There is only one. Many fire departments have followed our lead and turned to college students to supplement their volunteer staffing. All across the county there are numerous live-in programs for college students who like to fight fires and provide EMS care. But there is only one sackroom; the ultimate college based firefighting experience.
Our station is located on the campus of the University of Maryland, College Park. Located directly above the apparatus bays, the sackroom is designed like a campus dormitory. Each semester, twenty-four full time student volunteers live in the sackroom. In exchange for their housing, they are assigned to duty shifts. While they can ride as many calls as they like, their duty shift is the only required riding time. As the core of our operations, each student volunteer makes several hundred responses per semester. They serve in all capacities including: firefighter, EMT, ambulance driver, engine driver, truck driver, line officer, and staff officers.
The sackroom provides the best student live-in accommodations of any station in the region. We are directly across the street from the University of Maryland’s engineering quad; home of the world famous fire protection engineering program. The entire campus is within easy walking distance from the firehouse. The sackroom has twelve two person, fully furnished, dormitory style rooms. Each pair of rooms is joined by a common bathroom. The rooms are carpeted, furnished, have free cable TV, free high-speed internet, and an advanced alerting system so the members never miss a call. Student line officers and ladder truck drivers are typically rewarded with a single room. At either end of the sackroom are brass fire poles to ensure a quick response to the apparatus fleet below. In between studying and riding calls, the live-ins find plenty of time to go out on the town or tailgate at the big game.
Today’s sackroom is officially known as the John L. Bryan Fire Service Dormitory. Prof. Bryan was the long time chairman of the University of Maryland’s fire protection engineering department. The original sackroom was closely associated with Prof. Bryan and the FPE department. He realized College Park provided the perfect learning combination for FPE students: see what happens as a firefighter and then learn why it happens as an engineer. Through his guidance, CPVFD established and grew the most successful student firefighting program in the country. Sackroom and department graduates have gone on to successful careers all over the country. We have named the sackroom in honor of Prof. Bryan. His legacy continues today as Professor James Milke, Department of Fire Protection Engineering, oversees the administration of the sackroom. While our students stay busy, we never forget their reason for being here is to earn a quality education.
Do you want a unique college experience? Do you want to improve your skills as a firefighter or EMT? Do you want to make lots of life long friends? Do you want to ride more calls then you can count? Interested in becoming the next member of the John L. Bryan Fire Service Dormitory? Don’t just learn why things happen, learn how they happen.