Prince Frederick Volunteer Fire Department’s Official Response to the Board of County Commissioner’s

August 24, 2016

19950_299437369919_3095071_n“To say we take pride in what we do, care about the citizens and service we give unselfishly, is an understatement.”

Please take a moment to review the Prince Frederick Volunteer Fire Department’s official response to the Board of County Commissioner’s July 26, 2016 meeting as it relates to Commissioner Evan Slaughenhoupt’s claims.

Commissioner’s;
The members of the Prince Frederick Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. are compelled to respond to comments and accusations made at the July 26, 2016 Commissioner’s meeting, that portrayed our department in an extremely negative light. As servants of the citizens of Calvert County, our reputation means everything to us. To have one of our County Commissioners verbally attack us in such a public forum is disheartening to our organization. We take this opportunity to defend ourselves with accurate information and credible facts, to ensure the public we serve has an accurate picture of the organization and people who respond in times of crisis.

At the July 26 meeting, Commissioner President Evan Slaughenhoupt was participating in a discussion regarding the replacement of the current buildings for the Prince Frederick Volunteer Fire Department and the Prince Frederick Volunteer Rescue Squad. President Slaugenhoupt proceeded to deviate from the topic at hand, and instead launched into a discussion on Emergency Medical Services (EMS). He proceeded to severely criticize the EMS service provided by, the Prince Frederick Volunteer Fire Department, which in turn cast a negative image on our hard-earned reputation in the community. During the course of his statements, which he called a “soap-box,” he quoted statistics and examples that were inaccurate and proceeded to use the same information to make multiple accusations. The Prince Frederick Volunteer Fire Department was blindsided by the attack; we learned of his allegations, opinions and concerns along with the rest of the county while watching the televised broadcast of the meeting later that evening. In order to preserve our reputation and to ensure an accurate record of facts, we have attached a point-by-point rebuttal to President Slaugenhoupt’s slanderous, negligent and erroneous claims.

The Prince Frederick Volunteer Fire Department has proudly served the citizens of Calvert County for over 75 years. For the past 18 years, we have done so without failing to miss a call when we were dispatched. This is a record unlike any other in the county. We do this as volunteers – all of our training, responses, daily preparation, drills, fundraising, fire prevention, and much more, is done without pay. To say we take pride in what we do, care about the citizens and service we give unselfishly, is an understatement. Our members have the desire, character, training, morals, integrity and dedication to serve the citizens of Prince Frederick, Calvert County and all surrounding areas. We do it for the satisfaction of helping a neighbor in their time of need. It is as simple as that.

To have an elected official attack the integrity and call into question the stellar reputation of a group of quality people who work tirelessly for nothing more than the satisfaction of helping others is unacceptable. This is especially true when the individual making the accusations is in a key leadership role and bases his opinions on inaccurate, one-sided information. The damage his comments could cause between our department and the citizens we serve does not appear to have been taken into account prior to President Slaugenhopt’s remarks. The members of the Prince Frederick Volunteer Fire Department request a public apology from President Slaugenhoupt for his actions and the repercussions they have caused. We also ask you review the attached documentation so you can see the effort Prince Frederick Volunteer Fire Department provides the citizens of Calvert County, and the EMS program at Company 4.

Sincerely,
The entire membership of the Prince Frederick Volunteer Fire Department, Inc


Point #1

“I found it unconscionable when I learned that Company 4, which is an ambulance company, having trouble getting people to volunteer to get an ambulance to make a call, whereas the Company 5 Dunkirk Chief (William Rector) volunteered, drove an ambulance out of Company 4, only to see members of Company 2 standing out in the parking lot waving because they didn’t want to go over and drive an ambulance. And it was because they were not yet needing the extra training to be a live training exercise.”
This is an incorrect interpretation of facts concerning assistance to Company 4, as it relates to assistance for ambulance calls. To date, there has never been contact by President Slaugenhoupt or any representative of the county government with any leadership representative of our department to discuss this alleged incident. It would seem more probable that Chief 5, William Rector, was in the Prince Frederick area and heard a call for service and took it upon himself to respond. We recommend further discussions with Chief Rector on the circumstances of this incident.

