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Movement in Morningside. Ambulance stays for now as PGFD & volunteers continue work on solution.

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All signs had been pointing toward an ugly showdown in Morningside, Maryland after the leadership of Morningside VFD ordered the removal of the Prince George’s County owned ambulance from the Station 827 by this morning. Earlier today, this message was posted on Morningside’s website:

Through our commitment to Public Safety we have not removed the Prince Georges County (PGFD) owned and operated Ambulance from the Morningside (MVFD) Fire Station today. Instead, we are once again reaching out to Prince Georges County Officials and imploring them to meet with us. In an effort to comply with the newly imposed staffing constraints and to provide a mutually beneficial resolution, we are again requesting that the Ambulance at the MVFD Station be converted to an All Response Medic Unit.

This request would not only guarantee an Ambulance in the Morningside Fire Station, it would also not require additional staffing that is mandated in the newly ratified Collective Bargaining Agreement between Prince Georges County and the Professional Firefighters and Paramedics Association, Local 1619. Finally and most importantly, it would increase the level of service provided to the Morningside area.

It was followed a by this conversation on Twitter:

And then this statement via PGFD PIO Mark Brady:

Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor agreed to meet with Volunteer Chief Michael White as long as the Morningside ambulance continued to provide services to the citizens. After an exchange of text messages this morning Fire Chief Bashoor agreed to provide Volunteer Chief White with additional opportunities to meet and discuss the ambulance and staffing issues. 

Fire Chief Bashoor stated, “We are pleased to announce that the ambulance transport unit assigned to the Morningside Volunteer Fire Department, (MVFD) remains in service. I have agreed to reopen direct discussions with the Morningside volunteer leadership this morning, after it became clear the ambulance would indeed remain in service. Further discussions will be held to attempt a long term resolution to this situation.” he concluded saying, “The County continues to provide career staffing and equipment to support the efforts of the MVFD.”

WJLA-TV/ABC 7:

The fire department that serves the small community of Morningside in Prince George’s County will not remove a Prince George’s County ambulance from its station Monday, but the flap between the department and the county is not over.

The volunteer firefighters who staff Morningside’s station were expected to remove a county ambulance in a protest over the county’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

However, on Monday, Morningside’s staff said in a statement that they would keep the ambulance in service and continued to ask county fire officials to meet with them.

More as it becomes available.

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Comments - Add Yours

  • Unreal

    Really, They wanted to remove the County Ambulance over protest of a CBA? Grow up, stop acting like children and worry about the citizens of your community who pay for you shiny Fire Trucks.

    • Truckie84

      This CBA, reached between 1619 and PGFD, which directly affects all the volunteer departments in PG County, by forcing a set of requirements for staffing that was not even discussed with the volunteers. While I agree, increased staffing for safety purposes, is a good goal, the methods do not work. 4 FFs at a station mean either A) A suppression piece gets out the door with 4 and the ambulance is locked out, i.e. cannot respond, due to no staffing or B)The ambulance gets out and now the engine/truck/squad is understaffed with 2. Since PGFD has adopted at least 1 of the NPFA requirements, IIRC they are bound to follow them all. Understaffed units violate that.

      Then it comes to public safety. PGFD has completely pulled staffing from firehouses who BEGGED for it, because other stations (with staffing) were “close enough” to provide coverage. Co 23 could provide a transport unit (And often does, since the ambulance is so “busy” that it’s always out, usually in other first dues) from under 2 miles away. Explain that to me?

      The initial response to this was to upgrade the BLS unit to an ALS unit, thus increasing the ability and quality of service and care. We all know in PG County, that 99% of BLS units WAIT ON SCENE for ALS, they don’t intercept/RV (as other more rural counties do). This was shot down by the county with impugnity.

      So the drastic response was created. Look further into the issue at the root cause as opposed to what the media spoon feeds you because that is what they got paid off to do (And we all know the news reports to who has the most money/intrest, they never just report the news)

      Lastly, if you increased to 4 FFs (including 1 officer), the volunteers would then be forced to ride in the back…. not giving them an opportunity to learn, ride the seat, lead, etc. And before you get on your high horse about “training”, the Volunteer must meet requirements setforth in CB-82, which were agreed upon by PGCVFRA, 1619, PGFD and County legislature, and signed into law. Yes there are places with some officers who are younger and possibly immature, but if a department follows CB-82, they can have the same or greater knowledge….

