Wednesday, February 29, 2012

No Twitter? No Problem! You Can Still Get MCFRS Updates!

Do not have a Twitter account but want to receive Montgomery County Fire and Rescue’s tweets? No problem.
A Twitter feature called Fast Follow make it possible for those with a cell phone and a text messaging plan to receive tweet’s on their phone.  Understand that Text messaging rates apply.
Here is how you do it:
Text “follow @mcfrs” to 40404.  You will get a text message back indicating you are now following @MCFRS.  The text will also provide guidance on how to stop the text messages if you no longer wish to receive them.
If you follow, you can expect to receive all of the latest news, updates, and safety tips from Montgomery County Fire and Rescue.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Department Promotions

MCFRS is pleased to recognize the below individuals who have been recently promoted. Best of luck, and be safe, in your new assignments!

The following personnel have been promoted to the rank of Captain:

* John E. Peppel
* Joseph B. Wilt
* Julio Falcon

The following person has been promoted to the rank of Master Firefighter:
       * Greg Ransom

Friday, February 24, 2012

Training Exercise – Rappelling From Aerial Tower 703

Personnel from Rockville Station 3B and 3D shift took advantage of Thursday's beautiful weather and engaged in a training exercise rappelling from Aerial Tower 703.

Click on the photo to see more pictures from the training.
Personnel involved were Captain Norris, Lieutenant Hageman, Master Firefighter (MFF) Walls, MFF Ward, MFF Damico, Firefighter (FF) Lann (Tower driver training and photographer), FF Veronesi (New Tower driver), FF Maggie Stottlemyer, FF Leister, FF Viands, FF Funes, and RVFD volunteer Brianna Seymour.

Personnel learned techniques in rappelling from rappel racks, 8's, and tandem Prusik belays while enjoying the view from 100 feet above Rockville's Town Square.

MCFRS personnel train frequently on all of the basics so we are ready to respond to, and take care of, a wide variety of emergency situations that could impact our County and its residents. Click on the photo to see more pictures from our training day.  

Stay safe!

Lt. Pete Hageman, 3D

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Registration is Open For Spring 2012 Basic Community Emergency Response Training Class

By: Greg St. James, Montgomery County CERT / Fire Corps

Montgomery County Fire Rescue Service is happy to announce registration is open for our Spring 2012 Basic Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) class. CERT helps you prepare your family, your neighborhood, and your workplace for emergencies and disasters. Topics include CPR/First Aid, Fire Safety, Search and Rescue, Pet Preparedness, Family Disaster Kits, Incident Management, and Terrorism Awareness. Montgomery County CERT stresses hands on practical training taught by professional EMT’s, Firefighters, Educators, and International Disaster Responders.

CERT training is free to county residents 18 and older, and takes place twice a week over the course of month. Students are required to attend all sessions to receive a FEMA certificate of completion.. The Spring 2012 class will take place in Gaithersburg on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings from March 14, through April 28, 2012 with a break included for the spring Holidays.  CERT operates on a first come basis for a limited number of seats.  To learn more please click HERE.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Fatal Fire in Takoma Park Claims the Life of a 56 year-old Grandmother

IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   February 20, 2012

First Fire Fatality of 2012 in Montgomery County

Courtesy of USFA
 At approximately 2:15 a.m. on Monday, February 20, 2012, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service units responded for the report of an apartment fire at 7600 Maple Avenue in Takoma Park.  First arriving firefighters encountered a pile of clothes and towels smoldering in a sixth floor apartment. They quickly began care and treatment of a woman suffering from significant burn injuries in the apartment and transported her to the Washington Hospital Center’s MedStar Burn Unit where she later died from injuries sustained in the fire. Officials have released the name of the victim, Charlotte Wilson, age 56 of Takoma Park, Maryland.  Another occupant of the residence was assessed and treated on the scene. 

The origin and cause of the fire is currently under investigation by the Montgomery County Fire and Explosive Investigation Section. Investigators believe that a cigarette may have started the deadly fire. Damage is estimated at approximately $1,000.

            Smoking is the number one cause of home fire deaths in the United States. Fire caused by cigarettes and other smoking materials are preventable. Montgomery County

Fire and Rescue Service and the United States Fire Administration recommends the following:

·         If you must smoke, smoke outside – most home fires caused by smoking start inside the home. Designate a smoking area and have deep sturdy ashtrays with a wide sturdy base. Put cigarettes out in a can filled with sand or completely soak cigarette butts and ashes in water before disposing. Never toss hot cigarette butts or ashes in the trash.
·         Check for butts – chairs and sofas can easily ignite and burn fast. Don’t place ashtrays on them and check furniture cushions if people have been smoking in the home.
·         Never smoke in a home where oxygen is used – never smoke while using oxygen or near an oxygen source, even if it is turned off. Oxygen can be explosive and makes a fire / cigarette burn hotter and faster.
·         Be alert – if you are sleepy, have been drinking or have taken medication that makes you drowsy, don’t light up.  

f you smoke, fire-safer cigarettes are better – fire-safer cigarettes are less likely to cause fires. These cigarettes have banded paper that can slow the burn of a cigarette that isn’t being used.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Two-Alarm Fire Displaces Fifteen Residents and Sends One to the Hospital

Rockville - - -  A two-alarm fire this morning has displaced fifteen residents from the Foxhall Apartments at 8708 Barron Street in Silver Spring. When firefighters responded just before 7:00 a.m., they found flames on the top floor of the apartment complex and extending through the roof. Over 55 firefighters responded on the initial alarm and brought the fire under control within 15 minutes. Several residents were evaluated on the scene and one resident was transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries for further evaluation. The American Red Cross is assisting the displaced residents.

