Friday, December 6, 2013

Annual Toys for Tots Campaign

Once again the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) will be assisting the United States Marine Corps in collecting toys for their annual Toys for Tots campaign.  Now through Tuesday, December 17 residents can drop off toys to the following fire and rescue stations designated as official collection points for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots campaign:

Fire Station 7 - 8001 CONNECTICUT AVE., CHEVY CHASE, MD 20815

Fire Station 12 - 10617 NEW HAMPSHIRE AVE., SILVER SPRING, MD 20903

Fire Station 22 - 18910 GERMANTOWN ROAD, GERMANTOWN, MD 20874

Fire Station 23 - 121 ROLLINS AVE., ROCKVILLE, MD 20852

Fire Station 25 - 14401 CONNECTICUT AVE., LAYHILL, MD 20906

Fire Station 31 - 12100 DARNESTOWN RD., NORTH POTOMAC, MD 20878

Fire Station 34 - 20633 BOLAND FARM ROAD, GERMANTOWN, MD 20876

Fire Station 40 - 16911 GEORGIA AVE., OLNEY, MD 20832

Monday, November 25, 2013

Keep Your Family Safe this Thanksgiving

Did you know that cooking fires are the #1 cause of fires? 
More cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving than on any other day of the year. With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, Montgomery County Fire Chief Steven Lohr is urging residents to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday and to keep safety at the top of everyone’s “to do” list this holiday season. “Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a rookie cooking your first holiday feast, the strategies for serving up a safe meal are the same,” said Chief Lohr. “Unattended cooking is the leading cause of residential fires and we’re asking residents to follow these simple safety tips and to have a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday.
Cooking Safety Tips:
·         Be alert! Stay in the kitchen when using the stovetop and use a timer. If you must leave the kitchen, even for a minute, turn off the stove.
·         Keep anything that can catch fire at least 3 feet from the stove, toaster oven or other heat source. This includes pot holders, food packaging, dish towels, paper/plastic bags, etc.
·         Do not pour water on a grease fire. Pouring water on a grease fire can cause the fire to spread. In the event of a range-top fire, turn off the burner, put on an oven mitt and smother the flames by carefully sliding a lid or cookie sheet onto the pan. Leave the lid in place until the pot or pan has cooled.
·         Clean cooking surfaces regularly to prevent grease buildup which can ignite.
·         Always wear short, tight-fitting sleeves when cooking to prevent clothing from coming in contact with a burner and catching fire.
·         Do not hold children while cooking or carrying hot foods or drinks. Keep children at a safe distance from hot surfaces, liquids and other kitchen hazards.
·         Plug microwaves and other kitchen appliances directly into an outlet. Never use an extension cord for a cooking appliance as it can overload the circuit and cause a fire.
·         Double-check the kitchen before you go to bed or leave the house. Make sure all other appliances are turned off and that any candles or smoking materials are safely extinguished.
·         Smoke alarms save lives. Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home, test alarms monthly and change batteries annually or as recommended by the manufacturer if your alarm features long-life batteries.  
Turkey fryers are becoming an increasingly popular choice to cook the Thanksgiving turkey and can be extremely dangerous if proper precautions are not taken. If your plans include using a turkey fryer, fire department officials urge residents to follow all manufacturer directions closely and to review the following safety tips: 
Turkey Fryer Safety Tips:
·         Never leave a fryer unattended. Keep your “dynasty” safe this holiday and be sure to check out the tips here: ;
·         By design, turkey fryers are prone to tipping over. Fryers should always be used on a non-combustible, flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.
·         Fryers should always be used outdoors at least 10 feet from buildings and any flammable materials. Never use a fryer on a wooden deck, under a patio cover, in a garage, porch or other enclosed space.
·         Do not overfill the fryer. The oil may spill out of the unit when the turkey is placed into the cooking pot. Oil may hit the burner/flames resulting in a potential fire hazard that could engulf the entire unit.
·         Oil and water do not mix! Make sure the turkey is completely thawed before it is placed in a fryer. Partially frozen turkeys can cause a spillover effect which may result in a fire. 
·         Some units do not have thermostat controls and, if not carefully watched, have the potential to overheat the oil to the point of combustion.
·         Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching the pot or lid handle. The sides of the cooking pot, lid and pot handles get dangerously hot and can result in severe burns. If available, use safety goggles to protect your eyes from any oil splatter.
·         Keep children and pets away from fryers. The oil can remain dangerously hot even hours after use.  
Following these simple fire safety tips can boost survival rates and reduce injuries dramatically.  For more information about our fire safety programs or to request a free home safety evaluation or smoke alarm check, please contact the County’s non-emergency call center at 311 during business hours.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Video, Audio and Photos From Today's Pedestrian Safety Press Conference

From today's pedestrian safety press event.  Please feel free to use/forward/pass along the video, audio and photos.  Just credit MCFRS.

