Saturday, August 31, 2013

Sidewalk Corner Serenade for MDA Fill The Boot

Captain Ivan Browning on the sidewalk corner serenading the passers by for fill the boot on Friday.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Rescue Squad Driver Training

By: Firefighter Ryan Linville

To be allowed to drive any fire truck in MCFRS, you need to complete various classroom and practical training and tests as it relates to a particular type of fire truck.  Currently, I am working on my driver’s training portion for the Rescue Squad.  Captain Mike Green is my trainer and officer on my shift and has helped push me further to be a top notch firefighter.

On the practical portions, Captain Green goes the extra mile and sets up drills for me instead of just having me complete a basic skill. What you see in the pictures below is us lifting a four thousand pound van off a car using hydraulic jacks and then air bags. With these scenarios we have to use paratech struts and massive amount of cribbing to make the drill complete.

All the techniques are very basic to very complex. He tests my ability to know all inventory and all capacities of equipment to the smallest detail. In short, once I'm done with his training the drivers training book will be child's play.

Many thanks to all of the people involved in this drill on my shift, 3-C, to help me complete my training.  We are a very tight knit shift and I feel as though everyone on it wants to see me succeed and become a Squad driver.




Thursday, August 29, 2013

Special Furry Visitors At Fire Station #17 Training to Help Wounded Warriors

By: Firefighter Sean Sandifer

This past Monday, Laytonsville Fire Station #17 went to the dogs – actually puppies! 

These little pups are being trained to one day be life long friends for our wounded warriors!  The group providing the training is called Warrior Canine Connection and they train the pups to assist our wounded warriors who have suffered psychological and physical wounds.   

Part of the puppies training is to be able to work around crowds and loud sounds.  So they were taken on a field trip here to Station #17, as one of their training lessons, which allowed the women and men of MCFRS and Laytonsville Volunteer Fire Department to do our part for our wounded warriors!

Master Firefighter Nelson makes a new friend
Experiencing how a Dalmatian might live! 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Two-Alarm Silver Spring Fire Displaces Over 100 Residents and Sends 10 to Area Hospitals

2 alarm apartment complex in the 9300 block of Piney Branch Road in Silver Spring2 alarm apartment complex in the 9300 block of Piney Branch Road in Silver Spring2 alarm apartment complex in the 9300 block of Piney Branch Road in Silver Spring2 alarm apartment complex in the 9300 block of Piney Branch Road in Silver Spring2 alarm apartment complex in the 9300 block of Piney Branch Road in Silver Spring2 alarm apartment complex in the 9300 block of Piney Branch Road in Silver Spring
2 alarm apartment complex in the 9300 block of Piney Branch Road in Silver Spring2 alarm apartment complex in the 9300 block of Piney Branch Road in Silver Spring2 alarm apartment complex in the 9300 block of Piney Branch Road in Silver Spring2 alarm apartment complex in the 9300 block of Piney Branch Road in Silver Spring2 alarm apartment complex in the 9300 block of Piney Branch Road in Silver Spring

Units from Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) were dispatched to an apartment complex in the 9300 block of Piney Branch Road in Silver Spring about 3:43 this afternoon for the initial report of smoke in the building. First-arriving units reported heavy smoke conditions and fire showing and requested additional units. A second alarm and several additional pieces of apparatus were dispatched as firefighters quickly rescued several residents trapped by the fast-moving blaze.

Firefighters from Prince Georges, Howard County and the District of Columbia assisted and the fire was brought under control within 2 ½ hours. Firefighters remain on the scene extinguishing hot spots, monitoring conditions and conducting overhaul operations of the heavily damaged apartment complex.

Seven civilians were transported to area hospitals with non-life threatening injuries and three firefighters were transported to local hospitals with minor, non-life threatening injuries.

Montgomery County Fire and Explosive Investigators determined the origin and cause of the fire to be an electrical outlet near a mattress. The mattress was ignited and the flames spread to the upper floors via a pipe chase. The American Red Cross has set up temporary operations at the Long Branch Community Recreation Center to assist residents displaced by the apartment fire. Over 100 firefighters were on the scene at the height of operations.

