Friday, January 30, 2015

Townhouse Fire 10921 Brewer House Road

This morning at approximately 0130 hours, MCFRS units responded for a reported townhouse fire at 10921 Brewer House Road.  The 911 call was made by a neighbor who stated that she was awakened by the occupant of the address knocking on her door yelling fire.

Montgomery County Police arrived on the scene first and reported a fire and one adult male with severe burns.  Engine 726 arrived on the scene and confirmed significant fire coming from several windows in an end of the row, two-story townhouse and requested a 2nd alarm.  A fire attack was initiated from the exterior to dampen down some of the fire which then allowed for a transition to an interior attack to extinguish the fire.  The fire was quickly brought under control and extinguished. 

Click on above for more photos
The 73 year old male occupant of this address was located in a neighbor's townhouse with significant second and third degree burns over approximately thirty percent of his body.  He stated that he was awakened by the smoke alarm and observed fire in the front of the house.  He then attempted to extinguish the fire but could not. 

The occupant was transported Priority 1 to a local burn center with critical and potentially life threatening injuries and is listed in critical condition at the time of this writing. 

Approximately 75 fire and rescue personnel responded to the scene.  In addition, Medical Ambulance Bus 726 (MAB) was on scene for shelter and rehab due to the extreme cold.

The origin and cause investigation determined the fire was accidental and caused by an electrical failure or malfunction in a floor outlet. Damages were estimated at $350,000 to the structure and $100,000 to the contents of the home.  Two cats are also unaccounted for.

Firefighters will be returning to the neighborhood later this afternoon at approximately 4 p.m. to hand out safety information as well as offer to check smoke alarms to insure they are working. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015


Acting Fire Chief Goldstein is pleased to announce the following personnel have been promoted to the rank of Master Firefighter.

    • Aaron M. Baginski
    • Christopher J. Higgins
    • Christopher L. Wainwright
    • Louis A. Wright
    • Wister T. Bryant 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Ice & Cold Weather Safety Tips

Each year, many residents are injured during the winter months as a result of pedestrian accidents and from exposure in cold water incidents. Skaters fall through the ice; boaters and canoeists overturn their crafts and pedestrians are struck walking in roadways because sidewalks
are snow covered.

Here are a few general guidelines for use by winter recreation enthusiasts to lessen their chances for an icy dip or worse. It's impossible to judge the strength of ice by its appearance, thickness, daily temperature, or snow cover alone. Ice strength is also dependent on water depth under the ice, the size of the water and water chemistry, currents, and distribution of the load on the ice.



  • Act quickly and call 9-1-1 for help immediately. Make sure properly trained and equipped rescue personnel are alerted to respond.
  • DO NOT go out onto the ice. Many times would-be rescuers become victims themselves.
  • Reach, Throw, or Row. Extend a branch, pole or ladder to the victim. Throw them a buoyant object such as a life ring or float tied to a rope. If a boat is nearby row out to the victim or push it toward them.


  • Any water that is cooler than normal body temperature (98.6 degrees F) is by definition "cold water"
  • Cold water drains away body heat 25 to 30 times faster than air!
  • The lower the temperature of the water, the faster the onset of hypothermia.


  • Hypothermia is the excessive lowering of body temperature. A drop n core temperature below 95 degrees F., causes shivering, confusion, loss of muscle strength, and if not treated and reversed leads to unconsciousness and death.
  • Safety experts estimate that half of all drowning victims die from the fatal effects of hypothermia and cold water, not the fatal effects from water filled lungs.


  • Slippery driveways and sidewalks can be particularly hazardous in the winter. Keep them well shoveled, and apply materials such as rock salt or sand to improve traction.
  • Be especially careful crossing the street and wear appropriate shoes and brightly colored (not white) clothing while walking in snowy conditions.
  • Use reflective clothing or stickers for maximum protection, especially at dawn and dusk.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Attention Middle School Parents And Students

Attention all Middle School parents & students: CPSC sponsoring nationwide carbon monoxide safety poster contest.  Great opportunity to showcase your talent and help spread a valuable life safety message!

CO Poster Contest Brochure

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Driving in Fog - Safety Tips

It is foggy out there folks!!!!  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

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Fire Safety Checklist for Older Adults

Knowing what to do in the event of a fire is particularly important for older adults. Older adults are the fastest growing segment of the population and also one of the groups at highest risk for fire death and injury. Mobility and reaction times may be slowed; the senses of sight, hearing and smell may be diminished and medications may increase drowsiness, confusion or disorientation. At age 65, people are TWICE as likely to be killed or injured by fires. By age 75, people are nearly FOUR times as likely to die in a fire and over the age of 85? The risk of dying in a fire is increased FIVE times.

