I came, I saw, I conquered, I left, I came back, I left and I came back.
I came, I saw, I conquered, I left, I came back, I left and I came back.
In my retirement I chose to focus on new adventures. I joined the Silver Hill Volunteer Fire Department to help people take advantage of the same opportunities in the Fire and Emergency Medical Services that I have had. I really enjoy providing services to new members or potential members. As the Training Officer, I enjoy seeing people begin to learn that they have skills they never considered.
The citizens and residents of Prince George’s County should consider volunteering for their community. There is nothing like committing yourself to something bigger than yourself. Take the time to come to 3900 Old Silver Hill Road in Suitland on Drill Night which occurs every Monday Night beginning at 7 pm. Come Join Us!!
I have had the pleasure of serving under or meeting Executives at every level. this post is more about reminiscing more than anything else. I am thankful to God for giving me the opportunities he has and I look forward to what he has in store for me in the future.
Are you drifting through life and questioning your existence? Are you asking yourself, is there more to life than what I am doing? Do you feel undervalued by those around you?
Did you take the training to become a fire fighter or EMT in Prince George’s Community College or the Prince George’s County Public School System and your certifications have lapsed or expired?
If you answered yes to any of those questions you should join us.
The Silver Hill Volunteer Fire Department (SHVFD) located in Suitland, Maryland (Prince George’s County) is seeking experienced Emergency Medical Technician’s certified in Maryland and/or National Registry to join as Volunteer EMTs within our department. The department is currently in a “rebuilding stage” and we currently have many students in EMT training who need preceptors.
However, if you have no training and you want to be an esteemed member of the community, we can train you as a fire fighter and emergency medical technician.
The SHVFD is Prince George’s County’s busiest fire station, averaging over 16,000+ calls per year. The department operates two basic life support ambulances. The department runs on average 30-40 calls per day (including fire apparatus response).
a. Must be sixteen years of age or older. Applicants under the age of eighteen must go through a juvenile background check (free of charge).
b. Must successfully pass a criminal background investigation and successfully pass a comprehensive medical evaluation (Physical/Stress Test).
c. Must have Maryland Emergency Medical Technician and/or National Registry Emergency Medical Technician certifications at time of application, or be able to receive these certifications via our training program within eighteen (18) months of joining the department.
d. Must obtain and hold valid American Heart Association (AHA) BLS Healthcare Provider CPR card through our training program.
e. Must complete FEMA Incident Command Systems “ICS” 100 and 700 training certifications on-line within two months of applying for Volunteer Recruit School.
Benefits and Incentives
a. Free training
b. Tuition Reimbursement
c. Live-In Opportunities
d. Length of Service Awards Program “LOSAP” (Retirement Program through State of Maryland)
e. State of Maryland Income Tax Deductions, over $4,750 off state taxes.
f. Brand new Personal Protective Equipment and Uniform Apparel
Volunteer Emergency Medical Technician General Responsibilities and Duties
Responds to emergency calls to protect life and property; drives emergency apparatus, provides basic life support emergency medical care to the sick and injured and performs related work as required.
This position has a range of responsibilities determined by the call volume during any given shift. When on duty, you could be called upon to provide emergency medical care, firefighting activities, driving emergency vehicles to include a transport ambulance and other apparatus as needed. In addition, you are requested to attend departmental training sessions, drills and meetings, perform housekeeping tasks in the fire station and on the grounds of the station, utilizing computers and other related equipment, maintain records as necessary and complete incident reports.
Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
a. Knowledge of fire suppression, emergency medical care and rescue methods.
b. Knowledge of correct method and techniques using required tools, appliances and equipment.
c. Knowledge of applicable departmental policies, procedures, rules and regulations.
d. Knowledge of hazards and safety precautions involving firefighting and emergency medical services and the ability to implement them during emergency situations.
e. Ability to perform physically arduous work in adverse conditions.
f. Ability to maintain records and prepare reports.
g. Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with other volunteer personnel, career employees as well as the general public.
Please contact our Recruiter at SHVFDRecruiter@gmail.com to schedule an interview. Interviews take place at the fire station located at 3900 Old Silver Hill Road, Suitland, Maryland 20746. At the completion of the interview, applicants may continue with the application process which includes formal application and background check. We do accept reciprocity and equivalency training for applicants coming to our department from another state.
