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Maryland’s PGFD announces staffing reorganization. Career firefighters removed from four fire stations & redeployed.


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Below are details from Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department Chief  Marc Bashoor on a staff realignment to take place on March 4 that would take career firefighters from four firehouses and use them to increase staffing at other stations in the county. The memo was posted on the PGFD PIO blog.

A month ago, leadership from Branchville VFD (PGFD Station 811) held a press conference critical of the plan that would make Branchville and three other stations staffed soley by volunteer firefighters 24/7. You can find that coverage here, here and here.

February 1, 2013 
TO: All Sworn, Civilian, and Volunteer Personnel
FROM: Marc S. Bashoor, Fire Chief
RE: Fire/EMS Department Reorganization
In an effort to achieve essential improvements in our utilization of uniformed staffing resources and maintain fiscal prudence, I have tasked staff to conduct a multi-faceted evaluation of the Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department’s overall operations and personnel deployment. The first phase of this assessment, which was recently completed, includes an evaluation of current career staffing patterns for all facilities. The primary objective was to identify all patterns of redundancy in service, with the inclusion of adequate volunteer participation, and essential compliance with all operational standards.
As part of this phase, the staff used available empirical data and conducted a Graphical Information Systems (GIS) mapping analysis of the seven-minute response capabilities for each facility based on minimum response recommendations contained in the Maryland National- Capital Park and Planning Commission Public Safety Master Plan (PSMP) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1710 Standard. To evaluate service delivery, these GIS studies observed population density, response times and call volume for each response area.
After careful consideration and review of all of the components of the first study phase, the following global career staff reassignments will be implemented effective Monday, March 4, 2013;
- Seat Pleasant Station 808
- Branchville Station 811
- Boulevard Heights Station 817
- West Lanham Hills Station 828
- Hyattsville Station 801 (6 personnel, 0700-1500)
- Capitol Heights Station 805 (5 personnel, 24 hours a day)
- Bowie-Northview Station 816 (6 personnel, 24 hours a day)
- Oxon Hill (Livingston Road) Station 821 (6 personnel, 24 hours a day)
- Chapel Oaks Station 838 (6 personnel, 24 hours a day)
- West Lanham Hills (Good Luck Road) Station 848 (6 personnel, 0700-1500)
- Laurel Rescue Station 849 (6 personnel, 0700-1500)
- Allentown Road Ambulance 832
- Chapel Oaks Ambulance 838
The next phase of our reorganizational assessment will continue to examine locations where two-person shift staffing remains. The Department will be working with the Volunteer Chiefs and examining each of these work sites to determine the possible coverage based on meeting specific service demand. In this phase we will also conduct a thorough examination of all aspects of our Department operations, focusing on our specialty and technical assets and our training paradigm.
The redeployments and expanded staffing assignments should be considered long-term strategic decisions, balancing service provision to more residents than our current staffing model. The Fire/EMS Department will continue to support the on-going volunteer recruitment, station management and support functions at all volunteer stations. Deployment of all of the Department’s personnel in the future will be evaluated based on the aforementioned merits as well as, but not limited to, the ability to sustain the additional staffing levels.
Affected Volunteer Chiefs were contacted today. Affected career personnel will be provided direction in the coming weeks.
I fully expect all personnel will continue to perform professionally and provide transitional assistance as necessary.
2013.02.01 ASCVP Memo #13-08 – Fire/EMS Department Reorganization.doc

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Comments - Add Yours

  • Ronald

    Doesn’t PG County have a volunteer Fire Commission and Association? It appears to me that this one time great combination system is soon to be come a total paid department in the next five to 10 years.

  • Anonymous

    When volunteer company after volunteer company scratches call after call, something needs to happen. Yah the cooperations about Central Ave. do a great job but the majority of companies below Pennsylvania Ave are career run…and call volume isn’t slowing down anytime soon!

