Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department

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Not to be confused with Prince George County Fire Department (Virginia)
Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department
Seal of Prince George's County, Maryland.svg
Semper Eadem
(English: "Ever the Same")
Operational area
Country  United States of America
State  Maryland
County Prince George's County
Agency overview
Established 1966 (historically 1742)
Employees 1,100 volunteer personnel
720 career personnel
80 support personnel[1]
Staffing Combination (professional and volunteer)
Fire chief Benjamin M. Barksdale
EMS level 38 BLS, 16 ALS
Facilities and equipment
Stations 48 Stations Organized into 7 Battalions
Engines 71
Trucks 22
Squads 11
Fireboats 3

The Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department (PGFD) is a combination career/volunteer county-level agency that provides " prevention, fire protection, emergency medical services, and community outreach programs" for residents of Prince George's County, Maryland.[2] The department is composed of volunteers from 33t fire companies throughout the county, as well as career firefighters affiliated with the Prince George's County Professional Firefighters and Paramedics Association, IAFF Local 1619. According to the Firehouse Magazine 2010 Combination Fire Department Run Survey, the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department covers a response area of approximately 580 miles, protects approximately 900,000 people, and has an annual operating budget of $132 million. The same survey attributes 29,038 fire calls to the county along with 104,680 EMS calls for a total of 133,718 calls for service in 2010, making the PGFD the busiest combination department to submit statistics.[3]


In 1742, the town of Bladensburg became the first governmental entity to pass a fire prevention ordinance. The simple ordinance stipulated that all residential and commercial buildings had to be equipped with a smoke chimney. In 1886, the town of Hyattsville organized the first volunteer fire company in the county. With a donated budget of $27, the fire company bought a two-wheeled hand truck equipped with a barrel, pump, and hose. Two years later, in 1888, the town of Upper Marlboro organized the Marlboro Fire Association following two major town fires. John C. Wyvill had the first fire station built at a cost of $342.

It wasn't until the 1930s that the County organized its fire services at is known today. The University of Maryland created a Fire Service Extension to train firefighters and is widely regarded as a focal point for fire training for departments located east of the Mississippi River.

In 1966 the county incorporated paid firefighters within its volunteer force based on the Yarger Study which stated:

  • At least two "paidmen" at each station.
  • All paid firefighters should be county employees.
  • A unified command structure should be developed under the direction of a County fire chief.
  • Fire communications should be consolidated under the County fire chief.

The Department of Fire Protection was created on June 14, 1968 which consumed all other previous fire organizations under a single command.[4]

In May 2009, the PGFD received local media attention following a massive natural gas explosion at a Forestville stripmall. PGFD Captain Robert Rouse (Engine 823) was one of 8 firefighters and 1 gas worker injured during the event.[5][6]

List of fire chiefs[edit]

Lawrence R. Woltz
Frank Briguglio
M.H. (Jim) Estep
Steven T. Edwards
Lemuel A. Roberts
AD. Bell, Sr.
Ronald J. Siarnicki
Ronald D. Blackwell
Lawrence H. Sedgwick, Jr.
Eugene A. Jones
Marc S. Bashoor
Benjamin Barksdale


The Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department is composed of 4 distinct commands, Emergency Operations, Administrative Services, and Support Services, and Volunteer Services. Each of the commands are headed by a Deputy Fire Chief (formerly known as Lt. Colonel) who reports directly to the Fire Chief.[7]


The Emergency Operations Command (EOC) is the largest and most visible to the public. The EOC includes daily operations and of all emergency services, both Fire and EMS. The EOC incorporates both sworn career and volunteer Fighterfighter/EMT's. The EOC is further split into Northern and Southern Divisions. The dividing line between North and South within the fire department is Pennsylvania Avenue or Maryland Route 4 Within each division there are a set of battalions, Battalions 1,2,4,and 6 are located in the Northern Division and Battalions 3,5,and 7 are located within the Southern Division. "The PGFD's busiest service areas are located within Battalions 1,3,and 5 which includes the area commonly bordered by the District line to the west, Central Avenue to the north, the Capitol Beltway to the east, and Allentown Road to the South. These areas represent better than 60% of the PGFD's total calls for service, as they contain the highest population densities."[7]


The Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department is organized into seven battalions. A breakdown of the battalions into communities and stations within the county is as follows:

The Administrative Services command includes Human Resources, Logistics and Supply, Fiscal Affairs, Facilities and Resource Planning, and Apparatus Maintenance. The Administrative services command incorporates both sworn career firefighters and career civilian employees.