Damage estimates are $1 million to the structure and $500K to the contents.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service Awarded International Accreditation

The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) was  awarded one of the industry’s most prestigious honors at the Fire Rescue International Conference held earlier this month in Chicago, Illinois. The department was re-accredited by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI).  First accredited in 2007, MCFRS is currently one of 186 agencies worldwide with this distinction and is the only internationally accredited fire and rescue department in Maryland and the Washington Metropolitan National Capital Region.

“Our career and volunteer firefighters and emergency medical personnel are among the best in the nation, and this prestigious award is testament to that,” said County Executive Isiah Leggett.  “To be evaluated against national standards and international best management practices successfully is a reflection of our commitment to providing the highest level of service to residents.”

The accreditation model provides a comprehensive review, self-assessment and evaluation process that

enables fire and emergency service agencies to examine performance levels and compare them to industry best practices. Departments are required to develop a community-driven strategic plan, standards of cover assessment and an extensive risk analysis of the community they serve. The model examines more than 260 performance indicators and 82 core competency areas that are part of the assessment process conducted by subject matter experts from across the country. The process is aimed at increasing transparency of operations and leads to improved service delivery by helping fire departments to:
  • Determine community risk and safety needs;
  • Evaluate the performance of the department; and
  • Establish a method for achieving continuous organizational improvement
“Accreditation is recognized worldwide as a measure of excellence in the fire service. The accreditation process is a detailed and rigorous one, and achieving re-accreditation in Montgomery County was a total team effort,” said Fire Chief Steve Lohr. “Our staff has worked diligently to meet and exceed the most stringent standards and the highest benchmarks in public safety. The award is not a culmination but a blueprint for the future and validates our efforts to provide world-class emergency services in Montgomery County.”
About the Commission

The Commission on Fire Accreditation International is governed by eleven members representing a cross-section of the fire service industry, including fire departments, city and county management, code councils, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the International Association of Fire Fighters. The full Commission meets biannually to review all agencies applying for accredited status.

The CFAI is dedicated to assisting the fire and emergency service agencies throughout the world in achieving excellence through self-assessment and accreditation in order to provide continuous quality improvement and the enhancement of service delivery to their communities.  The process is voluntary, and provides an agency with an improvement model to assess their service delivery and performance internally and then works with a team of peers from other agencies to evaluate their completed self assessment. Additional information about the Commission can be found at

Monday, August 26, 2013

Slow Down, Watch Out. Kids Ahead! Back to School Safety Tips

Montgomery County, MD - - - Children across the region are heading back to school and Fire Chief Steve Lohr is asking all drivers to exercise extra caution and be alert as the school year begins. “Safety is our top priority. With schools back in session, drivers should allow extra time and be on the look-out for children at intersections and in neighborhoods,” said Chief Lohr. “Additionally, as a matter of safety and compliance with laws, drivers are reminded to put their cell phones down and refrain from talking or texting while behind the wheel.”

For Drivers
·         Be alert and slow down. Eliminate any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings. Put down your phone and never text while driving.  Looking away from the roadway for just two seconds doubles the chance of being involved in a crash.
·         Passengers should wear a seat belt and/or ride in an age and size-appropriate car safety seat or booster seat. Children of all ages are safest when properly restrained in the backseat of a vehicle.
·         Exercise extra caution as you head out to work and be on the lookout for school buses. Many bus routes or schedules change each year and you may encounter a school bus or stop where you may have never seen one before.
·         Scan between parked cars. Nearly 40 percent of child pedestrian fatalities occurred between the hours of 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., mostly at non-intersection locations, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Children can quickly dart out between parked cars or other objects along the roadway. Motorists should pay close attention not only at intersections, but along any residential roadways where children could be present.
·         Take extra time when making a right turn on a red light and be on the lookout for pedestrians.
·         School Zones: Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods and around schools. Be alert to children as you back your vehicle out of your driveway or exit your garage.
·         Expect delays near schools, plan ahead and allow extra time to reach your destination.
·         Safety on the road is especially important for “new” drivers that may be driving to school for the first time.
Reminders for Parents and Children

·         Be realistic about your child’s pedestrian skills. Children are not always aware of their surroundings and may dart into traffic assuming drivers will see and stop for them. Carefully consider whether your child is ready to walk to school or wait for the bus without adult supervision and walk the route with your child beforehand.
·         Teach children to always cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks and look left, right and left again before crossing. Children may have difficulty gauging the distance and speed of an approaching car, and may not recognize and react to potentially hazardous situations.
·         If traveling to school by bike, obey the rules of the road and wear a helmet. Not only is it the smart thing to do, it is also the law in Maryland.
·         Be sure that your child knows his or her phone number and address, your work number and when to call 911 for emergencies.
·         Only drive or park in authorized areas when picking up or dropping off students at school.
·         Be a good neighbor. Respect private property and always be on your best behavior while waiting for the bus.
School Bus Safety – What Motorists Should Know 

All motorists are required by law to stop when the red lights on buses are flashing. Passing a school bus when the red lights are flashing is not only illegal it is also one of the biggest threats to student safety. Motorists should be aware that the red flashing lights and the stop sign may be engaged shortly after the amber lights are on. Vehicles traveling in the same direction as the bus are always required to stop. In Maryland, the law states that vehicles must come to a complete stop on both sides of the roadway if there is no physical divider or barrier. Violations can result in a citation and fine.
Home Alone 

Parents need to carefully consider the pros and cons of having a child stay home alone before/after school. Be familiar with laws and child protective policies in your jurisdiction and, because children mature at different rates, your decision should not be based on age alone. Children should master important safety skills before staying home alone. Be sure to make and practice a home fire escape plan that includes a designated “safe” area outside where everyone will meet if the smoke alarm sounds and ensure they know when and how to call 9-1-1 in an emergency. Unattended cooking continues to be the leading cause of home fires in Montgomery County and firefighters strongly recommend having after school snacks on hand that do not require cooking. Children should only use kitchen appliances while under close adult supervision. Additional safety tips can be found on our website at 
For the law in Maryland
Section 5-801 provides:
(a) A person who is charged with the care of a child under the age of 8 years may not allow the child to be locked or confirmed in a dwelling, building, enclosure or motor vehicle while the person charged is absent and the dwelling, building, enclosure or motor vehicle is out of the sight of the person charged unless the person charged provides a reliable person at least 13 years old to remain with the child to protect the child.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Safety First Checklist

The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service has designed the following checklist to promote safety in your home. Many things around the home can be fire hazards and taking the time to look for and eliminate them can greatly reduce your risk.  Please review these tips and help us by conducting a home safety inspection today. 

Do you have smoke alarms on every level of your home?  
Install smoke alarms on every level of your home including basements and in all sleeping areas. Test and dust alarms monthly, replace batteries annually and replace any smoke alarms that are 10 years or older. Change the battery immediately if the unit starts making a “chirping” sound alerting you to a low battery.
Does everyone know what to do in case of a fire?  
Having a fire escape plan for you and your family and practicing it with a home fire drill can reduce the amount of time it takes to get out of your home safely. In your fire escape plan, have two ways out of each room, a prearranged meeting place outside and, most importantly, ONCE OUT – STAY OUT! Always call 9-1-1 from a safe location.

Can we find you if we need to?
Are your house numbers clearly visible from the street? Please provide 5 inch numbers with contrasting background.

Cooking left unattended is the leading cause of home fires. 
If you must leave the kitchen while cooking, turn off the heat. It’s a recipe for serious injury to wear loose clothing while cooking (such as long or dangling sleeves) or leaving flammable materials such as potholders, dishtowels or paper towels around the stove which can ignite easily. Heat cooking oils gradually and use extra caution when deep-frying. In the event of a fire, turn off the heat source and put a lid on the pan to smother the fire. Never throw water on a grease fire or attempt to move a pan that is on fire.