  • Anonymous

    No one cares about this. Fire Department is in shambles and there is no light in the tunnel. Let it implode and then maybe it can rise from the ashes.

  • David S.

    There is still 1100 riding volunteers in PG co and 80% are fighting fires from 1700hrs. there are 4 stations that are 100 vol coverage and do not scratch at all .I feel that the chief should have left the coverage alone for an example co 28 runs a lot during the daytime and they donot have the coverage to man both engines and a truck so Ido not understand the change.

    • Anonymous

      Where do you get your stats from? I’ve been around for a few years now and I see the same vollies day in day out. There may be 1100 volunteers in the books but far fewer actually ride. And 80% fighting fires? Yea sure buddy.


    Shouldn’t they be happy? That’s more Stations that can put 100% volunteer on their rigs. It works for 33.

  • Pingback: Maryland's PGFD announces staffing reorganization. Career … | The Humans' Resource()

  • Anonymous says

    Maybe if 28 were willing to put an ambulance in service they would keep their day crew. The surrounding companies are already picking up their slack by covering all their EMS calls. It’s a shame about 11 but being so close to College Park and Berwyn Heights really does make them unnecessary. Good move for the career guys, sucks for the volunteers. But if you want to be a volunteer company then maybe you should not be relying on career crews so much.

  • Anonymous

    Come on David S. – You’ll never sell anyone on the fact that Prince Georges County has 1100 riding volunteers. Aside from that, if you look at the changes in staffing, it surely looks like they’re moving toward a Baltimore County system, with a fully staffed house next to all volunteer houses.

  • Paidtick

    It looks like there trying to do safe staffing by increasing the number at stations. If you have 3 firefighters or even 4 at one station that is a problem. Because if an ambulance call comes out you then loose 2 personnel for the ambulance and you then have 1 or 2 for an engine to deal with a first due fire with rescues, it happens. I think the volunteers have staffed minimum very well for years but the career side has responded below and that can be scary. Plus as reported if there are 1100 volunteers riding why can’t the volunteers cover the stations that are loosing career personnel. This would allow safe staffing for career and volunteer departments. It seems the volunteers dislike the career personnel until they loose them and then they dislike career personnel even more. Can anyone make up their minds what they want.

    • O cool

      Exactly agree. Hate when you got them. Despise them even more when you loose them. Is because now you have to ride the ambo? No one to be used as a punching bag? 1100 vollies! what? where? if so Time to put up or shut up!

    • Its about time…

      The volunteers are only mad about losing their career staffing because:
      7. The 18 yr old Lt.’s a Captain’s won’t be able to get off on trying to order the career guys around anymore.
      6. Now the live in’s can no longer sleep through the AFA’s, EMS Locals and MVA’s; only to come strolling into the engine bay around 14:00 hrs in their pajama pants and DCFD t-shirt and complain how all of those ambulance calls kept waking them up last night, even though they didn’t have to get up and ride it.
      5. They won’t have the career guys to blame when no one is doing apparatus checks and their equipment breaks down.
      4. They can’t blame the career guys when their firehouses are dirty and smell like the inside of a kennel
      3. They can no longer accuse the career guys of stealing when supplies are being taken from the stations.
      2. There won’t be any paid baby sitters on the apparatus to make sure the kids are behaving in public and on calls.
      1. And the Number One Reason why the volunteers are upset about losing their career staffing…The Ambulance! Now they are forced to staff their own ambulances or they will be restricted to their first dues. No more “I’m a FIREMAN, i only ride the engine/truck,” “I ride the ambulance enough at work, i’m not doing it here too!,” or my personal favorite “I’m a volunteer, you’re the one getting paid, you can ride the shit box.”

      • xray

        Wow (it’s about time) we have the same attitudes here with the DCFIRE&EMS Department. Wonder where the culture of i’m a fireman i dont wanna ride the ambulance and serve the citizens come from.Looks like its universal

  • Anonymous

    “Available empirical data and conducted a Graphical Information Systems (GIS) mapping analysis.”

