Prince George’s County OEM Wants You to Remember 4 Things for the Fourth

Happy 4th of July!

Prince George’s County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management wishes you a safe and happy 4th of July.

We know you are excited about hitting the lake, cooking out, fireworks, and spending the day with your family. We want to remind you of a few things. 

First, as our friend Mark Brady of the Prince George’s County Fire Department wants to remind us – “Citizens, businesses and visitors should know that any consumer purchased fireworks are illegal in Prince George’s County.  Penalties for violation of this law carry up to $1,000 in fines and 6 months in jail.  Enjoy Fourth of July safely and legally, attend a public or municipal display.” And don’t forget that sparklers are included in the definition of fireworks…

To enjoy holiday festivities we ask that you attend one of the public and municipal fireworks displays that will occur throughout the County.  The following locations will conduct approved fireworks displays.  Please visit these respective websites for additional information.  Some of these venues may require an admission charge.

The City of Laurel will hold a day long Fourth of July celebration that will end with fireworks on July 7th.

Second, we want you to be safe as you hit the water.

From the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Natural Resources Police (NRP).

Last year, Maryland experienced an unusually high number of boating deaths. Over the summer, NRP will focus their enforcement efforts on those activities that contribute to boating accidents, such as alcohol, negligent operation, bow riding and navigational violations.

NRP recommends that swimmers stay within designated swimming areas with lifeguards on duty whenever possible. Lifeguards keep all swimmers informed of any changes in water conditions and are trained to respond if an emergency occurs.

NRP also offers the following swimming safety tips:

  • When swimming outside guarded areas obey all warning signs that alert swimmers to dangers and be aware of any surrounding signs or markers that indicate current water conditions.
  • Never swim alone or while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Pay special attention to small children and use safety devices such as life jackets on children or other individuals who cannot swim.
  • Carry a cell phone or have other ways of contacting emergency personnel if a situation arises.

If an emergency occurs, immediately call 911 and remember to Reach, Throw, Row and Go:

REACH the person in trouble by extending a releasable item, such as a pole, line or rope to pull them to safety ─ but not by hand, as the rescuer could quickly become another victim.

THROW an object that floats to the victim if they are unreachable. Life rings, PFDs, coolers or plastic jugs are suitable floating objects that can keep a troubled swimmer afloat until rescuers arrive.

ROW to the victim using a canoe or any other safe watercraft. The rescuer must wear a life jacket. Once the victim is nearby, a rope or paddle should be extended and used to tow the victim to shore if possible.

GO to the victim by entering the water as a last resort and ONLY if properly trained. The rescuer should bring an object to keep the victim afloat and to prevent being pulled under.

More information on boating safety is available at

Third, we want you to be extra careful before, during and after you fire up the grill

Here are four articles on grilling safety.

From the National Fire Protection Association

Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

And from Derrick Riches of

Fourth, remember to hydrate yourself and those around you.

Check on the elderly, children and pets and have a great holiday!


Derocho Damage at Park Tanglewood

Photos Courtesy of William McNeel, Prince George’s County Office of Emergency Management

Photos of Derecho Damage at Bostwick House

Our CERT (Community Response Team Members) helped clear debris at Bostwick House.

Bostwick House is a historic home located in Bladensburg in Prince George’s County, Maryland. According to its date plaque, it was built in 1746 by Christopher Lowndes (1713-1785). The house was later the home of Lowndes’ son-in-law, Benjamin Stoddert (1751-1813), first Secretary of the Navy. Colonel Thomas H. Barclay (Tory in the American Revolution; brother-in-law of Lt. Colonel Beverly Robinson; first British consul appointed in New York after the peace of 1783; British agent for prisoners of war in War of 1812) resided at “Bostwick,” the oldest surviving structure at Bladensburg.

It’s About to Get Really Hot…Here Are Some Ways to Stay Hydrated

People all over the country have been experiencing an especially hot summer but it is about to get even hotter. The National Weather Service is predicting heat indices in excess of 110 degrees. It is important to stay hydrated and here are some ways to help.


