have canned foods and a manual can opener handy.  If the power goes out, you may have to live on canned fish, soup, and vegetables for a while.  A sterno portable stove is useful to heat things like soup in a power outage. 

If you take prescription medications and your supply is low, consider requesting a refill now so you don't run out if roads are blocked by downed tree limbs or flood waters.

Get out the flashlights and abandon the candles. (Candle fires are common during power outages and candles have not been recommended as emergency supplies for decades.)  Make sure you have fresh batteries for flashlights.  Here's a tip:  keep batteries out of flashlights until needed.  When batteries are kept in flashlights, they incur a slow drain and may not last as long.

Also, have a battery-powered radio so you can listen to local news if the power is out. 

Do not anticipate that a smart phone will continue to work or have ongoing service during a storm or a prolonged power outage. However, plan for a battery-charging backup and have a car charger handy.  You can recharge a mobile device from your car if the power is out in your home.

During the Storm
Continue listening to local TV and radio for updated information.

If advised of a Flash Flood Watch or Warning, take heed.  There are many local roadways that become inundated by rainwater.  If you must drive during or after the storm and you come upon a roadway covered with water, think.  Think about those who love you.  How would they feel if you were washed away by quick-moving floodwaters?  As little as a foot of water can sweep a vehicle off the road. And here's a little-known fact:  the tires of SUVs are larger and thus have more buoyancy, so SUVs are more likely to be displaced from a road than a car with smaller tires.  Turn around, don't drown!

Be aware that tornadoes sometimes spin off of a tropical system.  That is: there is a real threat that a tornado could be generated from this storm and affect our area.  If a tornado warning is issued, then grab your radio and flashlight, and move everyone to the lowest level of the building or home that you are in.  Get inside a room without windows -- a bathroom is a good choice.  Wait there until you hear that the warning is lifted and it's safe to come out. 

If power goes out or overhead wires are knocked down, report it to your power company.  It's also a good idea to go around your home and turn off anything that was on when the power went out so there won't be a huge surge (and potential damage) when the power comes back on.  Include air conditioning, televisions, dehumidifiers, and sensitive equipment like computers and electronics.

Use flashlights and non-perishable foods during a power outage.  Try not to open the refrigerator or freezer at all, or if you must, get everything out that you need at once and quickly shut the door.

Only call 9-1-1 or emergency services if there truly is a life-threatening emergency.  Our life-saving protectors will be busy and we need to give them a break so they can respond to the most urgent needs. 

Finally, have phone numbers handy for important contacts -- PEPCO (1-877-737-2662) or your local power company (if different), family, and elderly and disabled neighbors.

Be Patient

One of the most frustrating things after a storm is the waiting.  Use your non-electronic time passers to enjoy the time when you're disconnected.

Check on family, elderly, and disabled neighbors about their safety. 

Be Safe

Storms are one of life's major inconveniences.  But with a little realistic preparation and discussion with your loved-ones, you'll be more confident that you and those you love will be safe.

An Earthquake Reality Check

by Rocky Lopes
Emergency Manager with a social science background

We all probably have some story to tell about where we were and what we were doing when "it" happened: a 5.8M earthquake that rattled states from Georgia to New England at 1:51pm ET on August 23, 2011. The
earthquake's origin was shallow, which is why the shaking could be felt over such vast distances. The earthquake originated near Mineral, Virginia, about 90 miles south of Washington, D.C.

Some people think that earthquakes only happen along plate boundaries, such as the very well-known San Andreas Fault in California where the Pacific Plate, Juan de Fuca Plate, and the North American Plate meet.
These crustal plates grind against each other, build up stress and strain, and occasionally release the stored energy as an earthquake.

What we experienced in the DC area on August 23 was the reality that earthquakes can happen in areas other than where crustal plates meet.  These quakes are harder to predict than earthquakes that happen at plate boundaries, and they happen with much less frequency. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the last time an earthquake of that magnitude happened in the Virginia Seismic Zone was in May, 1897 -- 114 years ago.

Most people in our area are not familiar with what an earthquake feels like. As described in various media reports, a lot of people called out, "what's that?" and immediately began to think something happened
like a truck striking their building, a Metrorail car crashing, or a bomb going off. Unfortunately in these times just about ten years after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, we have been conditioned to anticipate those types of things. Here on the East Coast, we are not conditioned to expect an earthquake, because the general perception is, "they don't happen here." Well, I've gone news for you: they do!

