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Monday, February 13, 2012

New Leadership Position Filled by Top Volunteer Member - Frank Underwood

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930

Deputy Fire Chief Frank Underwood
The Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department has announced the appointment of Frank Underwood, as Lieutenant Colonel of the Volunteer Services Command. This is a newly created Deputy Fire Chief level position.

Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor notified members of the Fire/EMS Department of the new appointment, stating, “Effective February 13, 2012, Frank Underwood will be appointed as the Lieutenant Colonel of the newly created Volunteer Services Command. Please join me in welcoming and congratulating Frank on his appointment.”

Prince George’s County is the busiest and one of the largest combination--career, civilian, and volunteer--Fire/EMS Departments in the Country. The Department responds to about 130,000 calls for service, annually.

The Fire/EMS Department has nearly 2500 volunteer members on the rolls, of which about 1,000 are capable of providing emergency fire and emergency medical services. The majority of the others serve in various capacities such as auxiliary membership, life members, or administrative faculty.

With such a large contingent of volunteer members, Fire Chief Bashoor, County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III, and Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Public Safety Barry L. Stanton worked together to create a command staff position dedicated to working with the volunteer body of our Fire/EMS Department.

Frank Underwood has been a member of the fire service for 45 years and has an extensive background of fire/EMS training and volunteer leadership experience, including having served as President of both the Maryland State Firemen’s Association and the Prince George’s County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association. He is a life member of the Allentown Road Volunteer Fire Department, as well as the Branchville Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad, Inc. From 2002 up to the time of this appointment, Underwood also has served as a Commissioner on the County Fire Commission. He retired from the federal government in 2006, having served as a Computer Specialist for the Department of the Army at the Army Research Laboratory in Adelphi, MD. In the early 1970's, during the Vietnam era, Frank served our country as a member of the United States Marine Corp.

Underwood feels one of the biggest obstacles he hopes to take on is communications between the volunteers and the leadership of the Department. “Communications between all parties has always been a problem, as I see it,” stated Underwood. “It is something I intend to improve.”

“This is a chance for the volunteers to have a voice at the command level of the Fire/EMS Department," said Underwood. "I hope to be an asset to the Department and to the Fire Chief.”

Frank Underwood resides in College Park with his wife of 37 years. He has two grown children, as well as grandchildren with whom he enjoys spending time. He will receive a salary of about $122,000.

County Executive Rushern Baker shares a light moment with Frank Underwood at the Maryland State Fireman's Convention
in Ocean City, MD, June 2011.

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