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Grills placed to closely to ordinary combustibles and structures can result in catastrophic results.

Grills placed to closely to ordinary
      combustibles and structures can result
      in catastrophic results.

             The Memorial Day weekend is a time for remembrance of those that gave the supreme sacrifice in honor of our Country.  Families throughout Fallston and across Maryland will venture outside to their backyards to spend quality time together.  However, increased outdoor activities also result in an increase of outdoor fire risks. Therefore the Fallston VFAC and the Office of the State Fire Marshal are providing a few common-sense tips that will help citizens enjoy a safe grilling season.


     Outdoor Cooking Safety Tips for Gas Grills:

·        Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders should always be transported in the upright position on the floor of the vehicle with all windows open.  Never transport cylinders in the trunk of a car.  Remove the cylinder from the vehicle as soon as possible.

·        Ensure that all connections are tight.  Check all connections with soapy water. The appearance of bubbles indicates leaks, re-tighten leaking connections.

·        Make sure grease is not allowed to drip onto the propane supply hose or gas cylinder.

·        Store the cylinder (including those attached to barbecues), outdoors in a shaded, cool area out of direct sunlight.

·        Read thoroughly and follow manufacturer’s instructions for gas grill use.  Be sure that you remember to save the instructions for later reference!

    Outdoor Cooking Safety Tips for Charcoal Grills:

·        Use only a small amount of charcoal liquid starter fuel. Remember that a little goes a long way! Consider using charcoal that does not require starter fuel for ignition. 

·        Once a fire has been started, never add more starter fuel!  Fire can easily follow the stream of fluid back to the container you are holding causing an explosion and potential serious bodily harm.

·        Use great caution in disposing of ashes.  Ashes may contain live coals that can start a fire if not disposed of properly.  The safest method is to wet the ashes thoroughly with water before emptying the barbecue.  Only transport ashes in a metal container. We have documented many building fires that were caused by improperly disposed ashes.

      Please be reminded that in other than one and two family dwellings, no use or storage of hibachis, grills or other similar devices used for cooking shall be located on any balcony, under any overhanging eaves or other objects or within fifteen feet of any structure. These restrictions apply to multi-family dwellings such as townhomes, apartments, and condominiums. 

      With any outdoor style cooking equipment, never be tempted to use them inside – not even in a garage with the door open or on a porch or a balcony.  “Outdoor grills produce carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless, and poisonous gas which even in small quantities can cause injury or death.  LPG cylinders that develop a leak indoors can result in an explosion with devastating results,” stated State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci.  “Please celebrate the Memorial Day holiday weekend as safely as possible”.





             Improvements recently completed at the Cross Roads Station of the FVFAC by a local Boy Scouts of America Troop will provide our members with an excellent area to relax and enjoy the fellowship within our community and our fire company. Life Scout DJ Winters, a member of BSA Troop 899, chartered by the Fallston United Methodist Church, lead the effort for the improvements to the fire station to complete his Eagle Scout Project. Under the leadership of DJ, Scouts from Troop 899 reworked the main entrance flower bed and the area around the flag pole including the installation of new outdoor lighting to illuminate the American Flag. As part of the  project the Scouts also designed and constructed two 12’ picnic tables for FVFAC members' use. Now that DJ fulfilled these requirements he is required to complete his Eagle Scout workbook, attend Scoutmaster Conference and a Board of Review. Once these tasks are completed DJ will then be promoted to the rank of Eagle Scout. DJ's goal for his Eagle Scout Project was to successfully work within a local community group that was serving the needs of the Fallston community.

                The improvements to our station completed under the leadership of DJ are greatly appreciated by the FVFAC. The work performed by the Scouts will help create an excellent environment for our members who are Volunteering their time to the FVFAC and the Fallston community.     


photos courtesy Mike Hayden, FVFAC

photos courtesy Mike Hayden, FVFAC



             The Officers and Members of the Fallston Volunteer Fire and Ambulance Company regretfully announce the passing of Life Member, Past Chief and Past President William (Bill) Vanarsdale Sr. on May 9, 2016.