The process of trying to figure out what an unusual occurrence is by comparing it with past experience is called in the social science field, "normalization." So it was appropriate, although wrong, that people
responded by evacuating buildings instead of doing the earthquake safety action: drop, cover, and hold on. Since September 11, 2001, we have been drilled in evacuation procedures, so people did what they were
familiar with. On the East Coast, though, we have not practiced what to do in an earthquake with "drop drills" like they do on the U.S. West Coast and Alaska.

Further, some people mistakenly believe that many buildings collapse in an earthquake. Frightening images from the few buildings that actually have had structural failure are remembered and people think, "buildings
here aren't built to withstand an earthquake, so we have to run outside, right now!" The thing is, IF a building were going to have structural failure due to an earthquake, the failure would happen while the shaking is happening. There is a lot of data that shows that people who move more than a few feet from where they are during violent earthquake shaking are highly likely to be injured -- so that's why staying put by dropping to the floor, covering your head and neck with your hands, and holding on to the table you are under is the best action to take, because that action will protect you from things that could fall on you (lights, ceiling tiles, bookcases, mirrors, framed pictures, etc.)

Considering the recommended "drop-cover-hold on" procedure, we run into another social science issue called "counterintuitive action." That is, our sense of personal safety invokes our "fight or flight" response when confronted with a scary feeling -- in this case, the floor below our feet rocking and rolling. The intuitive action is to flee while the correct action is to stay and take cover to prevent things from falling on you.

For more information about why "drop-cover-hold on" is the correct earthquake safety action, please see this website: Drop, Cover, Hold which is written by good friends of mine.

Then we also have to be concerned that running into urban streets during an earthquake or after may expose us to being hit by shattering glass from buildings. This has happened all over the world in earthquakes and

The challenge confronting us is to learn these things from this experience:

1. We can have earthquakes and feel earthquake shaking here on the East Coast.

2. The safest thing to do is to "drop, cover, and hold on" right where you are -- even if the response counters what your "fight or flight" response is telling you.

3. To avoid gridlock on roadways, it's best to stage leaving and returning home over a period of time. When everyone tries to leave at the same time, that the capacity of public transit and roadways is overwhelmed.

4. Understand that emergency officials take precautions to ensure the safety of building occupants, so they may set off a fire alarm or call for an evacuation because they are concerned that a fire could start, a gas line could have broken, or structural damage could happen. Grab your personal belongings (car keys, cell phone, purse, brief case).  Follow the instructions, and leave. You may not be allowed to return to your building until it has been inspected by building engineers.

5. Concern for loved-ones is common, but the capacity of the cell phone network is quickly overwhelmed when everyone tries to use it at the same time. Remember, it is against the law to use a hand-held device to place a call or send a text while operating a motor vehicle. If you weren't able to reach your loved-ones before getting in your car to drive home, you should not try to contact them via a hand-held mobile device while on the road. Your life and the lives of others is at stake! If you must, pull over and use the device from a safe location.

All-in-all, we can take the August 23 as a very good learning experience. Take some time to practice "drop, cover, hold-on" with your loved-ones. Make it a game with the kids. Do it at work. The next time the floor under your feet rolls, you'll recognize an earthquake when you feel it and be confident that you know how to protect yourself from injury, and by practicing with your loved-ones, that they will be safe, too.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

County Residents Urged to Use 911 ONLY for Emergencies

Earthquake Aug 232011

Earthquake FAQ’s

I am assuming that the events of this afternoon may have left a few of you out there a bit “shaken.” Bad joke aside, I want to provide all of you out there some good information from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) web site so that you can take steps to prepare and handle any future tremors that may occur. Please see below for that.  USGS Map is to the right.

In the interim, you can view more on our little event here: VA Earthquake

Did you feel it?  Report shaking and damage at your location.

Earthquake FAQ’s

Earthquake Preparedness

Common Myths about Earthquakes

As always, be safe!