If a fire started in your home, would you be able to get out in time? Increase your chances of survival by reviewing these safety tips and remember, having working smoke alarms double your chances of surviving a home fire.

Why are Older Adults at Risk?

  • Conditions associated with the aging process place older adults at increased risk for fire injury and death. Chronic illness, decreased mobility, health, sight, and hearing may limit a person's ability to take the quick action necessary to escape during a fire emergency.
  • Depending on physical limitations, many of the actions an individual can take to protect themselves from the dangers of fire may require help from a caregiver, neighbor or other source.
  • Decreased healing mechanisms. As a result, older adults tend to die from smaller burns, have longer hospital stays and require more time to recuperate from burn injuries.
  • Many medications prescribed to treat the ailments of the elderly may cause confusion and fatigue.

By practicing a few simple fire safety tips, you can greatly reduce your chances of experiencing a fire:

Install and Maintain Smoke Alarms.

Smoke Alarms
The single most important step you can take to save your life during a fire is to install a smoke alarm that suits your needs. A working smoke alarm can make a vital difference in the event of a fire and may reduce the risk of dying in a fire by as much as 60 percent. Install working smoke alarms on every level of your home and in sleeping areas. A working smoke alarm can alert you to the presence of deadly smoke while there is still time to escape. Test and dust each smoke alarm monthly and change the batteries at least once a year. Change the battery immediately if the unit starts making a "chirping" sound alerting you to a low battery.
It is estimated that one-third of those between the ages of 65 and 75, and one-half of those over 75 have some degree of hearing loss. Deaf and hard of hearing persons cannot rely on traditional audible smoke alarms, but can rely on a vibrating or visual alarms equipped with strobe lights. If you are hearing-impaired, install an alarm that alerts using these signals. Ask friends, family members, building managers or call the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service at 240-777-2467 to install and test the batteries in your smoke alarm if it is hard to reach or to get information on smoke alarms for the hearing impaired.

Smoking is the leading cause of fire-related deaths in the United States.

If you smoke, do it with care. Many fires are started when ashes or cigarette butts fall onto couches, chairs, wooden decks or in mulch. Ashes can smolder for hours before re-igniting.
  • Never smoke in bed, while drowsy, or while under the influence of medication or alcohol.
  • Use large, deep ashtrays for smoking debris and let the contents cool and douse with water before you dispose of them.
  • Put ashtrays in the sink, fill with water, and let it sit overnight before you dispose of the contents. Or, dispose of cigarettes and matches in a metal container, such as a coffee can with a lid, and let it cool overnight.
  • Check furniture for any smoldering cigarette butts and ashes before going to bed.

Pay Attention to Your Cooking.

The leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries is careless cooking. Most kitchen fires start because cooking food has been left unattended. Prevent fires and burns by being watchful and alert when you cook, keeping pot handles turned inward, not overheating food (especially fats and oils) and keeping children and pets at least three feet away from the stove. The area around the stove should be kept clear of food packaging, dish towels, newspapers, curtains, cabinets and paper or plastic bags that can easily ignite.
Never lean over a hot burner and wear short or tight-fitting sleeves when cooking to prevent clothing from igniting. Always use pot holders and oven mitts when handling hot pots and pans to prevent burns.

Heat Your Home Safely.

Have a professional service all heating equipment annually. Keep combustibles and anything that can burn or melt away from all heaters, furnaces, fireplaces and water heaters. Use your range or oven for cooking only - never to heat your home.
Hundreds of fires start each year when things that burn, such as curtains, clothing, bedding, gasoline, or paint solvents are placed too close to heaters, furnaces, wood stoves, fireplaces, or water heaters. Store flammable liquids like cleaning solvents and gasoline outside of your home. Have at least three feet of clearance in all directions around portable/space heaters. Use the proper fuel for all heating equipment. Change filters in furnaces monthly. Keep chimneys clean. To prevent scalds, set the temperature of your water heater no higher than 120 degrees. All heating devices should be checked by a professional.

Practice Electrical Safety.

