Monday, February 29, 2016

Spring Is In The Air And A Firefighter’s Fancy Turns To - Training!

By: Captain Rick Triplett
       Fire Station 23/A-Shift
Spring Is In The Air And A Firefighter’s Fancy Turns To - Training!

When winter sets in, it makes it almost impossible to get out under practical conditions to prepare our personnel to become fire apparatus drivers. This is critical as all personnel must undergo a rigorous training program and testing process in order to be allowed to drive fire trucks in MCFRS.

We have two firefighters on the shift training to be an engine driver and two training to become aerial tower drivers. So when it’s 60 degrees on a Sunday all the personnel from Rockville Station 23/A-Shift took advantage of the warm weather to train.

All 11 personnel of the shift went out to pull hose lines and flow water between the engine and aerial tower to assist in the training of these future fire apparatus drivers. As well, we also took the opportunity to practice scaling buildings with the aerial tower ladder.

A great training opportunity for some to learn new skills and others to brush up on their current skill sets.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Silver Spring Apartment Fire

At approximately 10 pm on Saturday, February 27, MCFRS Units were initially dispatched for a 'automatic alarm', at 1705 East West Highway, however the call was upgraded as additional calls were received reporting smoke and as first units arrived with smoke showing at Summit Hills Apartments in Silver Spring.

Units arriving on scene reported smoke showing from a seventh floor apartment. Firefighters made their way to the seventh floor, where they encountered heavy smoke conditions. Once they gained entry into the apartment, and found heavy fire involvement throughout the apartment. The fire was quickly knocked down and extinguished, but not after causing significant damage. The fire was contained to the apartment of origin in this seven-story building.  Fire Investigators indicate the fire severely damaged contents of the apartment and the furniture in the area of the origin was nearly completely consumed.

Currently, the fire is listed as undetermined and under investigation.

Approximately 11 apartments were damaged by smoke, heat or water. Four people were assisted by Red Cross. There were no injuries to Fire/Rescue personnel or civilians. More than 65 fire fighters were on the scene, including several from PGFD.

Damages were estimated to be:

$300,000.00 to the structure

$75,000.00 to the contents

Photos below.


1705 East West Highway

Fatal Collision on River Road

A little before 7 p.m. on Saturday, February 27 MCFRS Units were dispatched for a report of a motor vehicle collision with entrapment at the intersection of River Road and Pyle Drive, in Bethesda. First arriving units found a two vehicle collision, one of which was off the roadway in a ditch, with several people trapped in one vehicle. 

Several others were injured including passerby good Samaritans who were injured attempting a rescue prior to MCFRS arrival. Initially there were at least 5 injuries.

An EMS task force was quickly requested and responded to the scene. This brought a total of 12 fire and rescue units to the scene.

It was determined that three of the trapped occupants, two adults and one teenager, had succumbed to their injuries on scene. The fourth, believed to be a teenage female, was extricated and transported to a local trauma center with life threatening injuries. Several others were transported with non-life threatening injuries. 

The Montgomery County Police Collision Reconstruction Unit was called to the scene to conduct an investigation.

MCFRS Units that were on the scene; C741, BC702, EMS701, E710, T710, RS741, A710, A741B, M741, M741D, M730, PE706.

Photos from the scene below. Montgomery County Police have put out a Press Release with an update: Fatal Collision on River Road Investigated

Fatal Collision on River Road

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Training To Save Our Own

By: Captain Pedro Meneses
       Fire Station #15 A-Shift

This past Thursday (February 25) units from Company 15 (Burtonsville) trained on "Saving your own", forcible entry and hoseline management. They performed as they would in a real emergency and executed drills that were as realistic as we could get by with out actually burning.

Everyone did a great job and demonstrated a high level of proficiency while executing the drills.

Photos and video below.


Training To Save Our Own

Friday, February 26, 2016

MCFRS And MCP Partner On New Command Unit

By: Steve Lamphier
      Manager, Fleet Section

The County received an Urban Area Security Initiative grant for a “command post” that will be jointly operated by the MCFRS and the Montgomery County Police Department (MCP).  A team of MCFRS and MCP worked with the vendor, Frontline Communications, to design and manufacture a vehicle that incorporates current technologies related to ground radio, satellite, and cellular communications and allows for incident command of the both mundane and unique emergencies faced by today’s first responders.

The team completed a ”mid-point” inspection this week.  It allowed the team to check progress, ensure the vehicle was being built to the County’s requirements, and check the quality of the manufactured vehicle.  The inspection also allowed the team to visualize the unit for purposes of creating a training plan.

The vehicle will be completed in early April and receive a final inspection.  The team will receive operational training at that time also.  It will be delivered to the County shortly thereafter.

Check out below to see the progress!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Basement Wall Collapse Traps Resident

At approximately 7 pm on Wednesday, February 24, MCFRS crews were dispatched to the 2400 block of Briggs Road for a report of a basement wall collapse with a person trapped. The MCFRS Technical Rescue Team was sent as well.

