5920 MASSACHUSETTS AVENUE
BETHESDA, MARYLAND
20816-2044

Volunteer

Take a couple moments to read this page, and you’ll have almost all the information you need to know about volunteering at Glen Echo Fire Department…

About Us, Our Culture, Our Spirit, And Why We’re Different

Our membership includes high school, college, graduate, and medical students, attorneys, nurses, economists, consultants, physicians, a professional dog trainer (we couldn’t make this up if we tried), scientists, automotive technicians, and people in many other fields.

Chat with any of our members, and you’ll probably hear some common themes:

  • There are some sacrifices and some commitment required to be a volunteer, but they are far outweighed by the enormous rewards from helping others in their time of need — this gets reinforced with every card or letter we receive from someone who’s grateful for the assistance our personnel have provided and the kindness our personnel have shown
  • There are wonderful, interesting people at Glen Echo Fire Department, and the atmosphere is not only professional, but also fun and welcoming — we take great pride in thinking of ourselves as a family and as having a “firehouse” rather than a “fire station”
  • Glen Echo isn’t the kind of firehouse where people come to escape boredom or just hang out — when our volunteers walk through the door, they do so with a sense of purpose, which might include “paying it forward” through service to others, gaining experience, or even just finishing their chemistry homework between calls

Some of our more senior members will tell you that they started as volunteers thinking they would just stick with it for a couple years, only to find that their experience at Glen Echo was something they were unwilling to leave behind. GEFD volunteers who’ve moved as far away as Florida and Utah still come back several times a year to be at the firehouse and to run calls, and they Skype in to our membership meetings.

And several of our volunteers — some of whom will tell you they never would have dreamed of becoming doctors — have found their calling while members of the department and have subsequently gone on to medical school or become physician assistants.

We are the most convenient volunteer firehouse to American University and Georgetown University, and many of our members are Eagles or Hoyas.  We’re located right on several bus lines and are less than a mile from where Massachusetts Avenue intersects the Capital Crescent Trail (a paved bike path linking Georgetown, downtown Bethesda, and other locations), so it’s easy to get to us.  See our location page for more details.

And just to clarify, you do not need to live in or be a resident of Montgomery County to volunteer at Glen Echo Fire Department; many of our volunteers come from other counties in Maryland, from Virginia, or elsewhere.  We are less than 2 miles from the Maryland-DC line, and that makes us an especially popular option for people living in Northwest Washington who want to volunteer but cannot because the District of Columbia Fire and EMS system does not offer volunteer opportunities.

No experience is required for any of our positions. If you have the will to go through training and to commit to serving the community on a regular basis for at least two years, then we are thrilled to have you join our family.

Membership Prerequisites

  • Successful completion of our application process, including a ride-along and an interview
  • Background check and fingerprinting
  • Physical examination (provided at no charge)
  • Applicants must be age 18  (We do admit up to four truly exceptional 16- or 17-year-old applicants each — please see our junior membership page for further details)

Ways To Volunteer

  • Operational
    • Emergency Medical Technician or Paramedic  EMTs and paramedics operate our ambulance or our paramedic ALS chase vehicle and respond to medical calls to care for and transport sick or injured patients.  While all are welcome to apply, we especially encourage applicants with existing EMT or paramedic credentials (from any jurisdiction) and/or those who are likely to be able to volunteer for a period of years.
    • Fire/Rescue  Firefighters staff our engine and operate our John Deere “Gator” 6×6 all-terrain vehicle.
  • Conduit Road Fire Board
    CRFB members represent the various neighborhoods in Glen Echo’s first due area and work with the Fire Chief to administer the station and its finances and to liaise with members of the community and Montgomery County Fire Rescue Service officials. By law, anyone wishing to serve on the CRFB must be a resident of the area bounded by the Potomac River, Wilson Lane, River Road, and Western Avenue.