Have a professional electrician inspect your home's electrical wiring system at least every 10 years, and make recommended repairs. Never overload the electrical system. Plug each appliance directly into its own outlet and avoid using extension cords. Have an electrician install ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) in rooms where water may be present. Install and maintain electrical appliances according to the manufacturers' instructions.

Homes more than 40 years old are three times more likely to catch on fire from electrical causes than homes 11 to 20 years old. That's because older wiring may not have the capacity to safely handle newer appliances and equipment and may not incorporate updated safety features. Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) are important electrical safety devices that offer superior protection against dangerous electric shock and also may prevent some electrical fires. Have GFCIs installed in bathroom and kitchen circuits and in other locations where water and dampness may be present. Call a professional electrician to make sure you have the proper fuses, find reasons for blown fuses and tripped circuit breakers, replace old or damaged outlets and install more outlets if needed. You are more likely to overload electrical outlets if you use more than one high-wattage appliance on a circuit at a time. Extension cords are meant for temporary use only and should be unplugged when not in use. If you see frayed cords on older appliances, have the cord replaced or; better yet, replace the appliance altogether.

Keep Matches and Lighters Away from Children.

Children and fire - a dangerous, and sometimes deadly, mix. Store matches and lighters in a locked drawer or a high cabinet when you have young visitors in your home. Using lighters that are child-resistant can prevent deaths and injuries.

Use Candles Safely.

As decorative candles have become increasingly popular, candle fires have also increased. If you light candles, keep them away from children and pets, from curtains and furniture, and extinguish them before you leave the room or go to bed. Make sure candles are in sturdy holders that won't tip over and are made of non-flammable material.

Know What to Do in Case of a Fire.

Practicing how you would escape a fire before it strikes will enable you to get out faster. Getting out of your own home sounds easy, but your home can look very different if it's full of smoke. Fire Drills are a good opportunity to make sure that everyone is able to hear and respond to smoke alarms.
  • Draw a layout of your house marking all windows and doors. Plan two routes out of each room and practice your plan.
  • Designate a meeting place outside and take attendance. Get out and stay out. Never go back into a burning or smoky building.
  • Remember to escape first, then call 911. Keep a pair of slippers, eyeglasses and a flashlight by your bed at night. Once you hear the smoke alarm, act quickly and escape.
If you use a wheelchair or walker, or otherwise might have a problem escaping from a fire, discuss your escape plans ahead of time with your family, your building manager and neighbors. Let them know about your special circumstances and ask them to help plan the best escape routes for you. A full fire safety plan covers more than just what to do if the worst happens. It covers prevention and detection too.

The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service sponsors a FREE smoke alarm program for qualifying senior citizens, the disabled and low-income home owners of Montgomery County, Maryland. Please contact us at 240-777-2476 for information.

Monday, January 19, 2015

County Executive to Highlight Success of the Fire Department’s Home Safety Initiatives for Seniors

IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 19, 2015

Tuesday, January 20, 2015
11:30 a.m.

Holiday Park Senior Center 
3950 Ferrara Drive 
Wheaton, Maryland 20906

Montgomery County, MD - - - County Executive Isiah Leggett and Acting Fire Chief Scott Goldstein will be highlighting several fire department initiatives aimed at keeping seniors in the County safe while reminding residents of the life-saving benefits of working smoke alarms.

The fire department recently launched a “Home Safety Check” program for seniors in the County. Initial results from the program indicate that over 90% of smoke alarms checked during recent home visits to seniors were found to be inoperable due to dead or missing batteries, past the 10-year life span for smoke alarms or not present in homes.

To request a free home safety evaluation and smoke alarm check-up, the Fire Department’s “Senior Hotline” is 240-777-2430. Additionally, all County residents are urged to take advantage of the department’s free home safety evaluation program and can call 311 for additional information.

# # #

Seniors: What You Should Know

Smoke Alarms

Smoke alarms

If a fire occurred in your home, would your smoke alarm work?

Don't wait for a fire to find out. Smoke alarms can alert you and your family and provide the critical seconds you need to escape in a fire. Does your home have smoke alarms on each level, especially near sleeping areas? Do you test them monthly? Be sure to change the batteries, with new batteries, twice a year and replace alarms after ten years according to manufacturer's instructions. Remember, only a working smoke alarm can save your life.

What to Do in Case of Fire

Does everyone know what to do in case of a fire?