Upon arrival, rescue crews found an 86 year old male occupant of the home who was trapped by rubble from a basement wall that had collapsed at the height of the dangerous storm sweeping through the area. The resident had gone to the basement of the home to check on the sump pump and while doing so the wall gave way and collapsed on him.

Crews quickly stabilized the scene and extricated the patient who was then evaluated and transported to a local hospital with serious, non-life threatening lower body injuries.

Building inspectors were called and determined that the house was unsafe to occupy. Red Cross also responded to scene and is assisting the two occupants of the home.

Below are videos from the scene.



Silver Spring House Fire

Last night, February 24, a little after 8 pm MCFRS units responded to 909 McCeney Avenue for the report of smoke filling the garage. Units arrived on the scene to find a two story single family home with fire showing in the garage and extending up into the first floor and attic area.

The occupants, a husband and wife, were home at the time of the fire and escaped. Initially, the wife first noticed what she thought was steam coming from one side of the garage. She then alerted her husband who looked out another window in the home and observed fire coming from the garage.
Both evacuated the home and dialed 911 once safely outside.

Firefighters encountered heavy fire and significant extension as they went to work to extinguish the fire. It took firefighters a little over 30 minutes to bring the fire under control. Approximately 65 firefighters were on scene.

Fire Investigators conducted a cause and origin exam in the garage. Many combustible items were found in the garage as well as two vehicles. A cause of the fire could not be determined as both vehicles and the contents of the garage were severely damaged. The fire is listed as undetermined. 

There were no injuries reported to fire and rescue personnel or civilians. Smoke Alarms were present and did activate. Damages were estimated to be:

$400,000.00 - Structure
$150,000.00 - Vehicles
$125,000.00 - Contents

The two occupants of the home were displaced and are currently staying with a neighbor. Firefighters will be returning to the neighborhood around 3 pm today (February 25) to go door to door (After the Fire Outreach) offering to check smoke alarms and provide safety tips for interested residents.

Photos and videos below.


McCeney Avenue

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

We Are Hosting The 2016 Chief Officers Seminar

The audience for this seminar is personnel having emergency services line or staff officer responsibilities. Sign up soon as seats are going fast!

A Little Poll This Morning

A question we are asking on Twitter this morning? Do you know the answer?

Monday, February 22, 2016

Clothes Dryer Fire Safety Tips


Over the last several weeks, MCFRS has responded to a number of clothes dryer related fires. A lack of maintenance, buildup of lint, placing inappropriate items in the dryer and inadequate venting are frequently cited as contributing factors. Please take a moment to review some very important tips below.

Did You Know?

  • The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that 15,500 clothes dryer fires occur annually, causing an average of 10 deaths, 310 injuries and more than $84.4 million in property damage.
  • Eighty-percent of American homes have clothes dryers.
  • A full load of wet clothes placed in a dryer contains about one half gallon of water. As the clothes dry, lint forms and builds up, reducing airflow in the dryer's vent, potentially causing the dryer to work improperly or overheat.

Clothes Dryer DOs:

  • DO clean the lint screen/filter before or after drying EACH load of clothes.
  • DO clean the dryer vent and exhaust duct periodically.
  • DO have a certified service technician clean and inspect the dryer and venting system regularly.
  • DO replace plastic or vinyl exhaust hoses with rigid or flexible metal venting, which provides maximum airflow.
  • DO keep the area around the dryer clean and free from clutter.
  • Always use the appropriate electrical outlet for dryers and all major appliances.

Clothes Dryer DON'Ts:

  • DON'T place clothing or fabric stained with a flammable substance, such as alcohol, cooking oils, gasoline, spot removers or motor oil, in the dryer. Flammable substances give off vapors that could ignite or explode. Instead, dry the materials outdoors.
  • DON'T leave a dryer operating if you are not home.
  • DON'T forget to read the manufacturer warnings in the user manual and on the inside of the dryer door
  • DON'T dry any item containing foam, rubber or plastic, such as bathroom and non-slip rugs and athletic shoes.
  • DON'T dry any item that contains glass fiber materials, such as a blouse or sweater with glass buttons or decorations.
  • DON'T overload the dryer with wet clothes.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Kensington Volunteer Fire Department Places New Ambulance In Service

On Saturday February 20, Kensington Volunteer Fire Department (KVFD) put in service new Ambulance 705 (A705).  In attendance leading the ceremony for KVFD were President Norm Jones, Chief Jayme Heflin, Deputy Chiefs Tom Jones and John “Red” Connell. The county was represented by Division Chief Alan Hinde and the blessing of the ambulance was done by Rev. Bill Wadsworth.

The officers and members of KVFD would like to thank the entire Kensington community for their help in raising the funds needed to make this purchase happen.

A705 is a 2016 Road Rescue built on a 2016 Freightliner M2 chassis, it comes with standard BLS outfitting and a Cool Bar HVAC system.  This unit will greatly help in responding to over 2700 ALS/BLS calls annually out of station 5 in Kensington.

Photos from the event below.

New KVFD Ambulance

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Promotions

photo of ladder reaching to the skyMCFRS is pleased to announce the following promotions.  

The following person has been promoted to the rank of Captain:
  • Clinton D. Kraft
The following person has been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant: 

  • Adam C. Nichols

Congratulations and be safe in your new assignments!



Friday, February 19, 2016

Back From the Dead: AEDs Can Save Your Life

February is Heart Month. As part of that, we partnered with NBC4 on a recent story they did about Automatic External Defibrillators (AED's).

Below are two related videos. One is from the piece that appeared on NBC4 while the other shows you how you would use an AED.

You can also go to the NBC4 website to view and read: Back From the Dead: AEDs Can Save Your Life - If You Can Find Them


Crash Outer Loop of the Beltway - Find Alternate Route This Morning!

Crash Outer Loop of the Beltway - Find Alternate Route This Morning!
2/19/16 - At approximately 4:45 am at Outer Loop of the Beltway (I-495) between Connecticut Ave and Rockville Pike: overturned tractor trailer and fuel spill. EMS transported one adult male, trauma. Both loops of the beltway shut down - with one lane on Inner Loop getting by.

MD State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit and Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit Investigating with State Highway Administration assisting.

Find an alternate route this morning as delays will be significant!

UPDATE at 7 am: The driver of the tractor trailer did succumb to his injuries.


Thursday, February 18, 2016

Townhouse Fire in the 9900 Block of Brookridge Court

At approximately 6:15 AM on Thursday, February 18, MCFRS firefighters were dispatched to a report of a townhouse fire in the 9900 block of Brookridge Court in Montgomery Village. There were multiple 911 calls to the Montgomery County Emergency Communications Center reporting the fire.

Units responding reported heavy smoke in the air approaching the area. Firefighters arrived on scene and found heavy fire evident in a middle of the row townhouse on the first and second floors. Additional units were quickly requested to assist.

In addition, firefighters encountered an adult female (resident) outside upon arrival. She was evaluated and eventually transported to a local hospital for a checkup.

The fire was quickly brought under control and contained to the townhouse of origin. Firefighters also encountered a frozen fire hydrant, snow piles blocking fire lanes and icy conditions. Approximately 75 firefighters responded to the scene.

Initial investigation determined that the area of origin may be a couch on the first floor in the living room. Smoke alarms did activate however investigators believe the townhouse was unoccupied at the time of fire. Investigation is ongoing at this time and the source of the fire is currently undetermined.

Damage is estimated at approximately $225,000.00. Red Cross was requested and is currently assisting a neighbor. Video and photos below.




Townhouse Fire in the 9900 Block of Brookridge Court

TBT - Train Crash in Silver Spring February 16, 1996

This week we have been remembering the 20 year anniversary of the tragic fiery collision between an Amtrak passenger train and a MARC commuter train in Silver Spring. 11 people died and dozens more were injured.

The first video below is from the archives of our old DFRS Today show and contains several minutes of on scene video.

 

In the video below, NBC4 interviewed two of our retiree's who were there that fateful night and recall what they experienced.

WTOP also interviewed the same retired firefighters. You can read that here: Retired Md. firefighters remember fatal Amtrak crash in Silver Spring, 20 years ago

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Glen Echo's Annual Red Dress Ball Has Heart

By: Roger A. Marks, Firefighter

February is Heart month and every year Glen Echo's swing dance community, through the efforts of Flyingfeet Enterprises, hosts the "Red Dress Ball" dance that benefits the American Heart Association and women's cardiac health issues.

This year MCFRS Community Outreach (CO) added something new for the dance community to think about. As a follow-up to Trish Thompson's I-Team 4 series of Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) stories the CO team was joined by crews from Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad and Glen Echo Fire Department to offer dancers insight into the chain of survival via High Performance CPR and public access AED's.

The historic Spanish Ballroom, where the event was held, is part of the National Park Service (NPS) and has an AED available to occupants that is maintained by the NPS. Approximately 325 people were in attendance this year including staff and volunteers.

In addition, the public was introduced to Glen Echo's new Paramedic chase car (ALS711) staffed by PMIC Danny Kuan, and Firefighter Meghan Quinn. Ambulance 741 had a crew of 3 including Driver Craig Pernick, Charge EMT Jordan Hoefler, and Acting Active Derek Schlickeisen.

Participants were also treated to a demonstration of the Lucas Device which is a battery operated mechanical piston that delivers flawless chest compressions during CPR. While the participants watched this technology effortlessly perform compressions, they also had an opportunity to try their hand at manual compressions with visual feedback from Physio-Control's True-CPR device. Everyone came to understand just how hard it is to maintain good chest compressions for CPR. MCFRS CO had approximately 100 people engage directly with the on hand Fire-Rescue personnel or try the hands-on activity.

Staff also had Files of Life on hand as well as information about the Alert Montgomery system. Photos from the event are below.


Glen Echo's Annual Red Dress Ball Has Heart

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Clear Ice and Snow Off Your Cars Before Driving! Don't Forget Your Top!

Took a good ten minutes or so to clear a snow/ice off of my entire car this morning!

Be prepared: clear ice and snow off your car BEFORE you start driving. Snow left on top of the car can slide off and obstruct your vision and create an extremely hazardous situation for other drivers around you.

Below is a car that is ready for the road!

car with snow cleared off

Don't Forget Your Top!  If your car looks like the below photo, please consider using a broom to clear hard-to-reach snow on the roof top!

Conversely, if you see a vehicle with snow or ice on its roof, do not follow too closely in the event the ice/snow comes off of it. The result could be catastrophic.


car with snow on roof

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!

As if snow and icy roads were not enough this morning!  Heavy rain is on the way later this morning. County residents are urged to be alert to changing weather conditions and should be prepared for possible flash flooding.

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.

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!

LIST OF ROADS IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY SUBJECT TO PERIODIC FLOODING


Monday, February 15, 2016

During The Snow Today Be a GREAT Neighbor!

senior citizen sitting in chair holding caneThe weather over the last several weeks has been challenging for everyone but it has been particularly hard on the elderly. Please remember to check on your elderly or disabled neighbors during the cold and snowy day today. A broken hip or other injury resulting from a fall on snow and ice-covered sidewalks or driveways can take away the independence that many of our elderly neighbors have worked so hard to maintain.  After you've finished shoveling your walks and driveways, take a second to look around your neighborhood.

Do you have elderly neighbors who are unable to shovel their snow? If so, please take a few minutes to help shovel them out or clear a path to help keep the walkway clear. Trying to negotiate piles of snow and ice can often lead to a fall and serious injury for older residents. Icy streets and sidewalks can also significantly reduce the contact older adults have with family, neighbors and friends and the difference you make could be lifesaving.

Checking on elderly neighbors during and after weather events and offering to pick up groceries when you're going to the store or take their trash and recycle bins to the curb can make a big difference and prevent debilitating injuries. As the snow piles up, please remember your elderly or disabled neighbors and give them a hand. Many elderly rely on meal delivery programs that have been impacted by the weather.

Keeping Montgomery GREAT together!  

Sledding 101 - Avoid Landing in the ER

photos of safe sledding hill
Photo of safe sledding hill
After any kind of significant snow storm, MCFRS personnel are inevitably called to assist injured sledders. In the past, injuries have ranged from minor to very serious. Please take a moment to review the below tips before you and/or your loved ones go sledding today.

Choose the Right Sledding Hill
  • When hills get coated with snow, they may all look like great locations for sledding, but be very careful when choosing a location for your kids to sled. Not all hills are safe.
  • Select a hill that is not too steep and has a long flat area at the bottom for your kids to glide to a stop.
  • Avoid hillsides that end near a street or parking lot. Make sure the bottom of the slope is far from streets, traffic and frozen or partially frozen ponds, lakes or creeks.
  • Avoid hillsides that end near ponds, trees, fences, or other hazards.
  • Make sure the hill is free of obstacles such as jumps, bumps, rocks, poles, or trees before your kids   begin sledding.
  • Choose hills that are snowy rather than icy. Icy slopes make for hard landings if kids fall off a sled.
The Sled
  • Use equipment that is sturdy and safely constructed. Avoid equipment with sharp and jagged edges.
  • Look for energy-absorbing pads on sled seats.
  • Examine handholds on sleds to be sure they are secure.
  • Ensure sleds and toboggans have steering devices that work easily and don't jam.
  • Only sled feet first while sitting up. Sledding head first can increase the risk of head injury.
  • Make your kids wear helmets, particularly if they're 12 or younger. Helmets designed for winter sports work best, but if you don't have one, make sure they at least wear a bike helmet or something similar.
  • Never ride in a sled pulled by a motorized vehicle and always sled during the daytime, when visibility is better.



kid on sled
Sledding Feet First!

Shoveling Snow: How to Prevent Back Injuries

A timely video from the Washington Post.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Be Aware, Be Informed and Be Prepared

MCFRS Safety Officer Captain Pete Corte reminds us to Be Aware, Be Informed and Be Prepared in the Cold and by ALL Means STAY WARM!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Best Valentine’s Gift EVER

smoke alarm with heart shape around itLast minute shoppers, still looking for a Valentine’s gift? Montgomery County Fire and Rescue officials are recommending smoke alarms as the perfect Valentine’s gift for loved ones. Nothing says you mean everything to me like the 24-hour protection that comes with a smoke alarm. And while you are busy planning the perfect evening, make it memorable for all the right reasons. A few tips to keep in mind:

  • Cooking up a great meal? Stand by your pan. Too many meals are ruined when cooks get distracted or forgetful and leave cooking unattended. As much as Fire/Rescue loves your cooking, you really don’t want us to have to extinguish that perfect meal. Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires so keep anything that can catch fire – potholders, paper or plastic bags, dish towels, newspapers and curtains – away from your stovetop, oven and appliances that generate heat. 
  • Candles may look festive and set the mood however unattended candles account for thousands of fires annually. The National Fire Protection Association reports that, on average, a candle fire in the home is reported to a US Fire Department every 30 minutes. Consider battery-operated, flameless candles instead. You really can’t tell the difference! 
  • Lighting up the fireplace? Make sure that’s all you light up. Believe it or not, every year people dispose of fireplace ashes before they have sufficiently cooled. Keep your ash out of the trash and only dispose of fireplace ashes in a sealed, metal container located far from anything combustible. Never dispose of fireplace ashes in your recycling bin, trash can, paper or plastic bags or in a garage, carport or on a deck or porch. 

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue wants you to have a great Valentine’s Day. Remember, smoke alarms save lives. They make great gifts, one-size-fits-all and we’ll even come out and install them for free!

Dress for Cold Temperatures! Beware Frostbite And Hypothermia!

It will be downright frigid these next couple of days. Frostbite and even hypothermia are potential dangers. Make sure your kids wear the proper clothing to stay warm and safe.
  • Kids should wear sensible winter clothing — hats, gloves or mittens, snow pants, winter jacket, snow boots — that is waterproof and warm, and change into something dry if their clothes get wet.
  • Don't let kids wear scarves or any clothing that can get caught in a sled and pose a risk of strangulation.
  • Set reasonable time limits on outdoor play. Call children in periodically to warm up with drinks such as hot chocolate.
  • When possible, avoid taking infants outdoors when it is colder than 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Infants lose body heat quickly.
If a child complains of numbness or pain in the fingers, toes, nose, cheeks or ears while playing in the snow, or if his/her skin is blistered, hard to the touch or glossy, be alerted to the possibility of frostbite and take the
graphic of signs of frostbite
Via the Mayo Clinic
following steps:

  • Take the child indoors.
  • Call a doctor.
  • Tell the child to wiggle the affected body part(s) to increase blood supply to that area.
  • Warm the frozen part(s) against the body. Hold fingers to the chest, for example.
  • Immerse frozen part(s) in warm, not hot, water. Frozen tissue is fragile and can be damaged easily.
  • Avoid warming with high heat from radiators, fireplaces or stoves, and avoid rubbing or breaking blisters.
WHAT IS HYPOTHERMIA?

Hypothermia is the excessive lowering of body temperature. A drop in core temperature below 95 degrees F., causes shivering, confusion, loss of muscle strength, and if not treated and reversed leads to unconsciousness and death.

Safety experts estimate that half of all drowning victims die from the fatal effects of hypothermia and cold water, not the fatal effects from water filled lungs.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Prepare For Freezing Temps This Weekend

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue offers the following tips as some of the coldest weather in years arrives in the region. With gusty winds and temps predicted to drop into the single digits in many areas, it’s good to be prepared, monitor the weather and bundle up.
weather map with wind chills
Via ABC7 Weather - Wind Chills for Saturday

Carbon Monoxide 
In a small space, carbon monoxide can build up and become dangerous quickly. Never warm-up your car in an attached garage or carport and protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning by installing a CO detector in your home. Never use grills, generators, camp stoves or similar devices indoors or in your garage.

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.
  • Use only heating equipment that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory and read all manufacturer instructions.

Winter Driving  

  • Keep a cold weather kit in your car. Include important safety items such as a fully charged cell phone, a blanket, flashlight, ice scraper, gloves, hat, scarf and a first-aid kit.
  • Fill up a gallon size baggie with kitty litter to keep in the car during the winter in case you get stuck in snow or ice. 
  • Be sure to have the proper amount of antifreeze in your vehicle. Antifreeze works to prevent your engine block from freezing. 
  • Check your wipers and ensure you have plenty of windshield wiper fluid. Want your wipers to last longer? Don’t turn them on until after they’re cleared of ice and snow. 

Pets 
Bring your pets indoors during winter weather! Never leave your dog or cat alone in the car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter holding in the cold and causing an animal to freeze. Additionally, move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water. Remember, antifreeze is a toxic poison for cats and dogs.

Pedestrian Safety
Slippery driveways and sidewalks can be particularly hazardous in the winter. Keep them well-shoveled and apply materials such as rock salt or sand to improve traction.

Parents
It is a good time to talk to your kids about cold weather safety. Extra care is needed, especially with younger children, to ensure they are prepared for the cold weather in the forecast. Develop an emergency plan and teach children your plan.

