The benefits that a member can reap from being a member of the College Park Volunteer Fire Department are immeasurable and truly endless. None the less, here a few that make us the most influential fire department in the world:
During your time as a member here at College Park, you will build some of the strongest and longest-lasting friendships you could ever ask for. Many members often socialize outside of the department and continue to do so well after their time is served at College Park.
One of the reasons College Park is the most influential fire department in the world is because of our alumni network. Whether you choose to pursue a career in firefighting, EMS, engineering, or any other profession, odds are College Park has an alumni member in that field across the world!
The College Park Volunteer Fire Department provides the following services, fire, EMS, foam, and hazardous materials response. Whether you prefer engine or truck work, College Park sees plenty of it with about 70 working incidents a year. That’s about 1 every 5 days! Our EMS service also handles an incredible and diverse call volume within our first due and the surrounding areas. Interested in being a Paramedic? No worries, we have volunteer advance life support providers in addition to our basic providers! Lastly, thanks to our foam/hazardous materials responses, College Park often responds to most major incidents within Prince George’s County and other surrounding jurisdictions. These incidents could range from train and plane crashes to fires at specialized hazard facilities.
The College Park Volunteer Fire Department is the only station within walking distance to the University of Maryland. As a matter of fact, it’s just across Baltimore Ave. Many members leave their vehicles at the station and simply walk to class, which proves to save time and money. In addition to College Park’s proximity to the university as well as other schools and downtown amenities, access to and from College Park is unbelievable. The District of Columbia is a short drive, or metro rail trip away. Baltimore City is a 30-minute drive or a short trip on the MARC train. In addition to these, the Capital Beltway provides access around DC and into neighboring jurisdictions.
The College Park Volunteer Fire Department’s facility is a university building. Because of this, we have an ever-changing and ever-progressing facility. Nothing is too small or outdated here! Recent renovations include a brand new kitchen, with top-of-the-line stainless steel appliances, beautifully created wooden cabinets, as well as a few unique touches to real tie in the fire department lifestyle. The station also has numerous facilities for live-in and community members to stay, plenty of quiet places for you or a group to study and work on projects, and don’t let me forget the gym with cable machines, free weights, and cardio equipment!
Thanks to federal programs like the SAFER Grant, the College Park Volunteer Fire Department is able to offer financial incentives to qualifying members. These incentives are incredibly beneficial to our organization and our members. Members are able to spend more time on their school work, the firehouse, and their personal lives. Want to hear just exactly how the SAFER grant has aided our members?
The SAFER grant has afforded me many opportunities, primarily the ability to allow myself more time to dedicate towards school and the firehouse.
-Caleb J Cotner, read his letter here
The value of these stipend checks is obvious for those members who have lived and volunteered in the station for years, but I can now see its value for new members as well.
-Erik Ridings, read his letter here
The College Park Volunteer Fire Department’s Live-In Program is the premier Live-In Program in the country. There are many mirrored after it, but they all fall short of College Park’s. Members ride on a shift night basis, often riding a couple shifts on, and then a couple shifts off. Many members choose to ride on their off nights because of the shear enjoyment they get from the College Park family. Live-In members share a semi-private dormitory style room which comes fully furnished with a bed, desk, dresser, night stand, drawers, and closet. Between every two rooms is a shared bathroom. At its capacity, the Sackroom can hold 24 Live-In members in its 12 rooms. The Live-In members are also assigned cabinet, refrigerator, and freezer space in the kitchen. College Park also provides free washers and dryers for members to use! The only catch? You have to be a student, but not necessarily a UMD student!
Like any department in the state of Maryland, College Park has access to numerous classes offered by the Maryland Fire & Rescue Institute (MFRI). What is special about College Park in this regard is that a few of our members are MFRI instructors! What is even better, is that MFRI Headquarters, the state’s greatest training facility, is located in College Park! But let’s talk about what really stands out, the exclusive training. That’s right; College Park offers an exclusive summer training program tailored to producing the best firefighters in the country. While the program is tedious, grueling, and relentless, if you make it through you will be better prepared and more highly educated than the average firefighter. Full disclosure, not everyone has what it takes to be the best.
As a volunteer in the state of Maryland, you are eligible for annual tax credits based on service requirements. Between calls, meetings, drills, duty nights, and other events College Park offers ample opportunities for you to meet the service requirements.In addition to annual tax credits, the state also offers a “retirement” benefit after 25 years, or in other words a monthly payment for your dedicated years of service.
Servicing the University of Maryland is a massive commitment. Being a part of the Big 10 makes that massive commitment even more challenging. From Big 10 football to basketball, College Park often staffs UMD special events, and in exchange for our dedicated service we are often granted exclusive access to some of these events.