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Thread: Riverdale Vfd

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    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Riverdale Vfd

    Riverdale Fire Dept. Could Lose Trucks

    POSTED: 6:54 pm EST January 24, 2007
    UPDATED: 8:04 pm EST January 24, 2007

    RIVERDALE, Md. -- A fire department in Prince George's County could lose all of its fire trucks unless it comes up with $28,000.

    Six years ago the Riverdale Heights Volunteer Fire Department bought a new rescue squad truck using it's other fire trucks as collateral. All the trucks could be repossessed if the department doesn't pay up.

    According to News4's Pat Collins, part of the station's problem is the decreasing popularity of its bingo night. Bingo used to be held twice a week, but because of low attendance, it was cut back to one night, which continues to see its crowds dwindle.

    Jim Collins, the president of the Prince George's County Volunteer Fire Department, said if Riverdale loses its station, that would mean slower response times in that area.

    Riverdale Heights firefighters respond to about 4,000 calls a year.

    Copyright 2007 by nbc4.com.
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    The state doesnt give them some kind of aid? They cant just let an entire department go out of service can they?

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    Unfortunately, I dont know how the system in MD works. Chief Woods is our Resident Expert on PG Co, but this being a sensative issue, he may not be able to speak of it at this time.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

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    It is not the department, as in the county fire/EMS all-inclusive department, but the volunteer department and corporation. Sadly, as is the case with many of our corporations, the whole problem is muddied with volunteers vs. volunteers, career vs. volunteers, volunteers vs. volunteer association, county fire administration vs. volunteer association, allegations of fiscal impropriety, etc. In the case of leins and funds, this may also involve the incorporated town as well, or it may involve them as a part/pawn of one side or another. A very confusing and troubling situation to say the least. It is not the first time such a problem has happened, and probably will not be the last. The term "brotherhood" is used very casually in this department, and many departments simply do not look at each other and long term goals for the good of the whole organization when planning their future. The placing in service of the rescue squad was a muddied affair to begin with.

    As far as the state helping, I doubt the state would become involved, even the state volunteer association. With all the unknowns and allegations, this may be handled by the county fire administration, the volunteer corporation and the county government alone. No one really knows. Services won't be impacted greatly as there is another station nearby that provides the same services.

    Hopefully, in a worst case outcome, the volunteers there can easily transfer to neighboring companies.
    Last edited by bcarey; 01-25-2007 at 12:18 PM.
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    Default Volunteer funding in PG

    This crisis probably started when Prince George’s County, Maryland, introduced the “Prince George’s County Charitable Gaming Regulatory Act of 1998” to the state legislature that significantly restricted the allowable gaming activities, prizes awarded and gratuities as result of a charitable event. This legislation halted the very successful “casino nights” directly operated or sponsored by many of the 38 volunteer fire department corporations.

    County wide, charitable gaming represented a $25 million per year industry in 1997. This legislation received strong supported by Governor Parris Glendening. The governor was a member of the county council from 1974 to 1982 and was the Prince George’s County Executive from 1982 to 1994. Glendening said that he was motivated by the “misery” associated with gambling and noted that “. . . a huge amount of corruption has crept into it.” Since the casino nights were abolished, one volunteer fire department (Hillside - Station 6) has disappeared after bankruptcy.
    ___________

    In addition, the county fire service master plan proposed the merging of Riverdale (7) with Riverdale Heights (13). Probably along the same lines as the consolidation of Mount Rainer (3), Brentwood (4) and Cottage City/Colmar Manor (2) into the Bunker Hill facility (Station 55).
    Last edited by MikeWard; 01-25-2007 at 12:45 PM.

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    MembersZone Subscriber ameryfd's Avatar
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    4000 runs a year and they need to pay for trucks with bingo nights? Where is the local govt?

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    Very true Mike. Another fault might also be the feeling among departments to have to purchase the latest apparatus, simply because "everyone else has one and we need our own", and not forecasting your budget accordingly. Many stations did well with the charitable gaming, by being honest with their finances and planning for the future. I don't think the average volunteer organization considers what it might be able to do in 10, 20 years, both fiscally and operationally, and consider even downsizing their services. It's not in our "nature".
    Last edited by bcarey; 01-25-2007 at 12:46 PM.
    "If you put the fire out right in the first place, you won't have to jump out the window."
    Andy Fredericks,
    FDNY E.48, SQ.18
    Alexandria, VA F.D.

    Rest in Peace

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    Default ".. we need our own ________"

    Like a Hummer command vehicle?

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    Well, I was trying to be somewhat tactful. I never did understand the need for that specific chief vehicle.

    The station mergers are also not exactly black and white either. With 55, apparatus was moved, reassigned, some only to be placed out of service without legitimate cause, i.e. mechanical, certification, etc. Another example of how the problems easily seen on the surface are only 10% of the problem behind closed doors. That merger is another fine example of the apparatus "need", i.e. new chief's buggy, new ladder truck, new engine, even though there was already three chief buggies, a ladder truck along with county and volunteer owned engines.

    RS.13 was supposedly a "benefit" of the proposed 7 and 13 merger, despite three other companies already providing a RS service in that first due area.

    It is a shame things can't be black and white for the better good of public safety.
    "If you put the fire out right in the first place, you won't have to jump out the window."
    Andy Fredericks,
    FDNY E.48, SQ.18
    Alexandria, VA F.D.

    Rest in Peace

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    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Thanks Mike and BC, that helps to clear some of the mud on this. Still a sad state of affairs no matter how you look at it though. Even my current station is not without its vehicle strangeness. We have a Braun (Chevy chassis) built ambulance. Its the only one in the County, because a former President thought it would be a great vehicle. The rest of the County uses the Frieghtliner Monster Medics.....
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

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    Default Speaking of the Town of V____

    Have you ever wondered why Fairfax County put Station 34 in before covering some of the other service coverage voids? In terms of structure fire response, Stations 13, 30, 34 and 29 can cover the Town of V____ if Station 2 was not there.

    I *think* one of the master planning goals of the late 1960's was to surround the towns and cities that resisted county annexation. The folks in F_____ City think that is why 21 (new site), 30, 32 and 34 were built when they were built.

    Not that turf, power or politics would influence public safety decisions

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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeWard View Post
    This crisis probably started when Prince George’s County, Maryland, introduced the “Prince George’s County Charitable Gaming Regulatory Act of 1998” to the state legislature that significantly restricted the allowable gaming activities, prizes awarded and gratuities as result of a charitable event. This legislation halted the very successful “casino nights” directly operated or sponsored by many of the 38 volunteer fire department corporations.

    County wide, charitable gaming represented a $25 million per year industry in 1997. This legislation received strong supported by Governor Parris Glendening. The governor was a member of the county council from 1974 to 1982 and was the Prince George’s County Executive from 1982 to 1994. Glendening said that he was motivated by the “misery” associated with gambling and noted that “. . . a huge amount of corruption has crept into it.” Since the casino nights were abolished, one volunteer fire department (Hillside - Station 6) has disappeared after bankruptcy.
    ___________

