One would do away with residency requirements for volunteers.
Frederick, Md (KM) Some changes are being proposed for Frederick County fire and rescue.
During a County Council meeting on Tuesday, Chief Tom Coe, the Director of the Division of Fire and Rescue Services, said one amendment to the county code would remove the residency requirement for volunteer fire fighters and medics. “The evolution of our service is that we now have living quarters within the fire stations,” he said. “If the volunteer members elect to come to the station to stay for a day, or stay for multiple days to provide a service, they’re just as valuable as the ones that live right around the corner, and they should get credit for their participation.”
“The real push for this portion of the county code goes back to an issue that was occurring with a specific department in their use of college students who were temporary residents to count as members,” Coe continues. “So when they left the county, it left the station at the time relatively unstaffed.”
Another amendment has to do with the accreditation of local fire companies which now occur every year. . “It’s a peer review process, and it’s a pretty heavy lift; a lot of labor in going out and verifying the documents are in place, the training standards are met,” says Coe, “And we think that it’s most appropriate that this become an every two-year process.”
But Chief Coe says he will still have the authority, under these proposals, to order an accreditation for a fire company any time it fails to meet minimum standards.
A third amendment would provide a “more concrete definition” of an active operational volunteer. .
These amendments have been recommended by the Frederick County Fire and Rescue Advisory Board. They are expected to be formally introduced to the County Council at a later date. Following that, a public hearing will be scheduled to receive citizen comment on the proposals.
By Kevin McManus