2015 Fire Press Release Archive
HCDFRS to Evaluate Additional Ambulance in Columbia

Ellicott City, MD – The Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services (HCDFRS) will begin a trial implementation of a “peak load” ambulance, starting January 4, 2016. The purpose of the trial is to evaluate expected improvements in the availability of ambulances in the more densely populated areas of the County, primarily Columbia.

“Ensuring that all residents of Howard County are safe is a top priority,” said County Executive Allan H. Kittleman. “Utilizing this additional ambulance may get first responders to an emergency faster, which ultimately helps improve outcomes and saves lives.”

The additional ambulance will be deployed Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., which covers much of the peak hours and historically reflects the period when HCDFRS sees a higher number of calls for emergency medical services (EMS). Hours may be adjusted due to call volume, weather related incidents or special event needs for additional EMS transport vehicles. The ambulance will respond to incidents primarily out of the Banneker fire station in downtown Columbia.

“Providing exceptional EMS care to all of Howard County is vital,” said Fire Chief John S. Butler. “Emergency Medical Services make up a majority of the call for services that HCDFRS responds to. By placing this additional ambulance in service during the peak load hours, we are responding to the increasing EMS needs of the community. We suspect that this initiative will cause a positive ‘ripple effect’ and create increased availability of the current ambulance fleet throughout the County, not just in Columbia.”

During this trial period, HCDFRS will evaluate the impact of the additional ambulance and its effect in the community and on the department’s EMS deployment strategy.

For additional information, call the HCDFRS Public Information Office at 410-313-6039 or visit www.hcdfrs.org.


HCDFRS and Howard Community College to Mark New Partnership and Degree with Signing Ceremony

The science of firefighting is evolving, and the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services (HCDFRS) wants firefighters and paramedics prepared to protect the community and lead its workforce. HCDFRS has partnered with Howard Community College (HCC) to develop a brand-new academic program that offers an affordable and accessible pathway to an associate degree in fire science and leadership

Starting in 2016, higher levels of education will be required for HCDFRS promotion and advancement. Through the new HCC partnership, firefighters and paramedics can receive credit for their departmental certification courses and take additional core academic courses at HCC.

Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman, HCC President Kathleen Hetherington, and Fire Chief John S. Butler will participate in a ceremonial signing of the memorandum of understanding between Howard County, HCC, and the HCDFRS. The event will take place immediately following the first program information session, which is open to interested firefighters and paramedics. Additional information sessions will be held throughout the month.

WHAT: Announce a new degree program for firefighters and paramedics

WHEN: Monday, December 7, 2015at 10 A.M.

Horowitz Visual and Performing Arts Center Lobby
10901 Little Patuxent Parkway
Columbia, MD 21044

WHO: Executive Allan H. Kittleman, Howard County Government
President Kathleen Hetherington, HCC
Fire Chief John S. Butler, HCDFRS

# # #

Working House Fire in Columbia

At 2:15 PM on Saturday, November 28, 2015, firefighters and paramedics from the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services (HCDFRS) were alerted by neighbors of a house fire in the 5500 block of Eaglebeak Row in the Long Reach Village of Columbia, Maryland.Neighbors called 911 to report a fire on the deck at the rear of the structure.Crews arrived to find heavy fire on the rear of this 2-story single family home, and they began an aggressive attack on the fire from both the interior and exterior.

More than 30 firefighters from HCDFRS are currently working to extinguish the blaze – which includes significant damage to the rear of the structure as well as extension into the basement and first floor of the house.Firefighters will be on site for an extended period of time for overhaul and to ensure the fire is completely extinguished.

There have been no civilian or fire department injuries.

HCDFRS fire investigators are en route to begin their investigation to determine the origin and cause of the blaze.

Howard County Smart Phone App Press Conference

Ellicott City, MD- The Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services (HCDFRS) will hold a press conference on Wednesday, October 28, 2015, at 10:00 AM to introduce a new smartphone app designed to help save more lives from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). This PulsePoint app empowers everyday people to provide life-saving assistance to SCA victims. Members of the community who are trained in CPR, and are willing to assist in case of an emergency, can now be notified through an app, if someone nearby is having a cardiac emergency and may require CPR. If the cardiac emergency is in a public place, the app will alert trained community members in the vicinity of the need for bystander CPR. This will happen at the same time advanced medical care is dispatched. The app also uses maps to direct these community rescuers to the exact location of the closest publicly accessible Automated External Defibrillator or AED. Often nearby AEDs are not used when they could have made a difference. PulsePoint addresses this by informing bystanders where the nearest AED is located – in real-time and in context of their current location. Howard County will be the first jurisdiction in the state of Maryland to launch this app. During the launch, members of the community will be trained in CPR.