The Special Operations Command includes The Office of the Fire Marshal, Risk Management and Safety, Professional Standards, The Fire/EMS Training Academy, and Technical Services. Technical Services includes, but is not limited to the department's HazMat Team, Bomb Squad, and specialty rescue companies.

Fire stations and apparatus[edit]

Station Company Battalion Engine Special Service EMS Other
1 Hyattsville VFD 4th E801 TK801, RS801 PA801, A801, A801B C801, C801A, C801B
5 Capitol Heights VFD 1st PE805, E805B A805 M805 U805, C805, C805A
6 St. Joseph's Drive (PGFD) 1st E806 RS806 PA806, A806 TR806, Collapse Response 806, BC881, NEMSDO-EMS811
7 Riverdale VFD 4th E807, E807B TW807 A807, A807B C807, C807A, C807B
8 Seat Pleasant VFD 1st E808, E808B A808 M808 C808, C808A, C808B
9 Bladensburg VFD 4th E809, E809B, E809C TK809 A809, A809B C809, C809A, C809B
10 Laurel VFD 6th E810, E810B, E810C TW810 M810, A810, A810B C810, C810A, C810B HMU810
11 Branchville VFD 6th E811, E811B A811, A811B, PA811 C811, C811A, C11B, U811
12 College Park VFD 4th E812, E812B TK812 M812, A812, PA812, A812C F812, HMSU812, U812, C812, C812A, C812B HMU812
13 Riverdale Heights VFD 4th E813, E813B A813 C813, U813
14 Berwyn Heights VFD 6th TK814, RS814, RS814B A814, A814B TS814, U814, C814, C814A, C814B
16 Northview (PGFD) 5th E816 PA816 M816 HMSU816, BAU816, DU816, BC882, Safety Officer 800
17 Boulevard Heights VFD 3rd E817, E817B A817 U817, C817, C817A
18 Glenn Dale VFA 2nd E818, RE818 RS818 M818, A818, A818B C818, C818A, C818B
19 Bowie VFD 2nd E819, E819B TW819 A819 C819, C819A
20 Marlboro VFD 7th E820, E820B RS820 A820 C820, C820A, C820B
21 Oxon Hill VFD 5th E821, E821B TK821 PA821 C821, C821A, C821B
23 Forestville VFD 3rd E823, E823B A823 BR823, U823, Tanker 823, C823, C823A, C823B
24 Accokeek VFD 5th E824, E824B TW824 A824 MP824, BR824, C824, C8824A, C824B
25 Clinton VFD 7th E825, E825B TK825 M825, A825 Water Supply 825, C825, C825A, C825B
26 District Heights VFD 3rd E826, E826B TW826 M826, A826, A826B BC883, C826, C826B, SEMSDO-EMS814
27 Morningside VFD 3rd E827, RE827 RS827 (OOS) A827 C827, C827B, C827C
28 West Lanham Hills VFD 2nd E828, E828B TK828 MP828, U828, C828, C828A, C828B
29 Silver Hill VFD 3rd E829, E829B TK829 M829, A829, A829B U829, C829, C829A, C829B
30 Landover Hills VFD 1st PE830, E830 M830, A830 Medical Ambulance Bus 830, C830, C830A
31 Beltsville VFD 6th E831, E831B TK831 A831 U831, BR831, C831, C831A, C831B
32 Allentown Road VFD 5th E832, E832B TK832 A832 BR832, BC885, C832, C832A, C832B
33 Kentland VFD 1st E833, E833B TW833, RE833 A833 MP833, C833, C833A, C833B
34 Chillum-Adelphi VFD 4th E834, E834B TK834 A834 C834, C834A, C834B
35 Greenbelt VFD 6th E835, E835B A835, A835B C835, C835A, C835B, U835
36 Baden VFD 7th PE836, ET836 A836 BR836, Tanker 836, C836, C836A, C836B
37 Ritchie VFD 1st E837, E837B, E837C TK837 MP837, C837, C837A, C837B
38 Chapel Oaks VFD 1st E838 PE838 TK838 PA838, A838 C838, C838A, C838B
39 Bowie VFD 2nd E839, E839B TW839 A839 BR839
40 Brandywine VFD 7th E840, RE840 RS840 M840 TN840, BR840, C840, C840A, BC887
41 Beltsville VFD 6th PE841, E841 A841 U841, BC886, C841
42 Oxon Hill VFD 5th PE842, E842B A842 C842A, C842B
43 Bowie VFD 2nd E843, E843B TK843 A843 BR843, Tanker 843
44 Chillum (PGFD) 4th PE844 M844, A844
45 Marlboro (Croom) (PGFD) 7th E845, ET845 TW845 M845 HMSU845,
46 Kentland (Largo) (PGFD) 1st PE846 M846, A846 C846, C846A
47 Allentown Road VFD 5th E847, E847B RS847 M847, A847 TS 847, B847, C847, C847A
48 West Lanham Hills VFD 2nd E848, E848B A848, A848B, A848C BX848, C848A, C848B
49 Laurel VRS 1st RE849, E849 RS849 A849, A849B M849 M849B WR849, WSU849 U849
55 Bunker Hill VFRC 4th E855, E855B TK855 A855 MCSU855, MP855, BC884, C855, C855A, C855B
58 National Harbor (PGFD) 5th A858 FB858


