Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Adventures of Daniel the Intern

Note: Since last week, we here at MCFRS have an intern for the rest of the summer and possibly beyond. I thought it would be interesting for our rising high school senior Daniel to share some of his experiences with all of you as he will be getting an insider look at all we do here at fire and rescue. Many folks only see the fire trucks and ambulances going up and down the road and do not realize there is a lot more to the service than just that. Below is his first entry – a bit of an intro. More to follow.

- Bill Delaney

After having a relaxing first half of the summer, I have received an internship with the Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service.

I will be a senior in this upcoming school year at a local Montgomery County High School. Having spent my whole life in this county, I am excited to see the behind-the-scenes of what has been protecting me for the last 17 years. In our everyday lives, we rarely get a sense of how much time, effort, and money is spent on protecting and informing the public. This rare opportunity will allow me to see how it all works.

What interests me about fires and other emergencies is that most of them could have been prevented or recognized earlier. People are generally unaware of the small steps they can take to ensure the safety of themselves and their families. Although when something unexpected happens, there are the brave and skillful people of the Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service that dedicate their lives to helping the public.

As I progress through my internship, I hope to gain valuable experience in many different areas. I am honored to be a part of one of the most talented fire & rescue services in the nation.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Latest Update on Conditions

* All Montgomery County Recreation facilities are closed today except for the Upper County Neighborhood, Germantown, East County Neighborhood and Marilyn J. Praisner Community Recreation Centers and the Germantown Indoor and Olney Swim Centers. All other Montgomery County Recreation sites are closed, including the main administrative office.
* All Montgomery County Recreation summer camps, summer fun centers and Recreation summer classes are cancelled for today

* Montgomery College Rockville campus will be closed today. Takoma Park and Germantown campuses will be open.

* All activities in Montgomery County Public School buildings are canceled on Monday, July 26, due to widespread power outages. This includes all academic programs, summer camps, recreation programs and summer meals.

* Montgomery County’s Permitting Services will be closed to the public (255 Rockville Pike facility).

* About 187,000 Pepco customers in Montgomery County remain without power.

* 270 County traffic signals remain without power.

* Don't travel if you don't need to.

* Treat all dark intersections as four-way stops. Proceed cautiously.

* A shelter is open at the East County Recreation Center located at 3310 Gateshead Manor Way, Silver Spring.

* Mandatory water restrictions remain in effect for all Montgomery County and Prince Georges County residents on public water systems until water supplies are recharged. This includes Rockville residents. Residents on private wells are unaffected by the mandatory water restrictions.

* Residents and businesses are urged to use water only for essential indoor uses so sufficient water will be available for hospitals, emergency services and fire fighting.

* The County’s 311 call center has been activated and is available for non-emergency calls.

* To report “hot” wires or sparking wires, especially those across roadways, call 9-1-1.

* Residents can report downed trees in the public right-of-way by calling 3-1-1 from within Montgomery County or 240-777-0311 from outside the County.

* Residents are urged to check on their neighbors, particularly seniors or those with special needs.

* Pepco has indicated this will be a "multi-day restoration."

Check www.montgomerycountymd.gov for updated information on Montgomery County facilities, services, and programs.



A major storm has knocked out power to more than 200,000 Pepco customers in Montgomery County and left nearly a third of the County’s traffic signals without power. A number of trees throughout the County are down, some closing roads. Pepco has indicated this will be a "multi-day restoration."

Montgomery County and the American Red Cross will open a shelter at midnight tonight at the East County Recreation Center located at 3310 Gateshead Manor Way, Silver Spring.

Mandatory water restrictions have been imposed for all Montgomery County and Prince Georges County residents on public water systems because of a power outage at the Potomac Pumping Station, which provides about two-thirds of Montgomery County’s water. Residents and businesses are urged to use water only for essential indoor uses so sufficient water will be available for hospitals, emergency services and fire fighting.

