Rockville, Maryland's Fire Company 3 combines a volunteer force with full time firefighters. The gear includes a fire engine, ladder truck, rescue truck and ambulance.
The day begins at 7am sharp with a meeting for full time firefighters and medical technicians to discuss new regulations, schedules and assignments.
The day chief lays out the schedule every morning on the white board. Each unit must have a minimum number of crew members based on local regulations.
After the morning meeting, firefighters and EMTs check their vehicles and gear and test their equipment.
A central dispatch handles emergency calls and sends location details to stations via radio and computer. Each alarm that sounds in the firehouse signals a specific emergency.
Once an emergency call comes in, every member of the assigned crew jumps into action and heads for their vehicle.
The trucks often head out in pairs to ensure enough personnel are on the scene to handle any emergency.
The driver and unit leader take the front seats. In the back sit the medical specialist, other crew members (and visiting photographers).
Four team members respond to a medical call at a Rockville credit union. Every firefighter is also trained as a medical technician. The paramedics arrive in an ambulance shortly after.
In between calls, firefighters and medical technicians try to relax by reading, working out or sleeping. Day shift workers are on duty for normal business hours. Others work 24 hours in the fire station, then 48 hours of duty.
Every call on this morning is medical related, rather than a fire emergency.
It gets very quiet inside the truck once a call comes in.
The majority of emergency calls turn out to be false alarms or — in this case — extra units arrive just to hear their support isn't needed.
Back at the station, gear is left in position for the next call. Boots stick out of pants, hoods lay on top of boots, and jackets often hang from truck doors or seats.