Glenn Dale Station 18
Bowie Station 19
Laurel VFD Engine 103 in 2012.
Beltsville VFD Truck 31
Laurel VRS Squad 49
  • E - Engine
  • PE - Paramedic Engine
  • RE - Rescue Engine
  • ET - Engine Tanker
  • TK - Truck
  • TW - Tower
  • RS - Rescue Squad
  • M - Medic Unit
  • A - Ambulance
  • PA - Paramedic Ambulance
  • BC - Battalion Chief
  • C - Chief
  • TR - Technical Rescue
  • TS - Technical Support Unit
  • F - Foam Unit
  • HMU - HazMat Unit
  • HMSU - HazMat Support Unit
  • B - Boat
  • WR - Water Rescue
  • U - Utility
  • BR - Brush
  • MP - Mini Pumper
  • MCSU - Mass Casualty Support Unit
  • BAU- Breathing Apparatus Unit

Special designations[edit]

Co. 15 - Fire Investigators & Bomb Squad

Co. 56/57 - Water Rescue & Recovery Team
Dive Unit, Dive Support Unit, 22' Boston Whaler, (2) 14' Support Boats, 2 Fireboats

Co. 62 - Apparatus Maintenance

Co. 65 - Fire/EMS Training Academy

Consolidated or disbanded fire stations/companies[edit]

Co. 2 - Cottage City Volunteer Fire Company
Consolidated into Company 55

Co. 3 - Mount Rainier Volunteer Fire Company
Consolidated into Company 55

Co. 4 - Brentwood Volunteer Fire Company
Consolidated into Company 55

Co. 6 - Hillside Volunteer Fire Department
Disbanded in 1999. This station was located at 1234 Larchmont Avenue in Capitol Heights. When the new station on St. Joseph's Drive in Largo opened it was given 6 as its number designation

Co. 22 - Tuxedo-Cheverly Fire Station
Closed until further notice, all units have moved to Station 6 on St. Joseph's Drive.

Co. 53 - Special Operations Division (Haz Mat/Bomb Squad)
Services relocated to other stations/offices.


A PGFD EMS Ambulance in 2012

The PGFD is a progressive agency with a full complement of modern fire training, equipment, and vehicles. PGFD predominately uses county owned apparatus, although volunteer agencies within PGFD often purchase their own apparatus. Ambulance units respond to Basic Life Support calls and are staffed with certified Maryland EMTs. Medic units respond to Advanced Life Support calls such as respiratory problems or cardiac arrest, and are staffed with certified Maryland Paramedics. Engine companies respond to both EMS calls and fire calls. Ladder companies respond to calls involving fires or an odor of gas within a structure. Rescue squads and rescue engines respond to incidents generally described as more life-threatening such as motor vehicle crashes or entrapments. A special service (Truck/Tower/Rescue/Quint) can act as Rapid Intervention Team on a working fire if needed. The Rapid Intervention Team is normally the 4th due engine combined with the special service apparatus dispatched once a working fire is confirmed.