Water customers should:

  • Stop all outside water use – no watering lawns, no washing cars, no topping off swimming pools
  • Use water only as necessary – i.e., shorter showers and turn off faucets after washing hands  
  • Limit toilet flushings (do not flush after every use)
  • Limit washing machine and dishwasher use (wash full loads only)

The County has activated its 311 call center for non-emergency calls. Residents can report downed trees in the public right-of-way.

All Montgomery County Parks and Recreation programs are cancelled for tomorrow, Monday, July 26, including, classes, camps and activities.

  • For emergency assistance, call 911.
  • Don't travel if you don't need to. Treat all dark intersections as four-way stops. Proceed cautiously.
  • Call Pepco at 1-877-737-2662 to report outages.
Ride On will operate on Monday, as will trash and recycling collections. These operations could be delayed due to traffic signal power outages.

Check www.montgomerycountymd.gov for updated information on Montgomery County facilities, services, and programs.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Everyday Hero!

A great story below from our friends at County Report This Week on a local Fed Ex driver who helped save the lives of three county residents.  It is the first story in the report.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Earthquake in Montgomery County? Are You Kidding? Some Advice From An Expert!

Yes, it’s true. On Friday, July 16, 2010, at 5:04am, an area extending from Virginia, DC, Maryland, and West Virginia was shaken by an earthquake that the U.S. Geological Survey reported to be a Richter magnitude 3.6 shaker whose epicenter was 10 miles northeast of Rockville and 5km below the earth’s surface.

Many people reported that the noise – a loud rumbling like a strong clap of thunder during a storm – is what woke them. They felt the shaking and noticed windows rattling. My first reaction was similar (saying “what was THAT???”) I felt the shaking for about 20 seconds, which is a very long time.

Since I was in bed, I stayed there. I learned from the earthquake that happened in Northridge, California, in January, 1994, which occurred early in the morning that most people who were injured had cut feet. Why? They jumped out of bed to run to try to escape or check on children – and stepped on broken glass and furniture. You can’t help others if you hurt yourself. That’s why staying put is recommended, even though avoiding running is counterintuitive.

Mid-plate quakes like the one we just had can be felt for long distances. This earthquake was reported to be felt as far away as mid-Virginia and West Virginia. Earthquakes send shock waves through the earth’s crust, and that’s what we feel when a quake happens: the shock waves rolling through the earth under us.

So what do you do when the earth shakes?

First, avoid the temptation to run outside. Remember, the more distance you move during an earthquake, the more likely you are to become injured by falling, having something fall on you, or stepping on something and cutting your feet. STAY PUT!

If you are in bed, stay there. You are safest by pulling the covers over you and placing a pillow over your head. Wait there. When the shaking stops, then use a flashlight you have conveniently by your bedside, and put on the sturdy shoes or boots you have next to your bed. (Huh, don’t have these by your bed? You should – how often has the power gone out at night and you have to check? A flashlight and sturdy shoes within reach are helpful.)

If you are awake, such as at home, at work, or in school, then do what they’ve taught in Earthquake Country: Drop, Cover, and Hold On. Getting under a desk or table, covering one’s head and neck, and holding on to the table is the safest thing to do when the earth shakes (regardless of reason – earthquake, strong storm such as a tornado, or an explosion.)

There are some internet-based fallacies about alternative safety actions to take. For example, some people say, “get in a doorway.” That was fine for old adobe structures in California in the 1800s, but not for today’s construction where doorways provide no more protection than anywhere else.

While it is unlikely that an earthquake of a strong enough magnitude to cause damage in Maryland, it is possible. The most important thing to do is to avoid being injured, so you can help others. Consider asking your insurance agent for an earthquake rider on your homeowner’s insurance policy, since earthquake damage is not covered by traditional insurance designed for fire recovery. Also, regardless of the disruption, it’s always best to be ready: assemble supplies into one place (a “disaster kit”), discuss your plans with your loved-ones, and know where to get information that is helpful and directive.

For more information, visit: http://www.ready.gov


About the Author: Rocky Lopes led the American Red Cross Community Disaster Education Program for 18 years (through 2004), where he developed research-based education and outreach through collaboration with scientists, engineers, and research professionals. He has received numerous awards and recognition for his work. He has written articles and chapters in books on earthquake safety and has given presentations and hundreds of conferences in the U.S. and worldwide on disaster safety. He is a life-long resident of Montgomery County, Maryland.