Practice fire drills at home and have two ways out of every room. Fires are frightening and can cause panic. By rehearsing different scenarios, your family will be less likely to waste precious time trying to figure out what to do. Designate a meeting place outside your house or apartment building that is a safe distance away (a mailbox, a fence, or even a distinctive-looking tree) where everyone can be accounted for after they escape. Decide in advance who will help family members that may need assistance.



Cooking fires are the leading cause of fire injuries and the third leading cause of fire deaths among older adults.

When using the stove, never leave cooking food unattended. If you need to step away, turn it off. Always wear tight-fitting clothing when cooking - a dangling sleeve can catch fire easily. Use pins or rubber bands to secure sleeves and keep the stove top clear of anything flammable such as food containers, towels, pot holders, newspapers, etc.
Call 9-1-1 and DO NOT try to extinguish the fire.
A fire can double in size every 60 seconds and a delay in notifying 9-1-1 can cause further injury/death and property damage.


Improperly discarded smoking materials are the leading cause of fire deaths in the United States.

If you must smoke, designate an area to smoke, use large non-tip ashtrays and soak cigarette butts and ashes before discarding. Never smoke in bed, when sleepy/impaired or on medication that makes you drowsy.

Electrical Safety

Don't overload electrical outlets/circuits.

Don't overload electrical outlets/circuits
In many older homes, the capacity of the wiring system has not kept pace with today's modern appliances. Overloaded electrical systems create fire hazards. Watch for these signals of overload: dimming lights when an appliance goes on, a shrinking TV picture, slow heating appliances, or fuses blowing frequently. Call a qualified electrician to get expert help. Do not run extension cords under rugs or carpets and replace any that are cracked, frayed or have loose connections.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Patriotism and Pride at the 12 House

By: Battalion Chief Mark Davis

Some old fire hose and a bunch of "know how" created this great patriotic master piece for the day room of Station 12 (Hillandale). Many thanks to Firefighters Dan Rothermal (24B) and Bill Naugle (2B) for taking on this project and keeping the "company pride" going in the 1st Battalion! Excellent work fellas!

A pretty awesome work of art that is also dimensionally correct in terms of length, width, and star size.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Time to "Retire" Your Old Smoke Alarms?

Courtesy of NFPA
I wanted to make sure all of you knew that smoke alarms need to have a retirement plan - as most of us do. Once your alarms reach the ripe old age of 10, they are eligible for "retirement" and need to be replaced by a new generation of smoke alarms.

Even if your 10 year old, or older, smoke alarm still sounds when you push the test button, it should be replaced.

To learn more about smoke alarms, please go here: Smoke Alarms

To learn how to properly dispose of a smoke alarm, please go here: How to recycle/dispose of smoke alarms

For those with battery powered alarms, please go here to learn about Maryland's Updated Smoke Alarm Law.

Stay Safe!


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

December EMS Providers of the Month

L-R Lt. Ney, Dr. Stone MCFRS Medical Director, Captain Murdock
and Battalion Chief Butsch from MCFRS EMS Section
On Tuesday, January 13 personnel from Clarksburg Fire Station 35 were recognized as EMS Providers of the Month for December.   

The recognition was a result of the crew’s rapid actions taken on December 17 that resulted in swift treatment and transport of a patient suffering a significant heart attack.  

Personnel receiving this prestigious recognition were Lieutenant/Paramedic Kirk Ney, Firefighter Roger Fails, Firefighter Greyson Brown, Firefighter/Paramedic Blaine Kring, Firefighter James Henry, Firefighter Robert Snavely.  In addition to a certificate, the EMS Providers of the Month also receive a beautiful challenge coin.

From the commendation letter:

“On December 17, 2014, you were dispatched for a 57 y/o male experiencing chest pain.  On the scene, you quickly realized the patient was a STEMI.  You performed numerous basic and advanced life support skills, quickly transported, and en-route to the hospital, continued a high level of care for the patient.  With your quick assessment, transmission of EKG, notification of STEMI, your skills, and teamwork, this patient had a door to balloon time of only 35 minutes.”

For many of you, some of the above verbiage is more than likely not clear.  Below is some background which will no doubt highlight just how impressive the crews’ actions were and the tremendous resources we have in Montgomery County. 


STEMI (ST- segment elevation myocardial infarction) is a type of heart attack. 

EKG (or ECG) - electrocardiogram which is a test that checks for issues with the electrical activity of your heart.