Three apartments were damaged in the fire and have been declared uninhabitable and unsafe to occupy by officials. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Damage was estimated at $35,000. Montgomery County fire officials remind ALL residents to ensure that smoke alarms are present . . . and working.

Families Displaced After Two Separate Fires Firefighters Warn of Dangers

Rockville - - -  Montgomery County firefighters have been busy and two families are without homes after two separate fires in the County. On February 14th at 7:30 p.m. firefighters responded for the report of a house fire in the 13000 block of Holdridge Road in Silver Spring and quickly extinguished the fire. Twelve hours later, firefighters were dispatched to the unit block of Lauer Terrace in Silver Spring for a reported house fire. Arriving units encountered fire venting from the window and smoke conditions throughout the house. Firefighters were able to quickly control and extinguish the fire.The homeowner reported that the smoke alarm had activated and alerted her to the fire and she was able to safely escape. There was one firefighter injury and no civilian injuries reported. Montgomery County Fire Investigators have completed their investigation and have confirmed that the fires were unintentional in nature and believe that space heaters were being used in the homes.  

      The high cost of heating homes combined with efforts to save energy, raises the potential for an increased use of alternative heating sources. If space heaters are used, firefighters are urging residents to exercise extreme caution, take important safety precautions and review these tips:

  Space Heater Safety Tips:  
·         All heaters need space. Keep things that can burn, such as paper, bedding or furniture at
        least 3 feet away from heating equipment.
·         Make sure you plug the space heater directly into an outlet - - - not an extension cord.
·         Turn off and unplug space heaters when you leave a room or go to sleep.
·         Space heaters should always be positioned on a flat floor and not on top of furniture, a
        table or cabinets.
·         Make sure all fuel-burning equipment is vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide
        (CO) poisoning. CO poisoning can cause illness and even death.
·         Install and maintain carbon monoxide alarms inside your home to provide early warning
        of carbon monoxide.
·         Only use heating equipment that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory and read
        all manufacturer instructions.
·         And always have working smoke alarms in your home!  

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dispose of Fireplace and Wood-stove Ashes Properly

Fireplace and wood-stove ashes retain enough heat to ignite other combustible materials for several days after a fire. It is important to learn the following ways to dispose of fireplace and wood-stove ashes properly:
·         DO NOT discard your ashes into any combustible container like a paper or plastic bag, a cardboard box, or a plastic trash can.
·         DO put ashes into a non-combustible metal container with a lid.
·         DO pour water into the container to make sure the ashes are cool.
·         DO keep your can OUTSIDE the home, away from combustibles.
·         DO teach all family members to be safe with ashes from your fireplace or wood stove.
As always, please make sure you test your smoke alarms monthly and replace batteries twice a year. Practice and plan a family home escape plan.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Learn How To Reduce Your Property Tax Bill By 50%

Automatic Fire Sprinklers

The Facts

Home sprinklers are effective in fighting fire
  • Automatic fire sprinklers have been in use in the U.S. since 1874.
  • Fire sprinklers are widely recognized as the single most effective method for fighting the spread of fires in their early stages - before they can cause severe injury to people and damage to property.
  • When one fire sprinkler head goes off to fight a fire the entire sprinkler system does NOT activate. Sprinklers react to temperatures in individual rooms.
  • The chances of a fire sprinkler accidentally going off are extremely remote.
  • Installation of fire sprinklers can provide discounts on insurance premiums.
  • The costs for installing fire sprinkler systems in buildings 6 to 8 stories high ranges from under a dollar to about $2.00 per square foot in most new construction and from about $1.50 to $2.50 per square foot for retrofitting sprinklers in existing buildings.
  • The installation of fire sprinklers in new residential construction is estimated to make up around 1% of the total building cost. (Similar to the cost of new carpet)
  • Over 200 U.S. communities have residential sprinkler laws. Roughly 100 of these communities are in California. In downtown Fresno for example, there has been fire damage of only $42,000 during a 10-year period in which its sprinkler law has been in effect.
  • According to the National Fire Protection Association, property damage in hotel fires was 78% less in structures with sprinklers than it was in structures without sprinklers during the years 1983-87. (Average loss per fire was $2,300 in sprinklered buildings and $10,300 in unsprinklered buildings.)
  • Nearly half of all hotels and motels, according to a 1988 survey by NFPA, have sprinkler systems.
  • NFPA has no record of a fire killing more than two people in a completely sprinklered building where the system was properly operating, except in an explosion or flash fire or where industrial fire brigade members or employees were killed during fire suppression operations.


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%.