      So you mean to tell me, its better to just accept something, “for the good of the citizens” that essentially destroys the foundations that a department was founded on?
      Go fly a kite, in a thunderstorm, with a key tied to it.

      • Unreal

        Not saying they should just accept it. This was just not the right way to fight their fight.

      • Anonymous

        You are an idiot and obviously can’t read.

    • http://blah.com Anonymous

      THEY’RE NOT REMOVING IT! God you all are idiots and can’t read…

  • Anonymous

    Every volunteer should be required to sign a statement each year to this effect:

    “The PGFD and xxxVFD is a combined fire and EMS department in which the vast majority of calls are EMS, rather than fire suppression calls. In addition, the majority of EMS calls do not involve serious trauma or life threatening conditions. In fact, many EMS calls do not meet any common definition of emergency. PG County is a diverse county that includes some areas with large numbers of recent immigrants, large numbers of senior citizens, and large numbers of other people without access to reliable transportation who may use the EMS system as part of their basic access to healthcare.

    As a result of all of this, the primary responsibility of the PGFD and xxxVFD is providing EMS service via BLS ambulances. This is why every volunteer in the county is required to have EMT certification. As EMS ambulance service is the primary responsibility of the PGFD and xxxVFD, all members should expect to spend considerable time serving on the ambulance and depending on need, may spend little, if any, time on fire suppression or rescue apparatus.

    By signing this statement you agree that you will serve in any capacity (including EMS) and on any apparatus (including BLS ambulance) in which you are qualified at any time you are on duty as assigned by PFGD and xxxVFD leadership, without question or protest. Any member who refuses any assignment will be stricken from the volunteer roles permanently and immediately barred from entry to any volunteer fire station.”

    Simple, you either sign and ride where they tell you, or you go volunteer somewhere else. Enough is enough with this garbage.

    • Truckie84

      You’re obviously a disillusioned, disgruntled career FF somewhere who has to ride the ambulance, of which you get a pay check. You obviously have no idea what the underlying issues are, and until you truly do. Just shut your mouth and stay out of it

      • Anonymous

        Ok Truckie84, what are the underlying issues?

        As I see it (and I am not a career FF) the underlying issue is the motivation of some of the volunteers in the county. They are not volunteering because they want to serve the county, they are volunteering because they think its fun or cool to fight big fires, or worse, because they think its cool to hang around, or even live in, a firehouse (and I do think the live-in culture plays a part in all of this, but that is for another post).

        But the problem is that there simply aren’t enough “big fires” to go around anymore (which is a good thing, by the way) and while you are waiting for the next big one, the ambulance calls, which are a true necessity in the county keep coming in.

        Could many, if not most, of those BLS calls be eliminated if the county (and country) had a healthcare network (insurance, transport, primary care, preventive care, etc) that worked better? Sure, but until that happens, the need now is for ambulances. You know this is the situation when you sign up, so deal with it.

        Might it make sense to separate out EMS from the fire side? Perhaps, but again, until that happens, deal with the fact that you are a volunteer in what is essentially an EMS department that also puts out fires. You knew this when you signed up, so deal with it.

        The bottom line is that every single volunteer in PG County knows that BLS is the primary function of this department and that they will be expected to work BLS calls. No one is forcing you to volunteer in PG County. If you don’t like this system, you are free to go somewhere else, but if you stay, then you agree to work within the current system.

    • Mark too

      You’ve obviously not read very far into this situation or are simply ignoring the background information about this.

      I would tend to agree with the basic sentiment of your post, but in this case, the VFD does have a legitimate argument about the matter.

      According to information provided by or linked to from this site, prior to the ambulance in question being placed into that station, the VFD had no prior history of owning or staffing an ambulance. When the unit was placed into their station by the County, the County and VFD signed an agreement stating that the County would provide dedicated staffing for the unit and the VFD would not be responsible for staffing or operating the unit in any fashion.

