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Emmitsburg Firefighters support Presidential Inauguration

(1/23) Emmitsburg Vigilant Hose Company (VHC) First Responders played important roles on Friday, January 20th in Washington, DC, during the Presidential Inauguration. Neither political nor partisan in nature, their public safety duties included filling in at a District of Columbia fire station.

The VHCís First Responders were called to duty on this particular occasion because Washington, DCís normal call volume can increase three-fold on Inauguration Day plus many DC emergency service units become committed to responsibilities directly associated with the dayís public events (from which they cannot be easily released). Emmitsburg personnel along with other emergency personnel from Frederick Countyís emergency services were approved for their unique duty assignments. After the responders were cleared to serve by the U.S. Secret Service, the DCFD and the Frederick County Government / Department of Fire and Rescue Services, they were sent on their way.

Frederick County provided a total of four ambulances, two engines, two all terrain vehicles (ATV) and a Battalion Chief. VHC Members staffed Emmitsburgís Engine 63 and were assigned to DC Fire and EMS Station 20 located in the Tenleytown section of the City (on Wisconsin Avenue just south of Tenley Circle in upper northwest) plus special assignments like staffing an EMS ATV near the Washington Monument and driving an ambulance stationed along the Parade Route.

VHC Chief Chad Umbel, who for weeks helped plan the support effort, said, "It was a great honor for our small department to be selected and our people were treated very well." "Their day started before 4 a.m. not getting back home until 9 p.m. followed by clear up of the unit," said Umbel. He added, "It was something our personnel are certain to always remember."

Leading the crews were VHC Lieutenants Alex McKenna and Doug Yingling along with President and former Chief Frank Davis who drove the Engine. In addition to Davis, McKenna and Yingling - staffing Engine 63 and accomplishing related duties in the Nationís Capital were VHC Firefighters Matt Boyd, Vance Click, Greg Sterner, Shawn Wetzel and Dave Zentz.

Adequate coverage on the home front, in Emmitsburg, was planned for in advance knowing that a number of VHCís operational response personnel were helping to assure an orderly transition of American power Ė a hallmark of the nationís democracy.

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