Smoking is the number 1 cause of home fire deaths. 
If you must smoke, smoke outside. Most home fires caused by smoking materials start inside the home. Use ashtrays with a wide, stable base that won’t tip over and place ashtrays on a surface that will not ignite. Dowse all smoking materials with water before disposal and consider using fire-safe cigaterettes that further reduce fire risk.     

Don’t overload electrical outlets/extension cords/circuits.
Don't overload extension cords by plugging in appliances that exceed the rating of the cord. Replace cracked or worn extension cords, don’t run extension cords under rugs or carpets or in high traffic areas and never plug one extension cord into another.

Use candles with care. 
Candle fires have almost tripled. Keep candles away from anything that can burn and extinguish all candles when leaving the room, going to sleep or leaving the house. Use a flashlight rather than a candle during power outages and consider using battery-powered candles that give the appearance of a flame without having an actual flame.      

Space heaters need space.  
Portable space heaters can quickly warm up a cold room, but they have been the cause of many serious home fires. Keep fixed and portable space heaters at least three feet from anything that can burn and follow all manufacturer instructions. Never dry wet clothing or shoes on space heaters and always turn heaters off when leaving the room or going to sleep.

Can your ashes!
Leftover fireplace ashes and embers can start fires long after the intended fire has gone out. Properly dispose of ashes in a metal container with a lid – never in a paper bag, cardboard box, plastic trash can or bag. Ashes should be kept in a metal container located outside and away from your house to cool. Your garage, house, or deck are dangerous locations for ashes to cool.  

Residential fire sprinklers save lives!Fire Sprinklers are economical, reliable and proven to be the best way to protect your family and home from the dangers of fire. Although smoke alarms are essential in every house, they’re designed to detect, not control or extinguish, a fire. Consider the tax benefits when retrofitting your home with residential fire sprinklers and may even reduce homeowner insurance premiums.   

Got one? GET ONE!
Free smoke alarms are available to qualified Montgomery County residents and free home safety evaluations are available to all residents. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

MCFRS Significant Incident Map

Sorry folks but am a little behind on my weekly posting.  Will be attempting to get caught up over the next few days. 

This map is for significant incidents Sunday, July 28 through Saturday, August 3, 2013.  As always, these do not include “routine” fire or EMS calls so they do not certainly represent the true number of incidents our stations responded to during this time frame.

As always, stay safe! BD

View MCFRS Significant Incident Map in a larger map

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Back to School Safety Press Event

Fire and Rescue Service and Safe Kids Montgomery join National Transportation Safety Board Acting Chairman Deborah Hersman, Congressman Chris Van Hollen and other safety officials and advocates to highlight rules of the road and safety tips for both kids and parents.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

House Fire 13200 block of Moran Dr

House Fire 13200 block of Moran DrHouse Fire 13200 block of Moran DrHouse Fire 13200 block of Moran DrHouse Fire 13200 block of Moran DrHouse Fire 13200 block of Moran DrHouse Fire 13200 block of Moran Dr
House Fire 13200 block of Moran Dr

On August 20th at approximately 4:10 PM units arrived on scene to find a large two story house with a fire on two floors. Damage estimates of $200K to the structure and $100K to the contents.

Photos Courtesy of Firefighter Willie Denell and Master Firefighter Craig Lauret

Friday, August 16, 2013

Rookie Training

By: Battalion Chief Mark Davis

The B-Shift "rookies" gathered at Station 16 on Tuesday for some familiarization training on Truck 716 - which is a tractor drawn ladder truck equipped with vehicle extrication equipment in addition to the normal ladder truck complement of equipment.

The folks are shown in this photo learning basic info about one of the power saws.

Tuesday's training was lead by LT Sean Regan with FF Reggie Hill and FF TJ Carlin assisting. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

No Twitter? No Problem! You Can Still Get MCFRS Updates!