PGFD issues every Firefighter/EMT a Cairns Metro 660C helmet, but firefighters can purchase their own Cairns Sam Houston Model N6A1, Cairns Classic 1000 and 1010, Cairns 1044, and the Morning Pride Ben 2 Plus Fire Helmet if they choose. Every Firefighter/EMT is also issued a coat, Nomex hood, pants, gloves, rubber boots, and face piece. PGFD uses Scott Safety 5.5 Self Contained Breathing Apparatus for their breathing apparatus, and the Scott AV-3000-HT for their individual firefighter face piece.

Blue Helmet - EMS provider only

Red Helmet - A Firefighter that does not have a Firefighter I certification from MFRI yet; they can do anything except go inside structure fires.

Yellow/Black Helmet - Firefighter/EMT

White helmet w. regular coat - Company officer (Captain, Lieutenant, etc.)

White helmet w. white coat - Chief officer (Chief, Deputy Chief, etc.)

Basic response guidelines[edit]

  • Local Alarm
    • Local Alarm (Respond/Proceed): 1 Engine
    • Rescue Local: 1 Engine, 1 Rescue Squad/Rescue Engine, 1 Ambulance
    • Rescue Local with Entrapment (Upgrade): 1 Engine, 1 Rescue Squad/Rescue Engine, 1 Medic Unit,1 BLS Ambulance, 1 EMS Supervisor, 1 Battalion Chief
    • Ambulance Local: 1 Ambulance
    • Medical Local: 1 Engine or 1 Ambulance, 1 Medic Unit
    • Medical Local (Shooting/Stabbing): 1 Engine, 1 Ambulance, 1 Medic Unit
    • Working Code (CPR in progress): 1 Engine, 1 Ambulance, 1 Medic Unit, 1 EMS Supervisor
    • Haz-Mat Local: 1 Engine, 1 Haz-Mat Unit
  • Street Assignment: 2 Engines, 1 Truck/Tower, 1 Special Service (Tower, Truck, Quint, Rescue Engine or Rescue Squad), 1 Battalion Chief
    • Street Assignment (In Non-Hydrated Areas): 2 Engines, 1 Special Service (Truck or Rescue Squad), 1 Tanker, 1 Battalion Chief
    • Haz-Mat Street Assignment: 2 Engines, 1 Special Service (Truck or Rescue Squad), 1 Haz-Mat Unit, 1 Ambulance, 1 Medic Unit, 1 EMS Supervisor, 1 Battalion Chief
  • Box Alarm: 4 Engines, 2 Trucks, 1 Special Service (Truck or Rescue Squad), 1 Ambulance, 2 Battalion Chiefs
    • Box Alarm (In Non-Hydrated Areas): 4 Engines, 2 Trucks, 1 Special Service (Truck or Rescue Squad), 3 Tankers, 1 Water Supply Unit, 1 Ambulance, 2 Battalion Chiefs
    • Haz-Mat Box Alarm: 4 Engines, 2 Special Services (Truck or Rescue Squad), 1 Haz-Mat Unit, 1 Ambulance, 1 Medic Unit, 1 EMS Supervisor, 1 Haz-Mat Coordinator, 2 Battalion Chiefs
  • Working Fire(Upgrade): 1 Medic Unit, 1 Safety Officer, 1 EMS Supervisor
  • Task Force Alarm(Optional Upgrade): 2 Engines, 1 Special Service (Truck or Rescue Squad)
  • 2nd Alarm: 4 Engines, 2 Trucks, 1 Special Service (Truck or Rescue Squad)
  • 3rd Alarm: 4 Engines, 2 Trucks, 1 Special Service (Truck or Rescue Squad)
  • 4th Alarm: 4 Engines, 2 Trucks, 1 Special Service (Truck or Rescue Squad)
  • 5th Alarm: 4 Engines, 2 Trucks, 1 Special Service (Truck or Rescue Squad)
  • Airplane/Train Crash: 2 Engines, 1 Rescue Squad, 1 Haz-Mat Unit, 1 Foam Unit, 1 Brush Unit, 1 Ambulance, 1 Medic Unit, 1 EMS Supervisor, 2 Battalion Chiefs

A Street Assignment is an odor of natural gas inside of structure, investigation of something burning inside of structure, electrical socket sparking, chimney fire, and other similar things.

A Box Alarm is the report of smoke or fire in ANY structure, such as a house, building, apartment, condo, townhouse, or school.