Fire Department being honored for member certification effort

March 05, 1997

The Anne Arundel County Fire Department is being recognized today for becoming the first combination fire department in the nation to certify all its volunteers and professional staffers to high National Board on Fire Service professional qualifications.

About 18 months ago, Fire Administrator Stephen D. Halford set a goal of holding personnel to high training standards after the Turner Commission, a citizens group appointed to study the Fire Department by Robert R. Neall when he was county executive, recommended it in April 1994.

The committee, officially the Fire Department Study Committee, saw the high and equal level of training as a way to integrate volunteer and professional firefighters in the department. They said the recommendation -- the cost of which they estimated at $125,000 -- would go a long way toward resolving disputes about whether those in authority in the department possessed the right qualifications and would "enhance the safety of operations."

Steven T. Edwards, director of the Maryland Fire Rescue Institute, will preside over a ceremony today honoring the department for its achievement.

"They are to be commended for this standard of excellence," he said. "Proper training and certification is essential to the safety of emergency services personnel and the public they serve. Citizens of Anne Arundel County will greatly benefit from this effort."

Pub Date: 3/05/97

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