Friday, March 30, 2012

MCFRS Hockey Team Participating In Charity Hockey Tournament

The MCFR Lucky Hooligans are an ice hockey team made up of 20 Montgomery County Firefighters and one guy who's not!
The Hooligans will be placing two teams in the Annual DC Fire Burn Tournament to benefit the burn foundation. The tournament starts today, Friday afternoon, and goes through Sunday with Championship games Sunday afternoon. Come support your Hooligans as they take on other area (and some non-area) public safety teams. Here is the website for the tourney:

Schedule is as follows:

Friday March 30-
3:00pm MCFR Hooligans 1 vs Arlington
8:30pm MCFR Hooligans 2 vs Arlington

Saturday March 31-
2:10pm MCFR Hooligans 1 vs Hyattsville
8:00pm MCFR Hooligans 1 vs MCFR Hooligans 2 (The Showdown at Sundown!!!)

Sunday April 1-
2:00 PM MCFR Hooligans 2 vs
Baltimore City
Games will be played at The Gardens Ice House in Laurel, MD.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

All In A Days Work

When not fighting fires or responding to calls for emergency medical care, the women and men of MCFRS stay busy with a variety of non emergency duties.  A very important duty is to help educate people of all ages about the dangers of fire and how to prevent them or, if the worst happens and there is a fire, how to properly react and get out of the home safely.  

A couple of days ago Lieutenant Sam Villani, Fire Station 5-D Shift, and crew stopped by a local day care to teach the kids about fire prevention and to show them how a fire fighter gets dressed to go into a fire.  Assisting Lieutenant Villani is Fire Fighter Andrew Randolph while Master Fire Fighter Wayne Malcolm works the camera.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Driving in Fog - Safety Tips

The below is from and I thought it appropriate for this mornings commute. Stay Safe - Bill

Fog can be thought of as a cloud at ground level. It forms when the temperature drops to the dew point (the temperature at which air is saturated), and invisible water vapor in the air condenses to form suspended water droplets. Fog can reduce visibility to 1/4 mile or less, creating hazardous driving conditions. If you can't postpone your trip until dense fog lifts -- usually by late morning or the afternoon -- follow these tips:

* Drive with lights on low beam. High beams will only be reflected back off the fog and actually impair visibility even more.

* Reduce your speed -- and watch your speedometer. Fog creates a visual illusion of slow motion when you may actually be speeding.

* Listen for traffic you cannot see. Open your window a little, to hear better.

* Use wipers and defrosters as necessary for maximum visibility.

* Use the right edge of the road or painted road markings as a guide.

* Be patient. Do not pass lines of traffic.

* Do not stop on a freeway or heavily traveled road. If your car stalls or becomes disabled, turn your vehicle's lights off, and take your foot off of the brake pedal. People tend to follow tail lights when driving in fog. Move away from the vehicle to avoid injury.

Sources: National Weather Service, Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Monday, March 19, 2012

Riding a Bike During This Great Weather? Use Your Head and Wear a Helmet!

Kids and Bike Helmets: The Right Fit

Bike helmets are not optional equipment. A helmet is your last line of defense in an accident - never ride without one!
Kids should always wear helmets while biking
Helmets have been shown in studies to reduce the risk of head injury by 85 percent and the risk of brain injury by 90 percent. Nationally, only 15 percent of children bicyclists used bicycle helmets. Here are some points to consider when fitting a bike helmet on a child:
  • The helmet should sit on the child's head so that the front rim is just above the eyebrows. Use the two finger rule - leave about two fingers width between your eyebrows and the front of the helmet. If the helmet rests on the back of the head, the forehead, nose and chin will be exposed.
  • Before buckling the chin strap, have children shake their head from side to side. The helmet should generally stay put. If it moves excessively, it's too big and won't protect the head no matter how tight the chin strap is pulled. The straps should be joined just under each ear at the jawbone.
  • When the chin strap is buckled, children should be able to open their mouth and feel the helmet press firmly against the top of their head.
  • Buy a new helmet. Helmets that have suffered even a single fall or have been exposed to heat for a long time (i.e., kept in the trunk of a car) lose the cohesion that keeps the helmet intact during impact.
  • Don't forget to set an example by wearing a helmet yourself!

Bike Safety and Bike Helmets

Montgomery County requires anyone under age 18 to wear a bicycle helmet when riding or being carried on a bicycle, including a bicycle with training wheels, on a public street, right-of-way, sidewalk or bicycle path in the County. 1
Your child is 14 times more likely to survive a bike crash if he/she is wearing a helmet. Each year in the United States, approximately 250 children die in bicycle-related accidents, and about half a million are injured in bicycling accidents. Although it's estimated that 75% of the serious injuries could have been avoided if a helmet was worn, only about 20% of children in the United States wear a helmet.
How to properly wear a bike helmet

Get the Helmet to Fit Right

Step 1: Make sure the helmet fits firmly.
Helmets are sold with foam pads that differ in thickness to make the helmet fit firmly. Use the foam pads by attaching them to the inside of the helmet until the helmet fits firmly on your child's head. The helmet should not move around when shaken.
Step 2: Make sure the helmet sits level on the child's head.
This means the helmet should cover the top of the forehead, just above the eyebrows. Wearing the helmet too far back is a common mistake. You should be able to place just two fingers between the eyebrows and the front of the helmet. Take off anything that could change the way a helmet fits (baseball caps, big hair clips, headphones, etc.).
Step 3: Position the straps correctly.
All straps should be snug but still comfortable. Fix the side straps so that they fit around your child's ear in a V-shape. Adjust the buckles or slides on the side strap so that they are right under theear. Tighten the chin strap until you can fit just one finger between the strap and your child's chin.
Check the fit of the helmet every time. Use the 2-V-1 finger test. Teach your child to do this test each time he gets ready to ride:
  • Two fingers above the eyebrows
  • V-Shape under each ear
  • One finger under the chin strap
  • Make sure that the helmet has a label to say that it meets safety standards, such as CSA, CPSC, ASTM, or Snell.
After taking a serious hit, helmets lose their capacity to absorb shock. They're designed that way so that the inner foam structure is altered by a very hard blow. If your child ever has a significant fall or hits any surface hard with the helmet, immediately replace the helmet. Don't Negotiate. It is estimated that 75% of bicycle-related deaths among children could be prevented with a bicycle helmet. Wearing one should never be optional for your child.
1 Excerpted from the Montgomery County Code, Sec. 7-2 - Bicycle Helmets

Friday, March 16, 2012

Let’s Not Meet By “Accident!” Remember SoberRide Program If You Have One Too Many Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all of you - a day early!  As we all know one of the primary activities associated with this day, for those over the age of 21, is the consumption of alcohol.  With that comes the danger of drinking and driving. The women and men of MCFRS have no desire to meet any of you by “accident” tomorrow evening because you have had one too many! Of course, if you drink and drive and are involved in a crash it is really not an accident.  It would be a PREVENTABLE incident!

Toward that end of preventing a needless tragedy, I wanted to make all of you aware of a fantastic program available to you if you find you perhaps should not get behind the wheel of your vehicle after an evening of celebrating. 

It is called SoberRide and it is a program developed by the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP).  Please see below for more information and BE SAFE tomorrow evening!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Hear Us, See Us, Clear for Us!

Hear Us, See Us, Clear for Us!

“Please Abide – Pull Aside”

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 usfirst, 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 ha 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. Preventative safety, while measured in seconds or minutes, can save you from months or years of anguish, grief, and "what if". Be smart. Be safe.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Time to Change Your Smoke Alarm Battery? Check It Out This Weekend As You Change Your Clock!

Rockville - - - Montgomery County firefighters will be hitting the streets this weekend reminding residents when they change their clocks and “Spring Forward” that it is the perfect time of year to check and replace the batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors. In addition to changing the batteries this weekend, residents are urged to follow these simple steps to protect your life, your loved ones and your home:
  • Dust or vacuum smoke alarms when you change the batteries, unless your smoke alarm is sealed and is a 10-year long life unit.  
  • Test alarms once a month using the test button.
  • Replace the entire alarm if it’s more than 10 years old or doesn’t work properly when tested.
  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement, and both inside and outside of sleeping areas.
  • Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout your home so that when one sounds, they all sound. Interconnected alarms are available at most stores that sell smoke alarms.
  • Make sure everyone in your home understands the warning of the smoke alarm and knows how to respond.
  • Involve your family! Take time to review your fire escape plans with your family and practice with a home fire drill. 
“Smoke alarm maintenance is a simple, effective way to reduce home fire deaths,” said Fire Chief Richard Bowers. “Children and senior citizens are most at risk and a working smoke alarm can give them the extra seconds they need to escape safely.”
If you need any assistance with fire escape planning or smoke alarms, call 311 to schedule a free evaluation by fire department representatives. To learn more about what you and your family can do to be safe, visit the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service website at

It’s a fact: If your smoke alarm was installed before March 11, 2002
It needs to be replaced. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Space Heaters and Fire

Chief Bowers recently appeared on County Report This Week to highlight fire dangers associated with space heaters.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Dispose of Fireplace and Wood-stove Ashes Properly

Fireplace and wood-stove ashes retain enough heat to ignite other combustible materials for several days after a fire. It is important to learn the following ways to dispose of fireplace and wood-stove ashes properly:

·         DO NOT discard your ashes into any combustible container like a paper or plastic bag, a cardboard box, or a plastic trash can.
·         DO put ashes into a non-combustible metal container with a lid.
·         DO pour water into the container to make sure the ashes are cool.
·         DO keep your can OUTSIDE the home, away from combustibles.
·         DO teach all family members to be safe with ashes from your fireplace or wood stove.
As always, please make sure you test your smoke alarms monthly and replace batteries twice a year. Practice and plan a family home escape plan.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Registration is Open For Spring 2012 Basic Community Emergency Response Training Class

By: Greg St. James, Montgomery County CERT / Fire Corps

Montgomery County Fire Rescue Service is happy to announce registration is open for our Spring 2012 Basic Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) class.CERT helps you prepare your family, your neighborhood, and your workplace for emergencies and disasters. Topics include CPR/First Aid, Fire Safety, Search and Rescue, Pet Preparedness, Family Disaster Kits, Incident Management, and Terrorism Awareness. Montgomery County CERT stresses hands on practical training taught by professional EMT’s, Firefighters, Educators, and International Disaster Responders.

CERT training is free to county residents 18 and older, and takes place twice a week over the course of month. Students are required to attend all sessions to receive a FEMAcertificate of completion.. The Spring 2012 class will take place in Gaithersburg on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings from March 14, through April 28, 2012 with a break included for the spring Holidays.  CERT operates on a first come basis for a limited number of seats.  To learn more please click HERE.