As for our members waving as they went by, the process is more complex than simply “running over” to get the ambulance out. People must have the proper qualifications to drive, or have EMT to serve as the medical provider. Additionally, we don’t want to sacrifice staffing for our own units, so we must have enough drivers for our apparatus before we can send an extra over to Company 4. None of this was considered before making the generalized statement that Company 2 members were waving because they were happy they didn’t have to go over and get the ambulance out. We believe President Slaugenhoupt’s comments did not take into account the full range of circumstances in this event, thereby leading to inaccurate, irresponsible and negligent comments that are unwarranted toward the department.

Point #2

President Slaugenhoupt stated during the meeting that the Prince Frederick Volunteer Fire Department has 70 Emergency Medical Technician’s (EMT’s), who did not support Company 4 with staffing of their ambulances.

This statement is false. Although we have 70 members on our membership roster, only 39 of those hold EMT certifications. Some of these 39 maintain their EMT certification, but are no longer active members, and therefore no longer run calls. EMTs do support the EMS program in Calvert County to the best of their ability – without sacrificing the ability to staff Company 2 units at any given time. Available EMT’s are often sent to Company 4 to staff their ambulance.

It is important to note we not only send individuals to Company 4 to assist with calls, but we respond to medical emergencies as well. Company 2 members are dispatched on every single priority medical call in the Prince Frederick area, and sometimes surrounding areas. In 2015 alone we responded to 648 calls to help treat patients in an EMS capacity.

Additionally, if we are unable to help with Company 4’s ambulance response, we often respond in a Company 2 vehicle to ensure medical care is not delayed. This ensures the patient receives help as soon as possible while they are waiting for the next ambulance to arrive. This is analogous to stations that have one ambulance already on a call, and do not have enough staffing for their second ambulance.

Point #3

In another example, President Slaugenhoupt referenced a call for an ambulance at Hallowing Point Park, where Company 4 failed to respond (a date and time for the call was not provided when giving his example). Benedict also failed to respond, and ultimately Huntingtown had to take the call. He specifically stated, “of course Company 2 wouldn’t support getting an ambulance out.”

Since President Slaughenhoupt failed to provide a specific date and time, we could not research the call in question. We routinely respond to calls at Hallowing Point Park for medical assists, especially on weekends. On many occasions, members from our station may already be in the park (kids ball games/practices, their own games, etc.), and the Control Center may cancel incoming apparatus. Additionally if units are already on another call they may not be available to respond to the call at that time. In some cases, we receive multiple calls within the park, so we are already in the park for one call, when we receive a second call. For a variety of reasons, President Slaugenhoupt has spoken without all the facts, and has not provided all the information to allow us to adequately address his concerns in this particular incident.

Point #4

President Slaugenhoupt stated he was unaware there was an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Council, and that the EMS Council works for the Board of County Commissioners.

We were surprised to learn that President Slaugenhoupt was unaware of the EMS Council given his prior remarks. The EMS Council, which provides recommendations and guidance to the Commissioners on topics related to issues to emergency medical services in the county, is comprised of members of the community who are appointed by the Commissioners.

In fact, the Commissioners appointed the most recent members within the last year. The Commissioners not only receive recommendations and guidance from the EMS Council, but they also approve funding for the Council recommendations.

Point #5

President Slaugenhoupt stated the problem with EMS in this county is because of the way things grew within the Prince Frederick area. He said, “You have two families that couldn’t get along and they created separate companies. One is a fire company and one is an ambulance company. That has manifested itself over the years where most citizens probably don’t even realize Prince Frederick has two separate companies that don’t communicate with each other.”

It is completely inappropriate, not to mention totally inaccurate, for President Slaugenhoupt to make these comments in such a public setting. They show his lack of intelligence regarding the history of the Calvert County fire service, as well as his lack of communication with members of the Prince Frederick Volunteer Fire Department and the Prince Frederick Volunteer Rescue Squad. We realize President Slaugenhoupt is not a native of Calvert County, so we have provided a brief summary of the relationship between our two stations, and why they remain separate today.

• The Prince Frederick Volunteer Fire Department, Company 2, was established in 1941, as a fire department only and was specifically called the Calvert County Fire Department. In 1967, 25 years after the operation of Company 2 began; the Prince Frederick Volunteer Rescue Squad, Company 4, was established.