      The County appears to be trying to break that agreement. This doesn’t necessarily absolve the VFD of things it’s said or done regarding the matter, but it does show that this isn’t quite as clear cut an issue as many think it is.

      • Anonymous

        Have you seen this agreement that everyone is referring too?

  • Mike

    I agree with the signed agreement portion, a lot of people run down to PG because they only want to do part of what is expected.

  • Allen F. Sullivan

    Written by Local #1619

  • Anonymous

    In reading the comments, it is quite evident the Union and the
    County negoiated a CBA which left out Volunteer where it concerns issues such as the Ambulance at Morningside. Has any
    consideration been discussed and/or even pursued about leaving A827 and assigning Career Firefighters to run it. Think back for a minute several years back Kentland Station 833 had a similar problem where the Volunteers went to the County Executive and had Career Firefigghters assigned to run A833. They had and probably still have their own Quarters at Station 833. I understand a Medic unit is either going to placed at Station 833 or is already there. Today nothing is heard about EMS Service at Station 833. Why couldnot this same solution beimplemented at Station 827? Yes there will be a need for additional Carrer Staffing to guarantee A827 will get out. As far as Morningside using the excuse A827 would be running other areas. What is the Difference when an EMS vehicle from surrounding areas ie: 29-26-23-17 etc run calls within Morningside community? That is a flimsy excuse to even be thought about or spoken about. it is time realize the demographics of the County have changed over the years. More people means more EMS calls. Come on Morningside think outside the Box. It is not about Volunteers inside the Station, This critical issue is all about the Health and Well Being of the Tax Payer Citizens who deserve better than what is being portrayed.

    • Mark too

      The volunteers were “left out” of the CBA negotiated between Local 1619 and PG County because there was pretty much no reason to include them.

      As I understand their system, the career personnel are employees of the county. The volunteers are not directly “employed” by the county. They are all members of individual VFDs that are essentially contracted to provide services as part of PGFD, most of which are supported with career staffing and fire apparatus from the county with the whole operation overseen by the PGFD Fire Chief.

      The volunteers may feel the effects of whatever has been negotiated, but the Local’s only obligation in negotiations is to its members, not the volunteers, since the CBA is an employer/employee document. The County would be the one with any obligation to the volunteers in regards to any staffing issues related to the CBA.

      Regardless, the whole issue seems kind of dumb to me. The volunteers don’t want 4 career personnel in their station 24/7 because it supposedly would decrease volunteer opportunities and they don’t want to staff the ambulance. Considering that 2 of the 4 would likely oftentimes be tied up on the ambulance, the presence of 2 more career firefighters shouldn’t have that significant of an impact on volunteer opportunities. If they aren’t filling every seat on every apparatus every time it’s going out the door after 3pm, then why would you refuse additional staffing?

  • CareerLt

    Why does a CBA between the career professional firefighters of PGFD have to be vetted and approved by any volunteer company? It is a contract between the professional FF’s and the County? And as a career fire officer, I’m supposed to ride behind some 20-25 year old kid who took FF 1 and 2 and Fire Officer 1 and 2 in a year and won a popularity contest to become a volunteer officer? So on paper they are qualified on paper. I cut my teeth in the 70’2 and 80′s when we actually had fires nearly every tour. No you can go months at a time without a significant working incident, fire or rescue. Housing volunteers and career in the same house has never, and will never be, a good idea. But hey, going to conventions and wearing tee shirts that say “I fight what you fear” or any other cute catch phrase is a good way to pick up chicks, right?

  • The52nd

    I’m a little confused about how the ambulance ran in the first place. I got the impression that the vollies had nothing to do with it, and it was staffed by the career guys. Did the vollies ride the short bus?

    Also, as per the agreement with the county, if the career guys go, then the bus goes. To hell with all this ” good of the communities” BS. People volunteer for things they enjoy, and don’t volunteer for things they don’t enjoy. The vollies that have volunteered to ride the big red truck did it because it’s what they want to do, and it’s still contributing to the community. And of they joined before, or under an agreement that they’d have no part of staffing the bus, then they shouldn’t be forced to. Just because others also handle the EMS protion of the job in their department doesn’t mean everyone should be pressured to, or cares less if they don’t. I’m a career guy. I do EMS because I have to, but I hate it. If ever came the day that I never had to do another EMS run I’d be ecstatic.