    Voodoo doubletalk. Fire trucks and Ambulances don’t fly or drive straight from point A to point B. Get a better method of bs.

    • Schmidty

      Actually, a proper GIS mapping analysis calculates road miles and travel times.

  • Anonymous

    Well yes 11 has 2 stations next to them but Berwyn heights is a special service company on NO Engine. branchville is First due engine company to about 85 percent of 14’s first due. So does it really make sense. First due engine to largest apt complex on east coast runs 1st due to major part of capital beltway. And when the gps dispatching takes over dispatching they will e first due to parts of campus of University blvd. comcast and byrd stadium so is it smart not really

  • Anonymous

    Company 11 Gets along with there staffing even the career staff say it shouldn’t happen

  • Commenter

    PG County Career side should 1) work more than 42 hours a week and 2) divy up it’s crews into 3 man crews, using a bunch of ambualance / engine rigs like in Volusia County Florida. Not sure what PG’s career total is, but it’s near 900. On a 3 shift system, with 15% on leave, that’s 255 on duty strength. 83 crews with 6 overhead. Call it 28 3 man quints and 56 ambulance-pumpers. Send a chief, 2 quints and three ambulance-pumpers to every fire, and you’ve got a decent 16 man initial assignment, plus whatever the volunteers can bring (Sub 1 3 man engine for an ambulance-engine and one 1 3 man truck for a quint).

    Every station gets an ambulance-pumper and every third station also gets a 3 man quint.

    or, stick with 4 shifts and go with 62 crews and 5 overhead. Call it 20 quints and 42 ambulance-pumpers. Or 46 ambulance-pumpers and 16 quints, if you like that. Or add a few cross-staffed quints. Or bump up to 3 shifts and go with 46 Ambulance-pumpers and 37 quints. Or go with 24/48 with a kelly day and go with 46 A/P and 25 quints.

    No one likes this idea, but you can’t deny the appeal. A transporting unit in every station. An initial attack unit in every station. A heavy water supply / attack / aerial in more than every other station. It’d be extra sweet if PG could turf non-emergency-after-assessment transports to some private ambulance service, returning the suppression ambulance to their coverage area.

    Box Alarm – 3 A/P, 2Q, 1C
    1st unit (3) – Kill the flashover (or blitz), make a ladder rescues
    1st 2 units (6): IC, PO, Team 1, Team 2. 1st team attacks, 2nd team Water Supply then Irons and TIC in the attack group. Works quite nicely with Positive Pressure Attack.
    3rd unit (9): RIG (SAR if reported trapped)
    4th unit (12) Backup Line with Officer and 2 FFs.
    5th unit (15) three-man TIC search team.
    chief (16)- relieves IC to be vent/attack group leader
    All quints forward lay 5″. If they’re not first due, they make the connection with their FF. If they are 1st due, have the next A/P make the connection for them. 2nd quint positions in rear, if possible. 2nd quint tests hydrant before laying in.

    WFD brings RIG to 4 units, 12 FFs.

    Even I didn’t think there was a use for those ambulance – pumpers, but this works quite nicely. Scary to even me. Volunteers would just be icing on the cake.

    • Anonymous

      go back to the west coast!

    • Harvey

      “No one likes this idea, but you can’t deny the appeal.”
      I am deny it! I have a feeling you’re from the left coast. You weren’t making much sense and then I got to the ambulance pumpers part. Makes alot of sense laying out 5″ hose for food on the stovev etc on a single family. Nevermind, I’m just going to forget I read your post!

      • Commenter

        1) two out of three times a “fire-medic” unit would get there first and stage the quints.
        2) so what if you had to do a little work, FOS isn’t so frequent that it’s going to kill you.
        3) use St. Louis’s spec for quints, and reloading 5″ from ground level isn’t too hard.

