The End of an Era

On Tuesday, January 31, 2006 Metro Support Unit 5 was placed out of service. The unit originally placed in service at Station 5 in 1985. Metro Support Unit 5 was one of three (3) like units that were purchased by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). The other two were operated by the District of Columbia Fire Department and Arlington County, Virginia Fire Department. Metro Support Unit 5 was equipped with 40 sets of Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) rated for one hour and various mass casualty supplies to handle emergencies with the Metrorail system.

A new breathing air unit was purchased by the Prince George’s County Fire / EMS Department through a federal Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) grant. This unit will replace Breathing Air 44 and will have 20 complete one hour rated SCBA, 100 refill cylinders and the capable to fill air cylinders from three (3) fill stations.

Metro Support Unit 1, which also operates as Rescue Squad 1, will cease to function as a metro support unit when the new Air Unit 44 arrives and is placed in service. When this happens there will be no more metro supports left in the Metrorail system. Air Unit 44 will be dispatched to provide air during incidents involving fires in Metro.

Additional units have also been acquired through UASI grants. These include two (2) Mass Casualty Support Units (MCSU’s), one (1) Mass Casualty Unit and one (1) Mass Casualty Ambulance Bus. The MCSU’s will be stocked to handle up to 50 sick or injured people. The MCU will be able to handle up to 100 people.

Station 5 will house one of the new MCSU’s because of Metro and our close proximity to FedEx Field. The units have been received and are in the process of being lettered / striped, emergency warning lights installed and EMS supplies stocked. It is anticipated that Mass Casualty Support Unit 5 will be placed in service around March 2006. A final decision on where the other mass casualty units will be housed has been.