Earthquake FAQ’s

I am assuming that the events of this morning may have left a few of you out there a bit “shaken.” Bad joke aside, I want to provide all of you out there some good information from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) web site so that you can take steps to prepare and handle any future tremors that may occur. Please see below for that.  USGS Map is to the right.

In the interim, you can view more on our little event here: Magnitude 3.6 - POTOMAC-SHENANDOAH REGION

Did you feel it?  Report shaking and damage at your location.

Earthquake FAQ’s

Earthquake Preparedness

Common Myths about Earthquakes

As always, be safe!

Bill Delaney

Monday, July 12, 2010

Potomac River Safety and Rescue

Master Fire Fighter Donnie Simmons appeared recently on the County show “What’s Brewin” to discuss the varied dangers of the Potomac River. Please take a moment and watch the video to learn more about this beautiful, yet potentially deadly, natural wonder.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Do something cool today. Check your smoke alarms to make sure they work!

While the temps may not be in the triple digits today, it will still be a hot one!  If you want to do something cool today, please check your smoke alarms to make sure they work!  Also take a moment to view the below video from our friends at the United States Fire Administration.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

MCFRS News and Notes June 25th to July 4th

We here at MCFRS are continuing to expand our social media content horizon. Below, you will find some of our significant incidents for the time frame mentioned above as well as some videos featuring our department. Hopefully you will find this useful!


The following personnel have been promoted to the rank of Battalion Chief:
Charles W. Bailey
Charles J. Bartlett

The following personnel have been promoted to the rank of Captain:
Bruce Gibbs
Mike Baltrotsky

News Videos

Significant Emergency Incidents June 25th to July 4th

Battalion 1 (Silver Spring, Burtonsville, Hillandale, Takoma Park) Incidents:

*Incident #69813 8700 block Georgia Ave. HVAC fire at the Wachovia bank 4K in damage to contents and furnace.

*8700 block Flower Ave. - for garage: E716 arrived on scene with smoke showing. - 1 story cinderblock garage. Fire in auto and debris around auto inside of garage. T701 forced entry by cutting overhead garage door. Fire quickly controlled by crews. Cause not determined, Investigators continuing investigation. $50K to contents, $10K to structure, no injuries, no displaced.

*8500 block Milford Ave - Units arrived with a single family house with fire in the rear porch and extension into the house. One firefighter transported for medical eval, no other injuries - Loss 100K/50K

Battalion 2 (Bethesda, Cabin John, Chevy Chase, Glen Echo) Incidents:

*Box area 06-03 for the inhalation emergency with one unconscious. Units found a semi conscious adult male requiring ALS who had been rescued by another employee. Investigation revealed a Freon 22 leak in a chiller room which was quickly mitigated. The building was ventilated and retested. Held with Haz Mat units.

*Injured person fall from the platform at Grosvenor Metro, 10501 Rockville Pike - Units on scene found adult male DOA on tracks, one train full of passengers stranded on tracks. Returned train to Medical Center where units assisted passengers from train. Scene turned over to Metro Police for investigation

Battalion 3 (Rockville, Germantown, Poolesville, Incidents:

*500 block College Pky for smoke in the townhouse - Units found food on the stove and held Co 3 units - No injuries

*River Rd and Seneca Rd - Two vehicle, head-on collision. Six patients as follows: one priority 1A, one priority 1B, three priority 2C, and one priority 3

*14700 block Turkey Foot Rd - smoke in the house - Units found a water heater with an electrical issue

*12300 block Parklawn Drive - found fire through roof of self storage unit | 40K - cause - workers using large propane torch to clear grass & weeds. 1 civilian with burns to hands and smoke inhalation

Battalion 4 (Kensington, Sandy Spring) Incidents:

*Montgomery General Hospital - Hazmat assignment for unknown powder on the 5th floor - Units investigated and found powdered potato mix in a styro foam cup - good intent

*Box 21-13 for the House Fire (lightning) @ 13400 block Artic Ave. On scene w/ attic fire. Held all units.