Bill Delaney

If you smell gas or suspect a gas leak: 

Do not call 911 for information about the earthquake, only to report an emergency. 
If you smell gas or suspect a gas leak:  
Leave the area immediately and go to a location where you no longer smell gas, and report the leak by calling 911 (If Fire Rescue is not already on the scene).  
In any event: Do Not:  
 Light matches or smoke. Avoid use of all open flames.  
 Try to locate the source of the gas leak.  
 Use any electrical device, including cellular phone, I-pods etc.  
 Turn light switches On and Off.  
 Re-enter the building or return to the area until it has been declared safe to do so by Fire Rescue Personnel

Sent to All users (E-mail accounts) through Alert Montgomery

Individual Attempt on the Mall Disrupted - Video of MCFRS Bomb Technicians At Work

Rockville, MD - - - On Monday, August 22, 2011 an officer of the Maryland-National Capital Park Police, Montgomery County Division was on patrol of Cabin John Regional Park (10601 Westlake Drive, Bethesda Md.). The officer saw a subject in a red jeep Cherokee that was parked in an isolated part of the park after the park was closed. As he approached the vehicle, he found fireworks in the vehicle.

Montgomery County Fire Rescue responded and their investigation revealed that the Jeep had been fitted with a turret and multiple tubes from which fireworks were to be deployed. The Joint Terrorism Task Force was notified and responded as well. The subject was identified as Glenn Neff, 27, of Stewart, Florida. Neff made statements that he didn’t want to hurt anyone. The device was made to draw attention to himself and issues he had with the banking industry. He had planned to ignite them on the National Mall. Also located in his vehicle was drug paraphernalia and alcohol.

Montgomery County Fire and Explosive Investigations Section rendered the devices safe on the scene. The subject has been taken into custody and charges are pending. This release will be updated upon issuance of charges.

Below is some video of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue bomb technicians removing the turret from the top of the vehicle. Video courtesy of Battalion Chief Kevin Frazier, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Significant Fire & EMS Incidents From August 8 - 14

Battalion 1 Incidents

• House Fire in the 15200 block of Watergate Rd - Units arrived to find a large deck attached to the house with a fire at far end from "fire pit." There was no extension to house. House remains occupied. Damage estimate of $15K.

• Motor Vehicle Crash @ Columbia Pike/Rt 29 – Units arrived to find 4 patients injured. All transported to local area hospitals with non-life threatening injuries.

• House Fire in the 3100 block of Bryan Road. Units arrived to find smoke coming from the roof. E724 found a small fire smoldering in the attic. The fire was contained to the area of origin. The cause was a heat lamp in a bathroom that was left on for an extended period of time. No civilian or FD injuries. Damage of $5K to the structure and $5K to contents.

• Injured person to the rear Rosemary Hills Elem - Units found an adult female who jumped or fell from the overpass (12 foot fall). Units had ECC contact CSX and shut down rail traffic in both directions. Person transported to local hospital with a broken leg.

• Auto fire in the 15700 block of Holly Grove Road. E724 on the scene to find a single vehicle into a tree fully involved in fire. Upon further investigation 2 fatalities were found inside the vehicle. MCPD Zebra team and FEI notified.
Battalion 2 Incidents

• Apartment Fire in the 8100 block of Connecticut Ave. – Units arrived to find a fire that had been put out by fire sprinkler system. One civilian transported for smoke inhalation.

• Hazardous Materials Incident @6100 Connecticut Ave - Hazmat call for chemical spill in pump room for outdoor pool. Had unknown quantity of chlorine solution that leaked due to worn out hose. Hazmat evaluated/diluted. One pool employee BLS patient evaluated/no transport.

Battalion 3 Incidents

• Townhouse fire in the 18900 block of Ebbtide Cir- End of row townhouse struck by lightning that started a fire on the exterior 2nd floor at eave of the townhouse with minor extension into the attic. $25K damage to structure and $1K to contents. No injuries.

Battalion 4 Incidents

• House Fire in the 3600 block of Pimlico Pl – Units arrived on scene with fire showing from attached garage. All occupants out. Fire quickly extinguished. Possible cause: LP BBQ near house, possible malfunction. 1 person sustained burns to hands and transported to area hospital. $50K damage to structure and $30K to contents. 1 family displaced.

• Apartment Fire in the 2300 block of Glenallan Ave. - - Co 18 on the scene w/ heavy smoke and working kitchen fire. A second alarm was sounded. Quick extinguishment and fire contained to the kitchen & vent system. Cause: unattended cooking: Transported one fire fighter and one civilian with minor injuries to local hospital.

