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New Md. FD adds more paramedics, paramedic cars to growing department

Carroll County’s new combination department is continuing to grow and is on track to have career staff at seven remaining fire stations

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Carroll County Department of Fire and EMS/Facebook

By Sherry Greenfield
Baltimore Sun

CARROLL COUNTY, Md. — Carroll County’s Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services has hired 28 new employees this month, adding staff to Reese, Sykesville, Taneytown, Mount Airy and Westminster fire stations.

The hirings are part of the county’s efforts to build its first combination paid and volunteer fire and EMS service.

“This will take the department up to 157 positions by late November, and we are now planning for the next budget year, where we anticipate the seven remaining stations to come on board with county staffing,” Michael Robinson, director and chief of the Department of Fire and EMS said.

The stations still to be staffed are Hampstead, Lineboro, Union Bridge, New Windsor, Gamber, Winfield and Pleasant Valley.

“This, of course, will require approval through the [Board of Carroll County Commissioners] and the county budget process,” Robinson said.

The department has been using its allotment of $23.5 million from the county’s $542.8 million fiscal 2024 operating budget, to hire personnel and stock up on supplies needed to provide round-the-clock firefighting and emergency medical services coverage to the county.

[PREVIOUSLY: Md. county has 92 applicants for 16 lieutenant positions in new fire, EMS department]

The employees hired earlier this month include 15 paramedics and firefighter paramedics, 12 firefighter emergency medical technicians, and one fire truck driver.

“We have added three paramedic cars at Manchester, Taneytown, and Winfield [fire stations], which provide a second paramedic for critical patients,” Robinson said. “These employees will fill all vacant positions and allow for 15 float positions to cover for leave time and sick time to reduce overtime pay.”

A float position has responsibilities that include temporarily covering a position and picking up shifts as needed. An employee floats between locations or between departments.

“There are still nine additional float positions available, and we are actively recruiting paramedics and firefighter paramedics,” Robinson said.

The pay for a firefighter and an emergency medical technician is $21.69 per hour, according to an information sheet from the department. Hourly pay for a fire apparatus driver is $23.64, $25.78 for a paramedic, and $28.42 for a firefighter/paramedic.

The department has also hired two billing technicians to oversee insurance billing for EMS, Robinson said.

According to the job advertisement, the salary for a full-time billing technician is $20.62 an hour.

“We also added a civilian quartermaster position who will oversee our warehouse and manage medical supplies, uniforms, and personal protective firefighter gear,” Robinson said. “We will be interviewing for a data analyst in the next several weeks.”

The quartermaster position pays $24.48 per hour. The data analyst position pays $55,536 annually or $26.70 an hour.

The data analyst will identify trends and patterns in data to inform policy decisions and support strategic planning initiatives, the hiring advertisement states. The individual hired will collect data from various platforms, develop and maintain a data management system, and create and distribute reports.

The Department of Fire and EMS will host two informational sessions on its hiring process. The first session is 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 30, and 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2, both at the Public Safety Training Center, 50 Kate Wagner Road, Westminster.

The push to create a combination paid and volunteer county fire service began in Carroll County more than a decade ago. In 2018, the Maryland General Assembly passed legislation allowing the county to establish the new department and in October 2020, commissioners unanimously voted to pass an ordinance creating it.

Robinson began in his role in September 2021, and has been charged with the overall direction, administration and evaluation of the department. Under his leadership, the new Department of Fire and EMS has been purchasing equipment, supplies and vehicles, and hiring personnel.

Staffing and equipment are needed for 13 of the county’s 14 fire companies. The Harney Volunteer Fire Company in Taneytown will receive no new staffing, as it has no ambulances and a low call volume.

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