What We Provide

  • Physical exams, unlimited training classes, and uniforms at no charge
  • Flexible scheduling to avoid conflicts with work or school
  • A supportive, inclusive, and learning-oriented environment
  • The opportunity to live rent-free at the firehouse through our live-in program
  • Free WiFi Internet access, PC and laser printer access, and quiet study areas
  • Free access to fitness facilities at the firehouse, as well as Montgomery County recreation centers and public swimming pools
  • Free Montgomery County Ride-On bus passes
  • Assistance with transportation as needed to the Montgomery County Public Service Training Academy
  • A terrific boost for your resume or medical school/physician assistant school application
  • A great experience, and much more!

What We Ask

We are always thrilled to welcome new faces.  At the same time, training and equipping new members is a time- and resource-intensive undertaking, and we try to make sure that everyone understands what it takes to remain in good standing as part of the department.

  • A minimum two year commitment to Glen Echo Fire Department, meaning volunteering a scheduled 12-hour shift each week or its equivalent (e.g., one weekend per month, or on a yearly basis, fifty 12-hour shifts, twenty-five 24-hour shifts, or some other combination of 600 hours) — members should be prepared to make their training and their service at the firehouse among their life priorities in order ensure they can fulfill this commitment
    • If you’re a college student in the DC area and your home is elsewhere, it’s possible to take EMS or firefighter classes and to fulfill the volunteer staffing commitment during the school year
  • Members must be self-starting and self-managing in terms of progressing through fire and/or EMS coursework and maintaining their credentials, including
    • Completing required initial online classes immediately after being voted in as a probationary member
    • Enrolling in required classroom courses at the first opportunity
    • Passing all courses on the first attempt (and seriously, they’re not that difficult)
    • Recording “LOSAP” (Length of Service Awards Program) hours and remaining “LOSAP Active” at all times
  • A pattern of regular, consistent advancement (e.g., EMS providers should attain “charge aide” status within one year, meaning they have completed the necessary coursework and have demonstrated their ability to lead an ambulance crew)
  • Staffing occasional special events such as our fall open house, annual bingo night at Glen Echo Park (the Friday after Labor Day), participation in firehouse and apparatus cleaning and upkeep, etc.
  • We do not require our members to take part in door-to-door fundraising

Application Process

Glen Echo Fire Department welcomes new members on a rolling  basis.  

Applicants who come to Glen Echo Fire Department with either a valid Maryland EMT card, a valid NREMT card, or valid EMS credentials from another jurisdiction can apply for reciprocity in Maryland (if applicable), and with Montgomery County, and we can help facilitate filing the necessary paperwork (you may want to look at the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems website for some further details).

All prospective members must submit an application and participate in an interview. New members who have not had prior fire or EMS experience have told us that participating in a ride-along can be very valuable in terms of seeing what we do and getting a sense of our culture, so we ask prospective members to spend an evening with us before applying.  Please request a ride-along by completing the form on our contact us page.

Here is our membership intake and EMT class calendar:

Month Applicant Voted In EMT Class Registration
December – April Summer
May – July Fall
August – November Spring

Please note that being voted in during a given month does not guarantee a seat in an EMT class at the Montgomery County Public Safety Training Academy (PSTA), located in Gaithersburg, Maryland (hence the importance of registering for EMT class immediately upon being voted in).  However, if a given EMT class offered at the PSTA is full, classes are also available at various times during the year at Maryland Fire Rescue Institute in College Park, Maryland, Georgetown University, George Washington University, the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Training and Leadership Academy in Cheltenham, Maryland, and through other Maryland counties’ fire/rescue/EMS academies.

Download An Application

To access our application, please follow one of these links:

http://tinyurl.com/GEFDapp

http://www.gefd.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/GEFDapplication070316.pdf

Questions?

If you have questions, please send us a message on our contact us page.

Thank You

We appreciate you considering Glen Echo Fire Department and we hope to hear from you soon!

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