I worked at Harford County Volunteer Fire and EMS Foundation part-time (More than 3 years)
Largest professional organization with the primary responsibility of emergency medical response in Harford County, MD.
HCVFEMSF is a non-profit organization, so money and profits are not its primary driving force.
99% of calls run by HCVFEMSF employees are 911 system calls. Mix of suburban and rural EMS calls.
Sometimes only having 1 ALS provider and long transport times to trauma and specialty medical centers allow EMS providers to explore the depth of their clinical knowledge and experience. Very little or no work related to the transfer of patients between medical facilities (private for-profit companies provide non-emergent transport in the region).
The vast majority of employees are dedicated, hard working, dependable, honest, and just all around good people. If this organization morphs into a Harford County government agency, then there is great opportunity for HCVFEMSF to be a model Fire and EMS department or 3rd service emergency response agency in Maryland and for individuals to advance within the organization.
The Board of Directors are comprised mostly of members of the various volunteer fire and EMS departments in Harford County. The HCFVEMSF employees provide staffing for EMS response units located in and mostly owned by the local volunteer fire and EMS departments which can create a conflict in interest for many board members. Operational judgement and human resources issues are almost always deferred to meet the interest of volunteers and not the HCVFEMSF employee or health of the organization. Many supervisors within HCVFEMSF are volunteer members/officers of a volunteer fire and EMS department in Harford County which can create conflicts of interest and partiality with decisions made as a HCVFEMSF supervisors.
HCFVEMSF is a private non-profit significantly funded by Harford County taxes, yet it is not a Harford County Government agency or department so citizens and voters lack accountability. The highest ranking HCFVEMSF employee reports to the HCVFEMSF Board of Directors only. There there is no direct oversight or direct line of responsibility by any Harford County Government employee or Harford County Counsel entity.
The is no union and there is unlikely to be a union in the near future. There is no recourse for HCVFEMSF employees that are accused of wrong doing. There have been numerous summary disciplinary actions taken against HCFVEMSF employees by HCVFEMSF supervisors seemingly at the behest of volunteer members wishes and desires. Essentially if any volunteer member (including non officer members) makes a complaint about a HCFVEMSF employee, the HCFVEMSF will struggle to avoid disciplinary action or negative outcomes even if nothing was wrong.
Individual success is very dependent on workplace politics. There are many outside powers and influences that directly effect operational policy and working conditions for HCVFEMSF employees. This is an organization that rewards loyalty to those in power versus values that progress the organization.
Many high acuity patients are managed by 1 ALS provider and 2 total EMS provides which can cause a delay in medical care. HCVFEMSF is grossly non- compliant with nationally accepted standards such as NFPA guidelines on qualifications, staffing, and emergency response times. This is largely a problem with the overall Fire and EMS system in Harford County and not necessarily caused by HCFVEMSF.
Advice to Management
Do everything possible to increase the autonomy of HCVFEMSF.
Make officer membership in Harford County Fire and EMS volunteer organization a disqualification to supervisor positions and higher.
Significantly decrease the number of board members who represent Harford County Fire and EMS volunteer organization and significantly increase the number of board members who come from the community at large.
FOLLOW THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE 2009 FIRE AND EMS MASTER PLAN by Carroll Buracker & Associates.
Let us know if we're missing any workplace or industry recognition –