Launch of a new life-saving smartphone app called PulsePoint

WHEN: Wednesday, October 28, 2015, 10:00 AM

WHO: Allan H. Kittleman, County Executive
John S. Butler, Fire Chief
Dr. Matthew Levy, HCDFRS Medical Director
Dr. Kevin Seaman, MIEMSS

Marc Crumback, Bystander who helped save a life by performing CPR

Mike Greenhill, Survivor of sudden cardiac arrest

WHERE: Roger Carter Community Center

3000 Milltowne Drive

Ellicott City, MD 21043

Members of the media planning to cover the press conference can contact the Public Information Office at 410-313-6039.

For more information about the app and PulsePoint: www.pulsepoint.org.

Howard County Launches New Smartphone App to Alert CPR Trained Bystanders of Sudden Cardiac Arrest Incidents

Ellicott City, MD - The Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services (HCDFRS) today introduced a new smartphone app designed to empower everyday citizens to provide life-saving assistance to victims of sudden cardiac arrest. Anyone trained in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), and willing to assist in the event of such an emergency, can now be notified through an app if someone nearby is having a cardiac emergency and may require CPR. If the cardiac emergency is in a public place, the PulsePoint app will alert trained citizens in the vicinity of the need for bystander CPR. This will happen at the same time advanced medical care is dispatched by the 911 Communications Center.

“Because sudden cardiac arrest can affect anyone and is a time-critical situation where every minute counts, we make it a priority to provide free Hands Only CPR training to residents of Howard County,” said County Executive Allan H. Kittleman. “More than 35,000 people have been trained in the County. Now, with the PulsePoint app, anyone trained in CPR will have the ability to put their training to use to help save lives. Our hope is that people will join us in the effort to increase chances for survival by providing CPR as soon as possible.”

The app also uses maps to direct these citizen rescuers to the exact location of the closest publicly accessible Automated External Defibrillator or AED. Often people don’t realize an AED is nearby and these devices often go unused when they could have made a difference. PulsePoint addresses this by informing bystanders where the nearest AED is located – in real-time and in context of their current location. Howard County will be the first jurisdiction in the state of Maryland to launch this app. During the launch, members of the community were also trained in hands-only.

“We see it all the time, citizens are often the first responders to these incidents,” said Fire Chief John S. Butler. “With the launch of this app, we want to drive the message home that absolutely everyone should be trained to do hands-only CPR because it can happen anywhere at any time. It could be a neighbor, coworker, family member or friend whose life you will save.”

Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for an estimated 325,000 deaths each year or 1,000 deaths per day. The American Heart Association estimates that effective bystander CPR, provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest, can double or triple a person’s chance of survival. However, only about one quarter of sudden cardiac arrest victims receive bystander CPR and even fewer receive a potentially lifesaving therapeutic shock from a public access AED. Improving bystander CPR rates and access to AEDs is critical to improving chances for survival.

Fire Chief John S. Butler Appointed to Governor’s Emergency Management Advisory Committee

Columbia, MD- Governor Larry Hogan has appointed Howard County Fire Chief John S. Butler to serve as a member of the Governor's Emergency Management Advisory Committee (GEMAC).The GEMAC serves as an independent advisory body and advises the governor on all matters that relate to emergency management for Maryland.The GEMAC brings together local, state, and private sector experts and stakeholders to discuss and develop specific recommendations for further study or investigation by emergency management officials.

”Governor Hogan’s appointment of Chief Butler to this committee is another example of how Howard County's talented leaders are often tapped for their expertise,” said County Executive Allan H. Kittleman.“Chief Butler has important insight and experience from Howard County that he will be sharing with this multi-disciplinary panel, and I know he will bring back more great ideas from this committee”.

"This is a great opportunity to share what we have developed in Howard County with the support of County Executive Kittleman who is committed to incorporating not just Fire and Rescue, but all County departments into the overall Emergency Management program," said Fire Chief John S. Butler.

"Chief Butler will be a fantastic ambassador for Howard County to the GEMAC where the future of emergency management in Maryland is being shaped.The Office of Emergency Management is excited to have his influence at the state level," said Howard County Emergency Management Director Ryan Miller.

The first GEMAC meeting under Governor Hogan will be held tomorrow November 4th at the Maryland Emergency Management Agency in Reisterstown.

Celebrate Fire Prevention Week with Fire and Rescue Services

Columbia, MD- Fire Prevention Week is almost here, and from October 4th – 10th, the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services (HCDFRS) will join the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) to remind residents to “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep,” encouraging working smoke alarms in every bedroom. In conjunction with the Mall in Columbia, HCDFRS will also hold their first annual Fire Prevention Week event on Saturday, October 10th from 12pm – 2pm, located in the lower Sears parking lot.

“You simply cannot overstate the importance of having working smoke alarms in your homes. They save lives,” said County Executive Allan H. Kittleman. “We know that the risk of dying in a home fire is reduced significantly in homes with working smoke alarms. Get a smoke alarm, install it, and make sure it’s in working order by checking it once a month.”

The event will feature apparatus displays, CPR training, smoke alarm safety information, activities for kids, and a dramatic live fire demonstration in an enclosed unit. This live burn will raise awareness about home fire safety and show how quickly a fire can spread.

“Partnering with the staff from community landmarks such as The Mall in Columbia is an excellent asset and allows the department to spread safety awareness, especially fire prevention measures,” said Fire Chief John S. Butler. “Smoke alarms save lives every single day, but only when installed and tested properly. We hope that this event will encourage everyone in Howard County to check their smoke alarms not only during Fire Prevention Week, but throughout the year.”

According to the NFPA, having a working smoke alarm cuts the chances of dying in a reported fire in half. Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. The NFPA also recommends smoke alarms inside every bedroom, outside of every sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement.

“The Mall in Columbia continually strives to be a true community partner. We are proud to be part of this year's Fire Prevention Week and we continue to support Howard County Fire and Rescue Services mission of educating, protecting, and serving our citizens,” said Ashley Venable, senior general manager, The Mall in Columbia. “The first responders who work hard 24 hours a day, 365 days a year are true examples of commitment and dedication. We thank them for all they do to keep us safe.”

For more information please visit www.Facebook.com/HCDFRS or www.Twitter.com/HCDFRS. Join the conversation using #FPW2015.

UPDATE: Firefighters Battle 3-Alarm Residential Fire in Columbia

Columbia, MD- At approximately 7:15 pm on September 23, 2015, over 100 fire and EMS crews from the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services (HCDFRS), as well as mutual aid units from Montgomery, Anne Arundel, and Baltimore Counties responded to the 12200 block of Sleepy Horse Lane in Columbia for a reported house fire with explosion. Initial units arrived on scene and found a middle-of-the-group townhouse on fire with extensive structural damage. They also found fire in three additional units.

A resident of the townhome block called Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) for a reported smell of gas odor. A BGE technician arrived and began his investigation at the caller’s townhome.After finding low levels of gas, the technician proceeded to the adjacent townhouse.The technician noticed what appeared to be a damaged gas assembly and a high level of gas in the garage of the adjacent townhouse.The BGE technician immediately began to warn surrounding residents to evacuate their homes and shut down the main gas feed to the townhouse.A short time later the gas explosion and fire occurred

There were no residents inside the home at the time of the explosion. The BGE employee sustained injuries, was transported in to Johns Hopkins Bayview for treatment and was released. Another civilian patient was transported with smoke inhalation. Multiple neighborhood residents were evaluated for smoke inhalation, but refused transportation to a hospital. HCDFRS received assistance from BGE, the Red Cross and the Department of Inspections and Licensing. The fire was placed under control at around 10:50 pm. Currently, multiple residences are still being evaluated for structural stability. At least six units are expected to be posted as uninhabitable.

Damages are estimated at approximately two million dollars.

If you detect gas, HCDFRS encourages residents to leave the residence at once. Call 9-1-1 immediately and then call BGE at 1-800-685-0123. BGE would also like to remind residents to do the following if a gas leak is detected:

  • Extinguish all open flames. Do not use matches or lighters and do not attempt to light an appliance.
  • Do not use any phones, electric switches, thermostats, or appliance controls. All of these devices, including battery operated equipment, can cause sparks and ignite natural gas.
  • Do not start or turn off vehicles or motorized equipment you may be operating.
  • Do not attempt to find the source of the leak or to repair a leak.
  • When you call, BGE will respond promptly to survey the area
  • Public Safety Officials Gather for Second Regional Safety Symposium

    Marriottsville, MD- The Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services (HCDFRS) is thrilled to announce the second annual regional Safety Symposium. The one-day event will focus on ways to diminish hazards that emergency responders encounter during incidents. The symposium is also aimed at creating a dialogue to further the health and wellness of personnel. This year, HCDFRS is partnering with Howard County Risk Management and the Howard County Police Department. The event will take place November 3, 2015, at the James N. Robey Public Safety Training Center in Marriottsville, MD.

    “While eliminating all risks in the workplace is a challenging task, we as a county remain committed to providing educational opportunities like this one to help us better protect our personnel from workplace dangers whenever possible,” said Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman. “Thank you to all who planned this important event. Together we can ensure our personnel are prepared and protected.”

    The event will showcase Gordon Graham, a 33 year veteran of California Law Enforcement, with an extensive background in providing education on Risk Management practices. Topics will include “The Ten Families of Risk”, “Organizational Risk Management”, and the “5 Concurrent Themes for Success.” These subjects will better prepare attendees to recognize risk and how to proactively address potential hazards in order to reduce them.

    “This symposium puts the emphasis on safety, and that’s our number one priority here in Howard County,” said Fire Chief John Butler. “We are constantly searching for resources that will minimize risks during our daily operations, and this event is a powerful opportunity not only for our members, but for the community as a whole.”

    The symposium will also highlight best practices from various agencies across the region. These beneficial presentations will serve to spark discussions among departments, such as sharing lessons learned, and the most effective ways to improve the safety of first responders based on prior experiences.

