Fire Recruitment & Retention Commission Gives Update at #MACoCon

At MACo’s Summer Conference, members of the Commission to Advance and Strengthen Fire Fighting and Emergency Medical Services Within Maryland gave an update on the body’s works and a sneak peek at future recommendations.

Both nationally and within Maryland, communities face a crisis in firefighter recruitment and retention. While county and municipal leaders can currently guarantee safe fire coverage, this will begin to shift over the next five to 10 years. During the 2023 legislative session MACo helped assemble a commission to examine the statewide outlook and provide recommendations. Representatives from this commission updated county leaders on the current state of this bodies work.

Senator Malcolm Augustine led the conversation and moderated an informative Q&A at the “Answering the Call: The Future of Firefighting and EMS ” MACo Summer Conference session.

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 

More about MACo’s Summer Conference: