Friday, April 26, 2013

Department Mourns the Passing of Former Fire Chief

Montgomery County, MD - - - Former Fire Chief Thomas Carr, praised for his tireless service and outstanding leadership, passed away on April 24th in Charleston, South Carolina following complications from Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), a rare neurological disorder that causes symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease.

Carr was named the Chief of the Charleston Fire Department in November 2008 after retiring as Fire Chief of the Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service. He was instrumental in helping the Charleston Fire Department recover from the loss of nine firefighters following the Sofa Super Store fire in 2007 and set into motion critical transformations to mold the Charleston Fire Department into a modern service. In April of 2010, Chief Carr announced to the public his diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease and pledged his continued commitment to lead the Charleston Fire Department for as long as he could. In March 2012, he retired toMSA.

focus on his battle with the more deadly
Chief Carr was named FIRE CHIEF’s 2010 Career Chief of the Year for his outstanding leadership and desire to improve the fire service. He was referred to as the “firefighter’s firefighter” and someone who earned his following through innovation and respect.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Chief Tom Carr. He leaves behind an extraordinary legacy and will probably be best remembered as a world class leader responsible for helping generations of firefighters and as the architect of the Nation’s Urban Search & Rescue Response System and the County’s Urban Search and Rescue Team”, said County Executive Isiah Leggett. “He compiled an unparalleled record of public service and achievements and his loss is deeply felt.”  

“The fire service has lost a great leader and we’ve lost a great friend,” said Fire Chief Richard Bowers. “Chief Carr was respected nationally and internationally. Under his leadership, the department added 4-person staffing, collective bargaining for volunteers and raised education and training standards. He led the department’s successful efforts to become a nationally accredited fire department and was a man of great vision, passion and integrity who led from the heart. His  impact will be felt for many years to come.”

Carr began his career in 1973 as an 18-year-old volunteer paramedic with the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad in Montgomery County (MD). He was hired as a career firefighter/paramedic in Montgomery County (MD) in 1977 and progressed through the ranks. He became the first operational fire chief of the Montgomery County Fire Rescue service in 2004. He was a long-standing advocate of the fire service, especially firefighter safety, and leaves a strong legacy of innovation and professionalism that will be felt for years to come.

Chief Carr is survived by his wife Anne, son West, daughter Amy, his parents, a brother and sister.

Services in Charleston, are being planned.

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Rapid Intervention Company (RIC) Training Evolution

By: Lt. Pete Hageman

Part of the MCFRS Rookie Probationary training package includes running simulated scenarios that involve following a hose line in smoke, search and rescue, and different rescue drags.  So at Rockville Station 3 today, crews completed a Rapid Intervention Company (RIC) training evolution to meet these objectives.

Click on photo for more
A RIC is a crew of firefighters whose assignment at a fire scene is to be on stand-by, and at the ready, to leap into action if a firefighter (FF) or two become trapped inside a structure during a fire incident. 

The evolution involved crews entering into a “Mayday” situation (firefighter trapped) with a RIC pack and Thermal imager going down into the basement of Station 3 following the hose line.  Face pieces (worn on a FF’s face to breath air from an air pack) were blanked so zero visibility, which occurs in real fires, was obtained.  Once the crews found the downed firefighter he was rescued first to the bottom of the stairs, and then while running low on air, up a flight of steps to the outside in an area of refuge. 

The training drill was successful and all learned the enormous exertion it takes to extract a downed firefighter from a structure fire.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Day in the Life at the Public Safety Training Academy


As with many professions our MCFRS Firefighters are no strangers to continuing education and advanced training programs. Just about every single day at our Public Safety Training Academy, there are classes and training that occur to review basic skills, learn new skills/techniques, and enhance career development.

Some classes are strictly classroom only while others, as in the accompanying photos, require hands on learning. Our Firefighters train hard, and learn the latest techniques, so we are ready to assist those who need our help no matter what the situation.

Stay Safe,

Bill D

Friday, April 19, 2013

MCFRS Helps With Pedestrian Safety Education and Enforcement Efforts at Seneca Valley High School

Later on this morning, MCFRS Firefighters will again be at Seneca Valley High School to participate in a pedestrian safety initiative that includes handing out reflective materials to students.  Firefighters also stopped by the school yesterday.

The photo below shows MCFRS personnel handing out reflective materials to SVHS students yesterday.

