County task force helps with Irma relief

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FEMA logoWhile most of Maryland Task Force 1 returned on Sept. 6 after providing relief in Texas following Hurricane Harvey, the task force’s hazmat team redeployed for Hurricane Irma relief. Maryland Task Force 1 is composed of Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service personnel. 

While the task force of about 80 members is one of 28 such groups the Federal Emergency Management Agency has throughout the country, the hazmat team is one of six.

“The team itself is four or five hazardous materials technicians from the task force, and their general mission is to support the urban search-and-rescue teams that deployed in this space for Irma,” said Pete Piringer, chief spokesperson for Montgomery Fire & Rescue Service. 


County eyes multiple problems in preparing for possible hurricane

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County emergency preparedness official Earl Stoddard said while the County is always preparing for a major storm or disaster it can never be fully prepared for a storm like Hurricane Harvey that hit Texas last week.

Stoddard, who is the executive director of the Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, the County office that focuses on emergency preparedness, said no local jurisdiction could handle a major natural disaster event by itself.

“There is no local jurisdiction by themselves that will be able to manage an event like that,” Stoddard said.


Montgomery volunteers head to Texas to assist in lifesaving efforts

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MP1 5377The Montgomery County Swift Water rescue group readies to leave for Texas.                PHOTO BY MARK POETKER  Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service personnel from Montgomery County are in Texas this week as part of Maryland Task Force 1 to assist with emergency response to Hurricane Harvey.

Maryland Task Force 1, composed of MCFRS personnel, is one of 28 Federal Emergency Management Agency groups around the country that FEMA organizes, manages and can choose to activate, said MCFRS spokesperson Pete Piringer.

“All 28 teams are engaged, most of which are actually involved with swift water rescues,” said Piringer. “This is the first time since 9/11, I believe, that all are engaged at the same time.”


What a Crowd! What a Turnout!

IMG 0124Rex Tillerson dropped the bomb.
When asked on Fox News about racism in America and this country’s attitude toward neo-Nazi marchers in Charlottesville, VA Tillerson said “I don’t think anyone doubts the American people’s values . . . equal treatment of people the world over.”
When asked if our president Trump shares this values, he replied, “The president speaks for himself.”
If you’ve ever watched Blazing Saddles that equates to the “Son, you’re on your own,” comment from the preacher to the new sheriff.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis doubled down on that sentiment when a day or two later he told a small group of soldiers, “Our country, right now, it’s got problems that we don’t have in the military. You just hold the line until our country gets back to understanding and respecting each other and showing it.”
Mattis also said our country has two distinct powers for the world: inspiration and intimidation. “The power of inspiration—we’ll get the power of inspiration back. We’ve got the power of intimidation, and that’s you, if someone wants to screw with our families, our country and our allies.”
Mattis’ s first statement spoke to Charlottesville and the growing tension and divisiveness inside our country – but the second statement – particularly the “power of inspiration” was a not-so-subtle reference to our current Commander in Chief.
This week the president helped to drive his wedge – not the golf type – deeper into the American psyche when he pardoned Sheriff Joe Arpaio. This highly controversial decision further encouraged his supporters, whoever may be left among that group, but it was assailed by Democrats and Republicans alike.

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