Do not have a Twitter account but want to receive Montgomery County Fire and Rescue’s tweets via text? No problem.
A Twitter feature called Fast Follow make it possible for those with a cell phone and a text messaging plan to receive tweet’s on their phone.  Understand that Text messaging rates apply.
Here is how you do it:
Text “follow @mcfrs” to 40404.  You will get a text message back indicating you are now following @MCFRS.  The text will also provide guidance on how to stop the text messages if you no longer wish to receive them.
If you follow, you can expect to receive all of the latest news, updates, and safety tips from Montgomery County Fire and Rescue.

Saturday, August 10, 2013


Some good information from our partners in safety at the National Fire Protection Association. 

-Bill D

Fires started by lightning peak in the summer months and in the late afternoon and early evening.

Facts & figures
  • During 2004-2008, departments responded to an estimated annual average of 24,600 fires started by lightning. These fires caused annual averages of 12 civilian deaths, 47 civilian injuries, and $407 million in direct property damage.
  • More than half of fires caused by lightning occur outdoors. Deaths and injuries from lightning fires is small, but the dollar loss is more than $400 million per year.
  • In 2004-2008, only 18% of reported lightning fires occurred in homes, but these accounted for 88% of the civilian deaths, 77% of the associated injuries and 70% of the property damage.
Source: NFPA's "Lightning Fires and Lightning Strikes" report by Ben Evarts, December 2010

Video: NFPA's Lisa Braxton says following some simple safety tips can greatly reduce the risk of being struck by lightning.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Can we find you in an EMERGENCY?

In an emergency, police, fire and rescue workers depend on house numbers to find YOU as quickly as possible. Finding your home - especially at night - can be challenging if address numbers are unreadable, hidden, unlighted or have missing numbers and may delay emergency responders from getting to you as quickly as possible.

Are your house numbers visible from the street? Are they set on a background of contrasting color? If your house is hidden from the street, are your numbers attached to a visible fence, mailbox or gate? Is your mobile home identified with your house number? If you live on a corner, does your house number face the street named in your address?

If you've answered "no" to any of these questions, please follow the guidelines below to make sure your house number is easy to read:
  1. Numbers must be visible from the street. Existing residential home numbering can be 3 1/2 inches high, however new residential homes must be at least 5 inches high and if you replace existing numbers they must be at least 5 inches high.
  2. Numbers should be placed on a contrasting background, with a reflective coating on the numbers for easy visibility at night.
  3. Repair or replace aging address number placards, especially on mailboxes that are a distance from the front of the residence.
  4. Prune any bushes, tree limbs or other growth that has covered your house numbers.
  5. Numbers should be placed on or beside the front door. If your door is not easily seen from the street, put the numbers on a post, fence or tree at the driveway entrance so they can be clearly seen from the street. In addition to numbers on the front door of your house, if you have a rural-style mailbox, reflective and contrasting numbers should be placed on both sides of the box so they can be seen by an emergency vehicle approaching from either direction.

Montgomery County Code on Addresses

  1. The owner of any structure presently existing or constructed in the future must display Arabic numbers designating the address assigned to the structure by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, or by the municipality in which the structure is located. Numbers must be at least five (5) inches high for single-family detached and attached residences and at least six (6) inches high for commercial, industrial or multifamily structures. However, if the numbers designating the address of a single-family residence on April 5, 1988, were at least three (3) inches high, those numbers comply with the size requirement of this section as long as they remain in place. Address displays must be posted on a contrasting background displayed in a conspicuous place that is unobstructed and clearly readable from the street named in the official address of the structure. Where a structure has more than one (1) address or where more than one (1) structure shares a common entry or driveway, numbers must designate the addresses in sequence.
  2. An agency of the county must not require a permit for a sign containing only the address of a residence if the sign is smaller than a maximum size set by the county executive by regulation.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Social Media Platforms of MCFRS

We here at MCFRS continue to embrace social media technologies in an effort to provide value added communication services to those we serve.  The platforms have been used for emergency information, safety tips, as well as general interest information.  Hopefully, many of you have found the useful and interesting!

