The assimilation of paid emergency medical service personnel into Calvert County’s largely volunteer fire and rescue system has, to date, been successful.
During Tuesday’s meeting, the Calvert County commissioners gave unanimous approval to a memorandum of understanding drafted by the career EMS committee, which has been signed by the response companies currently participating in the program.
“In order to integrate this service into the volunteer fire-rescue-EMS departments, the committee consisting of representatives from the Fire-Rescue-EMS Association, chairman of the fire commission, chairperson of the EMS Council, career, EMS, the department of public safety, board of county commissioners representative, the county administrator and the county attorney have been meeting to develop a MOU outlining the conditions, policies and procedures that would be put in place to accomplish this integration,” Alfred B. Jeffrey of public safety stated in a memo to the board. “Funding for the career EMS division is allocated in the fiscal year 2022 budget and will also use funding from the American Rescue Plan Act to support the additional units through the remainder of fiscal year 2022 and the first four months of fiscal year 2023.”
Five companies — North Beach Volunteer Fire Department, Solomons Volunteer Rescue and Fire Department, Prince Frederick Volunteer Rescue Squad, Dunkirk Volunteer Rescue Squad and Calvert Advanced Life Support — now have paid medical technicians as part of their staffs.
Commissioner President Earl F. “Buddy” Hance (R) stated that department representatives came to the board three years ago “and asked for some help. They had been struggling in some areas.”
Hance noted that Calvert stood as Maryland’s last county served by all volunteer firefighters, rescue squad personnel and emergency medical technicians. Other counties, including St. Mary’s, still have primarily volunteers serving in fire and rescue companies.
“But things change,” said the board president, adding that Calvert’s calls for service have risen.
“Are you guys completely happy?” Commissioner Mike Hart (R) asked the company representatives in the hearing room.
“No issues,” said Billy Freesland, chairman of the Calvert County Fire-Rescue-EMS Association. “Things are going very well at this point.” Freesland said the paid medical technicans are “integrated just like a regular member.”