In 2010, the department established the Emergency Cardiac Care (ECC) program which allows paramedics to transmit critical data directly and securely from remote locations to area hospitals using sophisticated technology and equipment.  This allows the hospital team to mobilize and be standing by to intervene with angioplasty, as needed, so that blocked heart vessels can be opened and blood flow to the heart restored which can ultimately make a difference in patient outcome.  

The time period from diagnosis to the opening of the vessels is known as “door to balloon” or D2B time. According to guidelines by the American Heart Association, optimal D2B time is 90 minutes or less.
L-R; FP1 Kring, FF Brown, Capt. Murdock, Dr. Stone and BC Butsch

Monday, January 12, 2015

Silver Spring House Fire

Montgomery County, MD - - -  At approximately 9:05 AM on Sunday, January 11 fire and rescue units from MCFRS were dispatched for a house fire at 9711 Admiralty Drive, Silver Spring. First arriving units reported fire and smoke showing from the basement windows of a one story single family home.

As the fire appeared to be well advanced, due to portions of the first floor having already been burned through, Incident Command requested that a Rapid Intervention and Task Force assignment be dispatched bringing additional units and personnel to the scene. Approximately 75 firefighters total responded to the scene.

Fire Investigators proceeded to conduct an origin and cause investigation that determined the fire originated in the ceiling void space of the basement. This continuous void space in the ceiling area allowed for extensive fire spread prior to the fire being discovered by a neighbor, as the occupants were not home, who noticed smoke coming from the house.

The cause of the fire is listed as accidental. Three adults were displaced as a result of the fire which caused $200K of damage to the structure and $50K to the contents. Two cats were missing an unaccounted for.

Photos of fire can be found HERE

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Damascus House Fire

Montgomery County, MD - - -  On Saturday, January 10 at around 4 PM, units from Montgomery County Fire and Rescue as well as Frederick and Carroll County’s were dispatched for a report of fire in the basement at 28408 Kemptown Rd., Damascus.

First arriving units encountered heavy fire in the basement and first floors of a two-story, single-family house. The fire had entered the interior walls and extended upwards creating a stubborn fire behind both vinyl and wood siding. After significant effort, the fire was eventually brought under control and then extinguished.

MCFRS Fire Investigators were requested and the resulting examination revealed that the fire was caused by a propane fueled construction heater. The homeowner, while upstairs, heard a loud noise in the basement and upon entering the basement discovered the fire and attempted to extinguish it. He received minor burns to his face for which he refused any treatment.

The cause of the fire was accidental. Damage is estimated to be $200K to the structure and $100K to the contents. Two adults and one dog were displaced as a result of the fire. Approximately 75 Firefighters from Montgomery, Carroll and Frederick were on scene. One firefighter was transported to a local hospital for an injured leg after slipping on the ice. The home did have a working smoke alarm.

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Friday, January 9, 2015

Preventing Frozen Fire Sprinkler Pipes

Automatic fire sprinkler systems have enjoyed an enviable record of protecting life and property for over 100 years.  Since early 2004, Council Bill #25-03 requires fire sprinkler systems be installed in all new single-family homes in Montgomery County.  Several years prior required fire sprinklers in newly built apartment/condo type residential homes as well as townhouses.  

Because of this critical life safety initiative, MCFRS knows there are a good number of single and multi family homes, along with commercial buildings, that are equipped with life-saving fire sprinkler systems. 

All people who live in homes with fire sprinklers, along with apartment/commercial building owners and management companies, need to take time ensure that these systems are protected against pipes freezing.  

Preventing Frozen Fire Sprinkler Pipes 
  • If fire sprinkler piping is exposed to outside temperatures, it should be heated or adequately insulated. 
  • Keep doors, garage doors, windows and vents closed when not in use as resulting drafts might allow cold air to contact the piping. Repair any broken windows, doors or any cracks in exterior walls that may be near any fire sprinkler piping.
  • Most fire sprinkler pipes are within the walls and/or ceilings of a home. Cold air can possibly enter these hidden spaces through small gaps in the exterior sheathing and insulation and find its way directly onto the fire sprinkler pipes. Try to find and repair these gaps.
  • In attics, the pipes should be as close to the ceiling as possible with insulation placed over the top of the sprinkler pipe.  Inspect the sprinkler pipes that are in the attic and if you see pipes exposed then they need to be insulated immediately.
  • Adequate heat should be provided to all areas by use of the existing heating system of the home rather than other means such as space heaters.
  • Do not use temporary heating equipment such as kerosene space heaters or other un-vented portable fuel-burning space heaters as these heaters can increase the risk of fire and potential health hazards such as Carbon Monoxide poisoning.
  • Do not use torches or other open flame devices to thaw pipes or other equipment.
  • In case a pipe bursts ensure all family members know the location of the water shut-off valve and the proper method to turn it off to minimize damage.
  • A lot of times expanding ice within the pipe can cause a crack but the ice will block the flow of water while it is frozen. In this situation, the water damage may not be apparent until after the ice melts and water is able to flow out of the cracked portion.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Is it Flu or Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

