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Fire Crews to Canvass Neighborhoods Offering Education and Safety Resources

A $589,000 federal grant will help Baltimore County fire officials provide public education about preventing fires and carbon monoxide-related incidents, especially in neighborhoods at higher risk from these tragedies.

Fire officials, along with County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, kicked off the program this morning at the Randallstown home of Theodore and Geraldine Barham; the Barhams are the first family to participate in the program.

“This grant is going to help us save lives,” Kamenetz said. “Working smoke/CO alarms prevent tragedies, and yet so many families in our communities don’t have them or don’t know how to use them.”

About the Program

Several months ago, BCoFD received the most significant federal fire safety grant in years, a $589,000 award issued under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Fire Prevention and Safety program. Under the terms of the grant, the County contributes 5 percent, or $29,452.

“We know that detectors save lives, but telling people to use them isn’t enough – and we know from experience that installing detectors doesn’t necessarily mean they are working,” Congressman Ruppersberger said. “This federal grant will enable local firefighters to make house calls to ensure residents not only have detectors, but that they will work when needed. This is exactly the type of common sense investment in public safety that our constituents expect us to prioritize.”

The grant includes the purchase of smoke/CO alarms for distribution to residents who participate in the educational program and meet the program criteria. The grant also includes smoke and CO alarms for the deaf and hard of hearing and printed educational materials in multiple languages.

“Our goal is to help people take charge of their own home fire and CO safety,” said Fire Chief Kyrle W. Preis III.

Fire crews from every career station have been identifying areas in their districts at risk of fire and CO-related incidents. Beginning Saturday, April 14, Fire personnel will begin canvassing targeted neighborhoods, providing educational information, evaluating properties for safety recommendations and performing walk-through evaluations for residents who request them. Volunteer stations will be invited to assist with these events and specific locations will be announced via the County's social media platforms prior to the firefighters’ visits.

County Council Chair Julian E. Jones Jr., a veteran fire professional, praised this initiative. “After 32 years in the fire service, I know that prevention and early warning are critical in preventing injury and loss of life, and I enthusiastically support this proactive effort by the County to get modern smoke and CO detectors into homes,” he said.

Requesting a Visit

Residents may request a visit from Fire personnel to review home fire and CO safety prevention. A request form is available at www.baltimorecountymd.gov/preventhomefires


26-year Department Veteran Assumes Post July 4

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced that Acting Fire Chief Kyrle W. Preis III will take the reins as Fire Chief beginning on July 4 since the County Council confirmed his appointment this evening. He will command 1,000 career and 2,000 volunteer members of the Baltimore County Fire Service in fire suppression, rescue and emergency medical services operations.

Preis takes over for Chief John Hohman, who retired on June 30 after 40 years of service to Baltimore County. “Chief Hohman has done an outstanding job throughout his distinguished career and I wish him and his family all the best in his well-earned retirement,” Kamenetz said.

Preis started his career with the Baltimore County Fire Department in 1990 as an emergency medical technician (EMT) at the Fullerton fire station. Throughout his more than 26 years, Preis has held numerous positions including Fire Captain, Battalion Chief and Director of Emergency Medical Services, and in 2012 he was promoted to Assistant Fire Chief.  He earned a master’s degree in public safety administration from Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois and a bachelor’s degree in fire service administration from the University of Maryland. He holds the highest level of fire officer certification from the University of Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute. A lifelong resident of Baltimore County, he resides in Kingsville.

“I am grateful to be given this opportunity and excited to start the job,” said Preis. “Chief Hohman left an impressive legacy and I’ve got some big shoes to fill.”

“Chief Preis is absolutely the right person for the job,” said Kamenetz. “He has excelled as a leader in both the fire suppression side of our fire service as well as in emergency medical services. He combines solid technical skills with a real knack for communication and a collaborative leadership style that drives positive results. Chief Preis is also committed to the continued diversification of our fire department.”

“I have every confidence in Chief Preis’ ability to lead our nationally recognized fire department and continue Chief Hohman’s tradition of excellent service and continuous improvement in department operations,” said Council Chair Tom Quirk.

Chief Preis’ resume is below.

# # #  


Baltimore County Fire Department   Towson, MD
Hired: August 27, 1990      26+ years of service

Assistant Fire Chief    June 2012 - present
•  Command 1,000 career and 2,000 volunteer members in the delivery of fire, rescue, and EMS services
•  Command support areas that include EMS Division, Fire Marshal’s Office, Communications Division, Hazardous Materials and Special Operations
•  Plan and implement a budget of over $95 million dollars
•  Work with the local affiliate of the International Association of Fire Fighters in personnel matters and labor agreement negotiations
•  Work with the Baltimore County Volunteer Firemen’s Association on administrative issues

Battalion Chief    February 2011 - June 2012
•  Commanded one shift in the eastern battalion (9 career stations, approx. 40 personnel) in the delivery of fire, rescue, and EMS services
•  Functioned as a public information officer

EMS Director    September 2008 – February 2011
•  Oversaw the EMS Division for the department, developing and implementing policy
•  Responsible for delivery of Emergency Medical Services in a county of 810,000 citizens, guiding career and volunteer personnel

EMS Captain    August 2007 – September 2008
•  Commanded one of four shifts for the delivery of EMS for 32 career and 20 volunteer medic units

Fire Captain    July 2006 – August 2007
•  Commanded one of four shifts at the Hillendale Fire Station which housed one engine and one medic unit (8 personnel)

EMS Lieutenant    July 1999 – July 2006
•  Commanded six career and five volunteer medic units for the delivery of EMS

Paramedic    November 1991 – July 1999
•  Function as a Paramedic and Firefighter at the Fullerton, Hillendale, and Perry Hall Fire Stations

EMT   August 1990 – November 1991
•  At the Fullerton Fire Station

 
Education

Master of Science       Public Safety Administration – 4.0 GPA
Lewis University, Romeoville, IL

Bachelor of Science    Fire Service Administration – Cum Laude, 3.825 GPA
University of Maryland University College, Adelphi, MD

Fire Officer IV, the highest level of officer certification
University of Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute, College Park, MD

Nationally Registered Paramedic (license is current)
Community College of Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD

Appointments and Associations
•  State of Maryland EMS Board Member, appointed by the Governor, 2014 - present
•  Member, International Association of Fire Fighters
•  Member, International Association of Fire Chiefs
•  Life Member, Kingsville Volunteer Fire Company
•  Past Board Member, Greater Kingsville Civic Association
•  Past President, St. Stephen School Fathers’ Club
•  Member, Loyola Blakefield Fathers’ Club
•  Member, St. Stephen Church – lifelong

Other
•  Lifelong resident of Baltimore County


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017