2015 Recap: Another Busy Year for HVFD’s Volunteers
The HVFD enters 2016 on the heels of another successful, challenging and full year. Here’s a recap of our major accomplishments, events and incidents from 2015.
HVFD units were dispatched to 5,723 responses in 2015, the third most in our history, and about 4,800 unique incidents including multiple units on the same response.
The ambulance was the busiest unit with 3,064 runs, followed by the engine company with 1,264, rescue squad at 746 — the most since 2006, truck company with 572 — the second most ever and the Paramedic Ambulance at 77.
Our top responder in 2015 was John Falcone, Jr. with 1,024 responses — the first member over 1,000 runs in a single year in some time.
Our second new ambulance in just over a year is set to go in service this month to support our growing EMS membership. In the last three years, our EMS ranks have grown significantly. Additionally, Several members are currently working on Paramedic/ALS certification and we will be aggressively recruiting new medics in 2016.
The department welcomed over 30 new members to the organization in 2015 completing the county’s Volunteer Recruit School to begin the process of becoming operational.
We were also fortunate in 2015 to be awarded our second Federal SAFER grant to support our recruitment and retention programs. The $390K grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will allow us to continue our higher education tuition reimbursement program for all members, add new incentives for progression within the organization, provide new avenues to market volunteer opportunities to potential recruits, add new AD&D/Life Insurance programs for our members and much more. We also were the recipients of a multi-year supply of toilet paper thanks to Charmin.
For the year, HVFD volunteers provided over 75,000 hours of fire, rescue, EMS & administrative staffing — a savings to taxpayers of over $3 million. Volunteers also completed 5,000+ hours of formal training and thousands more on drills, collateral duties, meetings and administrative/support tasks. Just over 100 volunteers were active in 2015 in operational and administrative capacities.
We also continued to enjoy a great working relationship with our neighboring companies and the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department, especially our dedicated county day crew which provides primary staffing weekdays 7am-5pm. All other responses from our station — the majority of all calls for service — are handled by our volunteers including weeknights, overnight, weekends and all major holidays.
Construction continues on our temporary quarters in the former American Red Cross building adjacent to the firehouse. We expect interior work there to wrap up in the next few months and the temporary bays added soon thereafter. The primary new firehouse/emergency services facility is currently in the permit process with the county. Once the temporary facility is complete and permits secured for the new building, we’ll move over and the current firehouse will be torn down to make way for the new facility.
The year was not without its challenges — the department responded to one of the worst vehicle accident tragedies on local roads in November in a crash involving a church van that claimed the lives of five people, including an unborn child. Some victims of that crash were given a special holiday surprise at the HVFD in December as they continue their recovery.
Other notable events from 2015 include our volunteers raising $2,000 for NFFF at the National Harbor 9/11 Stair Climb and HVFD EMS Lieutenant Patricia Thomas being honored by the PGCVF&RA with the George Linnell EMS Award.
Our community has been exceptionally supportive in the last year with an excellent response to our Open House and Santa Run events, as well as the biggest year for online donations — more than double 2014. We rely on support from our city, town, county and state governments, grants and our fundraising efforts to succeed as a volunteer fire, rescue & EMS organization.
It’s never too early to get a start on tax deductible donations for 2016 — please consider donating online once or with a recurring giving with our our secure online donation platform.