Winter is here and thousands of adults and children will experience "flu-like" symptoms. But not all such cases are caused by the flu virus. Some victims actually have been unknowingly exposed to carbon monoxide (CO), which can result in serious injury or even death.
From CPSC web site

In fact, the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can be quite similar to flu symptoms, which can sometimes even mask a CO poisoning. The longer CO symptoms are overlooked, the more difficult it becomes to treat victims effectively.

The symptoms of CO generally progress as exposure increases. If exposure is prolonged, symptoms can become life-threatening, including increased heart rate, loss of consciousness, convulsions and seizures. Coma, brain damage and death can result if exposure is severe.

Carbon monoxide cannot be detected by human senses. The only safe way to detect it is to properly install CO alarms in the right locations in the home. Surprisingly, 75 million American homes do not have CO alarms. In addition to installing CO alarms, watch for these symptoms of CO poisoning:


  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Blurred vision

MODERATE SYMPTOMS (in addition to minor symptoms)

  • Drowsiness
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Severe headache
  • Difficulty thinking

SEVERE SYMPTOMS (in addition to moderate symptoms)

  • Increased heart rate
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Convulsions/seizure
During winter the chance of CO poisoning increases so please make sure to ask the question "Is it flu or CO poisoning?" Don't wait until it's too late to install CO alarms. For more information, visit

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Fireplace and Wood Burning Safety

Just when we thought it could not get any colder -- it will!  No doubt many of you are firing up the wood burning stove or fireplace in your home.  Each year, we continue to run too many fires as a result of improperly discarded fireplace and wood stove ashes!

Please take a moment to review the below related safety tips to help make sure you enjoy your fireplace or wood burning stove safely.

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.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Precautions To Prevent Water Pipes From Freezing

With forecasted record lows hitting our area over the next several days, we expect the potential of many water pipes freezing and bursting. Please review the below tips to help minimize the possibility or damage.

  • Shut off outside hose facets and drain 
  • Purchase a cover for the outside hose faucet - they are cheap and very effective 
  • Locate the main water shut off for your home so that if a pipe bursts, you can shut off the water thus stopping the leak and minimizing damage
  • Open cabinet doors in the kitchen and bathrooms to let heat in and around the plumbing.  Especially important if some of these pipes run up against outside walls.
  • Keep any garage doors closed if there are water pipes or supply lines in the garage.  If attached to home, consider opening the door to the garage to allow home heat to enter the garage.  While your heating bill may take a hit, the cost will not compare to costly repairs from water damage
  • DO NOT use kerosene or other fuel fed heating devices in the garage to heat it
  • Let water drip from faucets served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe (even at a dribble) can help prevent pipes from freezing
  • DO NOT use a blow torch or any other open flame to try and thaw out potentially frozen pipes!
  • Keep the thermostat set to no lower than 55° F during the evening hours or if you will be leaving the home for an extended period of time (day or night)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Heating Your Home Safely - Space Heaters

Looks like things are going to get a little "chilly" around here the next several days!

With cold weather upon us, it is a good time to remind everyone of some simple steps to help prevent a heating related fire in your home.  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.

Below, please find a short video as well as safety tips related to space heaters.  According to the United States Fire Administration, space heaters cause one-third of home heating fires and 4 out of 5 home heating fires deaths.

