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The Fire Commission’s original mission to ensure the transition occurred has long been achieved, and the now fully combined fire/EMS department should have a commission with a more global presence. The proposals currently being discussed combine what has traditionally been two budgets into one budget with all of the volunteer segments as a separate division with line items exactly as presented as a separate agency in past years. The Fire Commission would be reflective of other county commissions, requiring county residency and confirmation by the county executive and County Council. Additionally, it is appropriately noted that the name has never been “volunteer” fire commission and that the membership of the commission should truly represent both the volunteer and paid segments of the department, as well as the community.
It is my belief that the reconstitution of this commission and the expansion of their outlook to include recommendations on all of the Fire/EMS Department components will be the final component to truly “combine” this combination fire/EMS department into one department.
Firehouse: Are there any plans for new fire stations or to rebuild or move existing fire stations?
Bashoor: We have a ground-breaking ceremony scheduled for the newest station, which will move Brandywine Station 840 approximately 1½ miles to the west on Brandywine Road directly across the street from Gwynn Park High School. This will be the fourth in the series of “Applebee’s” firehouses – “Applebee’s” as termed by one of the architects because we save money by simply retooling the design from the previous project to reflect the next site and apparatus complement. There are two other fire/EMS station projects in the planning phase, with a continued capital improvement project budget projecting additional facilities in years out – including a new apparatus-maintenance facility and training academy. The two other stations currently in planning include Seat Pleasant Station 808 moving approximately 1½ miles to the east on Central Avenue and a new Oxon Hill station in the vicinity of Oxon Hill Road and Indian Head Highway. The Oxon Hill station may include consolidation of existing facilities, although the planning process for that station continues.