    “We are honored to be partnering with the Department of Fire and Rescue Services in hosting this year's Safety Symposium and look forward to sharing best practices with our colleagues in the region,” said Police Chief Gary Gardner. “Managing risk, preventing accidents and decreasing injuries are top priorities for our agency.We are pleased to be a part of an important discussion that will ensure we continue to place an emphasis on safety so we can best serve the citizens of Howard County.”

    For additional information please vhttp://www.hcdfrs.net/register-2015/. Please join the conversation on our social media channels using #SafetyForLife on www.facebook.com/HCDFRS and www.twitter.com/HCDFRS.

    Department Sends EMS Equipment to Aid during Papal Visit

    Columbia, MD- In anticipation of Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia, the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services (HCDFRS) is providing emergency medical services (EMS) equipment to assist with the large crowds expected to turnout. At the request of Narberth Ambulance, HCDFRS is sending four cardiac monitoring devices to meet the need. HCDFRS is providing this equipment on loan with the support of County Executive Allan H. Kittleman.

    “Large scale events like the Papal Visit require the sharing of critical assets, extraordinary regional cooperation and mutual aid,” said County Executive Allan H. Kittleman.“With thousands expected to be in attendance, we wanted to support the efforts of our neighbors and do what we can to assist.”

    HCDFRS will provide four LIFEPAK monitors which are equipped with automated and manual defibrillations along with functions to monitor vitals and other cardiac symptoms. The LIFEPAK monitor is extremely beneficial when responding to cardiac arrests and enhances the level of care that emergency service technicians and paramedics can provide. Although the ambulances that Narberth Ambulance owns are fully stocked with LIFEPAK monitors, they need loaners to provide standby coverage to the additional townships that border the Pope’s motorcade and parade routes. The temporary loan of this equipment will not impact operations here in Howard County.

    “When large crowds gather, it creates additional challenges for first responders, especially as we respond to medical incidents,” said Fire Chief John S. Butler. “Having the right supply of equipment can literally make the difference in the chances of survival so we wanted to make sure that Narberth had everything they needed to meet the demand.”

    In addition to providing supplies and support during past Papal visits and Presidential inaugurations, HCDFRS has also answered the call and provided assistance during man-made and natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Isabel, Topical Storm Sandy, the LaPlata Tornado and the 2011 North Carolina Tornado.

    Howard County DFRS to participate in the 2015 9/11 Prince George’s County Memorial Stair Climb

    Columbia, MD- Our team of HCDFRS stair climbers will honor the 343 fire service brothers and sisters who selflessly gave their lives on September 11, 2001. HCDFRS will join others across the United States who will convene in high-rise buildings to climb 110 stories as a tribute to our fallen comrades. Each participant will be climbing and carrying a picture with the name of a fellow firefighter that was lost on September 11th. They do so to finish the job they started, and at the completion of their climb, they will release the balloon and watch them disappear out of site symbolizing the completion of their final journey.

    HCDFRS members will be leaving from 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive in Columbia, and will then travel to Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, 201 Waterfront Street, National Harbor, Maryland at approximately 6:00am on Saturday, September 12, 2015. The 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb is not a race, but an opportunity to honor, remember, show respect and compassion, and to help restore hope and promote healing to the victims, family, friends, and neighbors of all those who paid that ultimate sacrifice on that unforgettable day. For more information please visit http://bit.ly/1NPXjsj.

    WHAT: 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb

    WHEN: Saturday, September 12, 2015- 6:00am

    WHERE:Transportation from HCDFRS Headquarters

    6751 Columbia Gateway Drive

    Columbia, MD 21046

    Traveling to Gaylord National Resort and Conference Center

    201 Waterfront Street

    National Harbor, MD 20745

    WHY:To honor the 343 fire service brothers and sisters lost on 9/11.

    In addition to the Memorial Stair Climb, HCDFRS will also participate in the Garden of Hope wreath-laying service on September 11th, 2015, located at Centennial Park in Ellicott City, MD. There will also be a “Ringing of the Bell” ceremony to commemorate the moment the towers were struck, and a special radio message sent to all field personnel to honor those who were lost in the attacks. The Honor Guard will also be participating in a combined effort to pay homage at Oriole Park Camden Yards on September 11th.

    Firefighters Battle 3 Alarm Condo

    Columbia, MD- At approximately 11:45am on Sunday, September 6, 2015, firefighters and paramedics from the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services (HCDFRS) were dispatched for a fire at a multi-family condominium complex in the 5800 block of Wyndham Way in Columbia. The complex is located immediately adjacent to the Banneker fire station in Town Center, and crews were on scene almost immediately after dispatch. First arriving units identified heavy fire coming from the 3rd floor of the structure, and the company officer requested a second alarm. Crews worked quickly to extinguish the fire, but there was extensive damage to as many as 12 units as a result of the blaze. The fire alarm system notified residents of the need to evacuate the structure, and the property’s sprinkler system activated as designed. A 3rd alarm was requested at 12:24 PM. At the height of the event, more than 75 firefighters were on scene.

    At this time, there have been two minor injuries to residents, and one firefighter received minor burns while extinguishing the blaze.

    The fire was declared under control at about 1:00 PM and declared out at approximately 3:00 PM.

    The fire remains under investigation, and damage estimates are pending.

    The American Red Cross has been requested to assist displaced residents, and HCFDRS’ senior chaplain is on location providing assistance to residents as needed.

    Department Receives Grant for 400 New Smoke Alarms

    Columbia, MD —The Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services (HCDFRS) has been awardeda $4,969 fire prevention grant from FM Global, one of the world’s largest commercial property insurers. FM Global representatives will present the grant to Fire Chief John S. Butler at the Savage Fire Station next Tuesday, August 18th at 10:00am. The grant will be used to purchase approximately 400 smoke alarms to assist with a new outreach initiative called Project S.A.F.E which stands for Smoke Alarms for Everyone.

    “We are grateful for FM Global’s donation, as we continue our work to ensure that everyone in the community has a working smoke alarm, regardless of their financial situation,” said County Executive Allan H. Kittleman. “Smoke alarms do save lives; we’ve seen that again and again. When they are placed on every level in the home, they save both lives and property.”

    Because fire continues to be the leading cause of property damage worldwide, during the past 35 years, FM Global has contributed millions of dollars in fire prevention grants to fire service organizations around the globe. Locally, the company has awarded grants to a number of Maryland-based organizations to support initiatives like HCDFRS’ Project S.A.F.E. program.

    “The Project S.A.F.E. program started on the ground-level where a group of firefighters got together during an officer training project and came up with the idea,” said Fire Chief John S. Butler. “Since the inception, smoke alarms have been installed and smoke alarm education has been disseminated to residents on incident calls and while canvassing neighborhoods. We plan to use the generous donation from FM Global to further this work.”

    Through its Fire Prevention Grant Program, FM Global awards grants quarterly to fire departments—as well as national, state, regional, local and community organizations worldwide—that best demonstrate a need for funding, where dollars can have the most demonstrable impact on preventing fire, or mitigating the damage it can quickly cause.

    “At FM Global, we strongly believe the majority of property damage is preventable, not inevitable,” said Michael Spaziani, manager of the fire prevention grant program. “Far too often, inadequate budgets prevent those organizations working to prevent fire from being as proactive as they would like to be. With additional financial support, grant recipients are actively helping to improve property risk in the communities they serve.”

    To learn more about FM Global’s Fire Prevention Grant Program, please visit www.fmglobal.com/grants.

    Department Recruiting for Next Academy Class: Applications Will Open in February 2016

    Columbia, MD – The Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services (HCDFRS) is pleased to announce that recruitment efforts are currently under way for the next firefighter/EMT training academy class. During this recruitment phase, the Department is expected to fill 20-30 vacancies.

    As a county we take tremendous pride in the service that our firefighters and paramedics provide,” said County Executive Allan H. Kittleman. “We invite our community and the region to consider this incredible opportunity to serve Howard County.”

    The department is recruiting entry-level firefighter Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) candidates. Applicants must possess a high school diploma or GED and a valid driver’s license. Applicants must also provide legal proof of eligibility to work in the United States and have no felony or serious misdemeanor convictions or pled guilty to or received probation before judgment for such offenses. As a condition of employment, selected applicants will not be permitted to use any form of tobacco products while employed as a member of the department and will be held to a physical fitness standard. No previous experience or certifications are required.

    “We are excited to once again reach into the community to recruit candidates to join this proud organization,” said Fire Chief John S. Butler. “Whether you’re a returning military veteran, a newly-graduated college student, or a seasoned worker looking to change professions, this is excellent opportunity to consider.”

    Selected candidates must complete a rigorous 28-week training program in firefighting, emergency vehicle operations, medical services, hazardous materials and rescue training. All trainees will be required to complete certification as Maryland Emergency Medical Technician and National Fire Service Professional Qualification Firefighter II standards. HCDFRS is an EMS based-fire service department that focuses on providing an enhanced level of emergency medical services to the community. Nearly 80% of the department responses are for medical-related emergencies.

    “In addition to other all-hazard training, we are recognized for excellence in emergency medical services,” said Chief Butler. “So those who apply will have an opportunity to learn innovative medical techniques, and make a true difference in the lives of the visitors and residents of Howard County.”

    Those interested in applying must submit an application online beginning February 2016. For more information including benefits and application information visit www.HCDFRS.org or call 410-313-HIRE (4473).