• House Fire in the 12800 block of Valleywood Drive.. Units arrived to find fire through the roof of a single story vacant house. Two fire fighters with minor injuries. Cause most probably lightning strike. $300K damage to structure and $50K to contents.

Battalion 5 Incidents

• House Fire in the 25500 block of Woodfield Rd – Units arrived and found smoke coming from the house and found a fire on the first floor. Fire quickly extinguished. Cause is under investigation.

• Hazardous Materials Incident @ Burdette Forest & Snowden Farm Pkwy – Units arrived to find a 4" gas line struck. No damage or injuries.

• Apartment Fire in the 18900 block of Smoothstone Way - Units on scene with smoke showing in the front of a 3 story garden apartment. Units found a dryer fire with extension into apartment. 1 family displaced and damages estimated at $10K.

• House Fire in the 23100 block of Newcut Road - Units on scene with nothing evident. Found a small fire that was extinguished by fire sprinkler. Damage estimate of only $3K.

• Water Rescues in various locations including 500 Block of N. Frederick Ave, Quince Orchard Rd & QO Blvd, and SB I-270 @ Muddy Branch Road. Several vehicle occupants removed from harm. No transports. Please do not drive through flooded streets!!!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Firefighters and Fire Chief Bowers to Tackle County's Tallest Tower To Honor 9/11 Fire Fighters On Saturday

On Saturday more than 50 members of MCFRS, including Fire Chief Richie Bowers, will climb 110 stories at the North Bethesda Market East Tower in honor of our 343 colleagues who died in the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

The event, which was organized by Firefighter TJ Monahan of Station 33 in Potomac to commemorate next month's 10th anniversary of the tragedy, is a fundraiser for the International Association of Fire Fighters' Burn Foundation. It is the first firefighter stair climb in the Washington region, according Ron Benedict, the Fitness Team and Grants Coordinator for IAFF who's been helping plan the event.

The apartment tower at North Bethesda Market, the tallest building in Montgomery County, is the equivalent of 25 stories from ground level.

"I'd heard of other stair climbs around the country that other firefighters do, and I thought it fitting to do something locally to honor the 343 firefighter lives lost in New York on 9/11, almost a decade ago," Monahan said. "I began searching for the tallest building I could find, and found it virtually in my backyard.  To 'climb the World Trade Center,' we'll be going up and down four times, plus 10 extra stories at the end."

Many of the participants will make the climb in full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) with Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA), about 60 lbs. worth of gear. In addition to raising money for the Burn Foundation in memory of our fallen brothers and sisters, the event will give participants the opportunity to realistically gauge their personal performance expectations during an actual high-rise incident--without the benefit of elevators.

The event begins at 9 a.m., Aug. 20, at North Bethesda Market, 11418 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda, Md. Stop by to lend support and cheer for those tackling the tower climb. The event is hosted by IAFF and IAFF Local 1664, and sponsored in part by North Bethesda Market and The JBG Companies.

Donations to the IAFF Burn Foundation in support of the stair climb can be made at the event or online at

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Captain Ingles Awarded Prestigious Scholarship By NFPA

Congratulations to our own Captain Penelope (Penny) Ingles who was recently awarded the prestigious George D. Miller Scholarship by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The Scholarship was established in honor of the former NFPA president and CEO and is awarded to students in fire service or public administration programs.

Penny is pursuing her Bachelor of Science Degree in Fire Science and Technology and is in her final year at Columbia Southern University. Her advisors observed that “Ingles is a highly motivated student and is dedicated and determined to achieve her goals.”

This one time scholarship of $5,000 will go a long way toward helping her complete her degree this year!

It has been quite an eventful year for Penny as she was recently promoted to Captain this past April! Her long-term goal career goal is to achieve the rank of Battalion Chief. There is no doubt she will get there one day – with degree in hand!

Great job Captain Penny Ingles! You can read the NFPA Press Release for more on the award and Penny.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Draw Your Home Fire Escape Plan At The Fair

Fire Fighter Benner is helping this fair going family to develop a home fire escape plan for the house they just moved in to. Once done, the family will not only have a very important fire survival plan in place but, the kids will also get a fire hat for a job well done.