    I’ve got to say that I’m glad to see a chief with a set of balls, too.

    • Anonymous

      If they just want to volunteer to ride the fire truck they could do so back in their home town, serving their own communities.

      Instead they come to PG to be big bad firemen while disregarding direct orders from the Chief.

  • Joe

    If 27 acted more like 9, 33 and 37 then it would make sense what they are fighting for. Unfortunately, those guys like to up and leave there riding positions in the middle of the night, without warning and leave the career guys running around, figuring out if the Volly Captain or driver is sleeping through the call, or just decided not to run anymore calls for the evening. Don’t act like it isn’t true because we all know it is. Take the 4 career guys and the 27 vollys could double pull with the career guys and still never have to ride the ambulance.

  • Anonymous

    How many 27 guys are union brothers in their fulltime life? 1619 guys oughta show up in the district one day and tell all their union “brothers” they can go home for the day. See how it feels. This BS has been going on all over MD, PA, DE, VA for way too long.

  • Soon To be Non Union

    First off fuck the union. The union has done some good things for firefighters at the national level. That said here I set a member of the IAFF working 4 12 hour shifts a week when I use to work 4 one week and 3 the other. No change in pay I am essentially working a extra day on those weeks for free.

    When this shit came down the pipe I didn’t here one peep out of our union. They said “it’s legal we can’t do anything about it”. I fucking pay for them to stand up for me and even if they can’t do anything they sure as fuck can make a stand for whats right. Now right after this our former president got promoted to captain now tell me that shit isn’t connected, because he sure as shit wasn’t the most qualified applicant.

    I volunteer still and I will for as long as I can. All you others in here can spout off that union garbage about people volunteering. For all of you that think IAFF is your savior you better fucking wake up. The union is a corporation its only interests are increasing members and its revenue. This is my last year in the union after this i’m out of it, RIGHT TO WORK STATE BABY!

  • 27_Finest

    I THINK EVERYONE HAS THEIR OWN OPINON AND THATS GREAT, THIS SITUATION IS BIGGER THAN HOUSING A AMBULANCE ITS THE PRINICIPAL ABOUT HAVING A BACKBONE AND STANDING UP TO WHATS RIGHT. IF 27 ALLOWS THE COUNTY TO MAKE DECISIONS ON HOW THERE STATION SHOULD OPERATE THEY MINDS WELL TAKE THE “VOLUNTEER” FROM IN FRONT OF THERE NAMES. LOOK HOW BASHOOR TOOK OVER 29 IT WAS (5 PAID GUYS (MINUS THE MEDIC UNIT) AND A NICE NUMBER OF VOLUNTEERS NOW ITS 10 PAID GUYS WITH MAYBE A HANDFUL OF VOLLYS NOW) THIS IS ALL A PLAN TO ELIMANATE VOLUNTEERS. 27 AMBO RUNS MORE CALLS OUTSIDE OF THEIR FIRST DUE THAN INSIDE SO THE CITZENS WAS NEVER THE ISSUSE, BESIDES DO YOU REALLY THINK A CITZEN KNOWS WHAT COMPANY A AMBULANCE IS FROM WHEN THEY ARRIVE ON SCENE BETTER YET DO YOU THINK THEY KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHOS A VOLUNTEER OR A CAREER? NO!!!!!

    • Mr. Sandman

      First off, the “Caps Lock” button is located to the left of your keyboard, please make sure it is not still engaged.