Ice Dangers 

  • Despite the cold temps, there is no such thing as 100 percent safe ice in our region. Remind children to stay away from ponds, lakes and other bodies of water that may appear to be frozen or have a thin coating of ice.  
  • If you witness someone falling through the ice, the best way to help them is to immediately call 9-1-1 so rescue personnel can quickly be dispatched. Resist the urge to go out on the ice after them or else you could fall through too. Would-be rescuers frequently become victims when they fall through the ice as well.
  • Keep an eye on the location where the victim is so you can direct rescuers to that location.
  • While waiting for rescue personnel to arrive on the scene, extend or throw a long object to them such as rope, pole, tree limb or even a scarf to help pull them to shore. If using a rope, have the victim tie the rope around them in case they become weakened by the cold and are unable to hold onto the rope. Reassure them that help is on the way and if they are able to self-rescue out of the water take immediate measures to keep them warm to help prevent hypothermia while waiting for rescue personnel to arrive. 

Lastly, keep dogs on leashes around frozen bodies of waters. Many dogs are seriously injured or killed after falling through ice.


Barn Fire At The Woodmont Country Club

At 10:57 PM on Thursday, February 11 MCFRS Units were dispatched to the Woodmont Country Club, 1201 Rockville Pike, for the report of a structure fire. Units arrived on the scene and encountered heavy fire in a large (approximately 300'x60') two story maintenance barn. First arriving units quickly called for a second alarm.

Crews went to work from outside the structure, protecting exposures as well using 'ladder pipes' & tower ladder, and quickly contained the fire to the barn. Due to roof collapse and environmental issues it was decided that the fire would be allowed to burn out in a controlled burn. A fire watch was then established to monitor.

More than 75 firefighters responded to the scene and there were no reported injuries. Due to the frigid conditions, wind chill was reported to be seven degrees at the time, the Medical Ambulance Bus (MAB) was on scene to provide an immediate on-scene firefighter shelter and rehab from the cold.

Due to the unsafe condition of the barn, an Origin and Cause investigation by Fire Investigators will be delayed until circumstances allow. Damage estimates will also be assessed at that time though the total dollar loss is expected to be significant.

Videos and photos from the scene are below.
Barn Fire At The Woodmont Country Club







Thursday, February 11, 2016

Training For Ice Rescues

When most people think of what services a fire and rescue department provides, their thoughts will almost always turn to putting out fires or taking care of people who are sick or injured. MCFRS fire and rescue personnel certainly deliver those core services - and at a very high level.

But our department also provides a wide variety of services that require our firefighters to learn special skill sets that stretch far beyond their basic fire, rescue and medical training. One unique skill set was on display yesterday (February 10) at our Fire Station #34 as firefighters from the 5th Battalion were training to become certified as NFPA Surface Ice Rescue Technicians. This training teaches our firefighters how to safely and effectively rescue people, or even pets, who have fallen through the ice and into the icy waters of a lake, pond, stream, etc.

Below, you will find yesterday’s training captured via a variety of platforms to include some live on our Periscope platform.

MCFRS would like to remind ALL County residents that the only safe ice surface is at an ice arena/rink!

The day starts in the classroom.

                                       ice rescue class














After the classroom portion, everyone headed to the engine bay area to learn and practice practical rescue skills before any realistic practical training exercise.
              



To top the training day off, firefighters headed to Gunner's Lake in the Germantown area of the county to apply their newly learned skills in a real world environment. The video below is via NewsChopperBrad who happened to be flying over working for ABC7.

MCFRS Ice Rescue Training Raw Footage from NewsChopperBrad on Vimeo.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Cool Your Ashes!

For a number of County residents today is Ash Wednesday and the observance marks the start of the Lenten season.
  
With frigid weather fast approaching for the rest of the week, and weekend, MCFRS would like to make sure all residents pay attention to another custom that involves ashes. The custom involves the building of fires in your fireplace or wood stove and the ashes that result from it.

Unfortunately, MCFRS has responded to several home fires this winter season due to improperly discarded fire place ashes. Many people do not realize that these ashes can actually remain hot enough to reignite and start a fire several days AFTER the fire is out!

Please, cool your fireplace ashes and take a moment to review the info graphic below to learn how to SAFELY dispose of them.

info graphic cool your ashes

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

From The Fire House To Your House - Keeping Our Seniors Safe

By: Master Firefighter Amy Dant

This past Friday, Firefighter Roger Marks and I were privileged to serve the senior citizens of our community by conducting safety inspections in their homes. Firefighter Marks and I focused on key areas of concern such as whether the home had working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors as well as looking to see if there were any fall hazards or areas in the home that posed a threat to their safety.

Topics such as fire safety, exit plans in the home and medical emergency preparedness were discussed with each resident to ensure that they were comfortable and able to implement those tools when and if it was necessary to do so. As a result of Friday's visits, almost half a dozen smoke alarms were installed in homes that needed them and those residents were given the tools to be confident and able to handle a situation if one arises.

Friday we were able to ensure the safety of several residents, and for us that's a huge win! Fire and injury prevention is the most important tool that we in MCFRS use to prevent tragedy. If you need assistance and would like a safety evaluation, please go on line to our Home Safety Evaluation page or, feel free to contact our community outreach section Senior Fire Safety hotline at 240-777-2430 to set one up.

