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Thursday, March 17, 2011

County Executive's Fire/EMS Department TransitionTeam Report

Transition Report


Members of the Public Safety Committee are honored to present this report. We would like to extend heartfelt thanks to County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III, for this opportunity.

The Committee would like to also thank the vast group of leaders, agency officials, directors and stakeholders that provided a wealth of insight to the members. The professionalism displayed, cooperative nature illustrated and openness we received were most appreciated.

Best wishes as we stride toward greatness.


The Public Safety Committee co-chairs had the responsibility for the following critical entities in public safety for Prince George’s County:
Department of Corrections and Police Department – Anita Rosser Office of the Sheriff – David Mitchell Fire/EMS, Homeland Security – Ronald Gill

The Baker 2010 Transition Team conducted an orientation for all the co-chairs to provide guidance and expectations on November 18, 2010. The Baker Deputy Director provided the names of the committee members to the co-chairs. The Public Safety Committee co-chairs held an organizational meeting followed by a Committee meeting on November 30, 2010. It was during these meeting the entities were sub-divided, members were assigned to working groups and our first individual working group meetings were held.

An aggressive schedule ensued with working group meetings, onsite visits, document audits, budget reviews, document retrieval, meeting with agency officials, research being conducted and conversations with experts and stakeholders. The draft committee report was submitted January 2011.

Executive Summary

County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III, has stated that Prince George’s County will attain greatness. As we merge onto the path to greatness we must start with public safety. Public safety influences education, economic growth and public confidence. This massive undertaking will be a collaborative effort between citizens, law enforcement officers, community groups, prosecutors, faith partners and other allies.
The Public Safety Committee understands the importance of improved public safety, and our commitment kept us motivated and on task. As we conducted onsite visits, spoke with experts and stakeholders, and reviewed budgets and other documents, we discovered several broad themes. We made recommendations that focus on excellence, integrity and transparency, while delivering the most efficient and effective service possible.

Highlights of the recommendations of the Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department are as follows:
Modify staffing to achieve effective and efficient service delivery levels. 
Embrace a culture that promotes a high level of continued education and professional
development for volunteer, career, and civilian members
Support a comprehensive apparatus review and replacement program. 
Restructure the Fire Commission to better reflect the demographics of Prince
George’s County.


GOAL 1: Deliver service to the residents, visitors, and businesses in Prince George’s County
effectively and efficiently through dedicated staffing on emergency apparatus.


Modify staffing to achieve effective and efficient service delivery levels while remaining National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1710 and 1720 compliant.

DESCRIBE RECOMMENDATION: Modify departmental staffing levels; dedicate staffing per apparatus instead of staffing the fire station.


A. Create dedicated staffing Process Action Teams
B. Analyze current station/apparatus call volumes, response times C. Initiate pilot program D. Analyze and modify (if needed) E. Continue with dedicated staffing plan

GOAL 2: To enhance citizen involvement, accountability and transparency in the Prince George’s County Fire Commission.


Prince George’s County should consider changing the structure, composition and role of the Fire Commission to include external and internal stakeholders as commission members.


Fire Commission members should be comprised of internal and external stakeholders and should be appointed in a manner that is consistent with other panels/boards that control Prince George’s County funding. The Fire Commission should evaluate all aspects of the Fire/EMS Department including the funding of volunteer corporations, and the approval of capital improvements and apparatus purchases.
Funding for volunteer corporations must not be neglected and volunteer members should continue to have significant input into the use of appropriated funds. The County should consider consolidating all public funding into a singular budget.


Whereas the members of the Fire Commission, past and present, have served Prince George’s County with distinction, the current composition and function has not been revised in forty years. Prince George’s County has changed dramatically since the inception of Charter Government. The proposed recommendation restructures the Fire Commission by improving its mission and objectives, enhancing citizen engagement and advocacy by providing functional accountability to the citizens, while continuing to assure that it can advocate for the needs of the fire service, both volunteer and career.

GOAL 3: Modernize (update) the fleet capability and standardize (modified) apparatus purchasing utilizing comprehensive apparatus replacement plans.


Enhance the fleet of Fire and EMS response vehicles (specifically engines, aerial ladders, heavy rescue squads, and EMS transport units) through increased funding and a comprehensive apparatus replacement plan.


Modernization (updating) of the fleet capability and a standardized (modified) apparatus program will augment service delivery within Prince George’s County. This will also increase the safety of operational personnel complying with NFPA 1901 and 1911standards.


A. Inventory current apparatus fleet
B. Develop future budget/replacement plans
C. Maximize the use of alternative funding sources (e.g. EMS billing, Undesignated funds,
Bonds, Grants)
D. Forecast and budget for future apparatus expenditures
E. Stay within the framework of the apparatus replacement plan


In order to mitigate emergency incidents efficiently and safely, personnel must be provided with the proper assortment of firefighting apparatus and equipment. Supporting an apparatus replacement program ensures that the County has a readily available fleet of response vehicles and reduces long-term maintenance expenses. Improving the standardization of apparatus reduces initial purchase costs and improves overall department proficiency related to apparatus operation.
Ultimately, decisions about apparatus types and their deployment should be made at the highest levels of the Department based on an analysis of community risks and demands for service along with input from Department stakeholder groups and members of the community.

GOAL 4: The Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department should embrace a culture that promotes a high level of continued education and professional development for volunteer, career, and civilian members.

RECOMMENDATION: Uniform training levels for each rank should be adopted to ensure that both career and volunteer command officers have the appropriate levels of training and competency to excel at their duties. (While the recommendation is for the adoption of uniform training standards, the Committee recognizes certain portions of the training curriculum may not apply to all career or volunteer members.)


A. Appointing internal customers to a training curriculum panel
B. Reviewing current training curriculums
C. If necessary, seek legislative changes to current personnel training standards
D. Reviewing contractual agreements for career personnel
E. Implementation of new training standards and curriculum
F. Reviewing, revising, and modifying curriculum as needed.


Generally, combination fire systems operate best when all personnel, career and volunteer, adhere to the same operational procedures and personal performance objectives. Each member of the department will best contribute to the success of the mission when they perform the same tasks in the same manner. Before this ideal environment can be realized, standard training levels and mechanisms to obtain necessary training must be identified. Additionally, the Department should establish training programs that provide integrated training between career firefighters and volunteers to further enhance uniformity within the total organizational structure and help to mitigate current divisions


60 days: Appoint stakeholders to review current training programs, and standards 120 days: Identify any changes necessary to address training standards/curriculum 6 months: Implement revised/updated uniformed training curriculum and standards for all volunteer and career personnel. 1 year and out: Continued enhancement of training program.