The initiative kicked off last week in an effort to remind students to practice safe pedestrian behaviors and follows the tragic death of a 15 year old student killed while crossing Germantown Road this past October.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Street Smart Safety Tips

During the Street Smart campaign, which runs through May 13, law enforcement officers in Maryland, the District of Columbia and northern Virginia will be watching for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists who violate traffic safety laws. Drivers and cyclists who fail to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, as well as pedestrians who jaywalk, can face fines that range from $40 to $500. Drivers also are subject to getting points on their driver records.  Information on the new campaign and the Street Smart public education program may be found at
Safety Tips:

If you’re driving…
• Slow down and obey the speed limit
• Look twice for people in crosswalks and yield to pedestrians and bicyclists
• Be careful when passing stopped vehicles
• Yield to pedestrians and cyclists at intersections when you're turning
• Allow three feet when passing bicyclists
• Look for cyclists and cars before you open your door
• Avoid using your cell phone and never text while driving

If you’re walking…
• Cross the street at the corner and use marked crosswalks when they’re available
• Wait for the “Walk” signal to cross the street
• Watch for turning vehicles. Before crossing look left, right, and left again
• Be seen! If you’re walking after dark or in bad weather, make it easier for drivers to see you by wearing light clothing or something reflective
• Don’t text while you’re crossing the street
• If you’re on an off-street trail, obey all posted signage and approach intersections with caution

If you’re biking…
• Obey all traffic signs and traffic signals
• Ride in the direction of traffic, at least a car door width away from parked cars
• Use hand signals so drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians know what you’re going to do
• Always wear a helmet
• Use lights if you’re riding at times of darkness
• If you’re on an off-street trail, obey all posted signage and approach intersections with caution
• Slow down and watch for pedestrians on sidewalks, trails and in crosswalks

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Fire Officer Promotions Announced

Fire Chief Richie Bowers is pleased to announce that the following personnel have been promoted to the rank of  Lieutenant:

    • Alexander L. Aquino 
    • Paul J. Tomassoni 
    • Phillip M. Baker 

Congratulations to all in your new assignment and, as always, be safe!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Open the Window to Safety This Spring - National Window Safety Week, April 7-13

A little over two weeks ago, MCFRS Units responded to a call for a 3 year old who had fallen from a 4th floor window.  Miraculously, the young child survived and will be okay.

Unfortunately young children falling out of open windows occurs every year, locally and nationally, and usually starts right around this time as the weather begins to turn nice.  Also unfortunate is the fact that not all of those falls usually have a happy ending like the incident two weeks ago.  Please take a moment to review the timely life safety tips as it relates to windows below.

Stay Safe, 

Bill D

Windows play a vital role in home safety, serving as a secondary escape route in the event of a fire or other emergency, but they also pose a risk for a fall if safety measures are not followed. As part of National Window Safety Week, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue and Safekids Montgomery are providing the following safety tips to help prevent window-related injuries in the home: 

- Never rely on window screens to keep children from falling out of windows. A
screen is not a safety device - - it is designed to keep insects out, not to keep children in.

- Keep furniture such as sofas, beds and dressers away from windows. This will discourage children from climbing near any windows.

- Keep windows closed and locked when they are not being used.

- When windows are open for ventilation, take advantage of all safety features. If possible, open windows from the top and not the bottom if you have double-hung windows – the kind that can open down from the top as well as up from the bottom.

- Install safety devices such as window guards or window stops which prevent children from falling open windows that children cannot reach.

Window falls can happen quickly and, in some cases, can be deadly. When keeping your kids safe, MCFRS reminds parents that no device can replace active supervision. For more safety tips, visit our website at  

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Make The Right Call - April is National 9-1-1 Education Month.

For those of you not aware, April is National 9-1-1 Education month.  Please take a moment to review the below information as it relates to calling 9-1-1 or an alternate, non-emergency, number that may be more appropriate.

Stay Safe - Bill

The information in this brochure will help Montgomery County residents Make the Right Call by using 9-1-1 only for emergencies, 301-279-8000 only to report non-emergencies, and 3-1-1 for general Montgomery County government information. Having a better understanding of when to call each of these three important phone numbers will help ensure that your specific need is most effectively met.

This is a general information brochure. The examples included are guidelines. It does not list every incident for which you might need to contact 9-1-1, 301-279-8000, and 3-1-1.