Original Press Release

Firefighters from Rockville Fire Station #3 handing
out pedestrian safety shopping bags.
Chief Lohr and Firefighters from Fire Station #3 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

What Time Is It?

Time to change your clock and check your smoke alarm this weekend!
Simple task can be a potentially life-saving one 

Daylight savings time ends November 3rd and the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) is urging all residents to check the batteries in their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors when they change their clocks this weekend to ensure they are working. “Home fires injure and kill thousands every year,” said Fire Chief Steven Lohr. “Smoke alarms that are properly installed and maintained play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries. I encourage everyone to test their smoke alarms, replace any alarms that are 10 years or older and conduct a home fire drill this weekend.”

The peak time for home fire fatalities is between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. when most families are sleeping. A working smoke alarm dramatically increases the chance for survival and provides advance warning of a fire resulting in more time to react and put a home escape plan into action. 

Help keep your family safe by following these fire safety tips:
1.      Install smoke alarms on all levels of your home, including the basement.
2.      Test smoke alarms each month to ensure they are working. Replace batteries annually, as needed.
3.      Plan and practice home fire drills regularly. Decide in advance who will help family members that may need assistance escaping (young children, older adults or people with disabilities).
4.      Retire old smoke alarms and replace with new ones every 10 years, as recommended by the manufacturer. Haven’t replaced your alarms since 2003? It’s time!  Smoke alarms do not last forever and units that are 10 years old are near the end of their service life and need to be replaced.
5.      Make sure children recognize the sound of your smoke alarm and how to respond to its signal.
6.      Maryland is one of the most recent states to require homeowners replace battery-only operated smoke alarms with units powered by sealed, long-life batteries by January 1, 2018. Smoke alarm technology has advanced over the years and the recent legislative update to Maryland’s Smoke Alarm Law is part of a nationwide trend to ensure future smoke alarm replacements possess this new technology. Visit our website for more information.

The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service will provide and install smoke alarm batteries at no cost to residents and will provide and install smoke alarms for residents that cannot afford them. Please call 311 for information and be sure to bookmark our website for year-round safety information at and sign up to follow us on twitter. 

Fire Chief Steven Lohr provides an important reminder below:

Friday, October 18, 2013

MCFRS Significant Incidents For September 2013

Please click on the Google Map and then the various icons to see what significant incidents MCFRS was responding too in September.

View MCFRS Significant Incidents in a larger map

Thursday, October 17, 2013

What's Invisible, Has No Smell, But Can Kill You? Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is the most common cause of death by poison in the United States, killing more than 500 people every year. It is one of the most dangerous poisons because often people don't know it is present until it is too late. The best way to protect yourself and your family from carbon monoxide poisoning is to buy a carbon monoxide (sometimes referred to as CO) detector for your home. A properly working carbon monoxide detector can provide an early warning before deadly gases build up to dangerous levels. If you live in a home that is two stories or more, you might want to install two.

For more information, see the "Is it Flu or Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?" page.
If you notice these symptoms and suspect that carbon monoxide is the cause, leave the area immediately and get outside to fresh air. Call 9-1-1 and seek medical help.
Be reminded: Installing a carbon monoxide detector does not eliminate the need to have a smoke alarm in your home. Carbon monoxide detectors do not detect smoke and smoke alarms do not sense carbon monoxide.

CO poisoning is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in America.
(Source: Centers for Disease Control)


  • CO is a produced anytime a fuel is burned. Potential sources include gas or oil furnaces, water heaters, space heaters, clothes dryers, barbecue grills, fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, gas ovens, generators and car exhaust fumes.
  • Every year more than 10,000 people die or seek medical attention due to CO poisoning from home-related products. (Source:  Consumer Product Safety Commission)
  • More than two-thirds of Americans use gas, wood, kerosene or another fuel as their home's major heat source.
  • 65% of CO poisoning deaths from consumer products are due to heating systems.
  • Only 27% of homes in America have carbon monoxide alarms, according to recent industry research.
  • An idling vehicle in an attached garage, even with the garage door opened, can produce concentrated amounts of CO that can enter your home through the garage door or nearby windows.
  • CO poisoning deaths from portable generators have doubled for the past two years, and many of these deaths occurred in the winter months and during power outages.
  • A poorly maintained gas stove can give off twice the amount of CO than one in good working order.