  1. Eat your water. Eat lots of water-filled foods like watermelon and other fruits, vegetables and soup.  Here are 19 Foods That Will Quench Your Thirst. Packing ready-to-eat fruits in seal-able plastic bags can be a great way to restore fluids and vitamins during outdoor activities.
  2. Exchange your regular soda for sparkling water. If you’re trying to kick a soda habit, sparkling water is a healthier, but still fizzy, alternative. Also, try to limit caffeinated and sugary beverages.  Caffeine acts as a diuretic and can cause you to lose fluids quickly.  In addition to having extra calories, the fructose, or natural sugars, in fruit juice can slow your body’s ability to absorb fluids.
  3. Hydrate before exercising. Be sure to drink water before exercising to maximize your workout.
  4. Drink water on the plane or in the car or on the train. If you’re traveling this summer, don’t forget to drink the H2O while you are on the move.
  5. Stay hydrated in the office. Even when working indoors, it’s important to keep the fluids handy.
  6. Drink water before eating meals. By drinking water before meals, not only will you stay hydrated but you’re less likely to overeat.
  7. Keep a reusable bottle with you. Having a water bottle with you at all times is the easiest way to stay hydrated without even thinking about it. Have enough on hand for at least one to two servings. When you’re spending the day away from home be sure to have plenty on ice.
  8. Spice it up with healthy flavoring. If you’re having a hard time getting enough water, spice it up with some natural flavoring. Here are some Pinterest pins of fruit infused waters
  9. Keep track of your daily water intake. Try this tasty and handy way to keep track of your H2O intake. Yes, there is even an app for that! There are plenty of apps in both the Play store and ITunes market that allow you to track your food and water intake.
  10. Have something to drink when you first get up in the morning. Keep a glass, cup or plastic bottle of water next to your bed.
  11. Try to drink something before, during and after exercising, especially in hot weather.  Drink water every 15 minutes as you exercise.
  12. Remember to drink before you get thirsty.
  13. Milk! Surprisingly milk will help you stay hydrated and recover from an outdoor workout.
  14. Learn the signs and symptoms of dehydration:
  • Dry mouth
  • Excessive thirst
  • Infrequent or dark urination
  • Muscle weakness or cramping
  • Headache
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Tiredness
  • Sunken eyes
  • Inability to produce tears

Shameless Plug

Residents of Prince George’s County can register to receive alerts and notifications via your mobile device through NotifyMe Prince George’s.

By officeofhomelandsecurity Posted in Blog

Indoor Lightning Safety Tips

“One Mississippi, two Mississippi…” Remember counting between each roll of thunder to determine how far away a storm was? Did you huddle under a blanket with a flash light when it was dark and stormy? Did you run to your parents because the thunder was loud and scary? Did you turn the television off or keep on watching your show because you believed that lightning wasn’t going to strike? Did you run to the window see the power and beauty of the storm as it neared you?  While indoor lightning injuries are rare, they can occur at your home or office.

Here are a few indoor lightning tips from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to prepare you for the next storm:

  • Stay OFF corded phones. Prince George’s County Emergency Management Director, Ronnie Gill wants residents to be aware that use of corded phones during severe weather can lead to injury. Corded phone use is the leading cause of indoor lightning injuries in the United States. You can use cellular or cordless phones if they are not on a charger.
  • Power surges from lightning can cause serious damage.
  • Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage.
  • Don’t touch electrical equipment or cords. Unplug electronic equipment or turn off electronics before the storm arrives. Most surge protectors are NOT able to protect your electronics from a lightning strike or surge. The American Meteorological Society has tips for protecting your electronics from lightning. Do NOT unplug equipment during  a thunderstorm as there is a risk you could be struck.
  • Avoid plumbing. Do not wash your hands, take a shower or wash dishes.
  • Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.  Plumbing and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity.
  • Close window blinds, shades and curtains.
  • Do not lie on concrete floors and do not lean against concrete walls.
  • Dog houses are not safe shelters. Dogs that are chained to trees or chained to wire runners can easily fall victim to a lightning strike. Bring pets inside.

Did you know that lightning can enter your home or building?

There are three main ways lightning can enter homes and buildings:

  • A direct strike
  • Through wires or pipes that extend outside the structure
  • Through the ground.

Lightning can travel through any metal wires or bars in concrete walls or flooring or electrical, through phone lines, plumbing, and radio/television reception systems.

Your Chances of Being Struck By Lightning Are About 1 In 600,000

But Could Be Even Less By Following These Safety Tips:

  • Postpone outdoor activities if thunderstorms are likely;
  • Remember that rubber-soled shoes DO NOT provide protection from lightning; and
  • Use the 30/30 lightning safety rule — Go indoors if after you see lightning, if you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder. Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.

Shameless Plug

Residents of Prince George’s County can register to receive alerts and notifications via your mobile device through NotifyMe Prince George’s.

Here is an additional video on indoor lighting:

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This week is Lightning Safety Awareness Week

This week June 24-30, 2012 is Lightning Safety Awareness Week.

Via the National Weather Service –  Summer is the peak season for one of the nation’s deadliest weather phenomena— lightning. But don’t be fooled, lightning strikes year round. The goal of this Website is to safeguard U.S. residents from lightning. In the United States, an average of 54 people are reported killed each year by lightning. To date, there have been 4 deaths in 2012. Find out the sad facts about lightning deaths in previous years.

Hundreds of people are permanently injured each year.  People struck by lightning suffer from a variety of long-term, debilitating symptoms, including memory loss, attention deficits, sleep disorders, chronic pain, numbness, dizziness, stiffness in joints, irritability, fatigue, weakness, muscle spasms, depression, and more.

Lightning is a serious danger.

All week we will post safety tips. Come back every day to learn more lighting safety awareness.

Here is a video on Thunderstorm and Lightning Safety from the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management.


“When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors”