The Branchville Volunteer Fire Company has undertaken many steps in coordination with the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Dept. to maintain a steadfast response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Day-to-day operations of the firehouse have changed to ensure the safety of the patient’s we treat and transport, our dedicated first responders, and our community.

Prior to the first confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the State of Maryland, Branchville was working with PGFD and State Emergency Response leadership to implement safety procedures at all levels of operations. Below is an overview of what we are doing to prevent the spread of COVID, what can be expected when you call 911, and what our community members can do to stay protected.

What are we doing to prevent the spread

– Our 100% volunteer crews have coordinated to maintain 24/7 service for our engines and ambulances.

– Members receive personnel health checks (which includes a temperature check) twice per shift

– We perform a decontamination of the firehouse multiple times each day, including all surfaces and apparatus

– After each call, we heavily decontaminate our apparatus, personnel, and gear. Additionally, we have constructed a decontamination zone within the firehouse for crew members.

– We have restricted all visitors from the firehouse. Only operational on-duty members may enter the building. We have limited the number of on-duty operational members in the firehouse to 10 maximum.

– We have temporarily suspended new member recruitment programs. If you are interested in joining in the future, please complete our interest form and we will get back to you once the state of emergency is over.

– Our crews are practicing social distancing in all interactions.

– We remain compliant with a number of County and State protocols designed to protect patients and personnel.

What to expect when you call 911

– You will see our crews wearing face masks on ALL calls, regardless of whether we were dispatched for a COVID-related emergency

– In many cases, the FIRE/EMS crew will begin triage of patients by asking questions from >6 ft distance. It is important that patients and family are honest with providers in answering questions about fevers / coughs / shortness of breath etc, as this information is imperative to ensuring we treat the patient appropriately while also protecting ourselves and the community by wearing appropriate equipment

– Depending on patient symptoms, crew may wear additional protective equipment such as what is seen in the PGFD video on this page.

– ALL patients will be given a face mask to wear during the patient interaction

– EMS crews may not allow patient’s family members to ride along. If they do, it will only be under very limited circumstances.

Stable, low risk patients may be encouraged to self care at home. Always call 911 if you believe there is an emergency.

How you can stay protected

– Follow the State’s ‘Gatherings and Stay-At-Home’ order. Avoid gatherings and stay home unless performing an essential activity. Gatherings greater than 10 people are currently prohibited.

– Follow the State’s ‘Masks and Physical Distancing’ order. Wear face coverings on public transportation and in retail and food service establishments. If you don’t have a face covering, there are resources available to help you obtain a face covering or learn how to make one.

– Whether at home or performing an essential activity, please practice social distancing.

How can you help?

Online monetary donations from businesses or individuals help to:

– Sponsor the meals of our 24/7 volunteer crews

– Pay for additional protective equipment, if needed

If you are a business or individual who would like to drop off a donation to the firehouse, please call first (301)883-7711 to coordinate approval and drop off

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Thank you for your support

Branchville is a 100% volunteer organization that responds to medical and fire emergencies in College Park, Greenbelt, Berwyn Heights, Beltsville and beyond. We know these are difficult times for many of those in our community, and we greatly appreciate any support that you are able to provide during the state of emergency. We are absolutely honored to serve you, and proud to call ourselves a part of this community. Together we will get through these tough times.