Many years ago a nationally respected fire chief had this to say in speaking
about his vocation in emergency service. "I have no ambition
in this world but one, and that is to be a fireman. The position may, in the
eyes of some, appear to be a lowly one; but we who know the work which the fireman
has to do believe that his is a noble calling. There is an adage which says
that, "Nothing can be destroyed except by fire." We strive to preserve from
destruction the wealth of the world which is the product of the industry of
men, necessary for the comfort of both the rich and the poor. We are defenders
from fires of the art which has beautified the world, the product of the genius
of men and the means of refinement of mankind. But, above all; our proudest
endeavor is to save lives of men - the work of God Himself. Under the impulse
of such thoughts, the nobility of the occupation thrills us and stimulates us
to deeds of daring, even at the supreme sacrifice. Such considerations may not
strike the average mind, but they are sufficient to fill to the limit our ambition
in life and to make us serve the general purpose of human society." -- Chief
Edward F. Croker FDNY circa 1910
The mission of the Takoma Park Volunteer Fire Department (TPVFD) has evolved over the years since Chief Croker spoke those words, from an organization whose only concern was rampant fire, to a multi hazard response and mitigation service. The TPVFD provides medical and physical rescue service, hazardous materials first response, and public education to promote injury prevention and personal safety in addition to its traditional role of protecting persons and property from fire. Our station responds to an average of 4500 emergency calls per year, and more than 70 percent are medical rescue responses. Volunteers continue to play a major role in providing staffing to fulfill these expanded roles.
The Takoma Park Volunteer Fire
Department accepts applications from interested individuals who are willing
to serve as VOLUNTEER (Unpaid) Medical Attendants (Emergency Medical Technicians
[EMTs]) and/or Firefighter / Rescuers (who provide fire suppression, physical
rescue, and emergency medical services). We do not have other positions open
at this time.
Application is open to persons of good moral character who are physically and emotionally capable of undertaking the hard, sometimes dangerous, and always demanding work that a volunteer emergency worker must carry out. These members of the TPVFD then provide the most valuable part of the effort by investing their time in this very demanding form of public service.
Applicants must successfully complete a medical evaluation conducted by the Montgomery County Occupational Medical Section at county taxpayer expense. All applicants for Firefighter/Rescuer are evaluated against the National Fire Protection Association Standard on Medical Requirements for Fire Fighters. Applicants for Medical Attendant are evaluated against the Montgomery County governments standards.
Applicants must be willing to have a background check conducted to determine whether they meet the Fire and Rescue Commission's requirements for appointment as a public safety worker. The background check includes a search of state and national criminal records, and the applicant will be fingerprinted by the county Division of Fire & Rescue Services.
Applicants must provide character references and a complete employment history. References as well as present and former employers are contacted to evaluate the applicants character, sobriety, and general fitness for service in a position of public trust. Finally, if the applicant is recommended favorably by the TPVFDs Membership Committee, the members of the TPVFD vote to admit the applicant to membership at the departments monthly business meeting.
The application process usually
takes several months. Montgomery County taxpayers incur the financial cost of
the application process, but it does consume a fairly large amount of the applicants
Successful candidates will be uniformed, equipped, and trained at public expense. Most of the training is conducted at the Montgomery County Public Safety Training Academy at the corner of Darnestown Road and Great Seneca Highway (map) in Darnestown, MD north west of Rockville. All emergency personnel in Montgomery County must take several short courses at the academy:
- Equal Employment Opportunity and the Law (3 hours)
- Cultural Diversity (3 hours)
- Bloodborne/Airborne Pathogens (3 hours)
- Personal Protective Equipment (3 hours)
- Hazardous Materials First Response (16 hours)
For a schedule of these classes, visit the orientation
course schedule page of the academy's web site. All personnel must
also be certified in CPR for Health Care Providers; this training, and required
annual recertification, is available at the station for members of the TPVFD.
The Emergency Medical Technician - Basic (EMT-B) course, required for Firefighter
/ Rescuer candidates as well as Medical Attendant (EMT) candidates, is approximately
140 hours and is recognized by most colleges and universities for six to eight
credits. The Essentials of Firefighting (Firefighter I & 2) course is approximately
160 hours. The academy offers these challenging classes several times a year
on a variety of schedules.
Once the applicant has been accepted into membership, he or she will undergo a one-year probationary period before admission to full voting membership. The service requirements of the probationary year are quite demanding and are equivalent to a half-time job (20 hours per week). Once the initial training has been completed, members can expect to spend ten or more hours a week in continuing training and the actual delivery of fire and rescue services.
Volunteers who serve their community in this capacity for ten years or more are rewarded with a monthly retirement stipend through the Length-of-Service Awards Program (LOSAP).
This commitment is not for everyone for it is indeed true that "such considerations may not strike the average mind," but if you have what it takes, it is a very rewarding form of community service. If you believe this is for you, then please contact us by telephone at (301) 270-8209; by mail at Takoma Park Volunteer Fire Department, 7201 Carroll Ave., Takoma Park, MD, 20912, Attention: Recruiter; or by e-mail at email@example.com. We look forward to hearing from you.
This page was last modified on 7/29/2002