Answering the Call: The Future of Firefighting and EMS

Fire Departments are increasingly feeling the strain of attracting and retaining talent. Learn what MACo’s Firefighter Coalition is doing to help. 

Fire EngineOne of the core pillars of civil society is the ability to provide basic safety services. For decades firefighting was seen as a noble and competitive field, with both career and volunteer companies overwhelmed with applications. But recent trends and changes in the labor market point to a troubling future as the average age of firefighters increases and recruitment pools continue to shrink.

Answering the Call: The Future of Firefighting and EMS 

Description: Over the last several years, there has been a marked decrease in the numbers of both new career and volunteer applicants to join the Fire and Emergency Medical Services. This decrease in applicants and an exodus of tenured volunteer responders pose an urgent and high-priority concern for Marylanders’ safety and security in the short and long term. Therefore, legislation passed during the 2023 Maryland General Assembly Session created the Commission to “Advance and Strengthen Fire Fighting and Emergency Medical Services Within Maryland.” This panel will discuss current problems and possible solutions to the recruitment and retention issues of both career and volunteer Fire and EMS personnel. Additionally, this panel will provide an update on the Commission’s progress as it works toward its reporting deadline of December 1, 2023. 


  • Grant Walker, PFFM 
  • Bob Phillips, MSFA 
  • Acting Assistant Secretary Roth, Maryland Dept. of Labor 
  • Tom Coe, Frederick County Fire Chief 

Moderator: The Honorable Malcolm Augustine, Maryland Senate 

Date/Time: Friday, August 18, 2023; 2:15 pm – 3:15 pm 

The 2023 MACo Summer Conference will be held at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, MD, on August 16-19. This year’s theme is “Where the Rubber Meets the Road.” More information can be found on our conference website.

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference: