Monday, January 31, 2011

Winter Weather Advisory and a Winter Storm Watch are now in effect for Montgomery County

A Winter Weather Advisory and a Winter Storm Watch are now in effect for Montgomery County. Two phase storm system expected to effect Montgomery County over the next 48 hrs. The first part of the storm will move through overnight tonight with light sleet and freezing rain. Up to .1" of ice and sleet possible from the first part of this storm and this part of the storm is covered by a Winter Weather Advisory from Midnight tonight through noon tomorrow.

After a short break in precipitation tomorrow, the second more significant part of the storm will move through Tuesday Evening-Wednesday and is covered by a SEPARATE Winter Storm Watch. Some guidance does indicate that up to .50" of glaze ice is possible during the second phase of the storm for areas of North Montgomery County. If this amount does appear likely, a warning will be issued reflecting these amounts.

A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY is issued when frozen precipitation is expected which may impact travel. Travel during the Tuesday morning rush hours may become hazardous. Caution should be used during any travel.

SKYWARN spotters are asked to relay all freezing rain, and snowfall reports to the Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management and the NWS Office in Sterling, VA.


Sent on: 01/31 15:21

Sent to Montgomery County Severe Traffic 6am-10am/3pm-8pm, Montgomery County Severe Weather (E-mail accounts, Pagers, Cell phones) through Alert Montgomery

More Winter Weather On The Way – Is It Really Last Wednesday Again!?

I am beginning to feel as if I am in the movie “Groundhog Day.” Many of you are familiar with the movie where the main character (Bill Murray) re-lives the previous day over and over again.

With our winter weather this month, it seems like there is a new winter storm on the horizon each day. Sure enough an interesting system seems to be headed our way which could produce snow, sleet, freezing rain, rain, or all of the above.

On Thursday of last week, I posted an abundance of winter storm safety information (and other information) that, in the spirit of Groundhog Day, is pertinent for what might be heading our way.

So please take a moment to click below and take a moment to review and, importantly, make sure you and your loved ones are PREPARED in case of bad winter weather.

Safety Tips, Fire Hydrants, Delays, Closings, & Other Information Due to Winter Storms & Emergencies

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fire/Carbon Monoxide Risks During Cold Weather

Do not run a generator inside the home or an attached garage or carport. Carbon Monoxide fumes can kill you! Generators should be OUTSIDE and away from your home!

Go here to learn more about: Fire/Carbon Monoxide Risks During Cold Weather

Safety Tips, Fire Hydrants, Delays, Closings, & Other Information Due to Winter Storms & Emergencies

Just a reminder that there is a County web site you can go to so that you have all the latest and greatest information on Delays, Closings, & Other Information Due to Winter Storms & Emergencies.

Lots of great information.

Just a reminder to also clear any snow from around fire hydrants!  Help us to potentially help you!

Winter Storms

Disaster Preparedness

Fireplace Safety Tips

Candle Safety - even though you should be using battery powered lighting! : )

Hope everyone is staying warm and at home!  Conditions are gradually improving.

Be safe!


Montgomery County Updates

Motorists are asked to drive with extreme caution and to treat all intersections where traffic signals are not operating as four-way stops.

Vehicles abandoned on County and State roads during the storm may have been towed so the road could be plowed. To identify the towing company and retrieve a vehicle, call the Emergency Communications Center at 301-279-8000.

County Services:

Montgomery County provided trash and recycling collection is cancelled today. Remaining collections this week will be one day late.

Ride On bus service will resume at 10 a.m. today and operate on a Saturday schedule.

Closures / Late openings:

As previously reported, Montgomery County Government is opening two hours late for non-essential personnel. Liberal leave is in effect for non-essential personnel today. Several county buildings are still without power as well. Citizens wanting to take advantage of county services today may want to call 311 prior to departing for a county facility to ensure the facility is open.

Montgomery County Public Schools and Montgomery College are closed today.