*Box 25-08 for the Apartment Fire @ 14100 block Grand Pre Rd. On scene w/ dryer fire w/ extension to laundry room. Held all units.

*14100 block Grand-Pre Road - Building Fire - 4-story garden style apartment - Units on scene with a working fire, contained to the room of origin. 14 units displaced due to water damage. All occupants provided for by the Red Cross. No injuries' 50k structure, 25k content.

Battalion 5 (Clarksburg, Damascus, Gaithersburg, Hyattstown, Laytonsville) Incidents:

*FS08 – 8800 block Cross Country Place - Report of shed on fire behind townhouse - units found 6' x 10' plastic shed fully involved - no extension to townhouse - No injuries or displacements - $2K loss - cause was homeowner moved operating grill into shed when thunderstorm hit the area

*17700 block Parkridge Drive - Adult male single GSW to chest - Working Code to hospital by M729

Friday, July 2, 2010

Have A SAFE Holiday Weekend!

As we get ready to head into this fantastic holiday weekend, I wanted to take a moment to remind everyone that fire and serious injury never take a holiday off! I know, call me party pooper but my job is to prevent the 9-1-1 call! : )

Everyone should know by now that fireworks are illegal in the County. Please leave fireworks to the professionals! If you decide to light off fire works in the County and we find you, misdemeanor charges and fines not to exceed $500 are in store. You Light It, We’ll Write It!

The County will again this year host two Independence Day fireworks displays on Sunday, July 4: County Fireworks Displays in Germantown and Kensington

If you are headed out anywhere around the Potomac River please be careful and do not even think about entering the water. Swimming, or wading, in the Potomac River is both deadly and illegal and citations will be issued for violations. Our Fire and Rescue Crews will be at several locations along the river this Saturday handing out bi-lingual tip sheets (on right) to visitors warning of the dangers and ramifications of entering the water.

Here’s hoping you and your loved ones enjoy a Happy and SAFE Holiday weekend!

Stay Safe,

Bill Delaney
Program Manager – Community Safety Education

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Media Advisory - Press Conference Today at 11 AM


Thursday, July 1, 2010, 11 a.m.

Potomac River Overlook at Great Falls Tavern, 11710 MacArthur Boulevard., Potomac

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett will join regional officials to highlight the ever-present dangers in the Potomac River Gorge in light of the two drownings on Memorial Day. Many out-of-town visitors, who may not be aware of the risks, are expected in the Washington area for the July 4 holiday weekend.

Officials will emphasize that swimming in the Potomac River is both deadly and illegal, that citations will continue to be issued for violations, and that entering the Potomac River to swim or cool off can result in death.

National Park Service and U.S. Park Police will release an updated DVD about the hazards of the Potomac River Gorge. The video is also available in Spanish and Vietnamese. These communities have had the highest number of recent drownings.

In additino to Leggett, speakers will include Kevin Brandt, superintendent, C &O Canal National Historical Park; Jon G. James, deputy superintendent, George Washington Memorial Parkway; William Lynch, assistant chief, United States Park Police; Richard Bowers, chief, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service; John Caussin, assistant fire chief, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department; and Sgt. Jeffrey Blevins, Metropolitan Police Department Harbor Patrol Unit

NOTE TO EDITORS: Spanish and Vietnamese speakers will be available onsite for news media interviews.

News photographers and reporters are strongly advised to wear appropriate footwear, rain gear and clothing for wet and muddy conditions.

Directions and Parking: The Potomac River Overlook at Great Falls Tavern is located at the corner of MacArthur Boulevard and Falls Road in Potomac. Parking will be available in the Great Falls Tavern parking lot. News media microwave trucks or satellite trucks may drive across the bridge at Lock #19 (at Great Falls Tavern). All other crew cars must remain parked in the main parking lot at the Great Falls Tavern.

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Media Contacts: National Park Service, Bill Line/Toni Braxton, 202-619-7400 or
U.S. Park Police, Sgt. David Schlosser, 202-619-7163

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