             In his years of service to the FVFAC Bill held many positions which helped to form what the FVFAC is today. Bill worked on several committees including the Crossroads Station Building Committee (1990) which established the FVFAC in the Upper Crossroads area, the Carrs Mill Station Building Committee (1993) which enabled the FVFAC to move from the original three bay fire station to the current main station which is the center of the Company's operations today, and the Apparatus Committee (1996) which replaced five major Fire and EMS units at one time. Bill held the positions of Chief of the Department (1989-1990) and President of the FVFAC (1991 & 2000) guiding both the operations as well as the administrative functions of the Company. In addition Bill served terms as Assistant Fire Chief and Associate Director for many years. Bill was honored as a Life Member of the FVFAC for his years of dedicated service to the Company, the Fallston community, and the Harford County Fire and EMS service.  Bill was a mentor to many who have served as Chiefs and other officers with the FVFAC as well as  other Harford County Volunteer Companies including his son William, who is currently the Chief of the Joppa-Magnolia Volunteer Fire Company.

           Bill is survived by his wife Diane, sons William (Jr.) and Jeremy. Family and friends are encouraged to attend Bill's viewing and funeral service which will be held at the McComas Funeral Home in Bel Air, MD.  (click link for details). 




Friday, May 6, 2016              At approximately 10 P.M. on May 5, 2016 Harford County 911 dispatched Fallston and surrounding Volunteer Fire Companies to a report of a dwelling fire in the 2200 block of Carrs Mill Road in the area of the FVFAC fire station. First arriving FVFAC personnel reported fire showing from a single story dwelling less than two minutes after the call was dispatched. In addition to the FVFAC, units from the Bel Air, Jarrettsville, Joppa-Magnolia Volunteer Fire Companies in Harford County, the Kingsville and Long Green Volunteer Fire Companies in Baltimore County responded on the first alarm and working fire dispatch assignments. Firefighters found that the fire, which appears to have originated on the first floor had extended to the attic area above the first floor. An interior fire attack along with the coordinated ventilation of the structure allowed fire crews to place the well advanced fire conditions under control in approximately 40 minutes. As this area is not served by public utilities there are no nearby fire hydrants. Water used in fighting this fire was provided by the first arriving engines and large capacity tanker. Additional water was obtained and pumped to the units on scene from a cistern at the FVFAC Carrs Mill RD. Station throughout the firefighting operation. Units remained on the scene for salvage and overhaul operations and to assist the fire investigators until approximately 1 A.M. on May 6, 2016. There was one firefighter injury reported which did not require transport to a hospital. The damage to the structure and contents is estimated to be $100,000.00. The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

            The video provided by the BAVFC details our operations during the initial stages of this incident. While crews are entering the dwelling at the front door to locate the fire, other personnel are performing ongoing risk assessments, placing ladders for access and egress, opening windows and the roof for ventilation, and insuring an uninterrupted water supply to the fire attack crews among other tasks. These types of operations can be extremely manpower intensive and require a great deal of physical activity. This is the reason that a first alarm assignment will include at least 4 engines, ladder truck, large capacity tanker and other support units. Once a working fire is declared additional units are dispatched to augment the staffing on scene and provide relief and/or rescue personnel that may be needed as the incident progresses.    

courtesy BAVFC

courtesy BAVFC

Personnel from Cos.3, 13, and B Co 48 working together to ventilate the dwelling  (courtesy John Gallagher Photography)

Personnel from Cos.3, 13, and B Co 48
      working together to ventilate the
      dwelling (courtesy John Gallagher



Wednesday, April 20, 2016 

     Spring-cleaning is an annual ritual for many people.  Just as the first signs of spring appear to usher in a new season, our spring-cleaning habits signify a fresh start for us after the long winter months.  The FVFAC and State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci suggest that Spring-cleaning can take on another meaning. “It's the ideal time to check our homes, porches, garages, sheds and yards for dangerous materials and unsafe conditions and to spend some quality time to protect our families and properties.”

     Start by taking a few minutes to plan your safety clean up day.  You will want to check each room in your home, including the attic and basement.  Also, don't forget the garage, yard and storage shed.

     Plan to do several different things:

     1.  Remove All Hazards:

              Check and correct things such as:

                      Frayed or damaged appliance cords, wiring, fuses or breakers.