For more information, call 311 or visit

Sent to All users (E-mail accounts) through Alert Montgomery

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Snow Cancels First CERT Class of 2011

Snow Cancels First CERT Class of 2011. For those students who have been confirmed for this first CERT class, please note: First class will be held on Saturday, January 29th. An additional class is scheduled to start March 30th and run through April 30th. Additional info at

Update From Alert Montgomery

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for our area starting at 7:00 am today and lasting until 4:00 am Thursday. The precipitation will be primarily snow which will mix with rain and sleet during mid day. Forecasted total snow accumulations are in the 4" to 8" range with the heaviest snow falling between 4:00 pm today and midnight.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Winter Storm Fire Safety: Risk of Fire Increases When Winter Storms Strike!

It appears some sort of winter storm is headed our way for tomorrow and Thursday. At this point in time, the weather people are saying there should not be too much snow accumulation though there may be some sleet/freezing rain.

Regardless this is a good time to remind everyone of some safety tips you should be thinking about! As a matter of fact, according to our partners at the U.S. Fire Administration and National Fire Prevention Association, the risk of fire in your home increases when winter storms strike!

There are many reasons that the risk of fire increases. So please take a brief moment out of your busy day and learn how you can protect you and your loved ones.

Learn more: Winter Storm Fire Safety

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Montgomery County Band of Brothers

By: Fire Fighter Dwayne Harris, President Montgomery County Band of Brothers

Montgomery County Band of Brothers I am a Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom serving there in 2004 - 2005. Many of you may not be aware that a number of Iraq and Afghanistan War Vets serve in MCFRS and Montgomery County Police (MCPD).

The military estimates that more than 20% of the more than 2 million men and women deployed, suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). There is an alarming number of Vets committing suicide because they are not getting the care they desperately need. As a firefighter or police officer, we are part of a brotherhood. It would be tragic if "one of our own" committed suicide because of the lingering wounds that are unseen. There is a pattern of need, unrecognized or misinterpreted problems, lack of adequate help and downward spiraling difficulties.

I faced the “baggage” I brought home in April 2010, after running from it for 5 years and finding different coping mechanisms to put it behind me. Little did I know that it was all lies. I was lying to myself acting like it was all okay and all the while feeling like I was slowly losing control. I began to see Dr Beasley, the MCFRS psychologist, who has worked with Vets from the first Gulf War, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Once I started down the road to recovery, I had a vision of a group being formed with the message that “you do not have to run and fight it alone.” Several people had expressed an interest in having the chance to talk with other public safety Vets in a confidential setting about their time in service. They feel the need to meet and to talk privately with others who have this military experience in common. Dr. Beasley asked me what I thought about possibly starting a public safety Veterans support group. I was instantly on a mission.

Fire Fighter Dwayne Harris w/ Iraqi kids during his tour of dutyA friend led me to MCFRS Lieutenant Sam Villani (Don’t Panic Foundation) and he showed me how to get this group started. He assisted me with the “Montgomery County Band of Brothers” becoming a non profit organization. A fellow fire fighter from my Recruit Class, Joshua Hart, and I talked and he was interested in forming the group and has the same passion as I do. We got by-laws written; resolutions drawn up and have had two meetings already. The most current had two guest speakers attend.

We will have our first fund raiser on January 28th at Winston’s Sports CafĂ©,
1776 E. Jefferson Street in Rockville, from to .  All are invited to attend.  

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Different Kind of 9-1-1 Call

By: Daniel the Intern

The Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service website is a great place for fire safety tips and prevention strategies but the information only goes so far. Last week during my internship Captain Oscar Garcia, Mr. Bill Delaney, and I went to a house for an issue that many folks do not think of as an emergency – a home without working smoke alarms. A woman was unsure about whether her smoke alarm was working or not and after her inquiry with the MCFRS, we were on our way as the department believes this to be a critical life safety issue.

She was away at work when we got there but her husband was home and welcomed us inside. He was in a wheelchair and needed assistance checking the condition of a smoke alarm that was on the ceiling. However, he had a good feeling it was dead because it had been installed when the house was built and that was many years ago. He was right; the smoke alarm was completely dead with cob webs and all and we gladly installed a new one with a fresh battery. All smoke alarms need to be replaced every 10 years!

From USFA Web Site
He then allowed us to go downstairs and check to see if a working smoke alarm was present, which we all felt was highly unlikely. Upon investigation there may have been one on the ceiling in the past, as there were two screws, but nothing was between them so we installed another.

In the adjacent room, we noticed a hot water heater with a few things that can burn (towels, rags, clothing) leaning on it. It was potentially an immediate fire hazard as you need to keep any thing that can burn off of, and away from, anything that produces heat. We returned upstairs to let the home owner know about the issue and asked permission to correct it and make him safer – which he agreed.

Another topic we discussed was cooking safety because he prepares his own meals and being in a wheelchair, there were additional risks involved. While cooking on a stove, loose sleeves are a common article of clothing that ignites and we explained it to him. Handles that are over the edge are also dangerous because they can easily be bumped into when moving around the kitchen. Finally, we asked if he had a home fire escape plan and whether or not he could get out safely if no one was around to assist him. He said he did have a plan and had practiced it before so we made sure everything was done before we left.

It was awesome to know that we potentially prevented a fire from happening while installing working smoke alarms to alert them just in case there is a fire! Hopefully the smoke alarms will never have to alert the family of a fire but if one does occur then we might have saved a life or two. Call MC311 if you want to have MCFRS look at your smoke alarms to make sure you are protected.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Update: Whole Foods & Fire Station 6 A-Shift Partner on 28 Day Health Challenge

NOTE: Below is a quick update from the crew at Bethesda Fire Station #6 A-Shift as they finish off their first week on the Engine 2 Diet.

By Fire Fighter Troy Jones

On day1 we had oatmeal for breakfast and frozen mixed veggies for lunch. Dinner was the first try at a recipe out the book which was the pasta primavera (kale, corn, tomatoes, onions, bell pepper, pasta sauce over whole grain pasta).

As the designated Chef for dinner, I was very nervous that the guys would not like it but, to my surprise, they ate it and thought it was pretty good! On Thursday the guys had boca burgers with some mixed results. Next shift we will try another recipe from the dinner menu.

In addition, I have been making some of the recipes at home with a few modifications. So far I have gotten pretty good results as I have lost 5 lbs. and feel I have a lot more energy. Most of the guys are enhancing their results by doing vigorous exercise as well.

Friday, January 14, 2011

MCFRS Announces Winter CERT Training Class Dates

Montgomery County’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) will conduct the first CERT training class of 2011 beginning January 26th in Rockville. The class is open to all Montgomery County residents age 18 and older and is offered free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis.

“CERT training is a vital component in moving towards a culture of preparedness,” said CERT Program Manager Greg St. James. “We know that immediately following a significant event or disaster that often the first critical response is neighbors helping neighbors. CERT prepares citizens to take action, apply their training and to raise awareness about the importance of emergency preparedness.”

Class topics include Disaster Preparedness, First Aid, CPR and Automated External Defibrillator (AED), Damage Assessment, Fire Safety, Hazardous Materials Awareness, Incident Command System (ICS), Pet Safety, Search and Rescue Techniques, Disaster Psychology, Terrorism Awareness, Radio Use, Mass Casualty Response and Disaster Simulations.

Montgomery County CERT courses are taught by certified instructors and upon successful completion students receive a FEMA certificate.

Classes will be held in Rockville at the Executive Office Building (EOB) or Council Office Building (COB) auditoriums on Wednesday evenings from 7 pm to 9 pm and on Saturdays from 9 am to 2 pm. Students are expected to attend all sessions to earn the FEMA certificate. For additional information and to register go to and follow the instructions.

Winter Session (must attend all sessions):

Wed. (EOB) 1-26-11 Disaster Preparation
Sat. (COB) 1-29-11 CPR/AED
Wed. (COB) 2-02-11 First Aid
Sat. (COB) 2-05-11 Damage Assessment /Hazardous Materials
Wed. (COB) 2-09-11 Incident Command System / Team Organization / Pet Safety
Sat. (COB) 2-12-11 Light Search and Rescue
Wed. (COB) 2-16-11 Disaster Psychology
Sat. (EOB) 2-19-11 Mass Casualty Incidents
Wed. (COB) 2-23-11 Terrorism
Sat. (EOB) 2-26-11 Final Practical

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Let's Not Meet by "Accident!"

