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  • 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.
    Attached Files
    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.

  • #2
    The state doesnt give them some kind of aid? They cant just let an entire department go out of service can they?

    Comment


    • #3
      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.

      Comment


      • #4
        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, 12:18 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

        Comment


        • #5
          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, 12:45 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            4000 runs a year and they need to pay for trucks with bingo nights? Where is the local govt?

            Comment


            • #7
              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, 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

              Comment


              • #8
                ".. we need our own ________"

                Like a Hummer command vehicle?

                Comment


                • #9
                  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

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    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.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      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

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        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, 02:14 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          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.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            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.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              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.

                              Comment

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