Prior to the establishment of the Anne Arundel County Fire Department, fire protection in Anne Arundel County was provided by individual community volunteer fire departments. In 1924, the Maryland State Legislature authorized the Anne Arundel County Commissioners to appoint a paid "chauffer and caretaker" for the volunteer stations at Earleigh Heights, Glen Burnie, and Eastport. "Chauffeurs" became county employees in 1932 and were later called "Engineman".
In 1963 the County Commissioners established the position of Fire Marshal to oversee fire prevention for the County. In 1965, county charter government was established and the present-day Anne Arundel County Fire Department was formed. Harry W. Klasmeier was appointed the first Fire Chief in 1964 and served from until 1983. Chief Klasmeier was responsible for bringing together the independent volunteer fire companies to form a unified county fire department. In 1966, a Central Alarm and Communications center was established along with a Fire Prevention Bureau and Training Academy.
As the County grew, so did the demand for emergency services and the department has developed into one of the premiere combination (career & volunteer) fire departments in the nation. Today we operate thirty (30) fire stations staffed by over 800 career and 450 volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel. We are very proud that all personnel are nationally certified at their rank in accordance with National Fire Protection Association standards.
The department is an “all hazards” organization, providing fire protection, Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Life Support (ALS –Paramedic), Hazardous Materials mitigation, Collapse rescue, Confined Space rescue, Dive Rescue and Marine Operations. The department continues to evolve to meet the ever changing needs of our citizens. Even as we meet today’s challenges, we are looking to the future to reduce risks and minimize the devastating effects of man-made and natural disasters.
Currently, our department operates twenty-one (21) Advanced Life Support (ALS) units, nine (9) Basic Life Support units, twenty-eight (28) engine companies, three (3) Quint companies, nine (9) ladder companies and five (5) squad companies. Other segments of the department include; Office of Emergency Management; Fire & EMS Training, Fire Marshal Office, Communications (911 center) and Logistics Division (Vehicle & Facilities Maintenance, SCBA Maintenance, Quartermaster).
The department proudly serves a population in excess of 500,000 residents. According to the 2005 U.S. Census updates, Anne Arundel County is one of the most populated jurisdictions in the nation, ranked 114 out of 3,141 Counties in the United States. The Department also provides mutual aid services with the Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Calvert County, City of Annapolis, Prince Georges County, Queens Anne County on the Eastern Shore, the U.S. Army Post Fort George G. Meade, and the United States Naval Academy.