In 2019, I will see some newly elected officials that I am very happy to see coming into power to serve the citizens of Prince George’s County. While I greatly appreciated the Council that confirmed me as Fire Chief in 2009, the incoming Council is really special because I have worked with some of them in previous jobs and various other capacities.
Rodney Streeter, Council Vice Chair, Thomas Dernoga, District 1, Calvin Hawkins, At-Large, Jolene Ivey, District 5
Thomas Dernoga, Council Member represents the District I live in and he is serving in his third term. I know him to be quite a caring representative and he supported me during my stint as Fire Chief of the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department. I look forward to working with him in the district. He is a ardent supporter of the Fire/EMS Department and of Public Safety.
Calvin Hawkins, Council Member At-Large is truly a man of the people. While working with him in the Department of Homeland Security I got to see him work on behalf of the citizens of Prince George’s County in a way that I have not seen from another person. Seeing him rise to Council Member At-Large is a fitting mantle because I saw him help citizens everywhere throughout the County. His extraordinary ability to relate to people from all walks of life reminds me of another powerful official in the District of Columbia where I grew up. From what I have seen of Council Member Hawkins’ life it would not surprise me in the least to see him rise to the very top in the future. Council Member Hawkins has met every prediction that I have had about him so I am really interested to see the path he takes in the future.
Jolene Ivey, Council Member, is very impressive in her own right. She and her family are unbelievable in their achievements and I am always amazed by her. I feel fortunate to have met her and worked with her campaigns and endeavors. I have worked with many powerful people in my career and I know Council Member Ivey is a force for good in Prince George’s County. She connects well with people and is very attentive to her constituents needs. I am very glad to see her living her dreams and her continued success.
Rodney Streeter, Council Vice Chair, always has taken the time to talk to me whether I was in Prince George’s County or in the District of Columbia. Like each of the Council Members I have written about I can see why the people chose him to represent them. When I have spoken to him in the past he always shows himself as a Statesman. I am very glad to see him get his turn at the reins of power on the Council.
I must say this County Council has the most impressive group of individuals I have had the pleasure to work with. I have not worked directly with the other members of the Council but I have heard others speak of their work. Outgoing Chair Dannielle Glaros is another supporter of the Fire/EMS Department. I have not met her but heard of her advocacy for the fire companies in her District and she has been impressive on their behalf.
In 2019, I will be writing a lot about the Council because this group of Council Members feel a little special to me. Having spent all my career in the Executive Branch I was not able to spend quality time with the previous Councilmembers. This time I will venture to be more aware of the actions of the Council. I attended the December 3, 2018, Gavel Exchange ceremony in the Council Hearing Room and I got to congratulate Todd Turner, Council Chair. I was heartened to hear County Executive Angela Alsobrooks address the Council and meet briefly Councilmembers Taveras, Davis, Anderson-Walker, Harrison. I felt fortunate to be able to see Council Member Deni Taveras speak on a previous PSFM fire department issue (Cadet Program) and her kind concern and advocacy for the citizens and residents of her District’s participation in the Fire/EMS Department was truly remarkable to me. Of course I have great concern for the health and well-being of the citizens and residents of Prince George’s County and I want them to have every opportunity to participate in a great public service organization.
The Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department is one of largest and best combination fire and emergency medical services in the nation and I am committed to supporting every citizen and resident that wants to be a part of the Department. So if you see me at an event being held by the Council you know I am there to advocate for opportunities for the people of Prince George’s County to participate in a service that has provided for me for 30 years.
While volunteers command much of the nations fire service, in highly populated areas they are losing ground to more politically savvy organized labor operations. We have all heard the saying “Nature Abhors a Vacuum”. This commonly used phrase I feel is aptly applied to the volunteers because they are acutely absent from the political system and the communities they serve. Clearly, volunteers decided long ago that they, out of necessity should avoid the politics of supporting political candidates. Having never been a volunteer I cannot articulate why that strategy was adopted. In the case of Prince George’s County and the surrounding metropolitan area (densely populated jurisdictions) this strategy is a grossly under performing strategy and has meant the death of the once thriving volunteer systems.