      2nd,
      29?? Seriously, you’re going to use 29 as an example of the County’s tyranny? Station 29 was a disaster from the moment Eugene Jones encouraged the volunteers to “take over” that station. You had Vinny Pockets and the King boys running a Ladder truck up and down the road that they had no idea how to operate, or even where equipment was stored on it. How many times do they have to blow addresses in their own first due, not lay out on fires and then run around their own Wagon charging every single line except for the one that was pulled for the fire, before someone says enough is enough. They were so proud of being Volunteers, yet they chose to ride a County owned Ladder truck rather than their own Engine. Oh wait, that’s because they Engine runs most of the “B.S.” Calls and EMS Locals in the 1st due, and the Ladder truck gets to run all the fires outside their area. Not to mention the infighting that was going on between the “Out of town” volunteers who thought they were better than the volunteers who lived locally. Maybe the Volunteers there could post another video on youtube of them in the office at 29 in their SHVFD shirts rapping about degrading women.

      3rd,
      You want to talk about the principle of standing up to the county and not letting them tell you what to do?? WAKE UP! They already do! Your station and the apparatus in it are maintained under County Maintenance. Your apparatus are fueled using County Fuel. You operate on emergencies under County written General Orders. The County decides whether or not your apparatus get dispatched on calls. The County decides the standards by which the apparatus you purchase (with taxpayer dollars) are spec’d out prior to you adding the bells and whistles; and they decide whether or not you will be allowed to place that apparatus in service. The only thing you guys have power over are the nonemergency day to day operation of your station. Which essentially boils down to you guys being allowed to decide what color you want your next t-shirt to be and who gets to sleep where in the bunk room. You can elect your own officers, but the County approves them and has the power to demote or remove them. Every time you decide to pick a very public fight with the county over very petty things, such as whether or not you get to ride the front seat on the Wagon, you are going to lose Big Time in the court of public opinion. Because whether you want to believe it or not, the public is watching you, and they are shaking their heads at you. It’s time you reevaluate your “Principles” and why you are volunteering; or you can always go find somewhere else in Maryland where you can feel like the big fish in the pond.

      • 27_Finest

        I WROTE IN ALL CAPS FOR A REASON MR SANDMAN!! Also if you feel that strong towards volunteers why are we here? I mean the “County” needs VOLUNTEERS if you havent noticed. If every VOLUNTEER company goes out of service for 24hrs you would be begging for them to come back.

        • Mr. Sandman

          If the Volunteer walked off for 24hrs, it would be the most stress free day for the career firefighters in the entire history of that department. They could run a record number of fires and it would still be less stressful than cleaning up after the volunteers on calls.

          P.S. I’m here to serve the public while earning a living for my family. Why are you here???

        • 100% Pest Free

          “If every VOLUNTEER company goes out of service for 24hrs you would be begging for them to come back.”

          Don’t flatter yourself. 1 week a year every summer, the staffing in PG and most of the surrounding counties significantly drops. Why? Because the volunteers climb aboard their parade ponies and drive out to Ocean City, MD for their annual circle jerk. And guess what…the Department functions just fine without you.
          Careful with what you threaten, you may not like the results.

  • Anonymous

    The biggest problem is that too many volunteers (not all by the way), and far too many in the volunteer associations (local and statewide) still think that this is the 1960′s and that PG County is some rural Southern county where being a fireman means hanging out the station with the good ole boys and earning your manhood fighting fires and where the fire department is run by locally elected chiefs and officers.

    Guess what, times have changed. PG County now has a population of nearly 900,000 people. If PG County were a city, and in some ways it is given that so much is centralized in the County government as opposed to the municipalities, it would be the 11th largest in the country, ahead of places like Baltimore, DC, Indianapolis, and Boston. 75% of the residents are minorities. 20% of the population was born outside of the US and 20% speak a language other than English at home.

    In addition, back in the day, fire was king. Buildings burned frequently. Construction was substandard and sprinklers were nearly non-existent. In addition, the modern concept of EMS didn’t even exist. Ambulance services existed solely to take people to the hospital, not provide pre-hospital medical care (some were even run by funeral homes!). Today, EMS is king. Every major municipal fire and EMS department in the country today is an EMS Department first and foremost and a fire department second. Not to reignite the controversy of the DCFD naming issue, but if we were to accurately name the PG County department it would be PGEMS and Fire. Not the other way around (and no, they shouldn’t actually change the name, just making a point).

    So everything has changed. Everything that is except the mindset of many of the volunteers in PG County. There is a saying in public policy, you can’t fight demographics. It applies to the fire and EMS service as well. Bashoor seems to get this, too many in the volunteer leadership don’t and whether they realize it or not, they are leading their volunteer companies into obsolescence and eventual disappearance.

  • Step Up, or Step Aside

    When are the volunteers in that county going to realize that now is the time for them to step up and consolidate their power. Anyone with half a brain can look at what is going on in that county and realize that the county is slowly and steadily moving towards a Baltimore County type system. The Chief is redeploying career personnel and beefing up staffing at strategically located stations. The County and the Fire Chief don’t want to get rid of the volunteers, they need them, whether they want to admit it or not. They need them in order to make that system work. Right now the county is running a system with too many holes and question marks in it. Instead of having a handful of volunteers scattered between 3 or 4 stations within a Battalion, why not consolidate those volunteers into one house, with no career personnel, where they can run things how they want, without all of the career vs. volunteer in house fighting.
    Unfortunately the volunteers in that county will fight against this tooth and nail because they refuse to give up what little power they have over their failing organizations. Take a good hard look at Kentland. They own two stations but really only staff one of them with volunteers. They consolidated there members and have become a very successful organization. 9 is an all volunteer company that actually runs their own ambulance, yet they don’t exactly struggle for membership and often times are double pulling fire apparatus while still staffing the ambo. You are there to serve the public, and the public demands more of you than what you are giving them. Now is the time for you guys to stand up, work together and look like the heroes in this situation.

  • Anonymous

    27, dude. If you’re gonna shout, at least check your grammer.

  • DJ

    Yes. Nail hit on the head. There is a conspiracy to get rid of the volunteers. Every day of the calendar is for a different company and now we are behind schedule with our conspiracies for the other company’s. thanks for mucking up the system.
    DJ

  • Smartest Man Alive

    Simple solution:

    Volunteers – 100% Volunteer station.

    Career – 100% Career station.

    No Integration!!!

    • Anonymous

      Sounds great, until the call comes in at 2pm on a Tuesday and you can’t get any volunteers because, guess what, they are all at work! Gasp! Actually recruiting volunteers from the community?

      Oh wait, you can just recruit more live-in “college students” to live rent free in the house. They don’t need to actually hold jobs since everything they need is provided by the VFD. Go to work? Contribute to the economy? Better yourself? Who has time for that when there is lounging around the firehouse to be done! Hey man, its a lifestyle!

  • Anonymous

    I really the comments about Volunteers being left out of Contract Negoiations which resulted in a CBA. First of Volunteers have no place within the Negoiations. That is confidential betwwen County Gov’t and Local 1619. Issues such as Staffing does in fact affect everyone who serves in PG Fire and EMS delivery System. Everyone especially Morningside should take a step back, and really give thought to the Ambulance at Morningside. OK, now as everyone is aware there is today an ever growing Population, particularly within established local Communities. A large percentage of the population is with Senior citizens. Yes there are Health Care Provider Locations such as Nursing Homes, Assisted Living etc.
    These Facilities house our Senior Citizens not to ignore that there are Senior citizens living in their own Homes. Tax Payers
    have the ultimate responsibility to ensure Emergency Response is available should any unforseen Emergency occur. It is imperative that a realistic mature solution be achieved here without any interruption in 911 Emergency Responses. Morningside must keep in mind that if A827 is removedthe Response Time to Morningside Citizens will be increased. The next closes EMS Response maynot come fro surrounding Stationsie; 29-26-17-23-5-8. The Response could very well come from Station 21-42-25-20 and others at a farther distance. One would think bewteen Chief Bashoor and Chief White there should and could be reached through open Dialogue. Bottom Line, Morningside should look upon this critical issue the same way they would want and expect their family to be Provided Emergency Response. The issue isnot about Volunteers within Morningside nor Career Staffing assigned to Station 827.

  • OrkinMan

    Volunteers in PG have jobs??? I figured they were all bums that just chilled shirtless around the “war wagons” and made sweet videos about all the jobs they run. Just split the county all career stations, all tick infested, scab crawling stations. That way you know when the reliable professional men are getting out, and you know which stations need to be bug bombed. FTM