CRR Week Professional Profiles: Richard Bowers Jr., Fire Chief of Ocean City Fire and EMS Department

Community Risk Reduction (CRR) Week is a grass-roots effort led by an informal group of fire safety professionals from across the nation to help promote the awareness of CRR within the fire service. This week, we will feature some of the fire and life safety professionals within the State of Maryland that are making CRR a priority in the communities they serve. Today we sat down with Richard Bowers Jr., Ocean City Fire and EMS Department Fire Chief, to discuss how CRR has impacted his career.

1.How did your career get started in the fire service?

I began my fire and EMS career in Montgomery County Fire and Rescue at the age of 18 in November 1977. I was promoted through every rank, including being appointed to Fire Chief in 2008. I retired after serving 36 and a half years with Montgomery County before being appointed Fire Chief in Ocean City.

2. Where and when was your first introduction to CRR education?

My fire exposure to CRR was in 1977 when I became certified as an EMT with CPR.

3. What event or experience in your life encouraged you down the CRR career path?

My desire to save and protect lives has been the driving force behind my career path.

4. What do you feel is one of the most important CRR messages and/or goals you would like to see progress in?

In my opinion, the CRR message that is the most important is: "Preventing the 9-1-1 call."

5. What are some challenges those working in CRR face, particularly ones specific to the audience you are trying to reach?

Our main challenge is the Negative Nellies out there that don't think CRR can be an effective way to save lives.

6. How have you developed your own unique messaging when it comes to community outreach?

We have coined the phrase "Prevent the 9-1-1 call" as our overarching community goal. We are accomplishing this through community outreach efforts related to smoke alarm checks, home safety inspections, and hands-on CPR community training.

7. How do people working in CRR fields handle conflicting messages from multiple sources to the public?

We need to have many voices with one message while being flexible to evolve as the environment changes.

8. What does the future of community outreach look like?

Technology will be the key to education and prevention in CRR.

To learn more about the Ocean City Fire and EMS Department visit

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