Today in Maryland

Foam container ban takes effect in Maryland's capital city

ANNAPOLIS (AP) — A ban on plastic foam containers aimed at businesses that sell food has taken effect in Maryland's capital city.

The Capital Gazette reports the ban on the material commonly referred to as Styrofoam began Sunday in Annapolis. The Maryland General Assembly and Anne Arundel County Council have passed similar rules that will go into effect next year.

Lawmakers say the polystyrene in the containers is difficult to recycle and breaks down into small pieces that can invade the water supply.

Annapolis city spokeswoman Mitchelle Stephenson says restaurants and vendors have been alerted twice this year to switch to paper, cardboard or another biodegradable material.

Businesses found in violation of the law are fined $100 for the first offense and $200 for subsequent offenses.

Information from: The Capital, http://www.capitalgazette.com/

Baltimore fire union says new policy endangers responders

BALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore's firefighters union is calling for the city's fire department to reevaluate a new policy that reduces the number of responders dispatched to initial fire alarms, after they say firefighters were placed in "greater danger than necessary" during a call.

Union president Richard Altieri II said in a letter that the department responded to a report of someone trapped inside a burning building Sunday. Altieri says the call was designated a local alarm and 17 firefighters responded instead of the previous 30. He said they didn't have "proper resources" to handle the entrapment. The Baltimore Sun reports the individual was severely injured.

The policy nearly halves the number of personnel responding to initial alarms as the department sees medical calls rise above those of fires.

Chief Roman Clark said the department's looking into the incident.

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