About Us

The department is statutorily responsible for administering the affairs of the county in fire suppression and prevention, fire training, arson investigation, rescue services and emergency medical services. The Office of Emergency Management Command within the Department of Fire & Rescue Services has the lead responsibility for county-wide emergency management planning, preparedness and response.

Every station has at least one engine and one paramedic unit assigned. Many of our stations also house vehicles such as ladder trucks, heavy duty rescue squads, brush trucks, foam and dry chemical units and water tankers. Career personnel work on a three-shift, 24-hour rotating schedule. Our mission is to maintain a safe environment and high quality of life in Howard County by educating, protecting and serving our citizens, members and visitors.

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Public Requests, Forms and Applications
Frequently Asked Questions
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Can I tour a fire station?
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Yes, please call our Community Outreach Specialist and arrange a tour: 410-313-6000.

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How many fire stations are there in Howard County?
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There are currently 13 stations in Howard County. 

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How can I join the department?
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Please check our Recruitment page for information.

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Can you tell me more about the Maryland Smoke Alarm Law?
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New Maryland Smoke Alarm law went into effect January 1, 2018. This new state law is aimed at reducing home fire deaths.

From the Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal: Why is a sealed-in battery important? Nationally, two-thirds of all home fire deaths occur in homes with either no smoke alarm or no working smoke alarm, mainly due to missing or disconnected batteries. By sealing the battery inside the alarm, the unit becomes tamper-resistant and removes the burden from consumers to remember to change batteries, which in turn, will save lives. These sealed-in, long-life battery smoke alarms provide continuous protection for a decade, and national fire experts with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) recommend their use.

Smoke alarms should be located on every level of the home and outside the sleeping areas. And remember- keep bedroom doors closed when sleeping to help stop the spread of smoke and fire, which allows for more time to escape during an emergency. Every second counts.

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Why should I learn CPR and AED use?
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According to the American Heart Association, 70% of Americans may feel helpless to act during a cardiac emergency because they either do not know how to administer CPR or their training has significantly lapsed. This alarming statistic could hit close to home, because home is exactly where 88% of cardiac arrests occur. Put very simply: The life you save with CPR is mostly likely to be someone you love.

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Where can I find a list of AEDs?
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Sign up for the PulsePoint app for a list of AEDs in Howard County.

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Why do you send so many vehicles to a fire, even if it is a small fire?
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Firefighters have specialized roles for each fire call. It is necessary to have enough firefighters on scene to cover all aspects of an evolving incident.

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Why do firefighters and paramedics go to the grocery store while on shift?
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Firefighters and paramedics work a 24-hour shift here in Howard County beginning at 7am each day. The company an individual firefighter is assigned to becomes a surrogate family. They eat together, train together, work together, make split second decisions together, and learn from each other. Recognized as one of the most stressful careers, sitting down to enjoy a meal at the kitchen table generates a lot of laughter and great conversations.

In order to have these meals while on shift, they are required to purchase food using personal money. Typically, the group will pool their money together for the day’s two meals. Also, grocery shopping is limited to one unit at a time and they must shop at a store that’s located in their first due area.

So why take a truck to the store? Firefighters and paramedics must be available to respond to 911 calls while they’re buying groceries. Their meals don’t come before you!

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I'm having a recreational fire, what is permitted?
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Please read this important information on open fires. Contact our Office of the Fire Marshal for further information: 410-313-6040.

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How can I obtain a patch or sticker?
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Due to Homeland Security constraints, we can no longer send patches or stickers. Thank you for understanding.

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What is your Mission Statement?
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To maintain a safe environment and high quality of life in Howard County by educating, protecting and serving our citizens, members and visitors.

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Vision & Core Values, what are yours?
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Vision

We will be a global model of a fully integrated combination volunteer and career fire, rescue, and emergency medical services organization, providing diversified services to promote life safety in our community.

Core Values

Recognizing the dedication and skill of all members, we will create and maintain an environment of individual safety, well-being, and trust. We are guided by: Service to Others, Integrity, Honesty, Accountability, Professionalism, Compassion, Respect, and Safety. Embracing and celebrating diversity has been a reason why Howard County residents enjoy a high quality of life. All members of HCDFRS, career and volunteer, will continue their efforts to remove any obstacles that limit opportunities for personal goals to be achieved due to discrimination because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age and disability.

Fire Department Leadership

William Anuszewski
Fire Chief
Deputy Chief Robert Smelzter
Deputy Chief
Deputy Chief John Jerome
Deputy Chief
Deputy Chief Gordon Wallace
Deputy Chief

News

Find the latest news updates.

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Department / Office
HCFRS

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