Below, please find links to our social media sites as the list continues to grow:

MCFRS Virtual TV                 Ustream

MCFRS Facebook page          MCFRS Blog

MCFRS on Twitter                 MCFRS on Linkedin

MCFRS on Google +              Pinterest

Flickr                                       Paper Il

Tumbler                                  Screenr

As always, be safe and please spread the word to friends and family!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

MCFRS Gas Fire Training At Washington Gas Training Facility

Engine 702, Engine 719, Tower 719, and Ambulance 702 conducting Training at the Washington Gas Facility. Video courtesy of Firefighter Bryan Riley.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Fire Chief Steve Lohr Announces Promotions

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

The following personnel have been promoted to the rank of Battalion Chief:

Mike Baltrotsky
Monte Fitch

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

Michael S. Murdock

The following personnel have been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant:

Mathew M. Houck
Anthony P. Damico
Chase J. Fabrizio
Christina L. Dietz
Daniel H. Hudson
Jamie K. Baltrotsky
Joseph E. Hayunga
Noel P. Hull
Robert J. Faas Jr
Shelley M. Wheeler
Todd J. Brown

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

David R. Briscoe
Marilynne E. Chindblom
Michael S. Phillips
Peter R. Gillis
Beau P. Nelson
Sean P. Carroll
Shawn M. Goodbrod 

Monday, August 5, 2013

The 1st Battalion Challenge Coin

By: Battalion Chief Mark Davis

The 1st Battalion, 1st Edition, challenge coin is now available. All proceeds are being split 50/50 between The Don't Panic Foundation and The Wounded Warrior Project.

Many thanks to FF Eaton Criado (Sta 12-A) for creating the design for this coin and for continuing to build 1st Battalion PRIDE!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Montgomery County Firefighters Pipes & Drums Perform for Wounded Warriors

By Captain Rick Blandford

On July 17th members of the Montgomery County Firefighters Pipes & Drums performed for “Marines Helping Marines Foundation” during a cookout at Walter Reed Hospital.

In attendance were Marines and Soldiers who where wounded while protecting our great nation. The cookouts are held every three months to give the service men & women a relaxed atmosphere and a good old fashion Bar-B-Q meal.

A true honor and privilege for us all.

Klyle Crutchley, Peter Leong, Dan Friz,
      Ivan Browning, Rick Blandford, Brian Hagberg, Ty DeMent

Kyle & Rick show up in a 1926 American

Friday, August 2, 2013

One Overturned in Company 19's Area

One Overturned in Company 19's AreaOne Overturned in Company 19's AreaOne Overturned in Company 19's AreaOne Overturned in Company 19's Area

By: Battalion Chief Mark Davis

Right after 7 AM yesterday morning, Fire Station 19 and Ambulance 702 along with Rescue Squad 742 741B, Truck 706, and Medic 741 responded to a motor vehicle collision at the intersection of Grubb Road and East-West Highway. Crews arrived to find a two-vehicle collision with one car rolled onto its side and its driver still trapped. The vehicle was stabilized and the driver was removed without incident and transported to a local trauma center with non-life threatening injuries. A good effort by all of those involved!

The intersection of Grubb and East West is a busy intersection near the border of the 1st Battalion and Battalion 2. It is an intersection worthy of extra caution when approaching it.

Photos Courtesy of Firefighter Riley

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Fire Station 16 Hosts Local Community Group

By: Battalion Chief Mark Davis

On July 25th, Silver Spring Fire Station 16 on the A-Shift hosted students from an entry-level English as a Second Language Class. The 17 students who attended learned about fire safety and injury prevention as well as the services provided by MCFRS. The students were from Cameroon, Congo, Haiti, Guatemala, Peru, Dominican Republic, and El Salvador. Captain Dee Richards and her crew at Fire Station 16 did a great job helping to further the student's knowledge about life safety issues in their home. 

Photo courtesy of ESL Instructor Karin Schach