  • Install at least one battery-powered CO alarm or AC-powered unit with battery backup on each level of your home and near sleeping areas.
  • Have a licensed professional inspect heating systems and other fuel-burning appliances annually.
  • Install fuel-burning appliances properly and operate according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Keep chimneys clear of animal nests, leaves and residue to ensure proper venting. Have all fireplaces cleaned and inspected annually.
  • Do not block or seal shut the exhaust flues or ducts used by water heaters, ranges and clothes dryers.
  • Do not leave your car running in an attached garage or carport.
  • Do not use ovens or stoves to heat your home.
  • Do not use charcoal or gas grills inside or operate outdoors near a window where CO fumes could seep in through a window.
  • Check all carbon monoxide alarms in your home. Do they use the most accurate sensing technology? Do they need new batteries?
Replace CO alarms every five to seven years in order to benefit from the latest technology upgrades.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Monday, October 14, 2013

Recent Promotions

Fire Chief Steve Lohr is pleased to announce the following promotions.  Congratulations and be safe in your new assignments!

The following person has been promoted to the rank of Captain:

Tony R. Hugueley

The following person has been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant: 

Jeffrey R. Kane

The following personnel have been promoted to the rank of Master Firefighter:

Jeffrey A. Barclay

Friday, October 11, 2013

Watch What You Heat! Cooking Related Fires Leading Cause of Home Fires!

By: Battalion Chief Mark Davis

Cooking-related fires continue to be one of the leading causes of fire in the home. According to United States Fire Administration data from 2008 to 2010:

On average, an estimated 164,500 cooking related fires in residential buildings occur each year in the United States;

Residential building cooking fires occurred mainly in the evening hours from 4 to 9 p.m., peaking from 5 to 8 p.m, accounting for 26 percent of the fires;

Oil, fat and grease (51 percent) were the leading types of material ignited in cooking fires occurring in residential buildings.

Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and fire injuries;

1 in 8 households will have a cooking fire each year;

The leading cause of kitchen fires is unattended cooking.

And sadly, Montgomery County's first fire death of 2013 occurred in the 1st Battalion and was the result of clothing that caught fire during cooking.

It is clear that cooking is dangerous. The numbers do not lie! Don't be distracted while you cook - it can save your life!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Mark Your Calendars - Upcoming Fire Department Open Houses

October is Fire Prevention Month and fire stations around Montgomery County will be hosting many educational, family-oriented activities and Open House events throughout the month. This year’s theme focuses on the importance of preventing kitchen fires. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking and while there can be “too many cooks in the kitchen” having no cooks in the kitchen can be potentially far more dangerous.

All Open House events are free and will feature many exciting activities including tours of the station, fire safety activities, educational information/handouts, demonstrations of emergency equipment and much more. Please visit the fire station’s website or call for a complete listing of activities planned.

October 12

Burtonsville Volunteer Fire Department, Station 15         12 – 4 p.m.
13900 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD

October 13

Chevy Chase Fire Department, Station 7                         10 – 4 p.m.
8001 Connecticut Avenue, Chevy Chase, MD 

Kensington Volunteer Fire Department, Station 5               12 – 4 p.m.
10620 Connecticut Avenue, Kensington, MD
(240) 773-4705
Hillandale Volunteer Fire Department, Station 24               12 – 3 p.m.
13216 New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring, MD
October 20

Glen Echo Volunteer Fire Department, Station 11               10 – 2 p.m.
5920 Massachusetts Avenue, Bethesda, MD 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Firefighters Think Pink - Fire Department on a Mission to Generate Awareness and Save Lives

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Montgomery County Fire and Rescue has joined the national campaign for the third year in an effort to raise awareness about the cause and money for cancer research and programs.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women and it is estimated that there are over 225,000 new cases each year and that 39,000 women will die from this disease. Approximately 2,050 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 20% will not survive. Breast cancer is not gender specific and firefighters in Montgomery County will be trading their traditional on-duty shirts for pink ones in support of breast cancer awareness throughout the month of October.

“Cancer affects millions of people worldwide and this program provides an opportunity to have an impact and make a difference in the community,” said Fire Chief Steven Lohr. “This cause is particularly important and one that, too often, strikes close to home.”

