About the VHC
By Member Tim Clarke
June 4, 2013


The origins of public fire protection in Emmitsburg date back to the beginnings of the community in the late 1700's when every able-bodied male was expected to be part of what was a rather primitive and loosely organized group of firefighters using buckets.

Today, the VHC serves an area of some 100 square miles in a five county / two state region and is headquartered in northern Frederick County, Maryland, approximately one mile south of the Mason-Dixon Line. An all-volunteer fire department to this day, the Vigilant Hose Company (VHC) was officially established in 1884 in the same year the Emmitsburg Water Company was established. All during 2009, the VHC celebrated its 125th Anniversary Year.

Staffed by over 100 active volunteers, the men and women of the VHC provide 24-hour first due emergency response to over 6,500 area residents in just over 1,700 living units. When also counting the several thousand additional students and visitors to the area yearly, nearly 10,000 persons are served by the VHC. Additionally, the VHC regularly provides automatic mutual aid responses to thousands more in surrounding communities.

The VHC is one of 27 community-based volunteer fire, rescue, and emergency medical services organizations serving Frederick County. Community requests for assistance for both emergency and non-emergency responses now exceed 500 calls yearly, many requiring multiple unit responses. VHC is indeed privileged to enjoy outstanding support from local citizens and area businesses alike. Department members are continually mindful of the importance of maintaining excellent working relationships with all those we serve as well as our neighboring departments plus local, county, and state governmental entities with missions supportive of community preparedness and the local fire and emergency services.

A range of nondiscriminatory VHC membership opportunities are open to persons of good moral character in such service categories as: operations (emergency response and fire-police), auxiliary, organizational / non-operational support (fund-raising and social) and also the department's active youth program, too. The VHC also provides an array of non-emergency, life safety initiatives including public fire and injury prevention services. The VHC operates with an annual budget of approximately $450,000 of which about 25% is tax supported.

Website: www.vigilanthose.org

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