    USCIS to hold children’s citizenship ceremony at Howard County Fire Station

    USCIS to hold children’s citizenship ceremony at Howard County Fire Station

    Howard County executive, fire chief to address children;

    families to learn about fire safety, prevention

    SAVAGE, MD—Thirty-one children representing 20 countries will celebrate their U.S. citizenship during a special ceremony Friday at the Savage Fire Station.
    Greg Collett, Baltimore district director for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), will administer a special Oath of Allegiance. Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman and Howard County Fire Chief John S. Butler will address the children.

    The participants hail from: Albania, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Malaysia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Poland, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Syria and Uzbekistan.
    USCIS periodically holds special ceremonies for children to recognize and celebrate their acquired citizenship, which is generally derived through their naturalized parents or adoption. For more information about USCIS programs, please visit www.uscis.gov.

    WHEN: 10 a.m. Friday (July 31) WHERE: Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services
    Savage Fire Station 8521 Corridor Road Savage, MD 20763 CONTACTS: Daniel Cosgrove, USCIS, 202-604-9839 Jackie Kotei, HCDFRS, 410-313-6039 NOTES: Media: RSVP to daniel.cosgrove@dhs.gov or jkotei@howardcountymd.gov no later than 5 p.m. Thursday.
    Firefighters & Paramedics Rescue Trapped Resident After Truck Crashes into Apartment

    Elkridge, MD- Just before 09:30 am on Sunday, July 26th, firefighters and paramedics from the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services (HCDFRS) responded to the 6800 Block of Old Waterloo Road in Elkridge for reports of a truck that had crashed into the ground floor of an apartment building. Units arrived to find a small pickup truck had crashed completely into the apartment building trapping a single resident in her apartment. The resident was stabilized and removed from the apartment while the department’s Special Operations team conducted a structural assessment of the building. The injured resident was air lifted to Shock Trauma in Baltimore by a Maryland State Police Medevac for evaluation. The truck driver was not injured.

    HCDFRS Special Operations Crews installed an emergency shoring system to secure the weakened structure to prevent further damage and collapse. After the building was checked by the Howard County Building Inspector, HCDFRS members worked with the property management company to allow residents to reoccupy the undamaged apartments. HCDFRS crews and the Building Inspector cleared the scene just before 3:00 pm.

    Firefighters Rescue Horse From Ditch

    Westview, MD- Just before 5:00am on Wednesday, June 11th, special operation crews from the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services responded to the 8300 block of Johnny Cake Road in Westview for reports of a horse stuck in the ditch. The horse was a 1800lb 7-year old Clydesdale that was stuck in a ditch next to a house. Howard County crews responded as part of a mutual aid request from Baltimore County Fire and Rescue. A veterinarian was also requested.

    Because Howard County crews had the specialized training and crane equipment needed, they began to effect a rescue. The horse was lifted with the crane in order to be removed from the ditch. It took firefighters roughly 90 minutes to extricate the horse. There were no injuries to report.

    Howard County Conducts Demonstration of Foam Firefighting Capabilities

    Laurel, MD – The Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services (HCDFRS) will conduct a demonstration of its foam firefighting capabilities, which are routinely requested throughout the region. With an increasing number of crude oil transports, along with the transportation of other flammable and combustible materials by rail, the ability to fight fires with foam provides an advanced level of defense. As seen in other parts of the country, firefighters can no longer rely on water alone when a rail car, truck or industrial facility catches fire. Foam is an effective fire suppression agent that helps save lives, property and the environment.

    With more than 15 personnel recently returning from an advanced course in foam deployment and the acquisition of two highly specialized tankers that are unique in that they carry a large quantity of two different foam extinguishing agents, HCDFRS is inviting members of the media for a first-hand experience. Media will be given a hands-on opportunity to deploy foam from hose lines, operate the bumper mounted turret on the tankers and experience the other considerations that factor into using foam to extinguish fires.

    WHO: Allan H. Kittleman, County Executive

    John S. Butler, Fire Chief

    WHAT: Hands-on demonstration of the latest foam extinguishing agents and specialized firefighting equipment

    WHEN: Wednesday, June 10, 10:30 am

    WHERE: Fire Station 11 – Scaggsville

    11226 Scaggsville Road

    Laurel, MD 20723

    WHY:To better understand the progression and advancements in fighting fires with foam, as well as the specialized techniques needed to battle highly combustible fires.

    Members of the media planning to cover the demonstration, please contact the Public Information Office at 410-313-6039 or email jkotei@howardcountymd.gov

    Auto Parts Fire in Clarksville

    Clarksville, MD- On June 6, 2015, units from the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services (HCDFRS) and Montgomery County Fire and Rescue were dispatched to the 12000 block of Hall Shop Road in Clarksville, MD for a reported fire behind an auto parts business. Approximately 30 units and around 70 personnel responded and found vehicles, tires, waste fuel, and flammable gas containers on fire. The fire was contained after about 30 minutes. Units are currently performing extended overhaul operations. MDE was requested and responded to help contain hazardous runoff from the waste oil involved in the fire. There have been no fire department or civilian injuries. A damage estimate is not available at this time. There are no occupants displaced. The fire origin and cause is currently under investigation by Howard County Fire Investigation Division.

