Volunteer Response to Inlet Street Incident
January 19, 2020

PGCVFRA President Trader has issued the following statement....

It has been been brought to Prince Georges County Volunteer Fire & Rescue Association leaderships attention that a group has made statements that cause the citizens of Prince Georges County to lose faith in the entire Prince Georges Fire &EMS Department and the ability of Volunteer and Career staff to respond to emergencies. Statements were made pointing to a lack of Volunteer staffing availability effecting the outcome on a fatal house fire on the evening of January 18th. Follow up has shown that 5 of the 7 Fire Units (Engines & Ladder Trucks) were 100% Volunteer staffed with 28 of the 35 Firefighters operating on scene being Volunteers. There was also a Volunteer Battalion Chief and 2 Volunteer EMS units on scene. The individuals that were trapped in the house were located and extracted by a Volunteer Truck crew. The victims were cared for and transported by a combination of PGFD Career and Volunteer EMS units.

It is the goal of all of our Member Companies to recruit, train, and retain quality Volunteer Fire and EMS Providers throughout Prince Georges County. There are times that all needed staffing is not available in each station that is not staffed by PGFD Career staff. The Career members are scheduled on a shift plan that is 24 hours "On Duty" followed by 72 hours "Off Duty" to allow physical and mental rest. Many Volunteers serve multiple "Duty Shifts" close together with their efforts to serve the citizens of Prince Georges County as well as work regular full time jobs. This has been made more difficult on the Volunteer 1st Responders as PGFD has removed Daytime Career staff from several stations over the last couple of years leaving more service hours for the Volunteer crews to cover.

The West Lanham Hills VFD was unavailable to respond on the evening of January 18th after their crews responding to numerous calls in the prior days including 4 working fires with heavy fire showing upon arrival. They have been actively working to recruit additional Volunteers to increase service levels for the last year. While the Engine from Riverdale Heights was unavailable due to driver staffing, the Ambulance responded and assisted with transport of one of the victims.

It is sad to see that little or no mention has been made of the Volunteer Firefighter from College Park VFD who was transported to the Burn Center at Washington Hospital Center from the scene of this incident with 2nd degree burns. There was no follow up from PGFD or anyone else as he spent the night under hospital care. We are glad to report he is already on the road to recovery, and should resume normal duties in 2 to 3 weeks if all goes well.