The Baltimore County Fire Department provides fire protection, emergency medical and emergency rescue to the county's more than 800,000 citizens.
Baltimore County covers an area of 610 square miles. Located in central Maryland, it surrounds the city of Baltimore on three sides and extends from the Chesapeake Bay in the southeast to Pennsylvania in the north. The Fire Department serves a diverse area, including heavy industrial areas, small towns, suburban neighborhoods and farmland. The northern two-thirds of the county is almost exclusively rural, with denser suburban populations and industrial areas located, east to west, in a horseshoe surrounding Baltimore City.
The mission of the Baltimore County Fire Department is to provide the highest quality fire protection, emergency medical services, fire prevention, safety education, community services and mitigation of emergency and non-emergency incidents to the citizens of and visitors to Baltimore County.
Our service delivery is enhanced through training, education, planning and teamwork. We will achieve our mission safely while remaining economically responsible through the effective and efficient use of all resources.
Personnel and Equipment
The department includes more than 1,000 paid emergency response personnel, housed at 25 career stations. These career responders work at fire and rescue scenes alongside volunteer firefighters from the county's 33 volunteer fire companies. More than 2,000 citizens volunteer in the fire service as active responders, fundraisers and support personnel. Though volunteer companies are independent, private corporations, Baltimore County has a true joint fire service, with dedicated career and volunteer responders working together at emergency scenes every day on behalf of our citizens.
Baltimore County firefighters and emergency medical technicians respond to more than 114,000 incidents annually. More than 70 percent of those incidents are medical calls.
Apparatus available to serve county citizens include:
- 88 engines (27 career and 61 volunteer)
- 13 trucks (seven career, six volunteer)
- Three tower ladders
- A state-of-the-art, urban search-and-rescue unit
- A decontamination unit
- Six large-capacity tankers for rural firefighting
- Various brush and squad units
Ten career engine companies have advanced life support capabilities; these are strategically located throughout the county. Volunteer companies operate the county's nine heavy rescue squads.
An Advanced Tactical Rescue team, housed at Texas Station number 17, is specially trained for unusually difficult, complex rescues, such as building collapses, water rescues, trench rescues and high-rise rescues. The ATR team was dispatched to New York by the federal government on September 11, 2001 to assist with rescue and recovery following the terrorist attacks.
The County purchased a state-of-the-art urban search-and-rescue vehicle, equipped to handle building collapses, water rescues, trench rescues and other tactical emergencies. The unit was purchased with federal homeland security funds and is available for deployment throughout the region.
Besides the ATR squad, the County has swift-water teams at two volunteer companies, Kingsville and Arbutus. The Middle River Volunteer Rescue Company has a Dive Rescue Team, and the Bowleys Quarters Volunteer Fire Department has a Marine Emergency Team (Video) used for open water rescues on the Chesapeake Bay, lakes and reservoirs.
The Department operates one hazardous material unit, stationed centrally at Brooklandville Station number 14, and three Hazmat satellite units.
Two volunteer coffee wagons provide invaluable support by supplying food and drink and other services to firefighters and emergency medical personnel at the scenes of fires and various emergencies. Volunteer members of Box 234 Association, Inc., Company 156, and the Central Alarmers, Company 155, make themselves available at any hour of the day or night. The coffee wagons also routinely provide support at Fire Department events such as dedications, ceremonies, and press conferences.
Emergency Medical Services
More than 70 percent of all calls received by the Fire Department are medical calls.
Medic units are housed in fire stations alongside fire apparatus, and many career and volunteer personnel are trained in both EMS and fire suppression. The department operates 46 advanced life support medic units, 29 career and 17 volunteer.
Residents of Baltimore County enjoy a state-of-the-art emergency medical and trauma care system. This system features:
- Advanced life support engine companies
- Emergency medical technicians and paramedics on all medic units
- Maryland State Police Medevac helicopters
- The world-renowned Shock Trauma Center at University of Maryland Hospital
The Baltimore County Fire-Rescue Academy provides year-round training and certification maintenance for career and volunteer personnel. The Academy has 11 full-time career instructors, augmented by career and volunteer adjunct instructors.
Communications for the Baltimore County Fire Department is handled by an 800 MHz voice and data communications system. All emergency apparatus is equipped with mobile radios; medic units are also equipped with mobile data terminals allowing voice and data communications while en route to an emergency scene. In addition, crews are equipped with portable radios to aid personnel safety and emergency scene communications.
The dispatching center, centrally located in Towson, is a combination center providing service for Police, Fire, EMS and 911 emergency calls. It is a 24-hours-a-day operation managed by 31 civilian emergency communications technicians. A network of eight radio towers positioned strategically throughout the county ensures complete radio coverage for Baltimore County.
The Baltimore County Fire Department supports its emergency operations with an extensive network of services including:
- Fire code enforcement
- Fire investigation
- Community safety education
- Public information services
- Breathing apparatus maintenance
- Information technology
- Fire dispatch
- Supply/equipment maintenance
Contact information is available online.