To access the remainder of this piece of premium content, you must be registered with Firehouse. Already have an account? Login
Register in seconds by connecting with your preferred Social Network.
Complete the registration form.
MARC S. BASHOOR rejoined the Prince George’s County, MD, Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department (PGFD) in December 2010, when he was selected by County Executive Rushern Baker as the 11th person to serve as county fire chief. Bashoor had previously served 23 years with the department before retiring and serving six years as the director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security in Mineral County, WV. He is the recipient of many citations and commendations and was awarded the department’s Silver Medal of Valor in 2004. He has been a speaker at fire service conferences and events across the country on topics such as command and control, near-miss incidents and Firestorm 2011. Since taking the helm, Bashoor has worked relentlessly on reunification of the department, developed an apparatus-replacement program and has been successful in hiring recruit firefighters and paramedics. The interview was conducted by Firehouse® Magazine Editor-in-Chief Harvey Eisner.
Firehouse: In the past, due to the fiscal crisis, there were furloughs within the department and no raises for several years. What does the future look like for the department?
Bashoor: We believe the worst of the financial mess is behind us. The PGFD was fortunate in the past year to have been able to fill all existing vacancies and receive a slight overall increase in our budget expenditures. Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker has focused on public safety and education as spending priorities. While all of the staff continue without raises, we have settled contractual negotiations with the International Association of Firefighters and Paramedics – Local 1619, which provides for enhanced staffing and safety among other administrative details. The department recently signed a letter of intent to purchase seven pieces of heavy apparatus, using an existing Council of Governments contract, and establishing an apparatus-replacement rotation. With funding provided by the county, the Fire Commission is in the process of hiring a volunteer recruiter. With the continued public safety focus, the future is bright for continued growth and successful program implementation within the PGFD.
Firehouse: I understand you are going to hire two classes of 30 firefighters this year. Will that continue?
Bashoor: Our recruitment and hiring process is in full gear. We continue to recruit and hire, with 27 recruits who started March 12 and an additional 33 recruits scheduled for hire on May 7. We are in final approvals for the fiscal year 2013 budget, with an additional 50 recruits slated for hire. Utilizing the staffing projections of the Public Safety Master Plan, the PGFD needs to hire 60 to 90 per year to achieve the target of four firefighters/paramedics per 1,000 residents. Our current and projected budgets will make it rough to achieve those numbers; however, that’s the target.
Firehouse: Is the population you protect still growing and is the county expanding into areas that have not been developed?
Bashoor: The county population continues to grow. While certainly slowing, the 2010 census data shows a population of over 850,000 with a growing African American and Hispanic base. The rural tier of the county has remained largely undeveloped – with only sporadic large-lot/large-house residential development. The zoning regulations within the county focus the more dense developments towards the I-95 corridor and METRO (mass transit) locations.