                      Piles of rubbish, trash and yard debris.

                      Remove stacks of paper and magazines and place them in recycling containers.

                      Check for water leaks, especially near electrical appliances.

                      Check for adequate clearance between heating appliances and     combustibles.                                              

     2.  Properly Store Flammable Liquids and Home Chemicals:

                      Make sure that gasoline and cleaning fluids are well marked and are out of the reach of children and pets. Store in a cool, dry place outside the house.

                      Clean up work areas. Put dangerous tools, adhesives, matches or other work items away and out of any child's reach.

                      Make sure that all chemicals are kept under lock and key and out of reach of children and pets.

     3.  Check Fire Protection and Safety Equipment:

                     Test your smoke alarms and CO detectors.  Do It Now while you are thinking about it

                     Make sure all doors and windows open easily and are accessible for fast escapes.

                     Make sure your street numbers are posted properly and are clearly visible.

                     Check and make sure you have a working flashlight and battery-powered radio for the approaching storm season.

     4.  Plan Your Escape:

                     Sit down with your family and make sure that everyone knows what to do in the event of a fire by designing a home escape plan.

                     Make sure you have two ways out of every room and that you have a meeting place outside the home for the whole family.

                     Practice the plan at least twice a year.  Even the best plan is not any good if you don't take time to practice it!

     5.   Remove Outdoor Debris:

                     Clear away dead leaves and brush from the outside of walls of your home and other structures.

                     Eliminate clutter under decks, porches and stairs.

       6. Be Aware of Hazardous Weather Conditions:

                     Monitor social media outlets and NOAA Weather Radio for your area. Be aware of watches and warnings related to approaching storms and fire weather conditions.

     You can do a lot to protect yourself, your family and your property.  In fact, you are the key to your safety.  A little time spent on simple common sense prevention will do a lot to make your home a safer place to live! 




Saturday, April 9, 2016               So, just how much do you know about how residential fire sprinklers work? There are a lot of myths out there! Do the smoke alarms turn on the sprinklers? Do all the sprinklers activate at once? The attached videos answer these and more questions to help educate citizens and dispel the misinformation that abounds regarding fire sprinkler systems.  

              After watching the videos feel free to contact your local fire department or the Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal if you need additional information on residential fire sprinklers or other fire and life safety topics.




N. Tollgate Rd. 3/31/2016

N. Tollgate Rd. 3/31/2016

               The beginning of the spring season has seen members of Fallston Volunteer Fire and Ambulance Co. respond to approximately 14 reports of motor vehicle crashes with injury over the past two weeks throughout the greater Fallston area. While we can't say that the improved weather has any effect on our MVC call volume, it is apparent that something is distracting drivers and causing these crashes.

               The result of the crashes we responded to this month include several patient transports to trauma centers, two fatalities, and numerous other patients transported to local hospitals for treatment.

                The Officers and Members of the FVFAC urge all motorists to drive safely, as though your life depends on it! Distracted driving is dangerous! Vehicle operators must limit the electronic devices available to them when driving. Parents need to be sure that teenage drivers thoroughly understand the risks and hazards related to dangerous driving practices. All drivers need to drive defensively, all of the time in order to avoid potential crashes. The National Safety Council has a variety of driver safety programs available. Additional driver safety information can be found through AARP.  

For additional coverage of incidents see our Facebook page




Sunday, March 20, 2016             Chief Will Rosenberg and the Fallston Volunteer Fire and Ambulance Co. are pleased to place in service our new Engine 1312, a 2016 Pierce 1250 gallon per minute pumper with a 1000 gallon water tank. Engine 1312 carries all engine company equipment required by NFPA 1901 and Harford County Volunteer Fire and EMS Association standards. Engine 1312 will be housed at the Carrs Mill Road Station.

            The Officers and Members of the FVFAC would like to acknowledge the many hours of work performed by the Apparatus Committee which consisted of Randy Blevins, Jason Tarbell, Alex Pafel, Tim Nielsen, Michael Kalck, Mark Pilachowski, and Mike Seifert.

             The FVFAC extends an open invitation to members of the Fallston community to stop by the Carrs Mill Road Station to look at the new Engine 1312, meet your local Volunteer Fire and EMS responders, and see if joining our organization is in your future!   

