Why Kill The Volunteers in Prince George’s County, Maryland?

The Prince George’s County, Maryland Government has taken most of the steps necessary to ensure the death of a vital institution in Public Safety “Volunteer Fire Fighters”. The disastrous moves against the volunteers are so remarkable one has to wonder why out loud. Prince George’s County, Maryland, citizens have relied on the volunteers for fire and emergency services protection for decades. Prince George’s County, Maryland, spends per capita less money on fire protection than most of the jurisdictions in the region and the reason chiefly is because of the service volunteers provide.

Recently Prince George’s County removed volunteer influence over an eleven million dollar budget, stripped volunteer leaders of their prestige, power, dignity and influence, removed staffing from several co-managed fire stations, gutted the Fire Commission and damaged the image of the volunteers in the eyes of the public. Why is this occurring? Of course the citizens in the future want to pay millions of dollars more for public safety as a result of these questionable practices. Why invest in an old institution that has proven value to the citizens and can given them a return on their investment for years to come? I understand the Executive Branch wants to reduce spending on education and pay more for public safety. God knows fire fighters need more money for pay and benefits, and it has to come from somewhere.

Why invest to build the volunteer fire fighters up when you can “guarantee” fire protection for millions of dollars more? Who needs a system that trains the youth of the County to provide a vital service and to give them opportunities to serve in one of the most employment rich sectors for fire service in the United States? Why have an organization where the children of the County can aspire to opportunities of public service?

All of the moves being made in Prince George’s County to build the paid service can be done without destroying a vital institution that has contributed so much to the cultural heritage of the people of Prince George’s County. I am all for paying millions more to the fire service and investing millions more to ensure fire and emergency services protection. As a retiree I would also like the citizens to add millions more to ensuring the health of the pension system. If the actions against the volunteers are not about building up public safety what is the goal? Destroying public participation is not civilized behavior.

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About managingemergencies

I am a professional consultant with 30 years of experience in managing emergencies. My background and skills gave me the foundation to start Systems Emergency Preparedness Consultants. If you need preparedness training or would like to have a preparedness discussion for your employees contact me via email at sysmanemerconsult@aol.com. I held various positions in the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department until I retired in 2007. As a emergency planner and trainer in the Prince George's County Office of Homeland Security I planned exercises and training for government agencies and citizens groups. I was appointed Fire Chief of the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department in 2009. I started Systems Emergency Preparedness Consultants in June of that year. I had the opportunity to become the Assistant Fire Chief - Operations of the District of Columbia Fire/EMS Department and served for a year as the Interim Fire Chief. I am a trained mediator, mediator team leader and trainer. I also served as the Fire/EMS Department Equal Employment Opportunity Officer.
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