When to call 9-1-1:

ONLY TO REPORT EMERGENCIES to Police, Fire/ Rescue, and to request an ambulance -- Available 24/7
  • Any life-threatening situation - fights, weapons, personal-injury vehicle collisions
  • A sexual assault that is in progress or has just occurred
  • An immediate fear for your personal safety or the safety of others
  • A serious crime in progress - robbery, burglary, assault
  • Any type of fire
  • Any serious medical problem that requires an ambulance or other immediate medical response

What should you (the caller) do when you call 9-1-1:

  • Remain calm and speak clearly
  • Be prepared to answer where, what, when, who, and how
  • Let the call taker ask the questions
  • Stay on the phone if it is safe to do so, or until the call taker advises you to hang up
  • If the call requires transfer to another agency, stay on the line. You may hear a series of clicks as the transfer occurs.
  • Understand that if the 9-1-1 center is extremely busy and your call is not answered within approximately 15 seconds, you will hear a recording indicating that operators are busy. The tones that follow the recording support devices for the hearing impaired. Stay on the line, do not hang up and call back.

What you’ll be asked when you call 9-1-1:

  • The location of the emergency – the exact address, intersection, place name (for example shopping center, school, hotel, etc.)
  • The nature of the emergency (what is going on right now, description of people and/or vehicles involved, any weapons involved, how long ago did the incident occur)
  • If it is a medical emergency you will be asked questions about the patient’s physical condition
  • Your (the caller’s) name and telephone number – a request to remain anonymous will be honored
  • Whether you want an officer to respond to see you
  • To be prepared to follow any instructions the call taker gives you. Call takers can provide step-bystep information about what to do until help arrives.

If you inadvertently dial 9-1-1 – DO NOT HANG UP:

  • Stay on the phone and advise the call taker that you mistakenly dialed 9-1-1 and that you do not have an emergency.
  • If a 9-1-1 call is abrupty disconnected, the call taker will attempt to call the number back.
  • If a caller does not confirm whether or not there is an emergency, police may be dispatched to the location from which the call was made.
  • To prevent inadvertent calls to 9-1-1, keep phones out of reach of toddlers and small children.
  • Use your phone wisely. Responding to unnecessary calls needlessly burdens the emergency call taker and the system, leaving the call taker unavailable for true emergencies.

When to call the Police Non-Emergency Number 301-279-8000:

TO REPORT LESS SERIOUS CRIMES, not to ask informational questions -- Available 24/7
  • A noise complaint
  • A parking violation
  • A property damage traffic collision where there is no personal injury
  • Loose or barking dogs
  • To report that you were a victim of a crime that is not in progress
  • To report a suspicious person, vehicle, or situation

When to call 3-1-1:

TO RECEIVE NON-EMERGENCY INFORMATION ABOUT MONTGOMERY COUNTY GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS AND SERVICES --M-F 7 a.m. - 7 p.m., closed weekends and holidays – A website, is available 24/7.
The County will announce when the MC311 Center has been activated outside of regular hours to take informational questions during emergencies such as hurricanes, winter snow storms, etc.
  • For Ride On bus information
  • To discuss your Montgomery County property tax bill
  • For recycling and trash pick up information
  • For road and pothole repairs
  • For building, construction, and zoning information
  • To schedule construction permitting inspections
  • For Health and Human Services Information
  • To reach the MC311 Center from outside the County call 240-777-0311.

Special Caller situations: Deaf/hearing/speech-impaired callers

  • 9-1-1 and 301-279-8000 are equipped with the TTY/TDD interface
  • For TTY at the MC311 Center, call 301-251-4850
  • MD Relay service is available by dialing 7-1-1
  • For more information on MD Relay, go to

English as a second Language:

  • Montgomery County subscribes to a Language Interpretation Service that is available for 9-1-1, 301-279-8000, and 3-1-1.
  • When language interpretation is needed, callers will be connected to the language interpretation service. When conferencing the interpreter in to the call, the caller may hear a series of beeps and tones. Do not hang up. Stay on the line until all three parties are on the phone together.
  • The Interpreter will ask the caller questions, then translate to the call taker. The call taker will then ask the interpreter questions to ask the caller.
IMPORTANT: Currently, 9-1-1, 301-279-8000, 3-1-1, and 240-777-0311 are not equipped to accept text messages.

