Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Better Safe and Ready, Than Sorry and Unprepared!

Hopefully by now all of you are aware of Hurricane Earl which is fast approaching the eastern sea board. Current projections indicate our immediate area will receive a brushing with very little impact on our community.

However hurricanes are very unpredictable and can alter course for better, or for worse, at a moments notice. With this in mind, the leadership of MCFRS are preparing as though Earl will alter course and head straight for us. Better safe, and ready, than sorry and unprepared!

The big question in my mind: will our resident’s adopt the same attitude? I certainly hope so as a large scale disaster will tax our department to the point of only being able to do so much for so many. The better prepared and able to help yourself during an emergency, such as a hurricane, the better off you and your loved ones will be and will allow us to focus on those who are experiencing true life threatening emergencies during and after a significant storm.

Please take a moment to learn more about being prepared for emergencies. Use this opportunity to prepare a Family Disaster Supply Kit if you do not have one. You may not need it now but you could at a moment’s notice in the future!

Follow the track and updates on the storm: Hurricane Earl

See below links that you might find helpful:

Preparing for Emergencies: A Checklist for People with Mobility Problems

Emergency Preparedness Checklist

Disaster Preparedness

Disaster Preparedness for the Disabled and Elderly (pdf - 1.34mb)
(American Red Cross)

Disaster Preparedness for Pets

Stay Safe!

Bill Delaney

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Our Social Media Platforms Continue to Grow!

Today we passed the 1,000 follower mark for Twitter! Our Facebook fans/likes are approaching 3,000. Through Google Analytics, I am able to see that more and more folks are visiting each day.

I just wanted to say thanks to all of you who do keep up with MCFRS. We would like to think we have a lot of diverse information that is of benefit to all of you. From safety tips to updates on significant emergencies, there is a little something here for everyone.

Thanks again and please encourage friends and family to check in on us.

Stay Safe,

Bill Delaney
MCFRS Life Safety Education

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Darnestown House Fire

At approximately 9:32 AM, MCFRS personnel from Cabin John, Clarksburg, Gaithersburg, Germantown, Laytonsville, and Rockville along with NIST (Federal Fire Station), were dispatched for a reported house fire in the 15000 block of Plainfield Lane in Darnestown.

First arriving units reported smoke evident from a second floor window. Two adult occupants of the home had already safely evacuated prior to fire-rescue arrival. A smoke alarm in the home did activate and alerted the homeowners of the fire. Fire Fighters quickly extinguished a fire that was in a bedroom in the front of the home (see photos).

Cause is currently under investigation and damage total is pending.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Home Fire Escape Planning At the Fair

Fire Fighter Stottlemyer is helping many kids develop a Home Fire Escape Plan here at the Fair. When the kids complete a plan, they are then rewarded with a plastic fire helmet!

Stop on by and see us if you are headed to the fair!
Stay Safe,

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Monday, August 16, 2010

Deal or No Deal at County Fair

Chief Jarboe of Takoma Park Volunteer Fire Department just finished up a Deal or No Deal Fire Safety game at the County Fair. He will be playing more games as the day goes on. Stop by to see us and to play the game and learn something about fire safety!

Stay Safe,

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tree Into Apartment Building

MCFRS units are on the scene of 511 S. Frederick Ave for a tree that fell into the apartment building. At this time we have 8 minor injuries. Crews are currently going through the building to make sure no other victims.

UPDATE 0905: MCFRS crews have completed building search.  A total of 10 minor injuries with 4 transported to area medical facilities.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Daniel's Ride Along With the MCFRS Safety Officer

Waking up at 7:00 AM is bad enough but 5:30? That is unheard of. However getting up was a breeze as I had an exciting day ahead of me, or so I thought. The Safety Officer who oversees significant emergencies in all of Montgomery County, is stationed at the Chevy Chase fire station and allowed me to ride along with him to emergencies for a 12 hour shift. Even though a 12 hour day was longer than anything I had ever done, how slow could it go when you are jumping from one emergency to the next?

Out of the whole year, Tuesday was the day for the safety officer to go to the Fire & Rescue Occupational Medical Services. This is where all the personnel of the MCFRS go to make sure they are healthy and fit for work. As we entered with the mindset of it being a quick and easy visit, it was soon shot down as their equipment was malfunctioning. Almost two hours later, we had that obstacle behind us and were on our way back to the station.

When we got back to the station, I got a very interesting tour as it is one of the old fire stations. In Hollywood, every fire station has a pole that the firefighters slide down but that is not always the case. Many firefighters have gotten injured either falling or sliding down so it is rarely present anymore but they still have one at station #7. There is also a tower that was once used to hang wet hoses to dry but now it is used as storage for extra ones. After the tour, I sat down to watch TV as I anxiously waited for the siren to sound. As minutes turned to hours, it was already time for lunch.

After lunch, we went to the Public Safety Training Academy near my house that I have seen from the outside many times. As we drove around back, we noticed an experiment in full force. Two people from Good Morning America were filming the exothermic reaction that occurs when linseed oil is left to dry. It is amazing how a liquid can catch on fire just by drying in an oxygenated environment and it is important for the public to be aware. After spending an hour or two there, we were on our way back to the fire station.

With the day winding down and not one call, I was starting to wonder if I would ever get to see some action. As dinner was served, we were positive a call would come in right as we sat down to eat but to our surprise, it didn't. It is like it was announced that an intern was going to be with the Chevy Chase station and everyone should be extra careful so as not to give him what he came to see. As we finished dinner, it was time for me to depart and we were surprised that I had not gone on one call.

While it is a good thing there were no emergencies in the area, it would have been nice to see one. Hopefully there will be some more action if I get to do another ride-along. I thank the people at Fire Station #7 for their hospitality as I was there almost all day.

Friday, August 6, 2010

EMS Transport Fee Referendum and FY2011 Budget Adjustments

Isiah Leggett
County Executive

August 5, 2010

TO: Nancy Floreen, Council President
FROM: Isiah Leggett, County Executive
SUBJECT: EMS Transport Fee Referendum and FY2011 Budget Adjustments

As you are aware, if the ballot initiative related to Bill 13-10, Emergency Medical Services Transport Fee – Established, is successfully petitioned and certified, it stays the implementation of Bill 13-10, and therefore leads to an immediate shortfall in the current year budget of approximately $14 million. The purpose of this memorandum is to notify the Council of how I plan to proceed if Bill 13-10 is successfully petitioned to referendum.

The Emergency Medical Services reimbursement will fund critically needed services and would bring in $14 million a year – and $200 million over ten years -- in revenue from monies already set aside by private insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid. County residents with health insurance will pay nothing – no co-pays, no deductibles, nothing. The charge will be billed directly to Medicare, Medicaid, and health insurance companies. County residents without insurance pay nothing. And whatever standard rates companies pay for the service will be accepted as payment in full. It would be most unfortunate if we cannot access these funds to improve services and save lives.

It is critical that we move quickly to identify immediately the necessary budget adjustments to deal with the potential new gap because of continued uncertainty about the economy and our revenue collections, and the need to ensure that we maintain adequate reserves. I have asked the Office of Management and Budget to begin preparing for my consideration, $14 million in tax-supported reductions.

Making these cuts will be tremendously difficult based on the reductions we have already taken. Balancing the FY2011 budget was extraordinarily challenging and our community is already bearing the impact of those difficult decisions. Because of the limited options available, these additional cuts will impact all of the County Government and will certainly hit public safety, including our fire and rescue services.

To place the cuts in perspective, the furloughing of county employees, which is proving challenging to our delivery of services, saved approximately $10 million, far short of what will be needed to cover the loss of revenue from the fee.

If the referendum is certified, I will share my planned reductions with the Council and I will ask that you act on them as soon as possible. The longer we wait in the fiscal year to identify reductions to offset a loss of reimbursement revenues for EMS transport services, the more difficult it will be to achieve the necessary savings.


For pdf actual version of Memo, please click HERE

With Volunteer Support, Prince William County, VA Passes Emergency Medical Transport Revenue Recovery Initiative

Program Mirrors Montgomery County’s EMS Reimbursement
Which Strengthens Fire and Rescue at No Cost to County Residents

Prince William County, VA this week approved, with the support of its volunteers, an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) billing program like the one that was approved by the County Council and signed into law this year in Montgomery County.

Both counties have programs that recover the costs of emergency transports from individual insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid and use those proceeds to save lives – at no additional cost to County residents.

Nearly all local jurisdictions have successfully enacted EMS transport reimbursements including Fairfax County, Frederick County, Prince George’s County, the District of Columbia, Arlington County, Anne Arundel County and the city of Alexandria. There is no evidence from jurisdictions that have successfully implemented a user fee that it deters anyone from calling for needed emergency medical transport assistance, negatively impacts volunteers, or increases health insurance premiums.

“In Montgomery County, we know that the EMS transport fee will save lives because we will be able to better meet the growing emergency services needs in our community,” said County Executive Isiah Leggett. “Council passage of the bill this year means that this County will initially recover $14 million from funds already set aside by private insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid for transports. In 10 years, we expect to recover nearly $170 million in costs for EMS transports. That is significant.”

“No resident will pay out of pocket for emergency medical transports, and no one should ever hesitate to call 911 if they need emergency medical help,” said Montgomery County Fire Chief Richard Bowers.

An Emergency Medical Services Transport reimbursement is charged electronically to Medicare, Medicaid, and the private health insurance companies of County residents and non-County residents. The costs of emergency services are already collected in the form of premiums by these insurers. County residents with health insurance are not responsible for co-pays or deductibles, as these charges are covered by their tax dollars. The fee for County residents without health insurance will likewise be covered by their tax dollars. Non-County residents with health insurance may be responsible for co-pays and deductibles, depending on their policies. The County will accept whatever standard payment individual insurance companies have established as “payment in full.”

For more information about Montgomery County’s EMS transport fee, go to http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/emstransportfee


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Life as an Intern: First 2 weeks

My first day begins with the buzzing of my alarm clock at an hour no high school student wants to be conscious at, especially during summer. Dragging myself out of bed, I soon find myself stuck in the infamous rush hour that I have only heard about in my parents’ complaints. Only now, at age 17, do I realize how frustrating it really is as the time I have to get to the office passes by.

Finally I arrive and enter the building in search of the office I need to find and luckily it is not far. On my first day, a group of young kids are scheduled to get a tour of the nearby fire station but first I need to get an ID card. It does not take long until I am sporting my own Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service badge.

Mr. Delaney informs me that we need to drive to get some handouts for the kids from a building not to far away. As we enter the parking lot, I have an idea of which vehicle we will be taking. Amidst many average cars, there is a large orange van with fire safety slogans on the sides. I climb into the passenger seat and look down on the cars around us as we slowly but surely left the parking lot.

With bags of handouts for the kids, we head over to the fire station to prepare for the tour. As we walk into the station alongside the massive fire trucks, it feels like this internship is going to be full of cool things. Soon enough, the tour has begun and even though it is for young kids, I find myself enjoying it too.

Eventually it is time to head back home and I can only hope everyday is as interesting as this one. In the days that followed, I have been introduced to a wide range of jobs in the Fire & Rescue Service.

Being with the resident expert of social media, Bill Delaney, we have talked to people about the uses of technology and different ways it can be used internally and externally. The potential the internet has to this organization is immense and it is just now being recognized.

We also have paid a visit to a local science lab to inform them of what safety precautions they should be taking. With chemicals that react dangerously to water and a wide range of other reactive substances, extraordinary steps need to be taken.

Finally, we spent some time with a group of senior citizens at OASIS to inform them about safety in their homes. Since people over the age of 65 have the highest risk of dying in fires at home, it is important that they are taught how to prevent or survive them. Having lived in their houses for a long time, the smoke alarms are most likely either out of date or are even without power. It is crucial that they are checked and replaced if need be but unfortunately it is often overlooked.

In the upcoming weeks, I hope to learn more about other jobs here, and maybe go out in the field. With the county fair in a few weeks, we are starting to prepare for a fun few weeks.