Welcome Prospective Member:
As you start your journey with the Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department (HVFD), we would like to welcome you. The HVFD runs off of PRIDE, TRADITION, and DEDICATION as we operate 365 days a year 24/7. Individuals wishing to join our department must show commitment, the ability to take orders from others, and be willing to help others just as you would take care of your own family members.
Before you start your application with the HVFD, you are expected to complete an observation (ride-along) at the firehouse. An observation will consist of you (1) riding along with qualified Hyattsville Firefighters/EMTs while watching how they handle emergencies, and (2) observing what the station lifestyle is like.
During your observation you are expected to:
You are also expected to complete the HVFD Ride-Along Worksheet which will be provided to you upon arrival. If you do not receive, ask the officer in charge to provide it. The purpose of the worksheet is to get you involved and make the most of your ride-along. Worksheet answers are readily available in documents at the firehouse, online, and most importantly, by talking with other members.
During your ride-along, you should also have the station officer, EMTs or Firefighter/EMTs, and, if possible, a chief officer sign off on your HVFD Ride-Along Worksheet. These signatures will show that you came to the station, introduced yourself, and fulfilled what was expected of you.
Additional instructions and frequently asked questions are attached to this letter. Please read them fully. Following your observation, you will also be asked to complete an evaluation of your experience. If you have any questions about this process, please ask an EMT or Firefighter/EMT at the station. We hope you enjoy the opportunity to ride-along with the HVFD.
Thank you for your interest in the Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department (HVFD). An important part of the process to become an HVFD member is to participate in a ride-along where you will have the opportunity to meet other members, get a taste of the department’s culture, and see what we do during emergency calls. This document is intended to provide you with information on what is expected of you and answer some of the most frequently asked questions. Please read this document in its entirety.
Hopefully by now you’ve been at the firehouse at least once or twice, for your Meet & Greet and to complete your initial HVFD application. If you have not, we are located at 6200 Belcrest Road, Hyattsville, Maryland, 20782.
Follow the signs and park in the area noted HVFD Training/Annex parking (next to the fourstory building that is adjacent to the station).
Ride-alongs are typically scheduled for 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM unless you are explicitly provided a different schedule. Please plan to arrive promptly at 7:00 and you are asked to excuse yourself at 10:00 PM unless you are on a call. While efforts will be made to get you back to the station as soon as possible after 10:00 PM, responding to calls for service takes precedence. Please let the officer know if you are taking Metro after your shift so that they can make an effort to get you back before the system closes. If you want to be included in the evening’s dinner, please call the firehouse between 5pm and 5:15pm on the day of your ride along, advise them you are the evening’s ride along participant and ask to be added to the dinner list. Dinner is typically $5 cash for cooked meals at the firehouse if that is planned.
If you cannot make your assigned time, email firstname.lastname@example.org, as early as possible so that you can be rescheduled. In addition, if it is the afternoon or night of your ride-along, contact the station at (301) 927-5770 and let the officer know that you will be unable to attend your ride-along. If you miss two scheduled ride along appointments without advance notice or other reasonable efforts, your application process will be terminated. Spots are limited, please make every attempt to make your scheduled date.
When you arrive at the station, knock on the rear door (facing the back parking lot) and let whoever answers the door know that you are here for a ride-along. They should introduce you to the officer and he/she will assign an individual to assist you in completing the necessary ride-along paperwork (attached to this document). Let the individual know if you are interested in fire, rescue, and emergency medical service (EMS), or if you are only interested in EMS membership so that you can be assigned to the most appropriate unit.
It is essential that you wear long pants and closed-toe shoes. For your safety, you will not be permitted to ride-along if you are not in safe apparel. You will be interacting with the public, so you should be in clean appropriate clothing. For example, a black or blue polo shirt, khaki pants, and comfortable tennis shoes are encouraged. Inappropriate t-shirts, excessively tight or revealing clothing, or unsafe attire is not permitted.