• In 1965, when we operated as the Calvert County Fire Department, our station housed Company 4’s ambulance until they could build their own station. We worked hand-in-hand with the future rescue squad until they left our quarters. In addition, during these six years, their volunteers purchased a second ambulance. Unfortunately at the time we did not have the space to house that unit as well, and it was staged out of a local parking lot until Company 4’s building was established.

• Volunteers who wish to cross-train in other areas are encouraged to work with both of our stations, and are permitted to ride with them while taking classes to get their certifications.

• Routine meetings are held between the administrative leaders and the operational leaders of both stations to look for ways to improve working relationships, responses and training opportunities. We also have a current policy in place to ensure the companies are not competing against one another with regard to fundraising within our direct community. We also coordinate many community outreach events together.

It is worth noting, having separate fire and EMS departments is not an unusual concept. Many of the departments throughout Southern Maryland function in this manner quite effectively. In the case of the Prince Frederick Volunteer Fire Department, this model has been effective for nearly eight decades. This is not to say support is not needed for the Rescue Squad. EMS has changed dramatically over the past 25 years, but the incentives, equipment and facilities we offer our EMS volunteers have changed little.

Point #6

“We ought to make a county fire department for Prince Frederick that is a county owned, county employee firefighters, county employee EMS. We pull the notes back from Company 2 and Company 4 and their equipment comes into this paid service in Prince Frederick, and that would provide a lot of relief that actually affects other volunteer companies in the county. Huntingtown is responding to calls that they should not have to respond to because Company 4 is not able to respond, and meanwhile a call goes out for EMT’s are needed and there’s no response and a fire call goes out and fully manned fire trucks, the flashy part of it, from Prince Frederick is fully manned. “

President Slaugenhoupt made a bold statement that neither the members of the Prince Frederick Volunteer Fire Department nor the citizens of Calvert County should take lightly. While it is clear President Slaugenhoupt has given his idea serious thought, there are several reasons why this would be detrimental to the county.

• President Slaugenhoupt said the commissioners should take back our “notes,” collect our equipment, and give it to a paid service that encompasses the Prince Frederick area only. This is not a simple task. There are no clear “notes” to take back – our equipment is titled with the county as the lien holder, not as the note holder. The county has agreed in writing to release the lien as long as the company provides the expected service for the agreed upon number of years on the apparatus agreement. (NOTE: This is the case in most of the departments in the county, not just PFVFD)

• A paid staff does not necessarily create the ability to respond to every call. The county will only be able to pay for a minimum number of people on a shift at a time. This means if the crew is on one call and receives another call, they will not be available.

• This would be a significant tax burden on the citizens of Calvert County. It is important to note that President Slaugenhoupt is targeting the department that is the highest functioning in the county. Given our station’s impeccable record that does not seem like a prudent use of taxpayer dollars. We recommend the Commissioners explore methods to attract more volunteers to Company 4, rather than discuss dismantling Company 2.

Final Thoughts…

The doors of the Prince Frederick Volunteer Fire Department are always open, especially to President Slaugenhoupt or anyone who wants to discuss any of the information in this letter. We welcome any questions, concerns and comments. We also encourage you to reach out to us directly for an open dialogue on these issues.

• We have learned the hard way that data can be manipulated and misinterpreted if the right questions are not asked. When looking at response data in the future, we ask you not take it at face value, but instead ask for details about the data (such as time of day, were there other calls dispatched at the same time, were these calls in the 2nd and 3rd due areas).

• President Slaugenhoupt referenced several pieces of information that he obtained from “sources,” but we are unaware of these sources. We request that President Slaugenhoupt share with us the source of his information so we can correct the record.
• We understand you receive information from a variety of sources. We are always happy to resolve any discrepancies.

• Please be aware of the consequences of your public comments on other organizations. In this case, there were many inaccuracies in the speech and unfortunately they were disseminated to everyone watching the televised broadcast of the meeting. This allowed citizens of the county to form an opinion of the PFVFD organization without allowing us to defend ourselves. This impacts our reputation; our credibility with citizens and businesses; our fundraising program; and most of all it hurts the members who give so much to our organization.

