The Morningside Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. participates in the Prince George’s County Fire and EMS Departments Ride Along program, giving anyone over the age of 18 the chance to come and ride along with us on calls to see what we do every day.
If you are thinking about joining the Department, you are required to ride along with us prior to applying. Even if you do not want to join, but want to check us out and see what we do every day, take advantage of this program. People from around the world have come to the MVFD just to get a taste of who we are.
Be a part of our team: observe us in training exercises, ride on our trucks, watch us in action on the scene of real emergencies, and even eat with our members.
During your ride along, you are expected to:
• Bring photo ID
• Arrive on time
• Dress appropriately
• Report to the Station Officer in Charge
• Be Respectful
• Ask Questions
Morningside Volunteer Fire Department is located at 6200 Suitland Road, Morningside, MD 20746.
Park in the lot to the left of the front of the station.
Ride-alongs are typically scheduled for 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM for local residents, unless you are explicitly provided a different schedule. Please plan to arrive promptly at 10:00AM and you are asked to excuse yourself at 10:00 PM unless you are on a call. While efforts will be made to get you back to the station as soon as possible after 10:00 PM, responding to calls for service takes precedence. Please let the officer know if you are taking Metro after your shift so that they can make an effort to get you back before the system closes. If you are travelling from outside the local area, you will be permitted to stay overnight for a maximum of 24 hours.
If you cannot make your assigned time, email [email protected], as early as possible so that you can be rescheduled. In addition, if it is the day of your ride-along, also contact the station at 301-736-4343 and let the officer know that you will be unable to attend your ride-along. If you miss two scheduled ride along appointments without advance notice or other reasonable efforts, your application process will be terminated. Spots are limited, please make every attempt to make your scheduled date.
When you arrive at the station, press the buzzer on the front door and let whoever answers the door know that you are here for a ride-along. If the station is out on a call, there may be no one available to answer the door. Please be patient and wait for their return. You should be introduced to the officer and he/she will assign an individual to assist you in completing the necessary ride-along paperwork (attached to this document). Let the individual know if you are interested in fire, rescue, and emergency medical service (EMS), or if you are only interested in EMS membership so that you can be assigned to the most appropriate unit.
It is essential that you wear long pants and closed-toe shoes. For your safety, you will not be permitted to ride-along if you are not in safe apparel. You will be interacting with the public, so you should be in clean appropriate clothing. For example, a black or blue polo shirt, khaki pants, and comfortable tennis shoes are encouraged. Inappropriate t-shirts, excessively tight or revealing clothing, or unsafe attire is not permitted.
What should I bring with me?
A valid driver’s license or government issued picture identification is required for the ride along paperwork. Dress for the weather and bring appropriate outerwear as required (winter clothing, rain jacket, etc.). In addition, it is advisable to bring a small amount of cash for food or drinks, which are not provided. Dinner is typically $5 cash for cooked meals at the firehouse if that is planned. Do not bring valuable items. The MVFD will not be responsible for any cases of loss, theft, or damage. If you were permitted to stay overnight, bring bedding materials such as sheets and a pillow for a twin bed. Also, bring any other essentials you may need to stay overnight.
Please review General Order 13-02, Ride-Along Observer Program (PDF) which you will be provided with upon arrival. You do NOT need to print a copy in advance, but you DO need to review it. The paperwork explains the risks and hazards associated with your ride-along. If you have any questions, or if you are required to note any items on pages 2 or 3 of the release (with the exception of emergency contact information under question 4), you are required to contact the MVFD Recruitment Team, in advance of your ride-along at [email protected] Failure to do so can result in cancellation of your ride-along and making false statements can result in denial of membership.
On your ride-along, you will have the opportunity to observe a variety of fire, rescue, and EMS calls. As an observer, you will not be engaged in actual firefighting or rescue operations. Therefore, there is no need to bring PPE from another department. As stated above, you will be expected to follow the direction of the officer during emergency situations. You are encouraged to help with station duties (such as cleaning during house work) and interact with volunteers that are at the station. You will also complete a ride-along worksheet to help orient you with MVFD’s history and operations.
The MVFD has a unique structure that includes about a dozen live-in volunteers, typically college-aged students, living at the firehouse. These members are offered “room & board” at the firehouse in return for providing staffing. These members have experience in the Fire/EMS service prior to joining us, usually already certified as Firefighters and EMTs. Many members of the department’s leadership have come through this program as well as dozens of noted local and national fire service leaders. These members provide significant staffing support in conjunction with our local-based Fire and EMS members, allowing the MVFD to provide 100% volunteer fire, rescue & EMS staffing year-round other than during weekdays when we are supported by county staff. Please keep in mind that the firehouse is the “home” for our live-in members, many of whom live at the station for 2-4 years as they would at a college dorm.
Immediately following your ride-along, you will be provided the opportunity to ask any questions and be asked to answer a few brief questions about your ride-along experience. If you need more information, or if the membership committee has additional questions about your application for membership, you may be asked to attend a short interview. Following the ride-along (and interview if needed), if you are interested in continuing the process you will be provided with a Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department volunteer application packet.
Additional information about the application process can be found in the MVFD recruitment center here.