    In addition, the county fire service master plan proposed the merging of Riverdale (7) with Riverdale Heights (13). Probably along the same lines as the consolidation of Mount Rainer (3), Brentwood (4) and Cottage City/Colmar Manor (2) into the Bunker Hill facility (Station 55).
    Mike,
    The last part of your post is true, although it's lower down on the list of new fire station construction. New firehouses are currently in the works for District Heights (Co. 26), Seat Pleasant (Co. 8) which the volunteers say they won't move in to, and a new 4th firehouse in Bowie in the Northview area. The Riverdale/Riverdale Heights consolidation is pretty much just a matter of time as the two stations are located just 1.1 mile from each other. It is simply a good business decision for the county to consolidate resources in that small area.
    As far as a crisis starting with the end of Casino gambling in PG: 1.) In my opinion Governor Glendening was absolutely right about the "corruption" associated with this enterprise. 2.) I think you're timing is a little off. Riverdale Heights (Co. 13) purchased their Rescue Squad in 2001, three years after the "charitable" gambling in PG was stopped. I don't know about you, but when I buy a new car I determine what I can afford and how I'm going to pay for it first!
    A better question might be why did Co. 13 buy a Rescue Squad in the first place? Riverdale Heights' firehouse is located 2.5 miles from Hyattsville (Co. 1) and 3.1 miles from Berwyn Heights (Co. 14). Hyattsville and Berwyn Heights are both strong volunteer organizations, both have well equipped Rescue Squads and both are able to staff them consistently, something Riverdale Heights was never able to do. Was another Rescue Squad needed in that area or was Riverdale Heights just trying to attract new members? The wonder is that PG County, who insures, fuels and maintains the fleet, ever let them put it in service in the first place.
    Last edited by 1014engine; 01-25-2007 at 02:14 PM.

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    Unfortunately, it seems pride gets a bit misplaced down there from time to time. Well, that happens lots of places, they just manage to get a lot of press attention over it

    Putting aside any of the local rivalries going on,

    Alarm bells should be going off in your head whenever you're using apparatus for collateral.

    I can even see using a piece of apparatus as it's own collateral.

    However if you have so little cash on hand, or a credit rating so iffy the bank needs additional collateral...it's probably a bad decision. The article said they financed the truck 6 years ago, so that was well after the casino nights were outlawed.

    Normally I'd lecture about putting your community's protection at risk, like departments that forgo sprinklers or fire alarms in their stations even when they had the money to put them in. In the case of PG, this station could close and the people around it would still enjoy a faster response with more men and equipment than most of the nation sees.

    The damage done isn't to fire protection of the residents directly, it's they hurt both their own department and the volunteer system down there by over-reaching trying to stay independent then cooperating more closely with other companies.

    That's my 2 cents, buy what you can with it.

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    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Not that turf, power or politics would influence public safety decisions.


    EGADS! Since when do any of those factors come into play when determining location of emergency response resources? hehehehee

    Dont forget Mike, there is another station - 44??? I think which will be going in somewhere towards the south end of Beulah between 2 and 29.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

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    Default The better question

    Is why the hell did they put up the rest of their equipment as collateral. This tells me that they over paid for the truck if they are having to use the other equipment on the loan.

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    " - and a new 4th firehouse in Bowie in the Northview area. "

    That is another area of contention (?) and deal making within the county. A whole new station is to be built in an area where four stations currently respond, yet at Co.18 when the county owned tower ladder went out of service, the county refused to replace it and so disbanded it. Rather than augment current services for improvement, a whole new station is to be created and staffed. Maybe Co.13's engines, squad and ambulance will go there, but that would be logical. It would not suprise me if the new station was in some small way related to the actions of the citizens in that incorporated area wanting to succeede from the county at one time. Stanger things have happened.

    "Is why the hell did they put up the rest of their equipment as collateral. "

    Pride. Like I said before, if the station next door has a new special piece of apparatus, then you have to have one too, or you will end up losing territory, or calls, or members. When my station looked at getting a new ladder truck, not only did we have members with good fiscal sense and discipline in general, but we established long term plans and projections, apart from apparatus replacement. When looking at a tiller truck and financing, members also considered whether or not it was better to rehab the current squad or replace it, or, drop the squad altogether and focus on the time when the engines would be scheduled for replacement and consider a rescue engine as an option. We didn't simply sign on to a debt for the sake of having apparatus.

    1014, don't forget, RS.2 was still in service too at the time, or for a brief period, before the county reassigned it to 22. That gave you a choice of three rescue squads available to repsond to your first due area, and you (13) already had extrication tools on your engine. It made no sense at all, yet, when you look at it with the mergers, it was most likely a tool of leverage by one or more parties.
    "If you put the fire out right in the first place, you won't have to jump out the window."
    Andy Fredericks,
    FDNY E.48, SQ.18
    Alexandria, VA F.D.

    Rest in Peace

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    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Post Good Evening, Gentlemen............

    Obligitory disclaimer - Any comments in this post are MY personal opinion, and I am not speaking for any other person or any organization.

    As a member of the Prince Georges County Fire Commission, representing District 3, which includes Riverdale Heights, I know a bit about this matter, BUT, there are areas in which it would not be proper for me to comment.

    I will, generically, answer as many questions as I can:

    Someone asked "Where is local government?" There is none. In Maryland, we try very hard to ensue separation of Church and State. And Fire/Rescue/EMS Services. Small Town politics and VFDs are not a good mix, so many years ago, folks like my Grandfather worked to make sure that VFDs were totally independent from Government control. We do not have things like a Town owning a Ladder truck or Pumper. Apparatus is owned by a VFD, or by the County Government. In Prince Georges, at this time, Volunteers own about 80% of Firefighting Apparatus and Stations.

    Like some other parts of the Country, (Allegany County, Pa. comes to mind) we have areas where VFDs are pretty close together. The RHVFD has a first due of about 3 square miles. As a contrast, my station ( www.GDVFD18.com ) has a first due approaching 20 Sq. Miles. Biggest 1st due is the Baden VFD, with about 42 sq. miles. So, some things aren't equal.

    VFDs in this area practice "Creative Funding" a lot. If you can think of a Fund Raising idea, chances are someone here has tried it. Yes, VFDs get some support from County Government, and in the last couple of years there have been some very good improvements.

    Several references have been made to our former "Casino" Fundraising efforts. This matter is not connected in any way with the former "Casino" fundraising.

    Any more Questions?? There are several of us on here who know P.G.County well, we'll try to answer. Thanks, Harve
    Last edited by hwoods; 01-25-2007 at 10:22 PM.
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    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Post Couple of More Items............

    One thing that has not been mentioned is the change in demographics in this area. In 1906, Riverdale Heights was Farm and Forest land, with a couple of Gravel roads thru the area. In 1926, some subdivisions were starting to appear, and a VFD became a necessity. 1946, with the end of World War II, brought terrific growth through this part of the County, including the first Shopping Centers and Apartments. By 1966, the major developments were finished, the builders moved on, and the community became a stable area again, seeing little change. By 1996, that stability vanished, as the largely Blue Collar residents started moving out, and were replaced by a largely immigrant population, which had no idea what a VFD is, and no history of Community involvement, or support of Community activities. This is a major factor in the decline of Fund Raising events such as Bingo and Chicken BarBQ Dinners at Firehouses. A number of VFDs, including Riverdale Heights, are working on getting the Hispanic community involved, thru things like Multi-lingual Recruiting and Fundraising messages. Time to go to work, I'll be back later.
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    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

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    A number of VFDs, including Riverdale Heights, are working on getting the Hispanic community involved, thru things like Multi-lingual Recruiting and Fundraising messages.
    WOW. That is a really kuull initiative, Harve. I hope it works out well for all concerned.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

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    "I *think* one of the master planning goals of the late 1960's was to surround the towns and cities that resisted county annexation. The folks in F_____ City think that is why 21 (new site), 30, 32 and 34 were built when they were built."

    I am pretty sure it is a matter of record that the site location for FS34 was changed when the City of Fairfax started their own fire department. I believe 30 may have been moved closer the border also.

    Station 21 had to be moved and if you split the difference between Station 15and the city firehouses it is probably pretty close. Of all of those firehouse sthough none of them have impacted us the way Station 40 has. The call volume for the area justifies a firehouse and the need for a truck company somewhere between 3 and 38 was obvious but I think it could have gone a little further west.

    What is more interesting though is the not the location of the firehouse but the lack of Medic Units around us. 14, 23, 30 and 34.... seems like they don't mind our Medic Units serving those areas.

    Bottom line though is no matter what they do we are still right in the middle and will always be on the run cards. The other reality is they provide services for us that we couldn't on our own, like a hazmat unit and reserve ladders trucks just to name two. Oh and we need them to finish out any box alarm in the city.

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