The department wishes to thank Commissioner Nutter during this unfortunate meeting. Out of the many positive comments stated for both of our stations Mr. Nutter said this, “… all the years I’ve been in this county and have dealt with the volunteer rescue squads and fire departments. I know how they work. I’m convinced enough to know that these people have put their blood, sweat and tears 50 years ago to do this and for me to come along and to start second guessing them, is wrong.” This comment shows his heartwarming support for our department and our long-standing building project, a journey for funding we’ve been on for nine long years. Our hope is that by providing hard facts and information to the public, the Commissioners will consider moving forward with funding our station so we can continue operating a non-profit efficiently for the citizens of Calvert County.

We appreciate your time and patience in reviewing this response.

 
1794513_10152420907474920_6427091718148593607_n

38 Responses to Prince Frederick Volunteer Fire Department’s Official Response to the Board of County Commissioner’s

  1. freedom on August 24, 2016 at 9:40 am

    I want to personally THANK each and every member of the PFVFD, and the PFVRS! They have always done a terrific job even under toughest of circumstances! These young men and women run into danger, while we citizens run away from it. So this question remains? Why would someone who should represent common sense, leadership, and the ability to work with others in a professional manner, act so unprofessional?

    Unfortunately some politicians find it necessary to act on hearsay while implementing their own will over the same constituents who voted them into office. They create a divisive atmosphere while using intimidation to gain the upper hand. Something we don’t need, nor will we tolerate in Calvert County! If any politician here can’t act with professionalism and leadership? You need to vacate your Calvert County Commissioners seat….

    Our community needs to rid itself of divisive politicians! One thing is for sure. Calvert County can do without Evan Slaugenhoupt! But Calvert County can’t do without our wonderful team of players at the PFVFD, and the PFVRS!

    God Bless you all!!

    • Observer on August 28, 2016 at 9:28 am

      A little behind-the-scenes work addressing and vetting his misguided concerns would have been more productive than building a wall of mistrust between the commissioners and the volunteer services of this county. Maybe this will finally open the eyes of the people that have been snowed by Evan Almighty. Seems the curtain has been pulled back on the all-knowing, pompous and arrogant weasel. I’m sure he will try to walk this back, but always remember that a leopard can’t change its spots.

  2. research on August 24, 2016 at 10:09 am

    EVAN needs to go HOME! NOW!!! Calvert does NOT welcome him anymore. Make sure you show him how much you appreciate him in the next election.

  3. Get an ambulance on August 24, 2016 at 10:34 am

    Whatever, it looks like you do not know what you are talking about. I am sure this reply was written by the President or Chief of Co. 2

  4. P Constantino on August 24, 2016 at 11:02 am

    This is the same Commissioner that has brought in the builders of the National Harbor in Prince George’s County to build high density housing in the Prince Frederick are that will further tax the volunteers of the Prince Frederic Fire Department and Rescue Squad resources.

  5. Anonymous on August 24, 2016 at 11:27 am

    Slaugenhoupt should step down as commissioner. Clearly he does not have a clue what the volunteer system is all about. Mr Nutter was the only real friend, it seems, of fire and ems. Never had I been so hurt or troubled by what a commissioner stated in public.I would gladly help Slaugenhoupt pack up and leave the courthouse.

  6. GW on August 24, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    Sounds like the Commissioner doesn’t have a clue like most of our elected officials. It is time for the country to stand up get educated and vote for qualified officials who are not out for personal gain. One thing Southern MD has is very good fire and rescue services. And they are not even paid for what they do. Look at the troubles in PG and DC with paid departments. Thank You So. MD fire and EMS for the great job you do each and every day.

  7. Gregory W Ostrander on August 24, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    Please thank everyone at PFVFD for their service to the people of Calvert County. We are blessed to have everyone of you!

  8. R.W. Smith on August 24, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    As a life long resident of Calvert County and one who has needed the services of the Prince Frederick VFD and the members of the Prince Frederick Rescue Squad, I can say without reservation or hesitation that these dedicated volunteers are the best. Their professionalism, their dedication and their commitment to the community goes unmatched. To question their roles as volunteer members and their commitment to respond quickly and compassionately is beyond reproach.
    Perhaps one should not cast stones because if the services of the volunteers are needed from any of the fire or EMS companies in the county, who are all volunteer, the perception of them not doing a great job will undoubtedly be changed.

  9. Anonymous on August 24, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    Maybe the commish would be willing to volunteer some of his time?

  10. Debbie Bowen on August 24, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    What do expect from a bunch of clowns that just need a place to hang out, away from their wives and girlfriends? You get what you pay for! A bunch of wannabes that just want to ride around on fire trucks, pretending to be professionals. Ride an ambulance, no way, they are to macho for that. A paid professional fire service is long overdue in Calvert County, it can’t happen soon enough!

    • Volunteer on August 24, 2016 at 7:51 pm

      I’m not sure if you realize this the so called “wannabes” volunteer in the county that they live in. Most are paid Fire Fighter/EMTS in neighboring counties.

      • Brooks on August 25, 2016 at 7:01 am

        Yea, they are also known as SCABS. Real professionals are not hobbyists.

        • A Volunteer on August 25, 2016 at 4:00 pm

          It’s all the same job Mr. Brooks. The only difference is the Volunteers do what the paid people do for free.

          • Charles Rawlings on August 26, 2016 at 5:45 pm

            Just a bunch of whiney ticks, feeding off the unsuspecting tax payers of Calvert County. Please find another hangout and flophouse. Your points were pointless. Losers!

          • Anonymous on August 28, 2016 at 3:35 pm

            This is true, and the “career” firefighters get paid while they sleep and watch TV. The volunteers sleep and watch TV and don’t collect a check supplied by the citizen’s taxes.

    • Frankly Frank on August 24, 2016 at 10:29 pm

      How many times have you need EMS HELP lately? ? ? Hope its not needed in the near future….Karma….

      • Stephen Buckmaster on August 25, 2016 at 11:45 am

        Mr. Frankfurter, you do realize you made her point for her, don’t you? Paid EMS staff are obviously needed, for anyone needling emergency care. When seconds count, Calvert EMS is……………..? Seconds, minutes, hours, days away? How about when YOU need some assistance from the failed system YOU support, now that’s real KARMA!

    • Anonymous on August 25, 2016 at 2:48 pm

      Ms. Bowen, you seriously need help!!! Hopefully you are on your way out of our county!! Please pick up the Commissioner on your way!!

      • Debbie Bowen on August 25, 2016 at 10:45 pm

        Well, if I need help, I’m not gonna look for any from Calvert EMS, as they will either fail to respond, or get out too late to help me. Grow up and don’t let the commissioner, or me, intimidate you so much. Just relax and watch some old “Emergency” reruns, maybe you will learn something useful. Don’t give up on that GED, then you may actually qualify for that job at the transfer station!

        • Anonymous on August 28, 2016 at 11:30 am

          If you are not happy with Calvert EMS, maybe you should move to PG County. The career people there will take good care of you. Especially when they are being paid and are sitting around the station collecting a paycheck or sleeping at night collecting that check. The volunteers in Calvert are doing the same thing except collecting that check. Oh and wait for your taxes to skyrocket due to the cost of staffing and equipment.

          • Debbie Bowen on August 29, 2016 at 12:24 pm

            Myself and many other Calvert county tax paying citizens are willing to pay for competent and reliable paid fire Ems service. Thanks for making my point for me. I guess you couldn’t pass the test for PG?

  11. Anonymous on August 24, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    One thing Calvert County needs is board of Commissioners that is more diverse, the board is all white and republican!

    • Paul T. Johnson, Sr. on August 24, 2016 at 9:44 pm

      Diversity is just another unfair concession to minorities. It just makes our government and society dumber. An all white BOC is the right step to ensure intelligent financial decisions are made. Minority’s only want to enhance and enlarge social welfare programs and add more tax burdens to the people who actually work for a living. Diversity is government sanctioned racism against non minorities.

      • Anonymous on August 24, 2016 at 9:54 pm

        You right!

      • Get it right on August 29, 2016 at 10:49 am

        DRUBK and LAZY are not Disabilities!

        • Get it right on August 29, 2016 at 10:51 am

          *DRUNK

      • 2Cool4Skool on August 29, 2016 at 4:59 pm

        I’m just going to dive right into this..