The International Association of Firefighter’s (IAFF) involvement in breast cancer awareness dates back to 2010 and was the result of "Resolution 21" at the 2010 IAFF Convention in San Diego, California.  This resolution, entitled "Care Enough to Wear Pink," launched a nationwide response by fire departments across the Country to support breast cancer awareness initiatives.

This year’s campaign by Montgomery County Fire and Rescue has raised $12,000 in proceeds to be donated to The Susan G. Komen Foundation and The Red Devils charity, a Maryland-based breast cancer organization whose mission is to fund services that improve the quality of life for Maryland breast cancer patients and their families. Please visit the web pages of both charitable organizations by visiting and for more information about the organizations.

Monday, October 7, 2013

It's Fire Prevention Week! Prevent Kitchen Fires!

It is that time of year again.  NO not pumpkin spiced latte time at your local favorite coffee shop!  Now through this Saturday, October 12 is FIRE PREVENTION WEEK!

This years theme is - Prevent Kitchen Fires!  In Montgomery County, as well as nationally, most fire occur in kitchens than in any other part of the home.

To learn more, please go here:  Prevent Kitchen Fires

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Bells Across America

In support of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and the 2013 Memorial Weekend – MCFRS will join in the Bells Across America program to honor those firefighters who have died in the line of duty.

Each station and worksite will observe a moment of silence at 0900 hours on Saturday the 5th and Sunday the 6th.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Unit Citations

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Unit Citations, a set on Flickr.

By Battalion Chief Mark Davis

Several units from the lower end of the 1st Battalion participated in a Unit Citation Ceremony at Silver Spring Fire Station 1 on Wednesday, October 2nd. On April 2, 2013, units responded to 415 Silver Spring Avenue for fire in the apartment building. They arrived to find heavy fire conditions on the top floor and made multiple rescues. Sadly - one resident perished in the blaze - but many others were saved. The work of these units is exemplary of what it takes to be a firefighter when the "pressure is on."

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Sandy Spring Annual Fire Safety Open House

Photo Courtesy of SSVFD web site
The annual Fire Safety Open House at Sandy Spring Fire Station #40, 16911 Georgia Ave., is this Sunday October 6th, 2013 from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. On tap are lots of informational handouts and loads of fun activities for kids of all ages!  In addition there will be live demonstrations, static displays of equipment and apparatus, information on volunteering, and the Auxiliary Farmer's Market and Bake Sale.

A special treat, though it is dependent on weather and availability, is that the new MD State Police Helicopter as well as the Children's Hospital Helicopter are slatted to stop by for a visit (and possible a demonstration).

If you are in the Sandy Spring area Sunday, please drop by.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

New Traffic Safety Laws In Effect Today!

Hopefully everyone is aware of the new traffic safety laws that go into effect today!  If not, please visit here - Hang Up or Hands Free - to learn more.

Be safe out there!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Department Promotions

Fire Chief Steve Lohr is pleased to announce the following promotions.  Congratulations and be safe in your new assignments!

The following person has been promoted to the rank of Captain:

William D. Kinna

The following person has been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant:

James T. Bise

The following personnel have been promoted to the rank of Master Firefighter:

Brett E. Johnson

Joseph H. Skinner III 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Smoke Alarm Makes a Difference for Bethesda Family

Fire Department Credits Operating Smoke Alarm and Quick Thinking Residents

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue was dispatched shortly after 1:30 p.m. Thursday to the 5800 block of Kingswood Road in Bethesda for the report of a house fire. First arriving units reported heavy smoke from the second floor of the single family home with fire extended into the attic and requested additional units. The home’s occupants had evacuated after being alerted to the fire by the home’s smoke alarms.  

The fire was extinguished a short time later and one firefighter received minor injuries and was transported to
a local hospital for evaluation. Montgomery County Fire Investigators were requested to the scene to conduct an origin and cause investigation. Investigators confirm that the fire originated on the second floor of the residence and have listed the fire as accidental.

Firefighters were ultimately able to locate, chase and retrieve the family’s cat who was hiding in the basement. Damage estimates to the home are $500,000 to the structure and $250,000 to contents. Four adults, one child and a cat were displaced by the fire.

“This incident serves as a reminder of just how important smoke alarms are. Had the smoke alarms not been working, we would be reporting on a much more serious fire,” said Fire Chief Lohr. “We know unequivocally that the early warning provided by smoke alarms translates into saved lives and I urge all residents to ensure that their smoke alarms are working.” 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Videos From After The Fire Outreach

Personnel from MCFRS went door to door on Thursday in a Leisure World apartment complex checking residents smoke alarms, handing out safety information, as well as answering any questions or concerns after Wednesday’s fatal fire.

Learn more about the fire here (photos): Fatal Fire in Silver Spring

Below, are two videos from the other day.  In the first video Captain David Pazos explains the After the Fire program and reminds everyone to check their smoke alarms.

The next video shows Master Firefighter Dave Newman interacting with a local resident and what typically occurs when we knock on the door.  

Thursday, September 26, 2013

After the Fire in Silver Spring

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After the FireAfter the FireAfter the FireAfter the FireAfter the Fire

Personnel from MCFRS went door to door in a Leisure World apartment complex checking residents smoke alarms, handing out safety information, as well as answering any questions or concerns after yesterday’s fatal fire.

A few non-working alarms were found and taken care of. Residents were very happy to have us there!

Fatal Fire in Silver Spring

Montgomery County Fire Investigators have determined the origin of this afternoon’s fatal fire in the 15700 block of Interlachen Drive in Silver Spring and are releasing the name of the victim who perished in the fire. Units from Montgomery County Fire and Rescue were dispatched about 12:20 p.m. to a residential high-rise building located in the Leisure World community for the report of a building fire.

Montgomery County Fire Investigators were dispatched to the scene and have determined that the fire originated in the enclosed balcony/sunroom area of a 9th floor unit. Fire sprinklers activated in the unit and kept the fire from extending more significantly in the building.

Investigators have released the name of the deceased victim, Debra Yuhas Lee, age 63. There were no reported injuries to firefighters or civilians. The cause of the fire remains under investigation and is listed as undetermined at this time. Damage estimates were $150,000. 

This is the third fire fatality in Montgomery County this year and each victim has been in their 60’s. Units from Montgomery County Fire and Rescue will be in the Leisure World community on Thursday distributing fire safety tips and information.  
Fatal Fire in Silver SpringFatal Fire in Silver Spring                                                      Fatal Fire in Silver Spring                   


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Kitten Rescue


Kitten Rescue, a set on Flickr.

By: Lieutenant Sam Villani

On Monday, September 23, 2013, Tower 703 assisted Montgomery County Animal Control in the Fallsgrove section of Rockville with a stranded kitten. The kitten had fallen into the deep part of a dry storm sewer drain, and could not get out.

When Tower 703 arrived the animal control officer, Jennifer Gill, had Tower 703’s crew remove the manhole cover and assist with attempting to retrieve the kitten. Normally in order to enter a below grade confined space a specialty team would be needed- and doing so would have likely scared the kitten away. So we collectively decided to try using food that was graciously donated by Avalon at Fallsgrove employees, and a combination of a small animal net and a utility bag and webbing to rescue the kitten.

After fifteen minutes of configuring the food with the bag and the net, Master Firefighter Chris May safely netted the kitten and brought it to safety.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Battalion Chief Promotions

Fire Chief Steve Lohr is pleased to announce the following promotions to the rank of Battalion Chief effective October 6, 2013.

Captain Beth Sanford and Captain Dorcus Howard Richards will be permanently promoted to the rank of Battalion Chief.

Captain Chris Stroup will be temporarily promoted to the rank of Battalion Chief.

Congratulations to each of these employees for a job well done as they prepare for their new duties and

Monday, September 23, 2013

Public Safety HQ Open House

Public Safety HQ Open HousePublic Safety HQ Open HousePublic Safety HQ Open HousePublic Safety HQ Open HousePublic Safety HQ Open HousePublic Safety HQ Open House
Public Safety HQ Open HousePublic Safety HQ Open HousePublic Safety HQ Open HousePublic Safety HQ Open HousePublic Safety HQ Open HousePublic Safety HQ Open House
Public Safety HQ Open House

Public Safety HQ Open House, a set on Flickr.

On Saturday, September 21, 2013 an Open House was held at the Public Safety Headquarters in Gaithersburg from 11 AM until 4 PM. Initial estimates from our partners in public safety, Montgomery County Police, indicate roughly four thousand people showed up for this introductory and FREE event.

Attendees were treated to a variety of demonstrations by both MCFRS and MCP highlighting the tools, and high skill sets, Police Officers and Firefighters use just about every day. As well, Fire Trucks and Police Units were available for close up viewing and, in some cases, jumping aboard! Additionally there was a variety of safety information available to take home.

Several other County Agencies also participated and there were a few rides and games that many of our younger visitors ended up enjoying tremendously. If the many smiles were any indication, a fantastic time seemed to be had by all!