Keeping Our Seniors Safe

Wipers On? Headlights On!

From our friends at the MD State Highway Administration: Remember to use low beams when wipers are on. See and be seen. It's the law.

wipers on? headlights on!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Three Things You Need To Do To Get Ready For Snow Storm

Three things you need to do to get ready 
for seasonal storms and emergencies:

1. Sign up for Alert Montgomery.
2. Keep these Phone Numbers handy.
Visit montgomerycountymd.gov/snow for more information.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

It's Super Bowl Sunday - What's Your Game Plan?

It's Super Bowl Sunday! Going to a party? What's your game plan to get home?

A great reminder from our friends at the MD Department of Transportation.


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Coffee Anyone?

Getting ready to make coffee or grab a cup from your favorite coffee shop? Remember, you are handling very hot liquid that could cause you, or a loved one, harm.

Did you know that Spills from coffee and other hot beverages can cause burns serious enough to require skin graft surgery! #BurnAwarenessWeek


Friday, February 5, 2016

It's Wear Red Day! Learn Signs and Symptoms of Heart Attacks

It's National Wear Red Day; an effort to raise awareness of heart disease and stroke in women! Did you know that heart disease and stroke kill 1 in 3 women?

While we certainly encourage all of our residents to be proactive and learn how to possibly prevent a heart attack or stroke, we also want you to recognized the signs and symptoms of a heart attack.


A heart attack is a life-and-death emergency and every second counts. If you experience or see someone with any of the listed symptoms, immediately call 9-1-1. Not all these signs occur in every heart attack. Sometimes they go away and return. Heart attack victims can benefit from new medications and treatments unavailable to patients in years past. For example, clot-busting drugs can stop some heart attacks and strokes in progress, reducing disability and saving lives. But to be effective, these drugs must be given relatively quickly after heart attack or stroke symptoms first appear. So again, don't delay-get help right away! Call 9-1-1.

Some heart attacks are sudden and intense, but most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected aren't sure what's wrong and wait too long before getting help. Here are signs that can mean a heart attack is happening:
Chest discomfort:
Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.

Discomfort in other areas of the upper body:
Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

Shortness of breath:
May occur with or without chest discomfort.

Other signs:
These may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness
As with men, women's most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.

If you or someone with you has chest discomfort, especially with one or more of the other signs, don't delay - call 9-1-1 immediately.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Hot Wash - Blizzard of 2016

Earlier today members of MCFRS, as well as other County Agencies/Departments, participated in a "Hot Wash" regarding the Blizzard of 2016. The meeting was hosted by the Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security at the Public Safety Headquarters building in Gaithersburg.

The meeting started with the customary welcome and introductions and quickly moved into the purpose. All participants were divided into breakout groups along the line of their function in order to facilitate discussion and identify areas of strength as well as areas that need improvement going forward.

Each group then documented and reported out on their findings. These will be used to develop an after action report to further enhance the overall Montgomery County readiness and response to future similar events.

The purpose of the "Hot Wash" is described by Assistant Chief Mo Witt in the video below.


Hot Wash - Blizzard of 2016

Burn Awareness Week - Hot Water

When people hear of someone getting burned they usually think it was most likely a result of some sort of direct fire/flame contact. The older you are, the more likely that is the case.

However, the younger you are the more likely the burn was a scald type burn from hot water, or other hot liquids, that caused the burn injury. Below, please find some interesting statistics from our partners in safety at the National Scald Prevention Campaign.

Did You Know:
  • Scald burns (from hot water, other liquids, and steam) comprise 34% of overall burn injuries admitted to U.S. burn centers. However, 62% of these occur to children less than 5 years old.

  • Hot water will burn skin at temperatures much lower than boiling point (212°F/100°C). In fact, it only takes 2 seconds of exposure to 148°F/64°C water to cause a burn serious enough to require surgery! Hence, set water heaters at 120°F/48°C or just below the medium setting. A safe bathing temperature is 100°F.6,8

  • Dangerously high water temperatures were found in 41% of inspected urban homes, with rental properties at greater risk for unsafe levels. Actual tap water temperatures can vary from the heater thermostat settings. Therefore, test water temperatures at the faucet with a candy/meat thermometer after allowing the hot water to run for 1 – 3 minutes. Adjust the heater setting accordingly. Re-test in 24 hours.

prevent scalds, photo of hand in bath tub water


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Busy Day Yesterday!

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue responded to several significant incidents yesterday, Tuesday, February 2. Below is a brief synopsis of each along with photos and/or videos.

Car Crash Into A Garage

At approximately 2:30 p.m. MCFRS Units were dispatched for a report of a car that crashed into a house in the 4300 block of Sunflower Drive. Units arrived on scene to find a car that had veered off the roadway, up a driveway, into a park car and into an attached garage of the home.