If you are at, or coming too, the fair, please stop by our tent and we will help you with a home fire escape plan!
Stay Safe,

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Significant Fire & EMS Incidents From August 1 - 7

Battalion 1 Incidents

• No significant incidents to report.

Battalion 2 Incidents

• Apartment Fire in the 2800 block of Terrace Drive. Units arrived to find light smoke showing from a 3 story garden apartment w/a small fire in the kitchen of an apartment on 2nd floor. Two families displaced. $10K damage to structure & $3K to contents.

• Motor Vehicle Crash @ Little Falls & River Rd – Units arrived to find 1 person trapped in a car. Patient was extricated and transported, priority one, to local hospital.

• Metro Incident – Units dispatched for an adult male struck by, and trapped beneath, a Metro train at the Friendship Heights Metro Station. Units found an adult male suffering multiple system trauma, trapped under the center cars of the train. Personnel extricated, removed, and transported the patient. Assistance was provided by several units from DCFD. One firefighter injury (exhaustion).

• Apartment Fire in the 4800 block of Battery Lane. Units arrived to find a grease fire with extension in apartment on 3rd floor. One civilian with minor burns transported to the burn center. $3K damage to structure & $1K to contents.

• House Fire in the 7800 block of Woodrow Place. Units arrived to find light smoke showing from the home and a confined food fire on the stove. No damage to structure or contents.

Battalion 3 Incidents

• Hazardous Materials Incident in the 9600 block of Medical Center Drive - 4" Gas main ruptured by track dozer. Sheltering in place occupancies west of break (9700 - 9900 Medical Center - including Nursing facility & hospital).

• TRANSFER STATION Fire @ 16101 FREDERICK RD: Had fire in a loaded inter-modal container on the trash train. Used crane to off load. Dumped contents and used loader to assist in extinguishment. No damage or injuries.

Battalion 4 Incidents

• Carbon Monoxide Incident in the 11900 block of Andrew St - Units dispatched for an activated CO alarm. RS742 found 400ppm with 4 occupants needing evaluation. Source of CO was gas power washer operating outside an open window. Transported 3 patients, minor exposure.

Battalion 5 Incidents

• HOUSE FIRE in the 9400 block of HOLSEY RD - Small fire on bedroom dresser, E713 extinguished, No extension

• Motor Vehicle Crash @ Muncaster Mill/ Airpark - Units arrived to find a head on collision that injured 6 people total. All transported to area hospitals with varying degrees of severity.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Deal or No Deal at Fair

Chief Jarboe of Takoma Park VFD is playing game show host! It is the fire department version of deal or no deal and with a fire safety twist.

Stop on by and test your fire safety knowledge. Prizes are awarded as well!
Stay Safe,

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

MCFRS At The County Fair

If you happen to stop by the Montgomery County Fair today through Saturday, take a minute to look us up and stop by our booth/display. As in years past we will have fire trucks, fire fighters, a moon bounce (run by our CERT partners), and an activity tent where you can pick up important fire and injury prevention information.

Also in the tent will be a coloring area where kids can show off their artistic side by using crayons to fill in a fire safety coloring book. They will also have a chance to draw a home fire escape plan as well! For those drawing a home escape plan, a nice red fire hat will be theirs!

Hope to see you there!

Friday, August 12, 2011

What Every Family Needs to Know - take a couple of minutes to talk to your family about fire safety today!

No one wants to think about having a fire at home. But thinking about it and being ready for it can and does save lives. Having working smoke alarms in your home provides early warning if there is a fire. Planning and practicing a home fire drill can prepare you to get out safely. If you think your home is not at risk for a home fire, consider these statistics: every 60 seconds there is a fire in the United States, approximately 4,000 people die in fires annually, and about 80 percent of these deaths occur in the home.

Please take a couple of minutes to talk to your family about fire safety today!  Learn more here: Keep Your Family Safe!


Chief Bowers and the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Learn How To Reduce Your Property Tax Bill By 50%

The good news here is not only is there a tax benefit to doing this but, more importantly, a potential life saving benefit as well.

Residential fire sprinklers save lives! Read on below.

Learn How To Reduce Your Property Tax Bill By 50%

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) - Get Involved!

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates residents in disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their communities and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization and disaster medical operations. Using training learned in the classroom and during hands-on exercises, CERT members can give critical assistance to others in their neighborhoods or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in safety education and emergency preparedness projects in the community.