Paid employees have been able to project the eventual death of the volunteers and have successfully encouraged citizens to pay for fire and emergency medical protections that is free across the nation. Of course I love the paid service and have benefitted greatly from serving as a paid fire fighter. But I am concerned that the community is losing out on some key benefits of having strong volunteer organizations. First and foremost during disasters and emergencies communities that do not have trained citizens have to wait for life saving services that they can do themselves if they were trained. Whole families are killed because they do not know the value of a working smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector, sprinkler systems and other technologies that can keep them safe. Paid fire fighters in this area run an extreme amount of emergencies and calls for service. This area boasts the busiest fire and emergency medical service departments in the County and the world. There is little time to do high quality public education however. Statistics show that citizens die at a higher rate and number in these urban areas than in the more rural areas. Clearly it is because citizens in rural areas participate in their fire and emergency management departments and thus their knowledge base on, what to do in, and how to avoid, emergencies and disasters is higher.
Yes, we are in “the government and we are here to help” is vital to stopping the spread of fire and the cascading effects of disasters and emergencies, however, how sad is it when millions of people in these densely populated areas rely on government to do everything for them when disaster strikes.
Who can forget the citizens of New Orleans crammed in and around the Superdome waiting for the government to help them. Yet everyday in rural areas we see neighbors helping neighbors and rebuilding their community almost immediately after the disasters are over. I contend that the death of a healthy volunteer system leads to more reliance on government and the death of community institutions that teach volunteerism in all aspects of life. Prince George’s County still has the opportunity to save its volunteer corporations. Unlike Pennsylvania where they are just responding to the volunteer crisis in their state, it appears that elected officials are starting to act to save these vital institutions. The cancer presumption bill and volunteer death benefits are huge steps in the right direction for Prince George’s County. Mary Lehman, Councilmember and other Councilmembers on the Public Safety Fiscal Management Committee seem to understand that there is a growing crisis in our volunteer system. Unfortunately, the County is not investing in helping the corporations recruit local youth to the volunteer companies. All the knowledge on how to respond to disasters and emergencies will fade from the minds of the citizens if the County allows the volunteer organizations to die as they have been dying in the past eight years.
It is incredible how the volunteers have allowed themselves to be shut out of the political process which is the life blood of all institutions in any jurisdiction. Now the volunteers are crying about how they are being treated rather than engaging the system that has welcomed their participation for the past hundred years. Clearly since Charter Executives used to set aside sizeable parts of the budget to assist volunteer corporations in the County. The volunteers took the support for granted and were out maneuvered by paid employees since the volunteers left their seat at the table vacant. Now those dollars, once control by volunteers, which reached eleven million per budget year, is in the hands of paid employees. As a direct result more volunteer companies have failed and are failing to get out on calls everyday. To the County’s credit 200 more paid personnel have been added to the Department in the past eight years. However, while the budget of the Fire Department balloons volunteer companies are dying. Well now, we see decreased investment and support for volunteers – dying volunteer companies. More paid personnel (good idea) but less citizen involvement in the community and more reliance on government. Everyday there is not enough ambulances, longer response times thus a lower quality of care for the public. Let’s not even contemplate how citizens will fare in disasters. That will be an article for another day. Not to only highlight the Prince George’s County, the large jurisdictions, Montgomery County, Baltimore City, Washington D.C., Fairfax County and others have long dropped their support for volunteer corporations and exclusively tax their citizens to literal death in order to pay for fire and emergency medical services.
Volunteers need to open their doors to the community and invite the community in. They need to stop whining about how they no longer know how to speak to the community or the next generation and get it done. We put the energy into things we care about and as Americans we have always figured out how to solve our problems. In the end, if you want your volunteer corporation to vanish then keep doing what you are doing volunteers. Keep talking about how hard it is and how no one appreciates you. Stay out of the political fray and let your portion of the budget go to another group. Citizens, keep letting government solve your fire and emergency medical problem. Keep your children from the reward of public service and the character building nature that comes from serving others. Politicians keep neglecting your volunteer companies so you can devote more and more tax dollars to paying for fire and emergency medical services. Words matter as we are finding out in this iteration of federal politics. Like it or not your silence on the growing crisis of failing volunteer fire departments is going to cost all of us a lot of treasure that does not go into educating and preparing the next generation for the future. If you watched the video you will see that volunteers have no idea how to communicate with the next generation. Sad when you think about what that portends for the future of our community.