MCFRS News Release

Fire Fighter Safety "Stand Down"

Driving Simulator to be Dedicated to Fallen Fire Fighter and Paramedic

The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, in conjunction with the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) and the Volunteer and Combination Officers' Section of the IAFC along with hundreds of fire and rescue departments across the United States and will participate in a fire fighter “safety stand down” starting on Wednesday, June 21 through June 26, 2006. Last year about 10,000 fire departments participated in the first ever national fire fighter safety stand down.

The focus of the national safety stand down this year will be emergency vehicle safety. Many of the nation’s firefighters and emergency responders have lost their lives and/or have become injured as a result of vehicle crashes and collisions. On duty career and volunteer personnel at each and every worksite and fire station in Montgomery County will be encouraged to devise their own safety plans. These activities are requiring them to ensure that their plans include quality drills, practical exercises and information related to vehicle safety.

At the conclusion of the five-day safety stand down, on June 26, 2006, the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service will be dedicating a new state-of-the-art driver simulator in honor of Montgomery County Paramedic James Nicewarner. The dedication ceremony will take place at the Montgomery County Public Safety and Fire Training Academy, in Rockville.

Paramedic James Nicewarner died in the line-of-duty on June 26, 1977 as a result of a collision with a drunk driver at Old Georgetown Road and Democracy Blvd, in Bethesda. On that date, twenty-nine years ago, a crew of three on board Medic 3 was struck while transporting a patient to Suburban Hospital. Paramedic Nicewarner succumbed to his injuries and died. Paramedic James Nicewarner was the last line-of-duty death to occur in Montgomery County, Maryland.

The state-of-the-art driving simulator system manufactured by DORON Precision Systems, of Binghamton, NY replicates the driving compartment of a typical fire truck used in Montgomery County, Maryland. It includes essential components found in late model trucks, including air-brakes, tilt steering wheel, foot switch activated air horn and siren, air suspension driver’s seat, emergency lighting system and console and two-way radio. Any combination of other emergency vehicles can be linked to create real-time scenarios enabling the development of team based skills and for teaching important policy considerations specific to Montgomery County. The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service is one of the first fire departments in the nation to utilize this simulation technology to reinforce and compliment existing classroom teaching and practical hands-on training.

In conjunction with the fire-rescue service website, the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Safety Office will coordinate the signing of a seatbelt use pledge and review of a departmental safety and health statement. County Fire Chief Tom Carr will deliver a safety message on June 21st via “web cast” to begin the weeklong safety stand down activities The activities will conclude with the dedication of the driver simulator and awards presentations.