While we should not be impacted with snow of epic proportions, like last year, I thought I would pass along some great tips I found on the Triple A Mid-Atlantic web site. The tips are related to driving though they also go into other important areas such as having an emergency kit for your car as well as inclement weather driving vehicle maintenance checklist.

Go here to learn more: Inclement Weather Driving

So please take a moment to review and prepare. Let’s not have you or your loved ones meet our fire and rescue personnel by “accident” any time soon!

Stay Safe,


Friday, January 7, 2011

Washington-Metro Area Fire Chief’s Warn of Fire Danger With Impending Colder Weather

News Advisory Cog Tips 120320101

TGIF Safety Tip

If your smoke alarm was installed on or before January 7, 2001 you need to replace it.  Smoke alarms should be replaced, regardless if they are working, every 10 years.   

Test your alarms weekly and have a home fire escape plan!

Have a SAFE weekend!


Thursday, January 6, 2011

MCFRS Fire Fighters in the News

Last Thursday, I posted an article about our fire fighters at Bethesda Fire Station #6 on the A-Shift who were going on a 28 day health challenge. You can view the article here: Whole Foods & Fire Station 6 A-Shift Partner on 28 Day Health Challenge

ABC7’s Julie Parker saw the post and decided to do a story on the shift and what the challenge entailed. The story was on air last night and I have posted it below. You will definitely see some updates posted here on the blog and may even see an update or two from ABC7.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

House Fire You Did Not Hear About

Yesterday, we responded to a fire in a kitchen. Some kids in the home had decided to cook french fries and were heating the cooking oil. At some point, the pan was left unattended and a fire started. As a side note, cooking related fires are the number one cause of fires here in the County as well as across the country.

Certainly the above is a recipe (no pun intended) for a potential large fire, loss of life, and potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in property loss. No question a fire event that would make the news. So why did you not hear about this fire involving kids yesterday?

Read a part of the report to understand: Fire extinguished by residential sprinkler prior to arrival of Fire Department. Held E722 and RS722 to remove light smoke. No injuries, $2500 in loss.

Not only do home fire sprinklers dramatically reduce the risk of home fire deaths, they also decrease fire damage by as much as two-thirds when compared to homes without sprinklers.*  It is like having fire fighters living inside your home (see video above from Fresno, CA Fire Department)!

Sprinklers and smoke alarms together cut your risk of dying in a home fire 82% relative to having neither – a savings of thousands of lives a year (from NFPA).

While all new homes in the County are required to have this vital life safety tool installed, the vast majority of Montgomery County homes do not have sprinklers protecting them. There is a program in the County that will allow you a one time tax credit of up to 50% of your county property tax on dwellings when you retro-fit your home with fire sprinklers.

Go here to learn more: Learn How To Reduce Your Property Tax Bill By 50%


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Tale of Two Fires

This past Friday, MCFRS responded to an apartment fire on Quince Orchard Boulevard in Gaithersburg. A women occupant of the apartment called 911 to report the fire after being awakened by a working smoke alarm in the unit. The woman was treated for smoke inhalation at a local hospital and her injuries were not serious.

A week before, a 71 year old male was tragically killed in a fire in his town house. The home did not have a working smoke alarm. While there were other factors associated with this fire – his electric and gas service had been shut off – the presence of working smoke alarms provide early warning in the event of fire in the home and increase your chances of surviving a fire. Between 2003–06 more than 66 percent of home fire deaths occurred in homes without a working smoke alarm (from NFPA).

Please check your smoke alarms to ensure you they are working. If you find yourself in need of a new smoke alarm, and are hard pressed to buy a new one, please know that MCFRS has a program to provide and install FREE smoke alarms! Call 311 to learn more! We also provide a home fire safety evaluation that you can schedule by calling 311 as well.