Download Brochures ( English | Spanish ) in pdf format.
Montgomery County residents Make the Right Call by using
  • 9-1-1 only for emergencies,
  • 301-279-8000 only to report non-emergencies, and
  • 3-1-1 for general Montgomery County government information.
Having a better understanding of when to call each of these three important phone numbers will help ensure that your specific need is most effectively met.

From web site

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Early Morning Fire in Olney


Early Morning Fire in Olney

Montgomery County, MD - - -  Montgomery County Fire and Rescue units were dispatched shortly before 2:30 this morning for the report of a house fire in the 18400 block of Queen Elizabeth Drive in Olney.  First arriving units encountered heavy fire conditions in the area of the home’s carport and requested additional units. Firefighters conducted an aggressive fire attack and quickly controlled the fire.

Investigators were requested to the scene and the cause of the fire remains under investigation. An occupant in the home reported smelling smoke and then seeing flames in the carport area and quickly evacuated everyone from the home. Once outside, they called 911. The occupants reported that the smoke alarm activated.

Damage estimates are $200,000 ($150K to the structure/$50K to the contents). Four occupants of the home were displaced and Red Cross was contacted to assist them.

Fire officials remind residents of the following important safety tips:

-  Install working smoke alarms on every level of your home including basements and in all
sleeping areas. If your alarms are hard-wired, be sure they have a battery back-up.

-  All smoke alarms have expiration dates and should be replaced every ten years, even if they appear to be working. Follow manufacturer recommendations.

-  Smoke alarms should be tested monthly and batteries changed annually, according to manufacturer recommendations. A “chirping” sound may indicate that your battery is low and needs to be changed right away.

Make sure your house number is clearly visible from the street so that police and fire/rescue personnel can easily see your address in the event of an emergency.

-  Establish a meeting place outside your home. Every family member should participate in practice escape drills at least two times per year. And in the event of an emergency, always call 911 from a safe place.
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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Residents Rescued from Two-Alarm Apartment Fire in Silver Spring


More than 100 firefighters battle blaze

Click on Photo to see more pictures from fire
Montgomery County, MD - - -  A two-alarm fire that damaged a number of units in a Silver Spring Apartment building has left one man, believed to be in his 60’s, in critical condition with life-threatening injuries at a local burn center. Several other residents, including a 6-year old child, were transported to area hospitals with injuries ranging in severity.

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue units were dispatched shortly before 7:00 a.m. to the Montgomery Towers apartment building at 415 Silver Spring Avenue for the report of an apartment fire. Units arrived on the scene with fire showing and heavy smoke conditions from a top floor apartment and requested additional units. Firefighters were able to successfully rescue several residents trapped by the fire including several dramatic rescues from a top floor balcony. At the height of firefighting operations, over 100 firefighters were on the scene.

Ride-On buses were requested to shelter the evacuated residents from the cold weather and representatives from the Red Cross and building management were assisting the displaced residents.  

Firefighters will be out in force later today in the community where this fire occurred handing out safety information and offering to check smoke alarms and replacing any batteries or smoke alarms as needed. Fire investigators are currently on the scene to determine the origin and cause of the fire and updates and additional information will be provided when available. 

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Monday, April 1, 2013

MCFRS Significant Incident Map

Sunday, March 24 – Saturday, March 30

View MCFRS Significant Incident Map in a larger map

Driving in Fog - Safety Tips

The below is from and I thought it appropriate for this mornings commute. Stay Safe - Bill

Fog can be thought of as a cloud at ground level. It forms when the temperature drops to the dew point (the temperature at which air is saturated), and invisible water vapor in the air condenses to form suspended water droplets. Fog can reduce visibility to 1/4 mile or less, creating hazardous driving conditions. If you can't postpone your trip until dense fog lifts -- usually by late morning or the afternoon -- follow these tips:

* Drive with lights on low beam. High beams will only be reflected back off the fog and actually impair visibility even more.

* Reduce your speed -- and watch your speedometer. Fog creates a visual illusion of slow motion when you may actually be speeding.

* Listen for traffic you cannot see. Open your window a little, to hear better.

* Use wipers and defrosters as necessary for maximum visibility.

* Use the right edge of the road or painted road markings as a guide.

* Be patient. Do not pass lines of traffic.

* Do not stop on a freeway or heavily traveled road. If your car stalls or becomes disabled, turn your vehicle's lights off, and take your foot off of the brake pedal. People tend to follow tail lights when driving in fog. Move away from the vehicle to avoid injury.
Sources: National Weather Service, Wisconsin Department of Transportation