Thursday, May 29, 2014

Chief With 46+ Years of Service Ends His Career Today

Assistant Chief Mike Clemens, with 46+ years of service, ends his career TODAY. He is the most senior MCFRS employee.

Chief Clemens has been in charge of our Training Academy for over the last fifteen of those years.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy retirement Chief!  You will be missed!




Tuesday, May 27, 2014

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 usfirst, next they will SEE us, and then we need drivers to CLEAR for us.

HEAR US - SEE US - CLEAR FOR US 

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

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

– 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 has 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.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Outdoor Grilling Safety

Thinking of starting/firing up the grill during this holiday weekend?  Fire Chief Steve Lohr of the Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service wants you and your loved ones to enjoy this weekend SAFELY! Below are some tips from the National Fire Protection Association that he hopes will help:
Safe GrillingAlways supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
  • Position the grill well away from siding, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Keep children and pets far away from grills: declare a three-foot "safe zone" around the grill.
  • With charcoal grills, only use charcoal starter fluids designed for barbecue grills and do not add fluid after coals have been lit. NEVER use gasoline!
  • With gas grills, be sure that the hose connection is tight and check hoses carefully for leaks. Applying soapy water to the hoses will easily and safely reveal any leaks.
  • All propane cylinders manufactured after April 2002 must have overfill protection devices (OPD). OPDs shut off the flow off propane before capacity is reached. OPDS are easily identified by their triangle-shaped hand wheel.
  • Always follow the manufacturer's instructions and have the grill. repaired by a professional, if necessary.
  • Remember to keep your grill clean! Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below grill so it cannot be ignited by a hot grill.
  • Wear short, close fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking. Loose clothing can dangle onto grill and catch fire.
  • REMEMBER! Propane and charcoal BBQ grills must only be used outdoors. If used indoors, or in any enclosed spaces, such as tents, they pose both a fire hazard and the risk of exposing occupants to toxic gases and potential asphyxiation.

Grilling Safety

According to the Barbecue Industry Association, three out of four households in the United States own a barbecue grill. From making a quick dinner to barbequing a feast for family and friends, when lighting a charcoal or gas grill, it's important to remember that a savory barbeque is a safe barbecue.
  • According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), gas and charcoal grills cause an annual average of 1,500 structure fires and 4,200 outdoor fires in or on residential properties, resulting in a combined direct property loss of $29.8 million.

Make Fire Safety a Priority

Protection can be relatively simple and inexpensive. To help prevent fire fatalities and injuries at your home this summer:
Safe GrillingOnly use your barbecue grill outside. Grills are not designed to be used in a trailer, tent, garage, or house. Carbon monoxide can build-up and poison you.
  • Set-up a grill in an open area away from buildings, overhead combustible surfaces, dry leaves or brush. Be sure to avoid high traffic areas and always barbecue in a well-ventilated area. Be aware of wind blown sparks.
  • Always read the owners manual before using the grill.
  • Never use a grill indoors. Use the grill at least 20 feet away from your house or any building. Do not use the grill in a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, or under a surface that can catch fire.
  • Keep a multipurpose fire extinguisher within easy reach.
  • When purchasing a fire extinguisher, choose the largest size that can be handled comfortably.
  • Wear clothing that does not have hanging sleeves or apron strings, and use flame retardant mitts when adjusting hot vents.
  • Never leave a grill unattended once it is lit.
  • Use long-handled utensils to avoid burns and splatters.
  • Never attempt to move a hot grill.
  • If using a charcoal grill, gasoline should never be used in place of charcoal lighter fluid. And never reapply charcoal lighter fluid after the fire has started; the flames can ignite the vapors, and travel up to the can causing an explosion.
Consumers should use caution when storing LP gas containers. Always keep containers upright. Never store a spare gas container under or near the grill or indoors. Never store or use flammable liquids, like gasoline, near the grill.
To avoid accidents while transporting LP gas containers, consumers should transport the container in a secure, upright position. Never keep a filled container in a hot car or car trunk. Heat will cause the gas pressure to increase, which may open the relief valve and allow gas to escape.
Consumers should use extreme caution and always follow manufacturer's instructions when connecting or disconnecting LP gas containers.
Grills manufactured after October 1, 1995, are required to have three additional safety features to eliminate leak hazards: a device to limit the flow of gas in the event of hose rupture; a mechanism to shut-off the grill; and a feature to prevent the flow of gas if the connection between the tank and the grill is not leak proof. Consumers should consider purchasing grills that have these safety features. Sources: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and NFPA

Friday, May 23, 2014

Going to the Pool or Beach This Weekend? Keep These Water Safety Tips in Mind!