A valid driver’s license or government issued picture identification is required for the ride along paperwork. Dress for the weather and bring appropriate outerwear as required (winter clothing, rain jacket, etc.). In addition, it is advisable to bring a small amount of cash for food or drinks, which are not provided. Do not bring large bags/purses, or valuable items. The HVFD will not be responsible for any cases of loss, theft, or damage.
Please review General Order 13-02, Ride-Along Observer Program (PDF) which you will be provided with upon arrival. You do NOT need to print a copy in advance, but you DO need to review it. The paperwork explains the risks and hazards associated with your ride-along. If you have any questions, or if you are required to note any items on pages 2 or 3 of the release (with the exception of emergency contact information under question 4), you are required to contact the HVFD Recruitment Team, in advance of your ride-along at email@example.com. Failure to do so can result in cancellation of your ride-along and making false statements can result in denial of membership.
The ride-along is designed to give you the opportunity to observe real emergency responses and gives existing HVFD volunteers the opportunity to learn about you. Participating in a ride-along is part of the process of applying for membership. You are required to remain seated and belted when riding fire and rescue apparatus and follow all applicable safety rules. Do not EXIT the vehicle unless directed to do so by an officer. This includes staying away from buildings on fire calls and staying away from vehicles on rescue calls. When on an emergency response, do NOT use your mobile device for any reason, including personal phone calls, video or photography.
The chain of command is a simple concept that provides a structure for delegation of authority and responsibility. Authority is delegated from the top down; higher ranking individuals delegate and supervise those below them in the chain of command. During your ride-along, and throughout your tenure as volunteer, directions, also known as orders, given from a person of higher rank (such as a Chief, Captain, Lieutenant, or Sergeant) must be followed without exception. Following the chain of command is an integral part of fire service which ensures operational organization, safety, and efficient utilization of resources.
On your ride-along, you will have the opportunity to observe a variety of fire, rescue, and EMS calls. As an observer, you will not be engaged in actual firefighting or rescue operations. As stated above, you will be expected to follow the direction of the officer during emergency situations. You are encouraged to help with station duties (such as cleaning during house work) and interact with volunteers that are at the station. You will also complete a ride-along worksheet to help orient you with HVFD’s history and operations.
The HVFD responds to approximately 6,000 calls annually and is among the busier departments in the county. Although rare, it is possible that you will not have the opportunity to respond to any calls during your ride-along. If you do not feel that you had the opportunity to fully grasp the duties and responsibilities of volunteering, please ensure that you ask any questions at the end of your ride-along. Regardless of the calls that you respond to, the ride-along provides an opportunity to interact with current volunteers, get a first-hand look at HVFD’s operations, and learn more about the rewards and challenges of volunteering. In the event that you need more information or another ride-along to decide if volunteering is right for you, please contact the HVFD Recruitment Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The HVFD has a unique structure that includes 12-18 volunteers, typically college-aged students, living at the firehouse. These members are offered “room & board” at the firehouse in return for providing staffing. These members have experience in the Fire/EMS service prior to joining us, usually already certified as Firefighters and EMTs. Many members of the department’s leadership have come through this program as well as dozens of noted local and national fire service leaders. These members provide significant staffing support in conjunction with our local-based Fire and EMS members, allowing the HVFD to provide 100% volunteer fire, rescue & EMS staffing year-round other than during weekdays when we are supported by county staff. Please keep in mind that the firehouse is the “home” for our live-in members, many of whom live at the station for 2-4 years as they would at a college dorm.
Immediately following your ride-along, you will be provided the opportunity to ask any questions and be asked to answer a few brief questions about your ride-along experience. If you need more information, or if the membership committee has additional questions about your application for membership, you may be asked to attend a short interview. Following the ride-along (and interview if needed), if you are interested in continuing the process you will be provided with a Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department volunteer application packet. Additional information about the application process can be found in the HVFD Prospective Member’s Guide (PDF). If you have not already, please download and review the Guide in its entirety. If you do not hear from us within 5 business days of your Ride Along, please email email@example.com.
Please contact the HVFD Recruitment Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.