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Emergency Response Times have Decreased by Nearly a Minute, says Howard County, MD’s Departing Fire Chief Bill Goddard


In a December 3rd article from the Howard County Times, author Amada Yeager eloquently recounted the life and career of Fire Chief Bill Goddard who departed from the Howard County, MD fire department on Dec. 2.

Goddard was just a 14-year old boy when he got his start in a fire department as an associate junior volunteer member. It was a novice position that required him to wait two years before he could ride the trucks to help extinguish a blaze.

A lot has since transpired in his 63-year career. “The piece that I value the most is during the five years and nine months on my watch, I sent every single firefighter and paramedic home to their families.”

Last week, Goddard spoke of his 5+-year tenure while he led Howard County’s fire and rescue department.

“Every day presents another opportunity to do something that you didn’t do yesterday, to make it better,” he said. “And I’ve never looked back at the end of a week and said, okay, what have we done; let’s make sure we capture it somewhere.

“It is very, very difficult to put your finger on any one as being more important than the next, because for me, I think it’s all important.”

During Goddard’s time as chief, the agency has seen:

  • An increase in the county’s cardiac arrest survival rate from 19% to 53%–the second highest in the nation.
  • A reduction in emergency response times by nearly a minute, thanks to a streamline of the call-taking process as well as a new [US Digital Designs] digital dispatch system that alerts all the county’s fire stations of an emergency simultaneously, rather than routing the call to a particular location.
  • Reduced fire insurance premiums for county residents who live within 5 miles of a fire station.
  • CPR training incorporated into schools.
  • Expanded Office of Emergency Management, which falls under the purview of fire and rescue services.

According to the article, Goddard says he doesn’t expect to take too much of a break before moving on to his next endeavor: “I still believe I’m young enough to contribute in some way, somewhere.”

But this winter, he’ll be sitting on his patio in front of a fire pit, rather than in the county’s command center, when the snow comes.
“My wife and I are looking forward to watching the snow fall this year,” he said.

On behalf of everyone here at US Digital Designs, we would like to congratulate Chief Goddard on his achievements in Howard County, and we wish him well this winter, as well as in his future endeavors.

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