Keep these Water Safety Tips in Mind

As the weather heats up, chances are you will be headed to the beach or pool to cool off this summer. Whether you’re a seasoned swimmer or just learning how to swim, many water-related accidents can be avoided by knowing what to do and how to stay safe. Drowning is the second leading killer of children ages 14 and under and the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service urges residents to review these important tips to increase safety around the water:  
  • Learn to swim and never swim alone. One of the best things you can do to stay safe around the water is to learn to swim and to always swim with a buddy. Even experienced swimmers can become tired or get muscle cramps which might make it difficult to get out of the water safely.  
  • Learn life-saving skills. Know how to prevent, recognize and respond to emergencies. Valuable lifesaving seconds are lost by having to wait for Emergency Medical Services to respond and administer CPR. Learning CPR and other life-saving skills and rescue techniques can save lives.   
  • Seconds count when it comes to water emergencies. Keep a phone (cell or cordless) by the pool or nearby when engaged in recreational water activities so that you can call 9-1-1 in an emergency.
  • Don’t rely on swimming lessons, life preservers or other equipment to make a child “water safe.” Remember - swimming lessons are no substitute for supervision of children. Formal swimming lessons can help protect young swimmers around the water however constant adult supervision is critical. 
  • Never leave children unsupervised around water (bathtubs, pools, ornamental backyard ponds, etc.). Small children don't think of water as a danger and, by nature, are very curious.   
  • Diving dangers. Diving injuries can cause permanent spinal damage, injuries and even death. Protect yourself by diving only in areas that are known to be safe, such as the deep end of a supervised pool. Always check the water’s depth and remember that jumping in feet first can be very risky if you haven’t checked the water for rocks or other hidden hazards.
  • Pay attention to local weather conditions and forecasts. Stop swimming at the first indication of bad weather.
  • Know Your Limits. Watch for the “dangerous too’s” . . . too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun, too much strenuous activity.
  • Maintain constant supervision of children. Know where your children are at all times. Never leave a child unattended in the water or pool area. Don't be distracted by phone calls, chores or conversations. If you leave the pool area, take the child with you.
  • Don’t rely on substitutes. The use of floatation devices, water wings and inflatable toys can not replace parental supervision. Such flotation devices could suddenly shift position, lose air, or slip out from underneath, leaving the child in a dangerous situation.
  • Water and alcohol don’t mix. Each year, up to half of all adult drownings are linked to alcohol use.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Thursday, May 15, 2014

TURN AROUND - DON’T DROWN and Try an Alternate Route! List of Roads That Flood

Many Roads in Montgomery County Susceptible to Flooding so Consider Alternate Routes Beforehand!

There is a FLASH FLOOD Watch in effect for the County later today until tomorrow (May 16) evening!  County residents are urged to be alert to changing weather conditions and should be prepared for possible flash flooding over the next twenty four hours as a storm system will move into the area and could bring heavy rains. 
  
Flash floods more often occur in mountain streams, hilly areas or low-lying areas.  But they do happen in urban and suburban areas like Montgomery County, as well.  Flash floods can occur even though it's not raining where you are.  It may be raining hard farther upstream and raining so hard that the water can not be absorbed into the ground.

On April 30 MCFRS responded to over 30 water-related calls & 10 rescues!  Turn Around - Don't Drown!
  
Safety Tips: 
If a flash flood warning is issued, act immediately.  Don't wait for high water to dictate your course of action. 

Know your location when you are driving.  If you needed rescue, would you be able to direct emergency crews to your location?  Distracted driving can lead to a situation where you are stranded and unable to direct emergency crews to you.  Be alert! 
  
Never drive through a flooded road or bridge.  Turn Around - Don’t Drown and try an alternate route!  In many cases, it takes far less than a foot of water to incapacitate a vehicle.  It may stall, leaving you stranded, and depending on the level of water, you may not be able to open a vehicle door.  Do not underestimate the power of moving water. 
  
Watch for flooding at bridges and dips in the road.  Never drive where water is over bridges or roads. Turn around - Don’t Drown!  The bridges or the road could suddenly be washed out. If you're driving at night be especially careful.  Often visibility is limited due to wind and rain. 
  
Often what you can't see below the surface of the water is far more dangerous than the high levels of that water.  Remember that rocks, tree limbs and other debris can be caught in moving water and can be dangerous if you are forced to walk, wade or swim through flood waters. 
  
If you have to walk or wade through flood water, use a stick to poke the ground in front of you with each step.  It can help you determine water levels, the bottom surface and the safest possible way to get to higher ground. 
  
Remember that flash floods can come without warning, and sometimes without weather.  Be alert and heed all warnings and recommendations from officials. From FEMA's website, some further information about driving through flooded roadways:
  • Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.
  • A foot of water will float many vehicles.  
  • Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUV's) and pick-ups
TURN AROUND - DON’T DROWN and try an alternate route!

ROADS IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY SUBJECT TO PERIODIC FLOODING: 

DOWN-COUNTY AREAS
MD 29 (Columbia Pike) at Paint Branch - N. of White Oak 
MD 185 (Conn. Ave) at Rock Creek - S. of Kensington 
MD 190 (River Road) at Cabin John Creek - Potomac 
MD 193 (Univ. Blvd) at Sligo Creek - Wheaton 
MD 586 (Viers Mill Rd) at Rock Creek - S. of Twinbrook Pkwy. 
Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park - Kensington-Chevy Chase 
Sligo Creek Pkwy - Silver Spring-Takoma Park 

UP-COUNTY AREAS 
MD 97 (Georgia Ave) at Reddy Branch - N. of Brookeville 
MD 124 (Woodfield Rd) at Goshen Branch and at Gr. Seneca Creek - N. of Brink Rd. 
MD 117 (Clopper Rd) at Gr. Seneca Creek - W. of Gaithersburg 
MD 117 (Clopper Rd) at Little Seneca Creek - E. of Boyds 
MD 355 (Frederick Rd) at Little Seneca Creek - W. of Brink 
MD 121 (Clarksburg Rd) near Little Seneca Lake - N. of Boyds 
MD 118 (Germantown Rd) at Great Seneca Creek - S. of Germantown 
River Rd and Berryville Rd at Seneca Creek - Seneca 
Blunt Road at Great Seneca Creek - S. of Brink Rd. 
Davis Mill Rd at Great Seneca Creek - N. of Gaithersburg 
Brighton Dam Rd at Hawlings River - NE of Brookeville 
Goldmine Rd at Hawlings River - E of Olney 
Zion Rd at Hawlings River - E. of Laytonsville 
Hoyles Mill Rd at ford of Little Seneca Creek - Germantown, west of soccer complex 
Loghouse Rd at Magruder Branch - S. of Damascus 
Elton Farm Rd at Haights Branch - N. of Sunshine 
Howard Chapel Rd at Haights Branch - N. of Sunshine 
White’s Ferry Road and River Road - White’s Ferry 

MORE: http://www.scribd.com/doc/50454109/Street-Flooding-Hazards

Monday, May 12, 2014

Smoke Alarms – Don’t Stay Home Without Them!

MCFRS has had several significant fires, including some in which people died, where there were no working smoke alarms present. 

After many of these fires, MCFRS personnel have gone door to door in the impacted neighborhood offering
to check smoke alarms and provide safety information.  During the door to door effort our Firefighters are finding an “alarming” number of non-working smoke alarms.  To ensure the safety of those residents, we immediately install a new smoke alarm and/or battery.   

Please make sure your home has working smoke alarms!  Test yours today!  Your life may depend on it!

Below please find Ten Tips on smoke alarms, from our friends at the US Fire Administration, you will find useful.

Follow these 10 easy tips on smoke alarms:


  1. One of the best ways to protect yourself and your family is to have a working smoke alarm that can sound fast for both a fire that has flames, and a smoky fire that has fumes without flames. It is called a "Dual Sensor Smoke Alarm."
  2. Place a smoke alarm on the ceiling of every level of your home and both inside and outside bedrooms. Children and older people can sleep though the loud sound of a smoke alarm. Make sure your escape plan includes someone that can help children and others wake up immediately to escape from the home.
  3. If you keep your bedroom doors closed, place a smoke alarm on the ceiling of each bedroom.
  4. Check smoke alarms monthly by pressing the test button.
  5. Never take smoke alarm batteries out to put into other items like games or remote controls.
  6. Teach children what the smoke alarm sounds like and what to do when they hear the alarm sound.
  7. If there is a fire, leave the home right away by crawling low under the smoke and never go back inside.
  8. If smoke from cooking makes the alarm sound, press the "hush" button, if your alarm has one. You can also turn on the kitchen fan, open a window or wave a towel near the alarm until it stops making the sound. Never take the battery out of the alarm.
  9. Most alarms need a new battery at least once a year. Some smoke alarms have batteries that last for up to 10 years. If your smoke alarm is over 10 years old, replace it with a new alarm and a new battery.
  10. If you rent, talk to your landlord about placing a working smoke alarm in your home. You still need to buy a new battery at least once a year for the alarm.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

It Is Arson Awareness Week! Vehicle Arson — A Combustible Crime


It is Arson Awareness Week through May 10.  This years theme: Vehicle Arson — A Combustible Crime.

To learn more about this crime, please go here: Vehicle Arson

Here are some stats via the USFA web site you might find interesting:

Vehicle arson statistics
  • From 2008-2010, 14 percent of all fires were vehicle fires. Of these fires, 7 percent were intentionally set. Source: USFA
  • From 2004-2006, an estimated 27,900 intentionally set vehicle fires occurred each year in the U.S. These intentionally set fires resulted in an average of approximately 40 deaths, 75 injuries, and $169 million in property loss each year. Source: USFA
  • During 2007-2011, local fire departments responded to an average of 20,400 intentionally set vehicle fires, accounting for 7 percent of intentionally set fires and resulting in an average of 32 civilian deaths, 67 civilian injuries, and $176 million in direct property damage. Source: National Fire Protection Association
  • Two-thirds of intentionally set vehicle fires occur under the cloak of darkness (9 p.m.-6 a.m.). Source: National Fire Protection Association
  • Over the last 10 years (2003-2012), there has been an average of 14,737 vehicle arsons reported, accounting for 26.5 percent of total arsons annually. Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation