MCFRS News Release

Montgomery County Expands Emergency Medical Services Capabilities

EMS Transport ‘Flex Units’ Placed In Service

On October 15th, 2006, the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) placed several additional emergency medical services (EMS) transport capable units in service. Called “flex units” these additional EMS units will initially be assigned to the Gaithersburg area and Bel Pre/Aspen Hill area of the County and will supplement existing fire and rescue resources.

The first ‘flex units’ being placed in service are at Fire Station 8 (Gaithersburg - Washington Grove), Ambulance 86 and Fire Station 25 (Bel Pre/Aspen Hill), Ambulance 257. Units will operate for 12 hour shifts between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. each day of the week. Statistically, 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. is the busiest time of the day for medical responses and the 12-hour period from 8 a.m. through 8 p.m. experiences the overall highest call volume. Friday is the busiest call volume day of the week followed by Tuesday, Monday and Wednesday, Saturday and Thursday. Sunday is typically the slowest day of the week for medical type of calls. The ‘flex units’ will be in service 7 days a week from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.

It is anticipated as the fleet of Montgomery County EMS units is expanded, additional funding is received or a redistribution of staffing resources occurs, additional ‘flex units’ may be placed in service in the Silver Spring and Rockville areas at Fire Station 19 and Fire Station 23, respectively.

The basic mission of the MCFRS ‘flex units’ is to provide additional EMS transport capability during peak call volume times with a focus in the busiest geographical regions of the county in terms of medical response call volume. Providing additional transport capacity, will allow the Advanced Life Support (ALS) or paramedic transport units to be more effectively utilized for serious life threatening emergency calls.

The ‘flex units’ will generally operate out of the geographical regions assigned, such as Gaithersburg/Germantown, Aspen Hill, Silver Spring, and Rockville. Since these areas statistically experience the highest peak emergency call volumes, these ‘flex units’ will ordinarily remain centrally located for that reason, however from time to time may be relocated temporarily to accommodate specific and more immediate county-wide operational needs.

Fire Station 8 (FS8) is the busiest fire and rescue station in Montgomery County and one of the busiest in the State of Maryland. Last year, units from FS8 responded to over 15,000 calls for service. In addition to the Flex Unit (A86), the fire station is staffed with three (3) other EMS units (A87, A88 and Medic 89), as well as with an engine (pumper) and aerial tower. Fire Station 25 (FS25) is one of the top three busiest fire and rescue stations in Montgomery County. Last year fire and rescue units from FS25 responded to over 11,000 calls for service. FS25 is staffed with and engine (pumper) and aerial truck, plus two EMS units (A258 and Medic 259), in addition to the new ‘Flex Unit’ (A257).

The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) is a full spectrum life safety agency protecting nearly 1 million people who live and work in Maryland’s most populous jurisdiction. Under the direction of a County Fire Chief, the MCFRS is a combination system (career/volunteer), operating with a budget of about $180 million, comprised of nearly 1200 career uniformed personnel and professional civilian staff and an equal number of volunteers, nearly half of whom are actively involved in emergency response. Annually, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service first responders are called to assist on over 100,000 emergency incidents. About 75 percent of all responses are medical (EMS) or rescue incidents.