Friday, February 10, 2012

Burtonsville Volunteer Fire Department is coordinating an American Red Cross Blood Drive

American Red Cross Needs You
              Blood Supplies are at Critically Low Levels

Burtonsville Volunteer Fire Department  is coordinating an American Red Cross Blood Drive. The Epiphany Lutheran Church is co-sponsoring the event and providing volunteer staffing as well as assistance marketing the event and soliciting donors.

Date:                2/20/2012
Start Time:      12:00 PM
End Time:        6:00 PM
Where:             Burtonsville Fire Department #15
Address:         13900 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904

Donor Registration:

On-line scheduling makes blood donation even easier (you may need to register as a new user to registration system):
CLICK HERE  to register!

Or you can e-mail your available time(s) to EMT David Chen at:
or call 301-706-5456.

For more information on blood donation and first time donors click on link below

Our Community, Neighbors, and Friends Need YOU

Save a Life – Donate Blood Now!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

NORAD Exercise Planned For the National Capital Region, Washington, D.C.

I wanted to make everyone aware of a training exercise going on very early tomorrow morning that may create some noise.  Please take a moment to read the below press release from NORAD and do not be alarmed if you hear very loud, low flying aircraft between 3 - 5 AM tomorrow morning.


NORAD exercise planned for Washington, D.C.

Feb. 7, 2012

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – The North American Aerospace Defense Command and its geographical component, the Continental United States NORAD Region (CONR), will conduct exercise Falcon Virgo 12-05 Thursday, Feb. 9, from 3-5 a.m. (Eastern Standard Time) in the National Capital Region, Washington, D.C.

The exercise is comprised of a series of training flights held in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Capital Region Coordination Center, the Joint Air Defense Operations Center, Civil Air Patrol, U.S. Coast Guard and CONR’s Eastern Air Defense Sector.

Exercise Falcon Virgo is designed to hone NORAD’s intercept and identification operations as well as operationally test the NCR Visual Warning System. Civil Air Patrol aircraft, Air Force F-16s and a U.S. Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter will participate in the exercise.

These exercises are carefully planned and closely controlled to ensure CONR’s rapid response capability. NORAD has conducted exercise flights of this nature throughout the U.S. and Canada since the start of Operation Noble Eagle, the command’s response to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

In the event of inclement weather, the exercise will take place the following evening. If bad weather continues, officials will then make a decision to postpone or cancel the exercise.

As the Continental United States geographical component of the bi-national command NORAD, CONR provides airspace surveillance and control, and directs air sovereignty activities for the CONUS region. CONR and its assigned Air Force and Army assets throughout the country ensure air safety and security against potential air threats.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, CONR fighters have responded to more than 3,400 possible air threats in the United States and have flown more than 59,000 sorties with the support of Airborne Warning and Control System and air-to-air-refueling aircraft.

Monday, February 6, 2012

It’s Burn Awareness Week! Theme This Year: Scalds - A Burning Issue

Most burns occur in the home, usually in the kitchen or bathroom.  Scald injuries affect all ages. Young children and the elderly are most vulnerable. This is why Montgomery County Fire & Rescue and the American Burn Association want to provide you with information on scald injury prevention and recommends the following simple safety tips to decrease the risk to yourself and those you love from scalds:

  • Set home water heater thermostats to deliver water at a temperature no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.  An easy method to test this is to allow hot water to run for three to five minutes, then test with a candy, meat or water thermometer.  Adjust the water heater and wait a day to let the temperature drop.  Re-test and re-adjust as necessary. 
  • Provide constant adult supervision of young children or anyone who may experience difficulty removing themselves from hot water on their own.  Gather all necessary supplies before placing a child in the tub, and keep them within easy reach. 
  • Fill tub to desired level before getting in.  Run cold water first, then add hot.  Turn off the hot water first.  This can prevent scalding in case someone should fall in while the tub is filling.  Mix the water thoroughly and check the temperature by moving your elbow, wrist or hand with spread fingers through the water before allowing someone to get in. 
  • Install grab bars, shower seats or non-slip flooring in tubs or showers if the person is unsteady or weak. 
  • Avoid flushing toilets, running water or using the dish- or clothes washer while anyone is showering. 
  • Install anti-scald or tempering devices.  These heat sensitive instruments stop or interrupt the flow of water when the temperature reaches a pre-determined level and prevent hot water that is too hot from coming out of the tap. 
Cooking-related scalds are also easy to prevent.  Some things you can do to make your home safer from cooking-related burns include:

  • Establish a “kid zone” out of the traffic path between the stove and sink where children can safely play and still be supervised.  Keep young children in high chairs or play yards, a safe distance from counter- or stovetops, hot liquids, hot surfaces or other cooking hazards. 
  • Cook on back burners when young children are present. Keep all pot handles turned back, away from the stove edge.  All appliance cords should be coiled and away from the counter edge. 
  • During mealtime, place hot items in the center of the table, at least 10 inches from the table edge. 
  • Use non-slip placemats instead of tablecloths if toddlers are present. 
  • Never drink or carry hot liquids while carrying or holding a child.  Quick motions may cause spilling of the liquid onto the child.