Electric Space Heaters
  • Place heaters at least three feet away from objects such as bedding, furniture and drapes. Never use heaters to dry clothes or shoes. Do not place heaters where towels or other objects could fall on the heater and start a fire. 
  • If you use an electric heater, be sure not to overload the circuit. Only use extension cords which have the necessary rating to carry an amp load. TIP: Choose an extension cord the same size or larger than the appliance electrical cord. 
  • Be certain that your heater is placed on a level, hard and nonflammable surface, not on rugs or carpets. 
  • Use heaters on the floor. Never place heaters on furniture, since they may fall, dislodging or breaking parts in the heater, which could result in a fire or shock hazard. 
  • Keep all heaters in safe working conditions. Never operate a defective heater. 
  • Avoid using electrical space heaters in bathrooms or other areas where they may come in contact with water. 
While we do not recommend using Kerosene or propane fueled space heaters we provide the below tips: 
  • Be sure your heater is in good working condition. Inspect exhaust parts for carbon buildup. Be sure the heater has an emergency shut off in the event the heater is tipped over. 
  • Never use fuel burning appliances without proper room venting. Burning fuel (coal, kerosene, or propane, for example) can produce deadly fumes. 
  • Use ONLY the fuel recommended by the heater manufacturer. NEVER introduce a fuel into a unit not designed for that type fuel. 
  • Keep kerosene, or other flammable liquids stored in approved metal containers, in well ventilated storage areas, outside of the house. 
  • NEVER fill the heater while it is operating or hot. When refueling an oil or kerosene unit, avoid overfilling. DO NOT use cold fuel for it may expand in the tank as it warms up. 
  • Refueling should be done outside of the home (or outdoors). Keep children, pets and clothing away from heaters. 
  • When using a fuel burning appliance in the bedroom, be sure there is proper ventilation to prevent a buildup of carbon monoxide.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Division Chief Scott Goldstein To Serve As Acting Fire Chief

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett selected Division Chief Scott Goldstein to serve as the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) Acting Fire Chief, effective January 1, 2015. Most recently Chief Goldstein was assigned as the Operations Division Chief responsible for all field delivery of fire, medical and emergency response services to a community of just over one (1) million citizens spread out over 500 square miles.

The Operations Division is the largest Division within MCFRS and provides nearly 300 daily staffing positions spread over Montgomery County's 37 fire and rescue stations. Daily staffing includes over 50 pieces of large fire and rescue apparatus, 40 EMS transport units, and several dozen specialized and support units. The Department responds to more than 110,000 emergency calls for service annually with a departmental budget of about $218 million dollars.

Prior to his assignment as the Division Chief for Operations, Chief Goldstein served as the Special Operations Section Chief, from April 2009 to May 2013. The Special Operations Section includes; hazardous materials, technical rescue, water rescue, and bomb squad response, interoperability radio cache, Emergency Operations Center liaison and staffing, as well as fire and rescue involvement in all mass gatherings/special events. In Chief Goldstein’s over 23 years with MCFRS he has also been assigned as the Operations Chief Executive Officer, Field Operations Battalion Chief, Deputy Safety Officer, shift supervisor and fire fighter.

Chief Goldstein is actively involved in the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Fire/Police Chiefs subcommittees and was the co-chair of the Law Enforcement and EMS working group that developed a model policy on intergrated operations of law enforcement and fire and rescue personnel during law enforcement incidents.

Since 1990, Chief Goldstein has been a member of the Maryland Urban Search and Rescue Task Force. He has been an Assistant Task Force Leader, Logistics Manager, and Logistics Specialist. Chief Goldstein was instrumental in equipment research and purchasing and the development of its task force cache. He responded as a member of the FEMA Incident Support Team to the Oklahoma City bombing and Hurricane Opal and deployed as a member of MD‑TF1 to the Northridge Earthquake, Hurricanes Charley, Fran, Floyd, Marilyn, and George and to the Pentagon terrorist incident on September 11, 2001.

Chief Goldstein holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Maryland University College and is presently enrolled in the Naval Post Graduate School working towards a Master Degree in Homeland Security with a planned graduation in December 2015.

He, his wife and children reside in Montgomery County.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year! Time to "Retire" Your Old Smoke Alarms?

Courtesy of NFPA
Happy New Year!  Looking for a good resolution for 2015?

I have a good one for you  Retire your old smoke alarms if they are 10 years of age or older.

Once your alarms reach the ripe old age of 10, they are eligible for "retirement" and need to be replaced by a new generation of smoke alarms.

Even if your 10 year old, or older, smoke alarm still sounds when you push the test button, it should be replaced.

To learn more about smoke alarms, please go here: Smoke Alarms

To learn how to properly dispose of a smoke alarm, please go here: How to recycle/dispose of smoke alarms

For those with battery powered alarms, please go here to learn about Maryland's Updated Smoke Alarm Law.

Stay Safe!