    Howard County Recognized by the American Heart Association with a National EMS Award; Hosts Cardiac Symposium to Train the Region

    Columbia, MD- Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services (HCDFRS) is being honored with the American Heart Association’s “Mission: Lifeline® EMS Bronze Award” during National EMS Week. HCDFRS has been selected for implementing quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks. These award-winning measures and protocols are now being taught regionally through the Department’s Resuscitation Academy which takes place May 18 -19.

    “We are fortunate in Howard County to have one of the best EMS systems in the nation. The Department has made tremendous strides in responding to incidents that involve cardiac arrest,” said County Executive Allan H. Kittleman. “Through partnerships with the hospital, our providers rapidly identify the type of attack, promptly notify the medical center, and trigger an early response from hospital personnel. This is often the difference between life and death.”

    Every year, more than 250,000 people experience a STEMI, or ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction, a type of heart attack caused by a complete blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment. To prevent death, it’s critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible, either by surgically opening the blocked vessel or by giving clot-busting medication. Unfortunately, a significant number don't receive prompt attention, which is critical in restoring blood flow. Mission: Lifeline’s EMS recognition program recognizes those emergency responders whose efforts improve STEMI systems of care and the quality of life for these patients.

    “EMTs and paramedics play a vital part in the system of care for those who have heart attacks,” said Nancy Brown, Chief Executive Officer of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. “Since they often are the first medical point of contact, they can shave precious minutes of life-saving treatment time by activating the emergency response system that alerts hospitals.We applaud HCDFRS for achieving this award that shows it meets evidence-based guidelines in the treatment of people who have severe heart attacks.”

    “HCDFRS is dedicated to making our unit among the best in the country, and the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program is helping us accomplish that by implementing processes for improving STEMI systems of care with the goal of improving the quality of care for all STEMI patients,” said Fire Chief John Butler. “We are pleased to be recognized for our dedication and achievements in emergency medical care for STEMI patients

    Crews Battle Fire in Ellicott City

    Ellicott City, MD- At approximately 11am on Thursday, May 14, 2015, crews from Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services (HCDFRS) responded to a report of a fire in the 8300 block of Governor Grayson Way in Ellicott City. First responders arrived to find fire in the basement of the structure. An interior, offensive fire attack and coordinated search of the residence was conducted. The occupants were found to have evacuated the home prior to HCDFRS arrival.

    An offensive fire attack was utilized throughout the duration of the incident as the fire extended from the basement into the first and second floors. Units were requested from Baltimore County and Baltimore City to assist. A second alarm was called due to extensive hoarding conditions throughout the residence. The fire was placed under control within the hour. There was an extended operation from crews due to the large size of the home and overhaul needed.

    Two adults and one child have been displaced. Red Cross was requested and will assist the family as needed. No civilian, firefighter, or paramedic injuries reported at this time. Fire investigators are working to determine the cause and origin of the fire. Please contact the media line for any additional questions: 410-313-6039.

    Firefighters from the Howard County Local 2000 to Host Elected Officials at Fire Ops 101

    Marriottsville, MD- The career firefighters of Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services (HCDFRS) will host a program for elected and appointed officials known as Fire Ops 101. During this daylong event, attendees will experience hands-on firefighting and rescue operations under the controlled supervision of Howard County’s firefighters and paramedics.This all day event will take place Friday, May 8, 2015 at the James N. Robey Public Safety Training Center located at 2200 Scott Wheeler Drive, Marriottsville, MD 21104. Members of the media are invited to attend.

    “While I have a tremendous amount of respect for the men and women who serve, I know that this event will help me get a better sense of all that goes into firefighting,” said County Executive Allan H. Kittleman. “I’m excited to join my colleagues for this first-hand experience of the physical and mental challenges that go into battling fires and performing other rescue techniques. Special thanks to the Local 2000 for hosting this event!”

    This workshop will demonstrate many aspects of fire and emergency medical service operations, from suiting up in the proper protective gear to putting out fires.Each of the four scenarios will give participants the opportunity to do what firefighters and paramedics face on a day-to-day basis.Each participant will learn how to use self-contained breathing apparatus, essential to breathing in conditions that involve heavy smoke.Participants will also learn to battle a live fire and be given instruction on how to respond to anticipated events of fire behavior such as flashover.

    “This event will provide the elected and appointed officials a chance to experience first-hand what it is like to be a fire fighter,” said Local 2000 President Rich Ruehl.“We know that they won’t become experts, but we hope that the takeaway is how physically demanding, mentally challenging, technical, and training intensive all aspects of the job are.We are looking forward to hosting these key decision makers on Friday.”

