DES is part of the community

Capt. Timothy Massey and firefighters Samuel Kerhikar and Stuart Hurlburt rescue a pet while completing their fire alarm mission. (Courtesy photo)

By Lt. Col. Jeffrey R. Knudson, Director, Directorate of Emergency Services

Events over the last five years seem to indicate a growing divide between the police and the public they are sworn to protect.

Incidents in Baltimore, St Louis, Baton Rouge, Cleveland, New York, Chicago, Tulsa and elsewhere have resulted in protests and, on occasion, violence against police, such as happened in Dallas.

Even firefighters are not immune, as they have also come under fire while responding to emergencies.

But not so at Fort Meade.

In my first four months as director of the Directorate of Emergency Services I have seen the opposite. We have a DES with Department of the Army and military police, DA guards, firefighters and fire inspectors, physical security inspectors, and dispatchers who are genuinely passionate about the safety, security and welfare of the Fort Meade community.

And we have a community that seems fully appreciative of the hard work that DES does every day.

Why do I say this? Because in only four months I’ve seen your DES perform admirably because they are a part of — not separate from — the community.

In short, they are you.

  • They post outside Fort Meade schools in the morning so your children get to school safely.
  • They patrol housing and other high-traffic areas, such as the Exchange to ensure you’re safe where you live and shop.
  • They respond to every fire alarm to ensure your house or workplace doesn’t burn down.
  • They respond immediately to every suicidal ideation to ensure your family or friends gets needed medical support.
  • They provide critical, emergency medical care, including resuscitating co-workers who were electrocuted by a high-voltage wire or stopped breathing, saving their lives.
  • They intercede at verbal altercations to prevent anybody from getting hurt.
  • They arrive at an incident and, upon determining that your family member is distressed or has an intellectual or developmental disorder, help diffuse the situation instead of escalating it.
  • They help you locate your missing family member.
  • They conduct health and welfare checks of your family members to ensure they’re OK.
  • They help your co-worker, who is down on his luck, find a place to stay.
  • They respond to suspicious packages and put themselves in potential danger while evacuating you from the area.
  • They stop drivers who are speeding, driving recklessly or driving without headlights to keep you safe on the road.
  • They extricate your family member from a particularly severe traffic accident.
  • They open your car after you accidentally lock your keys and dog inside.
  • They notify you when you accidentally leave your car running in your driveway with the door open.
  • They assist you with your disabled vehicle so you can get home.
  • They help return your lost dog to you.
  • They ensure your neighbor’s pet left out in the elements without food or shelter is properly taken care of.
  • They secure the unlocked doors of buildings around post to ensure your workplace isn’t robbed or vandalized.
  • They ensure your house is safe after your child accidentally turns on the gas to the stove.
  • They relieve the pressure in a pressurized gas can so it doesn’t explode in your yard.
  • They return a lost debit card by tracking you down as the owner.
  • They provide directions as you try to locate a particular building on post or to the UPS driver trying to find your house.
  • They conduct community service events to positively interact with you and your children.
  • They support postwide events — not only providing safety tips and instructions to your family, but also protecting you while you enjoy the good times.

And that’s just a sampling of your DES in action over four months. They’re taking care of Fort Meade because they care about Fort Meade.

This is your Fort Meade DES — of the community and for the community.

Team Meade!

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