CERT programs serve in more than 170 communities nationwide. CERT is managed by the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service and is based on the DHS/FEMA/Citizen Corps national standard curriculum and certification. The CERT training program is a 20-hour course, offered free to Montgomery County residents, over a 7-week period.

Upon completion of the course, CERT graduates are often assigned to neighborhood teams where they play an important role in community safety. For class schedules and information and to get CERT-ified, contact Greg St. James by phone (240-777-2407) or via e-mail ( More information is also available on the CERT website.

The next CERT Basic Class will be offered September, 2011.

Monday, August 8, 2011


Automatic sprinkler systems have enjoyed an enviable record of protecting life and property for over 100 years. Yet, there are still common misunderstandings about the operation and effectiveness of automatic fire sprinkler systems:

Myth 1: "Water damage from a sprinkler system will be more extensive than fire damage."

Fact: Water damage from a home sprinkler system will be much less severe than the damage caused by water from fire-fighting hose lines or smoke and fire damage if the fire goes unabated. Quick response sprinklers release 8-24 gallons of water per minute compared to 50-125 gallons per minute released by a fire hose.

Myth 2: "When a fire occurs, every sprinkler head goes off."

Fact: Sprinkler heads are individually activated by fire. Residential fires are usually controlled with one sprinkler head. 90% of all fires are controlled with six or fewer heads and a study conducted in Australia and New Zealand covering 82 years of automatic sprinkler use found that 82% of the fires which occurred were controlled by two or fewer sprinklers.

Myth 3: "A smoke detector provides enough protection."

Fact: Smoke detectors save lives by providing a warning system but can do nothing to extinguish a growing fire or protect those physically unable to escape on their own, such as the elderly or small children. Too often, battery operated smoke detectors fail to function because the batteries are dead or have been removed. As the percent of homes in America that were "protected" with smoke detectors increased from zero to more than 70%, the number of fire deaths in homes did not significantly decrease.

Myth 4: "Sprinklers are designed to protect property, but are not effective for life safety."

Fact: Sprinklers provide a high level of life safety. Statistics demonstrate that there has never been any multiple loss of life in a fully sprinklered building. Property losses are 85% less in residences with fire sprinklers compared to those without sprinklers. The combination of automatic sprinklers and early warning systems in all buildings and residences could reduce overall injuries, loss of life and property damage by at least 50%.


• National Fire Protection Association
• Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association

Friday, August 5, 2011

As Tropical Storm Emily Approaches East Coast This Weekend, FEMA Encourages Residents to Be Prepared

In advance of Tropical Storm Emily moving toward parts of southern Florida this weekend, FEMA is encouraging residents along the Florida and the East Coast to monitor the storm's developing track and get ready for potential heavy rains, wind and other severe weather. While Emily's track over the next few days is still fairly uncertain, according to current forecasts from the National Hurricane Center, Emily could pass near Florida as a tropical storm this weekend.

Read on: As Tropical Storm Emily Approaches East Coast This Weekend, FEMA Encourages Residents to Be Prepared

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Fire Station 18 A-Shift Participates In National Night Out In Glenmont


By: Captain Derrick Anthony, Station Commander
      Montgomery County Fire and Rescue
      Fire Station 18 A-Shift

Montgomery County Fire Station 18 participated Tuesday, August 2nd in the National Night Out Crime and glenmont2Community Awareness campaign at Weller Road Elementary School. The local event was sponsored by Mrs. Rose Alvarez, President of the Glenmont Civic Association.

E718 (fire truck that carries hose and water) and AT718 (fire truck with the big ladder on top) partnered with police officers from the Fourth District to represent Montgomery County’s finest at the local event.  The Glenmont Civic Association organized activities to acquaint community residents with their local law enforcement and fire/rescue personnel as well as providing a platform for public safety to deliver crime and safety awareness messages.
Members from Company 18 set up static displays with the engine and tower providing residents an opportunity to see what we do first hand!  Captain Derrick Anthony, FS18 A-Shift, gave a brief introduction and emphasized to the residents that Montgomery County Fire and Rescue is an “All Hazards” community based fire department that is here to serve and protect the residents of Montgomery County.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Significant Fire & EMS Incidents From July 25 through July 31

Battalion 1 Incidents

• Motor Vehicle Crash @ E Randolph Road & Tourmaline Court - Dispatched for a crash involving a loaded Ride-On bus. Fire units arrived to find minor collision and transported 4 patients with minor injuries to local hospital.

Battalion 2 Incidents

• House Fire in the 7700 block of Westlake Terrace. Fire units arrived to find a confined dryer fire.

Battalion 3 Incidents

• Hazardous Materials Incident in the 1200 block of First Street- CO leak w/ 11 patients transported local hospitals. Investigation revealed malfunctioning hot water heater

Battalion 4 Incidents

• Motor Vehicle Crash & Hazardous Materials Incident @New Hampshire Ave / Ednor Rd - Fire units arrived on scene and found 1 patient ejected from vehicle and a 50 gallon diesel spill. MCPD investigating.

• Apartment Fire in the 12500 block of Winexburg Manor Drive - Initial call for alarm bells in garden apartment. Fire units found fire in the walls of terrace level apartment. Small fire that was quickly extinguished. Cause was a defective gas stove. Damage of $2K to the structure with no injuries and a family of 5 displaced.

Battalion 5 Incidents

• Motor Vehicle Crash & Hazardous Materials Incident @ Woodfield Rd/ Churchill Downs – Fire units arrived on scene with a car and van, fueled by propane, which had collided. Van had one propane cylinder slightly ruptured. Haz Mat team stayed on scene to bleed cylinder off.

• Building Fire in the 615 S. Frederick Ave - Fire units found a 3-story commercial/mixed use property w/a cooking pot on fire in a small restaurant. Fire extinguished by sprinkler. No injuries and $2K worth of damage.

• GAS / PIPELINE LEAK in the 11400 block of TULIP POPLAR TER – Fire units arrive on scene and found a gas leak between 2 homes requiring the evacuation of portions of the neighborhood. Unified command established with MCPD and scene mitigated without injuries or fire.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Hear Us, See Us, Clear for Us!

“Please Abide – Pull Aside”

Do you know what to do when approached by an emergency vehicle? The metropolitan area is often crowded and congested with traffic conditions caused by commuters, collisions, work zones and sometimes just “normal” traffic.

Emergency vehicles are impacted by these conditions, as well. When somebody calls 911 for help – the men and women of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service respond. How can everyday drivers help us to help you? – Normally drivers will HEAR us first, next they will SEE us, and then we need drivers to CLEAR for us.


C – L – E – A – R for emergency vehicles.

C – Calmly pull to and as close to the edge of the roadway as possible and stop.

L – Leave room. Keep intersections clear and never try to follow emergency vehicles.

E – Enter into traffic with caution after the emergency vehicle has passed. Remember to use signals.

A – Aware (be). Be aware of your surroundings. Keep radio volume low and check rear view mirrors frequently.

R – Remain stopped until the emergency vehicle ha passed. Be mindful that there may be additional emergency vehicles approaching.

When approached by an emergency vehicle – the law says to pull over to the closest parallel edge of the roadway and yield the right of way to the emergency vehicle. An emergency vehicle is one with an audible siren and/or siren and emergency flashing lights. When driving and approaching an emergency scene – slow down and move over. In other words - “Give us a brake!”

Reduce the risk of an accident near an emergency scene and around emergency equipment.

Stay alert – expect anything to occur when approaching emergency vehicles.

Pay close attention – watch for police or fire direction.

Turn on your headlights – let on scene workers and other motorists see you.
Don’t tailgate – unexpected stops frequently occur near emergency scenes.

Don’t speed – slow down.

Keep up with the traffic flow – dedicate your full attention to the roadway and those traveling around you.

Minimize distractions – avoid changing radio stations and using mobile cell phones while approaching these areas.

Expect the unexpected – keep an eye out for emergency workers and their equipment.

Be patient – remember, firefighters and EMT’s have been called to the scene and are working to help someone.

In Montgomery County pedestrian and traffic safety issues are front and center. If you travel by car or are a pedestrian, please place extra emphasis on safety. Simply looking both ways before crossing a street, crossing in a crosswalk, spending a few extra seconds to cinch the belt on your child's safety seat, or delaying departure to ensure you get enough rest before a long trip can make all the difference. Preventative safety, while measured in seconds or minutes, can save you from months or years of anguish, grief, and "what if". Be smart. Be safe.