Statement regarding the recent vote addressing the name of the “Maryland State Firemens Association”
Last June the Burtonsville Volunteer Fire Department (BVFD) shared information with members of the communities we serve, about a proposed name change for the “Maryland State Firemens Association” (MSFA). The MSFA was trying to move away from only referring to “FireMEN”, was voted down at the MSFA annual convention and conference held on Monday, June 20, 2022.
In 2022, the BVFD instructed our official BVFD delegate to the MSFA to vote for a more gender-inclusive name. Further, we felt the name should be inclusive of Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and Paramedics who are equally vital first responders throughout Maryland. Unfortunately, the outcome of the voting process did not align with the BVFD’s hopes and values in 2022. Reportedly, only 41% of the delegates voted in favor of becoming the “Maryland State Firefighters Association” mostly citing “tradition” as the reluctance to change.
This year, six representatives of the BVFD attended the annual convention for the sole purpose of voting in favor of a more inclusive name for the MSFA. The BVFD was entitled to five votes and the Board of Directors voted on the name to be supported. All BVFD representatives were female and took the time away from work to attend the convention. In addition, the BVFD Members personally funded the trip.
Four new name options appeared on the ballot for this year’s vote: Maryland State Firefighters Association, MSFA (just the acronym), Maryland State Fire Rescue and EMS Association, and Maryland State Fire and EMS Association. The BVFD Board endorsed the “Maryland State Firefighters Association” to allow the organization to retain its traditional logo, email addresses, and other ready forms of identify and branding.
Voting was open to over 360 different fire departments throughout Maryland, but required a two-third vote for adoption. While a majority vote was achieved to change the name to the Maryland State Firefighters Association (accumulating 652 votes, 55.4%) it did not achieve the required two-thirds vote. The name will remain as the “Maryland State Firemen’s Association”.
The membership of the Burtonsville Volunteer Fire Department is a diverse reflection of the communities we serve and over one third of our personnel are female. In addition, the County Fire Chief in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, & Prince George’s Counties are all female. It is long past the point in history when “Firemen” is the appropriate term to represent all of the dedicated first responders.
The BVFD proudly recruits and welcomes applicants to serve regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, or any other demographical factor. Learn more about joining at BVFD.com or about our mission, vision and values at https://www.bvfd.com/about/mission-vision/