             This new engine replaces a 1996 Spartan/Quality engine which is now in service at the Berkeley Springs (WV) Volunteer Fire Company.




          In anticipation of Daylight Savings Time (DST) beginning in the early morning hours of March 13th, the State Fire Marshal is urging Marylanders to “Change Your Clock – Change Your Battery” in both smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors in their homes.  Recognizing that working smoke alarms and CO detectors double a family’s chance of surviving a home fire and/or unsafe carbon monoxide levels, the State Fire Marshal says Daylight Savings Time is a great opportunity for families to change the batteries.  “Please take the little time required to help ensure the safety of your family and friends by maintaining these early warning life saving devices.”

          A Maryland law became effective on July 1, 2013 involving “battery only” smoke alarms used in residential properties.  When these “battery only” smoke alarms have reached their 10-year life span, the smoke alarm is to be replaced with new long-life sealed lithium battery smoke alarms with silence/hush button features.  The silence/hush button feature temporarily disables the alarm so the occupant can ventilate the space from mild smoke conditions typically created during some cooking operations.  The use of these alarms also eliminates the need to replace the batteries during the 10 year life of the alarm. 

          The new law also requires homeowners to ensure they have a smoke alarm installed on each floor and outside sleeping areas, per National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommendations.  It is recommended to place them in each bedroom as well.

          If your property is protected with 120 volt electric smoke alarms, they also should be replaced every 10 years with new 120 volt smoke alarms w/ battery back-up to ensure proper and timely operation in the event of a fire. 

          Along with working smoke alarms and CO detectors, Home Escape Plans are another way Marylanders can avoid injury or death in their homes.  By identifying at least two different escape routes, families can practice the plan together – before an emergency strikes.  Practicing the plan helps educate younger children to the danger of hazardous situations and the importance of recognizing that the sound of a smoke alarm or CO detector signals a potential hazard in the home. “Changing the battery in your smoke alarms and CO detectors, along with developing and practicing a home escape plan, are two of the best ways to protect your loved ones and yourself from fire and carbon monoxide poisoning,” stated Fire Marshal Geraci.

          A recent fire in the Upper Crossroads area illustrates the importance of having working smoke alarms in your home. The occupants of the home were alerted to the fire by the activation of smoke alarms and were able to safely evacuate the building.

          Please observe the overhead electronic signs as you travel throughout the state this weekend.  The Office of the State Fire Marshal and all Marylanders thank the Maryland Department of Transportation and the State Highway Administration for assisting to spread the word about this life saving reminder.    

(The Office of the State Fire Marshal is an agency of the Department of State Police dedicated to helping protect citizens from fire and explosion through a comprehensive program of education, inspection, investigation and fire protection engineering.  For more information on fire safety call 1-800-525-3124, log onto our website at: Maryland State Fire Marshal and/or our Facebook Page.)




                  At  1:15 P.M. Tuesday March 1 Fallston VFAC and surrounding volunteer fire companies were dispatched to a report of a dwelling fire in the 2600 block of Fallston RD. in the Upper Crossroads area. First arriving units from FVFAC reported heavy fire conditions involving the attached garage of a 2-story wood frame dwelling. Initially a transitional fire attack was implemented to diminish the large amount of fire involving the garage, moving to an interior fire attack to limit fire extension into and throughout the dwelling.  

                  Units from Fallston, Jarrettsville, Bel Air Volunteer Fire Companies in Harford County as well as Jacksonville, Hereford, and Kingsville Volunteer Fire Companies in Baltimore County were on the scene of the one alarm fire. A Tanker Strike Team was also requested due to the area not being served by public water (hydrants).

                   The occupants of the home were alerted to the fire by working smoke alarms and able to rapidly escape without injury.No injuries were reported to fire service personnel. The Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office was on the scene to investigate the cause and origin of the fire which was determined to be improper disposal of smoking materials. Damages are estimated to be $175,000.00. 

courtesy of Lisa Zimmerman

courtesy of Lisa Zimmerman

courtesy Matt Button-The Aegis

courtesy Matt Button-The Aegis


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