        1) “Diversity is just another unfair concession to minorities” – It’s not, since Calvert county is 79% white (2010 Census), or 4/5, it would actually be MORE fair to have 4 white commissioners and 1 of a minority race sine they make up 1/5 of the county. That would be “fair” as you put it.

        2) a]”It just makes our government and society dumber.” – This is clearly racially motivated and also improper English. b] Since you’re so worried about being “dumber”, I thought you’d like to know that “dumber” isn’t a word. The correct term is “more stupid” since “dumb” means “unable to speak” there is no comparative form (“-er”).

        3) “An all white BOC is the right step to ensure intelligent financial decisions are made.” – More general racism and not based on any sort of evidence.

        4) “Minority’s only want to enhance and enlarge social welfare programs and add more tax burdens to the people who actually work for a living. Diversity is government sanctioned racism against non minorities.” – Once again, showing your intelligence by spelling “minorities” wrong at first and then right later on; you’re so close! Also, the biggest social programs in the United States, Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid were ALL pushed forward under the Social Security Act of 1935 and the Social Security Amendments of 1965. Thanks to FDR & LBJ, we have great social safety nets to protect Americans against poverty in old age.

        Basically, if you’d ever read a book on the subjects you touched on, you might be less “dumber” ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    • Rufus on August 25, 2016 at 8:49 am

      Yeah “Diverse” works in P.G. county Pinhead

  12. Anonymous on August 24, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    Why don’t you go to China and try to tell them that their government is too Asian and Comminist! Liberals only have a problem when something is too white!

  13. Fed up on August 24, 2016 at 10:51 pm

    Slaugenhoupt has been a turncoat since day one – definitely not working for the citizens that voted him in. Pathetic representative!
    Most people don’t care about 1st responders until they need them…

  14. William Jerow on August 24, 2016 at 10:59 pm

    When you go to vote remember who appreciates and supports your efforts.

  15. Get it right on August 25, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    Build Pfvfd a new station like they want and that can house all their pieces and 2 or 3 ambulances just as EVERY other station in the county does and close Company 4. Don’t really see what the Big fuss is all about. Pfvfd and it’s members do a terrific job but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t house a couple ambulances.And as mentioned in a previous statement, being scratch free means you get out on every single call every single time with the apparatus that was dispatched, not the Chiefs car getting on the air and none of your other pieces. Just sayin! And that wanna be commissioner owes Pfvfd a public apology!

    • Beverly Moreland on August 26, 2016 at 7:15 pm

      No, he doesn’t. You need to wake up and see the failed responses and overall incompetence. Time for a major change in how EMS service is provided to us.

  16. Bert B on August 25, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    It is said to understand a man, you must first walk a mile in their shoes. Should not, Mr Slaugenhoupt volunteer to ride for two complete shifts per weekend as a volunteer for the next month or so, to better understand the environment he talks about?

    At least that is what is taught in leadership courses. I can only hope he steps up.

    • Rick on August 26, 2016 at 5:49 pm

      Great idea! Another unqualified person riding on taxpayer funded emergency equipment, you are an idiot! You need to ask for a refund on your so called leadership courses, because your skills are obviously lacking. Please stay in your basement!

      • Get it right on August 28, 2016 at 5:32 pm

        Rick, I would say that you need to read and get proper information before you make a statement. Not ALL the equipment is 100% taxpayer funded as you stated, The stations have fundraisers which which supplement a good portion of the cost. And I bet your one of the citizens that don’t give one dam dime to any of the stations just by the way you talk. And each and every one of the people that are on those pieces of apparatus are properly trained and endure many hours of training and drills after getting their MFRI Training. Get your head out of your A** and stop by any station and I’m sure they would be happy to show you their training records. Better yet, join and station and see if your able to pass any Classes. Just Sayin!!

        • Rick on August 29, 2016 at 10:49 pm

          You got it wrong. All the stations receive tax funds, you would know this, if you were not so fixated on my azz! Stop drinking the Kool Aid! Training records? Didn’t somebody at Southern Region MFRI get ousted over that? Big shakeup over that issue. Training records? What a joke, and you brought it up, dummy! The taxpayers are getting wise to this nonsense.