Tuesday, May 8, 2018

News Advisory

News Briefing - Potomac River Safety

Thursday, May 10, 2018
10 am

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park at Great Falls
A/F Old Angler's Inn - 10800 block MacArthur Blvd, Potomac, MD 

In an effort to focus attention on the dangers of the Potomac River Gorge & surrounding areas, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, Special Operations, Swift Water Rescue will renew seasonal efforts at focusing the public attention on the serious and potentially deadly perils of the 14-mile stretch of the Potomac River, especially from Great Falls to the Key Bridge. 

Representatives of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, Swift Water Rescue Team will describe and illustrate some of the inherent dangers in the Potomac River Gorge and address the increase in hiking incidents along the various trails of the C&O Canal, including the Billy Goat Trails(s). 

Reporters and news photographers will be provided a photo opportunity with the Montgomery County Fire & rescue swift water rescue boats providing access onto the River to show some of the hazards of the Potomac River and the Billy Goat Trail, part of the C&O Canal Historical Park.

NOTE: News Reporters and Photographers are strongly advised to wear appropriate footwear, clothing & gear for wet and muddy conditions.

Contact Pete Piringer, Cell 240.372.3749 if you have questions or need additional information 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Hear Us, See Us, Clear for Us!

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

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


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

– 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. Be smart. Be safe.

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

We have had a lot of rain and  continued showers expected throughout the day. 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 moves out of the area. 
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 a 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!


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 

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 

Thursday, March 29, 2018

"This is Just a Test" -- Wireless Emergency Alerts System Test Scheduled for April 5th - What You Need to Know

As Chief of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, I am joining the County’s effort to make certain that all our community members and visitors know that a test of the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) system will be taking place on Thursday, April 5 from 10 to 11 a.m. The test will take place in 20 jurisdictions throughout the National Capital Region, which includes all of Montgomery County.

For anyone who has not previously received a WEA message, it is important to know that your WEA-enabled cell phone and other mobile devices will vibrate and produce loud warning audio signals, prior to the receipt of a text-like message. You don’t sign up for WEA alerts, they come automatically. This one is just a test, not a cause for alarm.

The WEA system was developed by the Federal Communications Commission in 2012 to send out geographically-targeted, text-like messages about threats to safety in specific areas. The state of Maryland uses the WEA system for Amber Alerts and the National Weather Service uses it for extreme weather information. It is also designed so that the President of the United States can send out nation-wide alerts during a national emergency.

Wherever you are on April 5 between 10 and 11 a.m., driving, at a store, in school, at work, in the gym, please know that this test will be taking place. And please help us spread the word by letting others know about it.

You can learn more at: WEA Test

Thursday, March 22, 2018

IMPORTANT: Kidde Recalls Dual-Sensor Smoke Alarms

Kidde is recalling almost 500,000 dual-sensor smoke alarms due to a manufacturing malfunction that can compromise the alarm's ability to detect smoke. Specifically, a yellow cap that was left on during manufacturing can cover one of the two smoke sensors, posing a risk of people not being alerted to a fire in their home. These dual-sensor types of alarms are not used in any of the department's smoke alarm installation programs.

According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commision:

"Consumers should remove the alarm from the wall/ceiling and visually inspect it through the opening on the side of the alarm for the presence of a yellow cap. Consumers should not attempt to take apart the alarm, open the casing, or otherwise remove the yellow cap themselves. If a yellow cap is present, the consumer should immediately contact Kidde to receive instructions and request a free replacement smoke alarm. They should remove and discard the recalled smoke alarm only after they receive and install the replacement alarm. If no yellow cap is present, consumers should reinstall the smoke alarm and no further action is needed."

The recalled models: Kidde PI2010 and Kidde PI9010
Dates affected: September 10, 2016 - October 13, 2017

How to check your smoke alarms to see if it is affected:

    Step 1:

   Step 2:

If a yellow cap is present, owners should immediately contact Kidde to receive a free replacement. They should only remove and discard the recalled smoke alarm after they receive and install their replacement. 

Consumer Contact:

You can reach Kidde at 833-551-7739 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or from 9 a.m.to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. For more information visit the "Product Safety" section of www.kidde.com