MCFRS News Release
Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Assists with 56th Inaugural of the President of the United States
The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service participated and played a key role in the organization and implementation of the County’s emergency plans as it related to the activities surrounding the 56th Inaugural of the President of the United States.
In anticipation of a significant surge in the local population to the National Capital Region over the Inaugural period, Montgomery County officials anticipated potential demands for services that could reach unprecedented levels. In a much coordinated manner, Montgomery County Public Safety Agencies prepared for the population residing and traveling through the County that would likely result in a sustained period of heavy call volume from Friday, January 16, 2009 until Wednesday, January 21, 2009. Coordination of county services was required to ensure the uninterrupted and continued services for citizens, residents, and visitors to our County. Many Montgomery County resources were proactively deployed to the District of Columbia, as well.
Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service Command Staff, including Acting Fire Chief Richard Bowers, participated in the Incident Management Team (IMT), under the direction of Assistant Chief Steve Lohr, monitoring activity in the area and the availability of County resources. The IMT was activated for the period covering January 19 - 20, 2009. The County also activated the Emergency Operation Center bringing representatives of all levels of County Government together for the purpose of coordinating services and monitoring conditions and circumstances.
While the demand for emergency service never reached levels beyond normal day-to-day activity over Monday, January 19th and Tuesday, January 20th, the Fire and Rescue Service had implemented many plans to handle a high call volume during the two-day period, including on Monday a County holiday (Martin Luther King) and Tuesday a local federal holiday, but a normal Montgomery County workday. Despite maintaining normal staffing levels, supplemented by volunteers, some up-staffing occurred to ensure appropriate response levels. Jurisdictions within the State of Maryland may not eligible for federal funding and reimbursement for this National Special Security Event.
In order to answer the anticipated calls for service the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service prepared for the Inaugural period by using local assets, including volunteers, as well as those of several state and federal agencies.
- Maryland Task Force-1, based in Montgomery County, a FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Team, was placed on stand-by.
- Additional EMS units, both Advanced (ALS) and Basic Life Support (ALS), were placed in service at strategic locations throughout the County, primarily in areas serving transportation hubs such Metro Stations.
- All technical and special operations components were fully staffed.
- An additional ten (10) EMS units were deployed to Montgomery County by a FEMA National Ambulance Contract.
- Two (2) Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMAT) were deployed to the National Capital Region, one at the Public Safety Training Academy, in Rockville, Montgomery County, and the other at Prince George’s Community College, in Largo, Prince George’s County. DMAT are alternate patient treatment sites deployed throughout the region that may be considered appropriate for stable patients who need focused medical treatment. These are effectively a “fast track, or urgent care center”, and have personnel and equipment that can provide care to those with relatively minor illnesses and injuries. This will allow the hospitals and emergency departments to focus on patients with more significant medical problems.
Over the operational period an increased level of activity related to the festivities and celebration of the Inauguration never materialized. For a twelve (12) hour period from 7a to 7p on Tuesday, January 20 units and personnel from the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service handled about 230 calls for service. Units and personnel assigned to the District of Columbia, including several EMS units and Bomb Squad members to name a few, responded to several dozen more. This is a slight increase to the normal call volume for this time of day and day of week.
Fire Chief Richard Bowers noted, “I want to thank the hundreds of first responders, EMT's, specialty team personnel, administrative staff and planners that have performed admirably. You all can be proud of your service. On behalf of County Executive Isaiah Leggett and Chief Administrative Officer Tim Firestine, I want to thank the career and volunteer members of our service for their dedication and commitment to make Montgomery County peaceful and safe for our residents and visitors.”