    HCDFRS is a combination department comprised of IAFF Local 2000 and six volunteer corporations. The Howard County Professional Fire Fighters Association was chartered as the 2000th Local of their parent organization – the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) – in August of 1970. More than 375 of HCDFRS personnel are members of the union.

    That Stuff Is Poison: National Poison Prevention Week 2015

    Columbia, MD – It’s National Poison Prevention Week and the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services (HCDFRS) is spreading the word with an informational video that focuses on how residents can avoid poison emergencies. The song is a parody version of Bell Biv DeVoe’s hit, “Poison.” The video features field personnel, civilian employees, hazmat special operations crews, a dancing Sparky the Fire Dog, and more.

    “Finding new and creative ways to keep the community engaged and interested in our safety messages is a priority,” said Fire Chief John Butler. “Poisons in the home can be deadly if not properly locked away or child-proofed. Spreading awareness of the dangers that these materials can pose is imperative.”

    Residents are encouraged to follow these safety measures:

    Keep household cleaners, medicines, and chemicals in locked cabinets or out of the reach of children.

    Never mix chemical products together. This may create poisonous toxins.

    Cosmetics and other personal care items should be placed out of the reach of children.

    Do not share prescription medicines.

    For additional information call the Maryland Poison Control Center: 1-800-222-1222.

    For additional tips and information please visit www.Facebook.com/HCDFRS throughout Poison Prevention Week.

    Direct Video Link: https://youtu.be/zSs8u_cE7kw

    Two Alarm Fire in Columbia

    Just after 11:30 p.m. on Monday, March 2, 2015, firefighters and paramedics from the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services (HCDFRS) were alerted for a single family house fire in the 4900 block of Canvasback Drive in Columbia, MD.Crews arrived to find fire showing through the roof of the 2-story home.Five adults and one child were home when the fire started and self-evacuated.A second alarm was requested bringing in more than 50 personnel.

    In total, the six residents who occupy the home are displaced. The Red Cross is providing assistance. HCDFRS fire investigators are looking into the cause of the fire.There were no injuries to civilians or responders.

    Several updates since our initial release:

    Fire investigators with the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services (HCDFRS) have conducted their investigation and ruled the fire accidental.

    The home located in the 4900 block of Canvasback Drive has significant historical significance. The house was once a barn located on land purchased by the founder of Columbia, Jim Rouse. This purchase would eventually become part of the planned community of Columbia, which dates back to the mid-1960’s before Columbia was developed by the Rouse Company.

    Due to the treacherous weather conditions, the location of the residence, the multiple renovations and age of the home, there were significant challenges in combating this fire. The fire was brought under control and completely extinguished within a two-hour time frame.

    Initial reports place the damage at $750,000 but due to the historical significance these are preliminary estimates.

    Investigators have also determined that there are a total of eight residents who will be displaced, two of whom were not home at the time of the fire.

    The six people that self-evacuated at the onset of the fire, did so as a result of working smoke alarms. The family had smoke alarms in every room on every level of the home.

    Smoke alarms save lives, as was the case in this fire. There were no injuries and the residents are being assisted by the Red Cross.

    HCDFRS recommends that all residents have working smoke alarms in the home. Here are some additional tips from the National Fire Protection Association –

    •Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home.

    •Test your smoke alarms every month.

    •When a smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside.

    •Replace all smoke alarms in your home every 10 years.

    Additional pictures from the incident have been placed on our Facebook page courtesy HCDFRS – www.Facebook.com/HCDFRS

    County Executive Kittleman Appoints John Butler Chief of Fire and Rescue Services

    Ellicott City, MD – Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman today announced John S. Butler as the new Chief of the County’s Department of Fire and Rescue Services. Chief Butler currently serves as Acting Chief, and has been a member of the Department since 1993. He is the first Chief to have held every rank in the Department.

    “John Butler exemplifies the true spirit of public service in Howard County,” said County Executive Kittleman. “He has worked his way up to the top leadership position, and knows the job of every member of our outstanding Department. He has demonstrated confidence and competence as Acting Chief, and has gained the trust of every one of his members. I am proud to appoint him as our new Chief of Fire and Rescue and know that he will do an excellent job of keeping our community safe.”

    The County Executive made the announcement at Station #9 in Long Reach, the station where Chief Butler began his service as a Howard County firefighter 22 years ago. The station is the first place in Maryland where the new chief, then 12 years old, and his family stopped during their move to Maryland in 1981.

    Chief Butler was born in Monrovia, Liberia. A former U.S. Marine, he is a graduate of Oakland Mills High School in Columbia, and holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Baltimore with a triple major in history, government and management. He has advanced degrees from the Johns Hopkins University Public Leadership Program, and from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government’s “Leadership In Crisis” Program.

    “This is a tremendous responsibility,” Chief Butler said. “The county’s combined department is one to be proud of.I’ll continue to ensure safety initiatives for our responders, as well as foster values and integrity, and advocate for every area of the County.”

    Chief Butler lives in Ellicott City with his wife; they have three grown children.