Two occupants were in the car with the driver, a 92-year-old male, being trapped. Firefighters were able to quickly extricate the trapped driver and transport him, and the female passenger, to a local hospital with serious injuries. Photos below.

Anyone who witnessed, or has information about, this collision is asked to call the Montgomery County Police Department’s Collision Reconstruction Unit at 240.773.6620.

4300 block of Sunflower Drive



Multiple Vehicle Crash on Northbound I-270

Multiple Vehicle Crash on Northbound I-270

At 4:15 p.m., MCFRS Units were dispatched for a report of a crash involving multiple vehicles on Northbound I-270 between Route 28 and Sam Eig Highway.

Firefighters arrived on the scene and found four vehicles crashed as a result of two separate incidents. There were several injuries including two people who were trapped and subsequently extricated by MCFRS personnel.

Several people were transported to area hospitals all with non-life threatening injuries.

Unknown Odor in the Home

Around 6 p.m. last night, Rockville City Police (RCPD) were handling a “check on welfare” concern at a home in the 1900 block of Valley Stream Drive in Rockville. Upon entering the home, officers encountered an unknown chemical odor and immediately exited the home.

The MCFRS Hazardous Materials Unit (HazMat) and the MCFRS Bomb Squad were called to assist in the investigation of the possible, and unknown, hazardous condition. Both RCPD Officers were also checked by MCFRS EMS personnel on scene as a precaution and deemed unharmed. The street was closed off and residents were told to shelter in place as a precaution.

 HazMat team members donned their protective equipment and made entry into the single-family home. Upon investigation, it was found that no one was at home and the odor appeared to be coming from insecticides and other household items. As well, no explosives were found.



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!

Montgomery County is under a Flash Flood Watch this afternoon though the evening today. Heavy rain and snowmelt may cause flooding this afternoon and tonight. County residents are urged to be alert to changing weather conditions and should be prepared for possible flash flooding.

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.

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!

LIST OF ROADS IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY SUBJECT TO PERIODIC FLOODING


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Mass Casualty Incident Drill

As the old sports saying goes, “You play the way you practice.”  So in order to ensure our personnel are ready for a variety of situations, we routinely conduct training exercises so that our firefighters can practice a variety of skills under simulated scenarios.

On Monday, February 01, a Mass Casualty Incident (MCI) Drill was conducted in the 5th Battalion.  The scenario was an active shooter situation.

Crews were initially “dispatched” for an unknown rescue at a local movie theater. Units “arrived” on the scene and found “victims” in foyer with gunshot wounds. Crews then retreated and built out what was an active shooter drill.

The MCI drill was conducted in cooperation with the movie theater manager, MCP, CERT members and MCFRS.

Forty-five role players were involved with moulage involved to ensure realistic “victims.” Fake blood, fake bone breaks, and fake gunshot wounds were simulated that could rival any Halloween costume!

Battalion Chief Dave Pazos reports that the drill went better than expected and crews did fantastic. Photos below. 

Mass Casualty Incident Drill

Monday, February 1, 2016

House Fire in the 9500 Block of Biltmore Drive, Silver Spring

At approximately 5:45 PM on Sunday, January 31 MCFRS was notified by a monitoring company, via an automatic/monitored alarm in the home, that there was a smoke alarm activation at a home in the 9500 block of Biltmore Drive in Silver Spring.

Crews from Silver Spring Fire Station #16 responded and upon arriving on scene, found fire in the basement of the two story home.  The fire was in the laundry room with some extension to the first floor.  Additional units were requested and responded.

Two adults and one child in the home were alerted to the fire by a working smoke alarm and evacuated. 

In addition, firefighters were able to quickly locate, and use, the nearest fire hydrant as neighbors had previously shoveled and cleared around the hydrant located at Biltmore Drive and E. Franklin Avenue.  Well done neighbors!

The fire was quickly extinguished.  One adult occupant did suffer a little smoke inhalation and was transported to a local hospital for a checkup.  There were no firefighter injuries.

Cause of the fire was listed as accidental as a result of an overheated clothes dryer. Damages were estimated to be approximately $135K.  The family was displaced as a result of the damage to the home.

Recently, MCFRS has responded to several fires involving clothes dryers.  Learn a few tips to help prevent this: Clothes Dryer Cleaning Day – Preventing A Potential Fire In Your Home!


House Fire in the 9500 Block of Biltmore Drive, Silver Spring

It Can Happen in a Flash With a Splash! Liquid and Steam Burn Like Fire!


It is National Burn Awareness Week and it runs February 1-7, 2016.

The theme for National Burn Awareness Week 2016 is Scald Prevention. Did you know that between
2007 and 2013, the proportion of burn center admissions due to scald burns increased from 29.8% to 33.7%. There appears to be an epidemic of liquid and steam burns!

We will be sharing safety tips, messages, and information all week in an effort to try and reduce scald burns.

Always remember: It can happen in a flash with a splash! Liquid and steam burn like fire!