Friday, December 5–New OC Fire Seal Largely Symbolic

OCEAN CITY – The newly merged Ocean City Fire Department will now work under a new seal, which is a throwback of sorts to one used over 40 years ago in Ocean City.

The Mayor and Council unanimously approved Fire Department Chief Chris Larmore’s recommendation of a new fire department seal on Monday night at City Hall, which will now represent the volunteer, career and fire marshal divisions of the department that joined forces this past summer after a long and arduous debate process.

“To the lay person, this may not seem like that big of a deal, but to us it is. We think the new seal has a clean and professional look to it and represents how we are now closer together as a group despite the different divisions of our department,” said Larmore.

The color scheme of the seal is yet to be determined, according to Larmore, but he assured the council that it would be “professional” and would be decided by a committee of firemen to determine not only the color but also the placement of the seal on OCFD apparel and uniforms.

The fireman’s seal will be protected by the same copyright law, which protects the Ocean City seal because it implements it into the new seal, Larmore said.

The announcement and approval of the newly designed seal seemed fitting as the main theme of Larmore’s quarterly report to the council was concerning the initial success of combining the three components of the fire department into what he called “one world class organization.”

“They all take pride in their profession. The career guys chose this as their profession and have a great sense of pride in serving the public. The volunteers give their valuable time and ask for nothing in return, and our fire marshals are some of the best on the Eastern Shore,” he said.

The remainder of Larmore’s report outlined some of the things that the department would like to do and have done recently including the purchase of two new firetrucks, which were approved in late October by Council for $962,000 and should be delivered according to Larmore “by spring 2009.”

Originally, Larmore was set to ask for approval for the department to purchase three trucks but scaled back his proposal after Council started making their cuts on citywide projects and spending habits. Another of City Council’s recent cuts directly involved Ocean City’s bravest as the Station 4 (or commonly known as the Montego Bay station) expansion in North Ocean City was shelved due to tough economic times.

Larmore said that the department hoped to come back in front of City Council in January and present the proposal for the expansion, which would provide sleep-in areas for volunteer fighters among others.

Other bullet points of interest from Larmore’s report included the true safety officer program, in which about a dozen officers, both career and volunteer, are currently enrolled and are set to graduate with heightened safety certification in January as well.

“The true function of this program is to better monitor our personnel and their safety as well as the safety of the public,” he said.

At the Dec. 9 work session of the council, Larmore will discuss plans to restructure the ranking order of the department, improve the way the department manages their data in the office and in the field and present a report in ways to cut down on false alarms.