    • Not a chance

      First of all, way too much writing to read. Second, that idea sucks. 3 shifts might work for a slower department but the 72 hours off is much needed rest when you run 15-20 calls on a shift and are up for nearly 24 hours straight. Also ambo/pumpers and quints suck, it’s better to have apparatus that’s good at doing one thing than pieces that can’t do either thing well. Finally, what kind of department has to $ to do a change like this? This would take a decade to implement, it’s not feasible or worth while.

      • Commenter

        I’m sorry that reading is hard for you.

        A slower department like Chicago or Los Angeles?

        104,000 EMS incidents @ 1 unit each, 29,000 fire incidents @ 3 units (avg) = 191,000 responses.

        191,000 responses / 71 career staffed units (plus whatever volunteers remain) = 2690 / year or 7-8 a day. Some would do double that, up to 16 a day. A busy day, but not going to kill you. Not bad at all if you could convince a private ambulance service to transport those patients that could wait 20 minutes for their arrival.

        Dedicated equipment better than multifunction, but the multifunction is good enough, and better than the equipment that’s still at the station when you’re returning from one of your 12 ambulance calls a day.

        50 Ambulance-Pumpers @ $350,000 ea = $17,500,000
        30 Quints @ $800,000 ea = $24,000,000
        total $42 million, over 10 years is $4.2 million, or 3% of PGF/EMSD’s annual budget.

        Not worthwhile to have units with dedicated career staffing in each station? Your call, not mine.

  • BH

    I don’t get it- if the secret goal is allegedly an all-career department, why remove career staffing from any stations?

    • 95%er

      you really don’t get it? it will put the volly companies out of business because they don’t field crews. once they fold, there is a reason to go back and demand more career members. this is not rocket science.

      • BH

        If they already know the volunteers can’t get the truck out the door, then all the administration is doing is endangering the residents of that district by removing the staffing.

        Or maybe that area didn’t need a station in the first place. In a department that big there has to be at least a couple of those.

  • WhenItWas

    PG County has a very unique response procedure. Response to a structure fire varies tremendously based on what units are available in a station. Typically 1 unit is dispatched from each station, and all other units in the station can respond as “extra” units. For example, a first alarm at the Univ of MD at College Park gets : 1 pumper from College Park, 1 pumper from Branchville, 1 pumper from Chillum, 1 aerial from Berwyn Heights, 1 aerial from Riverside, and 1 rescue squad from Hyattsville. If there are extra units in any of those stations, they will all respond also. Sometimes a first alarm at Univ of MD can receive up to 8 pumpers, 5 aerials, and maybe 3 heavy rescues.

    • Andrew

      This not how it is supposed to work anymore. Stations are required to call in to PSC with the number of pieces they will get out the door. There is not supposed to be any self-dispatching anymore. If you call in a second crew after the initial dispatch then the CO is given the decision to place you on the assignment and place the last due company in service. Or keep you both which happens sometimes.

  • 100% Volunteers…5% of the Time.

    I always love it when they come out with that “1100 Volunteers” line of B.S. How many of those 1100 volunteers don’t even live in the State? How many of those 1100 volunteers are considered “Senior Citizens” and no longer even ride? And how many of those 1100 Volunteers on the rolls signed up to get their T-shirt and PG Gear but they only come around once every 2 months (if that) to make their quota? If you check the log books, I’d bet good money that out of the 1100 Volunteers on the rolls, only about 300-400 (if even that many) are the ones running 98% of all the calls run by the volunteers.

  • Anonymous

    I think this is the practical application to the definition of insanity. But hey how would I know in I am perfictly fine, it is you all who is messed up. Oh, wait this isn’t the insane forum is it?

  • Chuck Smeby

    Very interesting. I do not understand any tolerance for failures to respond or undermanned companies. These only fool the public and elected officials. Sounds like the Chief is trying to resolve these issues. Great job.