bethesda chevy chase rescue squad

Volunteer FAQ

Does it require a lot of personal time to be a volunteer?

Yes. In addition to standing the basic duty shift of twelve-hours a week and responding to emergency calls, you will need to participate in training and fundraising. If you are coming to us with no experience, as most of our members do, there is a significant amount of training that you have to go through your first year. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that our members have full-time jobs, families, and other such responsibilities. It can be done!

I live in the Bethesda area but go to school out of the area. Can I volunteer?

Due to the training requirements, we look for volunteers who are going to be in the area full time for a minimum of 2-3 years. The courses required during your first year will take anywhere from 9-15 months to complete. As a result, the training structure does not work for applicants who are only in the area for a portion of the year.

Do I have to be a Montgomery County resident in order to be a member?

No. We have no residency requirements.

How is the Rescue Squad different from other volunteer stations in the county?

We are the only station in the county that is truly volunteer-run. With the exception of one paramedics, and one EMT ambulance driver provided by the county during the weekdays, we fund our own staff during the weekdays when our volunteers are at work, and we staff the station entirely with volunteers every night of the week and every weekend. With over 150 active volunteer members, we also have the largest membership base.

I have heard that fire departments have a military-like structure. Is that true?

The Rescue Squad can attribute much of its success not only to the members but also to the structure of the organization. We have chief officers, line officers, privates and, finally, probationary members. As a new member, you will be at the bottom of the structure. It is important that you have the type of personality that will respect this structure of hierarchy. We also take discipline and commitment seriously and hope that you, as a potential member, do so as well.

How old do I have to be to volunteer?

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 I and II (if you would like to take the Fire/Rescue track) before turning 18.

How often do I have to stand duty?

Shortly after you join, you will be assigned to a night crew and (with one exception) will stand duty the same night each week. When assigning you, the Rescue Squad will make every effort to honor your preference for a specific night crew, but we also seek to keep the crews balanced. Your basic duty requirement will be a 12-hour shift once a week from 7 pm until 7 am. During this period, you are at the station and responding to emergency calls.

Night crew members have the same duty night every week, with the following exception: to ensure that no crew is forced to stand duty every Saturday night, we do not have a Saturday night crew. Instead, each sixth week, a "Roving" crew will take your normal duty night. You, in turn, will stand duty on Saturday night and into Sunday day. Sound confusing? Don't worry, logistics such as this will be explained after you are accepted into the Rescue Squad.

Junior members have a shorter duty shift, from 7 pm - 11 pm on school nights. Junior Members who do not have school the next day are encouraged to spend the night at the Rescue Squad to further their experience and training.

I've heard I would have to do fundraising as a member.

Fundraising is the lifeblood of our organization because we do not take any direct tax money. Our funds are raised from individual donors, businesses, and foundations. Every member for the first ten years of membership must participate in our annual fundraising drive. Every member is given a quota. It is not difficult to raise the quota but it does take additional time. For members who have been here for more than a year, there are incentive deductions. The more qualified you become, and the more emergency calls you run, the smaller your quota. Junior members do not do Fall Drive.

I will only be in the area for one year. Can I still be a volunteer?

It will take you approximately 12 months to obtain charge Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) status. During these 12 months, you will invest a significant amount of time and effort into your training, and we will invest just as much in you to help you. Therefore, it is not beneficial to either party to only serve for a year. While we understand that life is not always planned out, we are looking for members who plan on being here for at least three years.

Is it okay that I have no experience?

Absolutely. Most of our members come to us with no training or experience. We will provide all of your training, free of charge.

Where will I go for training?

We provide all the training free of charge. Most of our training is done at the Montgomery County Public Service Training Academy (PSTA) near Shady Grove Hospital in Rockville. This is where all fire, rescue and police personnel train in Montgomery County.

I am an Emergency Medical Technician in another state. Will I have to take EMT class again?

No. We can help you get your reciprocity for Maryland. In addition to filling out some paperwork for the state, you will need to take a 24-hour Maryland EMT-B refresher course and a state protocol test. If you have other Fire/Rescue qualifications, you may also apply for reciprocity for them as well. Visit the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems website,, for more information on reciprocity.

What do I have to do to become a volunteer?

Fill out the application, making sure to complete all necessary information and obtain all necessary paperwork. Place your complete application in an envelope to the attention of the Membership Chair. You may either drop your application off at the station or mail it in. Once we receive the complete application, we will call you to schedule a brief interview.

How often do you accept new members?

The membership of the organization votes new members in once a month on the third Monday of every month. We will need to have your application well in advance of this day in order to adequately process it.

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