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Fire, rescue groups rely on volunteers

September 24, 2006

Whether it's battling fires or organizing fundraisers, people willing to lend a hand can find opportunities at their neighborhood fire houses and ambulance companies.

According to the Washington County Fire & Rescue Association, 27 volunteer companies serve Washington County.

John Latimer IV, director of Washington County Fire and Emergency Services, said qualified volunteers can perform office functions, provide basic medical assistance and even fight fires.

Although each company differs slightly in its admission process, Latimer said, prospective volunteers generally must apply for membership. Company members vote on new candidates, he said, and the initial levels of fire and medical-emergency training are usually free.

Volunteers also can work in administrative roles, he said.

"You don't have to run into a burning building or ride on an ambulance in order to help a fire company or an ambulance company in Washington County. There are things for all sorts of people to do," Latimer said.

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Several companies allow youths younger than 18 to volunteer with their parents' permission, he said.

Most who volunteer as firefighters take basic firefighting and basic emergency-medical technician training, Latimer said. The firefighting course runs 110 hours, and the emergency-medical course takes 141 hours, he said. Both are free for volunteers.

Most firefighters have basic emergency-medical training, but more advanced training is available, Latimer said.

People certified as intermediate emergency-medical technicians and paramedics can provide advanced-life support, such as respiratory therapy. They also might be able to intubate their patients or prescribe medications en route to hospitals, Latimer said.

There is a charge for more advanced life-support classes. People certified at those levels typically work for professional emergency-medical services companies, Latimer said.

No matter what role they want to fill, volunteers will find plenty to do at the companies, Latimer said.




To learn more about volunteering, call the Washington County Volunteer Fire & Rescue Association at 301-714-0812 or visit its Web site at www.wcfr.org. Prospective volunteers also may call the companies where they wish to work:




Hagerstown

· First Hagerstown Hose Co. Engine 1
301-733-3339

· Antietam Fire Co. Engine 2
301-733-3334

· Independent Fire Co. Engine 3
301-733-3335

· Western Enterprise Fire Co. Engine 4
301-733-3336

· South Hagerstown Fire Co. Engine 5
301-733-3337

· Pioneer Hook & Ladder Truck 1
301-733-3338

Washington County

· Sharpsburg Volunteer Fire Co. Station 1
301-432-6321

· Williamsport Volunteer Fire Co. Station 2
301-223-9112

· Clear Spring Volunteer Fire Co. Station 4
301-842-3775

· Hancock Volunteer Fire Co. Station 5
301-678-7739

· First Hose Co. of Boonsboro Station 6
301-432-2348

· Smithsburg Volunteer Fire Co. Station 7
301-824-2889

· Leitersburg Volunteer Fire Co. Station 9
301-733-9893

· Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co. Station 10
301-790-0090

· Potomac Valley Volunteer Fire Co. Station 11
301-432-2130

· Fairplay Volunteer Fire Co. Station 12
301-582-4130

· Maugansville Goodwill Volunteer Fire Co. Station 13
301-739-8515

· Mt. Aetna Volunteer Fire Co. Station 16
301-797-5555

· Sharpsburg Area EMS Station 19
301-432-5348

· Volunteer Fire Co. of Halfway Station 26
301-582-2223

· Long Meadow Volunteer Fire Co. Station 27
301-797-5504

· Williamsport Ambulance Co. Station 29
301-223-8532

· Clear Spring Ambulance Squad Station 49
301-842-2711

· Hancock Rescue Squad Station 59
301-678-6774

· Boonsboro Ambulance Squad Station 69
301-432-6979

· Community Rescue Service Station 75
301-733-1112

· Smithsburg Ambulance Station 79
301-824-3314

· Washington County Rehab Unit
301-790-2638

· Washington County Air Unit
301-582-0250

· Washington County HazMat
240-313-2780

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