Saturday, February 28, 2015

Rookie Dinner

By: Battalion Chief David Polikoff 

Eating well at FS12-A
It has been a long standing tradition that when a rookie comes off probation, he/she will cook dinner for their shift. The rookie is to cook the dinner with their own hands and the meal will be free of charge for the shift. The rules the recruits are told in the academy, is that the meal will be good, creative and expensive.

This past Wednesday Firefighter Clinton Pfarr, Fire Station 12-A Shift, lived up to the tradition. On the menu was:

Prime rib
Crab cakes
Mashed potatoes
Fresh green beans

For desert Apple pie and Ice cream

Bravo Firefighter Pfarr and congratulations on coming off probation.

Friday, February 27, 2015

House Fire On Norwood Road in Olney

On Friday, February 27 at approximately 5:30 a.m. MCFRS Units were dispatched for a reported house fire at 17734 Norwood Road in Olney. Firefighters from Sandy Spring Fire Station #4 were first to arrive and reported a fire in the attic of a large single-family home.

The only occupant of the home, an adult female, was quickly located and indicated that she was awakened to the smoke alarms sounding and discovered moderate smoke in the house. She told Fire Investigators she heard the sound of something cracking and at that point initiated the 911 call for assistance.  

First arriving Firefighters began an aggressive interior fire attack to extinguish the visible fire. At this point the fire had extended throughout the attic and through the roof. Additional fire/rescue resources were requested and dispatched to the scene which eventually escalated to a 2nd Alarm with approximately 100 fire/rescue personnel on scene.

The bulk of the fire was brought under control quickly although firefighters spent several hours working on extinguishing remaining “hot spots" and overhaul. In addition, personnel dealt with cold weather issues and frozen fire hydrants as temperatures hovered around twenty degrees.  The MCFRS Medical Ambulance Bus (MAB) was utilized on scene and assisted with warmth & rehab for firefighters. 

One firefighter did sustain a minor shoulder injury.  As well, the occupant of the home, an adult female, was transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries as a result of smoke inhalation.         

Fire Investigators arrived on scene to conduct a cause and origin investigation.  Preliminary, the fire appears to have started in the attic over the fireplace.  Investigators determined that the cause appeared to be a compromised flue in the chimney/accidental.

Damages were estimated at $350k to the structure and $150k to the contents.


Thursday, February 26, 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.

THE ONLY "SAFE" ICE IS AT A SKATING ARENA!


WHAT DO YOU DO IF SOMEONE FALLS THROUGH 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.

HOW COLD IS COLD WATER?

  • 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.

WHAT IS 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.

PEDESTRIAN SAFETY

  • 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.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Hear Us, See Us, Clear for Us!

“Please Abide – Pull Aside”

Do you know what to do when approached by an emergency vehicle? The metropolitan area is often crowded and congested with traffic conditions caused by commuters, collisions, work zones and sometimes just “normal” traffic.

Emergency vehicles are impacted by these conditions, as well. When somebody calls 911 for help – the men and women of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service respond. How can everyday drivers help us to help you? – Normally drivers will HEAR us first, next they will SEE us, and then we need drivers to CLEAR for us.

HEAR US - SEE US - CLEAR FOR US 

C – L – E – A – R for emergency vehicles.

– Calmly pull to and as close to the edge of the roadway as possible and stop.

– Leave room. Keep intersections clear and never try to follow emergency vehicles.

E – Enter into traffic with caution after the emergency vehicle has passed. Remember to use signals.

A – Aware (be). Be aware of your surroundings. Keep radio volume low and check rear view mirrors frequently.

R – Remain stopped until the emergency vehicle has passed. Be mindful that there may be additional emergency vehicles approaching.

When approached by an emergency vehicle – the law says to pull over to the closest parallel edge of the roadway and yield the right of way to the emergency vehicle. An emergency vehicle is one with an audible siren and/or siren and emergency flashing lights. When driving and approaching an emergency scene – slow down and move over. In other words - “Give us a brake!”

Reduce the risk of an accident near an emergency scene and around emergency equipment.

Stay alert – expect anything to occur when approaching emergency vehicles.

Pay close attention – watch for police or fire direction.

Turn on your headlights – let on scene workers and other motorists see you.
Don’t tailgate – unexpected stops frequently occur near emergency scenes.

Don’t speed – slow down.

Keep up with the traffic flow – dedicate your full attention to the roadway and those traveling around you.

Minimize distractions – avoid changing radio stations and using mobile cell phones while approaching these areas.

Expect the unexpected – keep an eye out for emergency workers and their equipment.

Be patient – remember, firefighters and EMT’s have been called to the scene and are working to help someone.

In Montgomery County pedestrian and traffic safety issues are front and center. If you travel by car or are a pedestrian, please place extra emphasis on safety. Simply looking both ways before crossing a street, crossing in a crosswalk, spending a few extra seconds to cinch the belt on your child's safety seat, or delaying departure to ensure you get enough rest before a long trip can make all the difference. Preventative safety, while measured in seconds or minutes, can save you from months or years of anguish, grief, and "what if". Be smart. Be safe.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Fireplace and Wood Burning Safety

Several recent fires in Montgomery County have been the result of misplaced fireplace/wood stove ashes.  Please keep ashes AWAY from your home!

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 ash candispose 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.