The squad provides an opportunity to be part of the fire and EMS community, respond to 911 emergencies, and provide fire, rescue, and emergency medical services in a major metropolitan environment. BCC volunteers gain experience at all levels of the fire-rescue service, beginning with serving as a charge EMT on an ambulance, all the way up to chief fire officer. The experience is unparalleled, and all training is provided free of charge. Our members most often describe their rescue squad experience as fun, challenging, and rewarding.
In order to begin volunteering at the Rescue Squad, you need to be at least 16. If you are between 16 and 18 years old, you are considered a Junior Member. Requirements for Junior Members are somewhat different than for someone who joins at 18, but you will be able to progress through EMT class and Firefighter 1 and 2 (if you may wish to participate in the Fire/Rescue track) before turning 18.
- Junior members must have reached their 16th birthday, and not yet reached the second semester of their junior year of high school.
- Medical clearance by the Montgomery County Fire/Rescue Operational Medical Service (FROMS). FROMS administers a comprehensive physical examination including a vision test, hearing test, chest x-ray, tuberculosis screening, cardiac stress test, blood tests, and drug screening.
- Criminal background check, fingerprinting and inquiries to determine suitability of the applicant for a position of trust in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad and the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service. In addition, junior members must have a 2.0 grade point average (GPA) or better to be considered for membership and must agree to maintain a passing GPA.
- Possess a strong desire to participate in a time-intensive “after-school” activity during their junior and senior high school years. Note: Training and certifications earned as a junior member carry over to regular membership, however, not all junior members continue on as adult members.
- Junior members must have a strong desire to complete a demanding activity during their junior and senior years of high school which must be prioritized in their time commitments only behind school and family responsibilities.
- Have exceptional drive to continually better yourself and your level of skill. The Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad needs people that constantly strive to better their skills, qualifications and meet exceptionally high standards of performance.
No initial experience is required. All training is provided free of charge, including:
- CPR – all members re-certify annually in “High Performance CPR”
- Emergency Medical Technician – all members become Maryland-state certified EMTs
- FEMA training – all members are trained in national incident management and integrated emergency command
After completing the basic training, Junior Members can pursue advanced training in:
- Emergency vehicle operations – learn to drive the ambulance and heavy rescue apparatus (must be 19 years of age)
- Firefighting – training includes fire ground operations, fire suppression, and search and rescue
- International Trauma Life Support (ITLS) – specialized training in emergency trauma care
- Technical rescue training – including auto extrication, rope rescue, and swift water rescue
- Paramedic – advanced life support
The night crew duty requirement is one 4 hour shift per week from 7 p.m. until 11 p.m. that normally occurs on the same night of the week. Once every six weeks, your crew will have Saturday night duty instead of its regular night. There are exceptions for the “Roving” crew, Friday crew, and Sunday crew. These will be explained to you during the interview process. Duty nights are an essential part of the junior member program since station, training, housework, and responding to emergency calls are all important experiences. Junior members are also expected to complete the overnight shift when they do not have school the following day.
What Happens After I Graduate?
Junior members who have achieved their charge EMT status will be contacted by the Membership Chair upon becoming 18 years old and graduating high school. These junior members will generally be accepted into Regular Membership as long as their post-high school plans are consistent with BCCRS membership requirements. Options are available for members to attend college away from the Washington area, as long as long-term plans are to return. This is an open discussion and there are few absolutes with the possible exception of matriculation to military academies and direct admission programs to medical school.
Some junior members may not have been able to complete their Charge EMT status. The Membership Chairman will evaluate each case individually, however, the general rule is that these individuals are best served by moving on to other pursuits and rejoining the Rescue Squad after college should they still be in the Washington area and have a desire to return to volunteer service.