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Baltimore County Now

Stay informed of what's happening in Baltimore County.
Keyword: fire department

Walk Safe logo Lt. Steve Troutman, Baltimore County Police Crash Team Leader

 Battalion Chief Jennifer Utz,  Baltimore County Fire Department

  Now that summer is here, people are getting out and about more. Sadly, the beautiful    June weather means more people will be seriously hurt - or killed - just crossing the street.

It’s not usually who you think, or for the reasons you think…

There are some common misconceptions when it comes to pedestrian crashes. Most people tend to assume that the crash is caused by the person behind the wheel. That is normally NOT the case. Plus, it’s more often an adult rather than a child who is struck.

In fact, 80% of these incidents are actually caused by the pedestrian. Many of these fatal crashes are results of:

·        Failure to walk in crosswalks or obey crosswalk signals

·        Distracted walking

·        Failure to look both ways

·        Wearing dark clothing while walking at night

You might be even more surprised to know that 60% of those killed last year in pedestrian-vehicle crashes were over the age of 40. That’s right, we’re not just talking about distracted students or young children; most pedestrian infractions are committed by adults.

Tragically, in recent years, Baltimore County is experiencing a significant increase in the number of serious pedestrian crashes. Each year, the Baltimore County Police and Fire Departments respond to about 420 pedestrian-vehicle crashes - that’s more than one accident every day, on average! In 2013, the number of fatal crashes in Baltimore County increased more than in the last five years.

Though pedestrian related crashes are prevalent throughout Baltimore County, there are particular areas where rates are higher, such as Liberty Road in Randallstown, York Road in Towson, and Merritt Boulevard in Dundalk.  Each of these areas has high volumes of traffic, which can result in greater chances of injury. There are also large numbers of pedestrian crashes near bus stops, as pedestrians can sometimes focus more on making the bus or rushing home than on their own safety.

With the drastic increase in pedestrian accidents in the last few years, Baltimore County is launching a “Heads Up! Walk Safe” public awareness campaign, focusing on four simple reminders:

·        Obey the Law: always cross at a crosswalk or intersection

·        Avoid Distractions: put away the cell phones and other electronic devices while crossing

·        Be Visible: when walking or running at night, wear bright colors

·        Be Aware: be mindful of your surroundings and know when a vehicle is approaching

Find out more on the County’s Walk Safe web page. On behalf of our fellow first responders, please walk safely and don’t be our next crash victim!

Edited by Justin Tucker, Baltimore County Office of Communications Intern


By Susan Hunt

Baltimore County Office of Public Safety Media & Communications

Yes, firefighters do occasionally rescue cats stuck in trees, horses stuck in mud, dogs trapped in burning buildings … and, recently, a great blue heron tangled in a kite string.

Sometimes, even the most experienced rescue workers face situations not covered at the Fire-Rescue Academy. That’s what happened on Sunday, April 29, when Halethorpe’s Truck 5, under the command of Lt. Stephen Sindler, was dispatched to assist the Arbutus Volunteer Fire Department with a rescue involving a great blue heron dangling by its wing from a kite string suspended between two 60-foot trees. The string had wrapped itself several times around the bird’s wing.

Now, the long-legged blue heron – almost as much a state bird as the Baltimore oriole – weighs about seven pounds and stands 4.5 feet tall with a wingspan of nearly 6.5 feet. One of the tricky things about trying to save them is that they are carnivores who kill their prey by impaling them with their blade-like beaks. This was no standard fluffy kitten rescue.  

Carefully, Truck 5’s crew extended the aerial ladder between the trees. Probationary Firefighter David Hepner climbed the ladder, and – assisted by the DNR officer on the ground – pulled the string and the bird towards him. Following the DNR officer’s instructions, PFF Hepner grabbed hold of the bird, cut the string, disentangled the bird and carried the patient to the ground. Crews turned the heron over to Baltimore County Animal Control officers.

The story has a happy ending. Animal Control personnel transferred the bird to the Phoenix Wildlife Center, which treated its injuries and a few days later released it back into the wild. 


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