HCDFRS History

Our history as a department is rich and ever-expanding. Take a look at our milestones below.

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Our History in Milestones



  • October 2010 – First time ever, HCDFRS wears pink t-shirts in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month
  • October 2010 – Groundbreaking ceremony held for new Glenwood Station and new Savage Station
  • December 2010 - First Full-Time Medical Director in Maryland to Serve a Fire and Rescue Department Appointed
  • January 2011 – Department begins the use of glidescopes through partnership with St. Agnes Hospital
  • May 2011 - Trainee Class 26 graduates one of the largest number of female graduates in the history of the Department
  • July 2011 – Receives the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) Life Safety Initiatives Program Seal of Excellence Award
  • November 2011 – Five-year hold on live-burn fire training lifted, Department reinstates program
  • February 2012 – Legislation filed to establish a single fire and rescue tax district for all of Howard County, eliminating the two-tiered rural/metro fire tax
  • March 2012 – Bill to establish a single fire and rescue tax passed
  • May 2012 – First Resuscitation Academy: Cardiac Arrest Resuscitation Experience Symposium (CARES) to be organized on the East Coast hosted by Department
  • May 2012 – Awarded the 2012 Heart Safe Community of the Year
  • June 2012 – Department implements digital pre-planning software called CommandScope to house pre-plan information
  • June 2012 – First African American Deputy Chief John S. Butler promoted
  • July 2012 - Department received national accreditation for the paramedic education program becoming first fire-based agency in the Maryland approved at this level
  • August 2012 – Department launches social media presence
  • August 2012 – Crews respond to deadly train derailment in Ellicott City which killed two women and shuts down Main Street
  • October 2012 – Ribbon cutting ceremony held for the opening of the county’s twelfth fire station in Glenwood
  • November 2012 – Autism Awareness training becomes part of Department’s virtual academy curriculum
  • 2013 – First Female Assistant Chief Joanne Rund promoted
  • May 2013 – Recognized with the Star of Life award as the best EMS program in the state by Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS)
  • June 2013 – Savage new station dedication ceremony held
  • September 2013 – Critical Incident Stress Management team responds to Navy Yard Shooting
  • September 2013 – The use of all tobacco products are banned
  • November 2013 – Two Howard County officers deploy to Liberia to help rebuild country’s fire service
  • December 2013 – Bureau of Occupational Health Safety established
  • 2014 - Department to receive prestigious Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) award for Excellence in Fire Service-Based EMS Award
  • June 2014 – More than 12,000 people trained in hands-only CPR
  • August 2014 - Honored by the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) with the Billy Goldfeder Fire Service Organizational Safety Award of the year
  • September 2014 – Elkridge groundbreaking ceremony held
  • November 2014 – First-Ever regional Safety Symposium hosted
  • January 2015 – First foreign born African American Fire Chief John S. Butler appointed
  • October 2015 – Department launches a new smartphone app, PulsePoint designed to help save more lives from sudden cardiac arrest by alerting nearby bystanders to perform hands-only CPR
  • December 2018 - First female Fire Chief appointed for Howard County, Chief Christine M. Uhlhorn
  • June 2020 - Chief William Anuszewski is sworn in as Fire Chief

1980s and 1990s

  • October 1987 - The Rivers Park Station was dedicated and was the tenth fire station in the County
  • 1988 – A change in the charter resulted in a title change from Fire Administrator to Director. The name of the Department was also changed to the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services
  • July 1991 - The Long Reach and Rivers Park Fire Stations were transferred to the Department from the Savage Volunteer Fire Company
  • November 1991 - Department implemented a Special Incident Response Team (SIRT)
  • April 1994 - The Scaggsville Fire Station was dedicated becoming our eleventh station
  • November 1995 – Department issues order mandating the practice of recycling
  • December 1995 – Juvenile Firesetters Program established

1960s and 1970s

  • 1968 - Legislative action was enacted to establish the Howard County Fire Department
  • May 1969 - Fifth District Volunteer Fire Department dedicated the Banneker Station. This was the first fire department in the new town of Columbia and the seventh station in the County
  • 1971 - Fire Coordinator’s title changed to Fire Administrator.B. Harrison Shipley, Jr. serves
  • July 1971 - Career employees assigned to four volunteer fire departments were transferred into the Howard County Classified Service as public safety employees
  • March 1972 – Lisbon votes to initiates ambulance service becoming the 4th volunteer department in the county to offer ambulance service
  • July 1974 - Ellicott City Volunteer Firemen's Association placed in service the Bethany Fire Station. Station 8 became the 8th fire station in the County
  • October 1974 - Savage Volunteer Fire Company dedicated the Long Reach Fire Station. Station 9 became the second fire department to be located in Columbia
  • June 1975 – Bethany Fire Station 8 eliminates the use of the fire siren due to neighborhood complaints
  • 1975 - Fire Administrator, Paul F.J LePore, by administrative directive, created the first bureaus by dividing the Department into three bureaus - Operations, Services and Fire Prevention.
  • 1979 - The Banneker Station, Fire Station # 7, was transferred from the Fifth District Volunteer Fire Department to the Howard County Fire Department

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