The 1970′s

The early 1970’s was a time for major change, not just for Berwyn Heights, but for every fire department in Prince George’s County. The citizens of the county voted for a charter form of government which had a direct impact on the funding provided to the individual fire departments and caused the implementation of a County Fire Department. The management of the County Fire Department would be under the direction of one person appointed to the position of Fire Chief by the County Executive (a new position in itself). This resulted in many volunteer fire departments disagreeing with the county government and legal action of various sorts, many of which are still being debated today.

Emergency medical service has always been provided to the community by the Department. Yet as late as the 1970’s Berwyn Heights had yet to offer an ambulance service, even though most every other station in the county had an ambulance. Statistics did not show the outstanding need for an ambulance in Berwyn Heights, at least not in comparison to the number of calls ambulances responded to in most other communities. At the time, Branchville and Greenbelt fire stations (each of which operated two ambulances of their own) provided ambulance service to the Berwyn Heights community. However, the Department felt it was in the best interest of the community to provide its own ambulance service.

An ambulance was purchased and placed in service in 1975. This new service to the community proved to be a wise decision. Today it is depended on to serve the citizens of Berwyn Heights and it also serves to augment the Branchville and Greenbelt ambulances. With the incorporation of the new ambulance was a new form of membership in the Department known as “Ambulance Technician.”

In 1976 the Department purchased a smaller size engine from the Chevy Chase Fire Department and placed it in service. The unit was to supplement the Truck and Squad, handle smaller fires in the community, and serve as a training vehicle. This unit would eventually be known as Mini-Pumper 14.

Membership in the mid-1970’s was at a low point and for a time there was a need for a paid “shift-man” to stay at the station 24 hours a day to ensure that a driver would be available. The shift-man was eventually returned to the county when membership levels returned to a point that the volunteers were able to provide adequate manning.