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Branchville Fire Department Losing Career Staff

The lack of career firefighters and ems could affect the time people wait for fire and ambulance, Branchville Fire Chief Richard W. Leizear said.

Starting March 1, Branchville Volunteer Fire Company will be losing all of its career firefighters and will run solely on volunteer firefighters.

According to Prince George's County fire officials, the cut is being made due to budgetary constraints because the Branchville Station is close enough to other stations that those stations can cover the area if volunteers from Branchville are not available.

Currently, the Branchville Station is all-volunteer staffed during the evenings, weekends and holidays. Career firefighters work Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Branchville Fire Chief Richard W. Leizear and Volunteer President James Crisman think the move will affect the safety of residents covered by the Branchville department.

"This is not the first time that career staffing has been removed from Branchville only to be replaced years later," Crisman said. "The volunteers covered about 70 percent of the calls when career staffing was removed before, 30 percent of the calls for Branchville went unanswered from the closest station to those that called 911 for an emergency."

The lack of career firefighters and EMS could affect the time people wait for fire and ambulance, Leizear said.

"Unfortunately, if a citizen that resides in our first-due response area calls 911 for an emergency, there is a strong possibility that longer response times will occur; seconds count in emergencies," said Leizear.

Pat Templeton January 03, 2013 at 10:40 PM
I am always proud and grateful for the Branchville Staff and am saddened to hear this. Please let me know if there is anything we can do to help! Pat Templeton 9112 St Andrews Place College Park, Md. ptemple62@aol.com
Pamela Torro January 04, 2013 at 08:16 PM
According to our County Council members, this article is incorrect. Both Eric Olson and Mary Lehman were informed that there is not a plan in place and that the Branchville news conference was premature. Apparently ideas are being kicked around and both of them have asked to be in the loop and expressed their opposition to this. Additionally, the City Council voted earlier this week to send a letter to the county expressing opposition as well. They expect to have a letter ready and the item on the consent agenda next week. In the mean time is it prudent that we let our voices be heard by emailing out constituents and expressing our concern over this issue.
Pamela Torro January 04, 2013 at 08:23 PM
Contact Info: County Executive Rushern Baker - countyexecutive@co.pg.md.us County Council District 3: Eric Olson - EOlson@co.pg.md.us - (301) 952-3864 County Council District 1: Mary A. Lehman - CouncilDistrict1@co.pg.md.us - (301) 952-3887 County Council Chair: Andrea Harrison - councildistrict5@co.pg.md.us - (301) 952-5885
rick February 28, 2013 at 03:50 AM
I guess the news conference wasn't premature was it
Pamela Torro February 28, 2013 at 08:40 PM
It certainly was not...

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