Robert Stanton ’02
is a lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Fire Department Special Operations division, which conducts response and mitigation for a variety of incidents. These include handling hazardous materials, such as chemical and biological agents, radiation emergencies, and chemicals releases; swift water rescue; high-angle rope rescue; trench rescue; collapse rescue; and confined space rescue.
Robert began his firefighting career as a volunteer in Harford County during his junior year at The Mount. His father was a colonel with the Baltimore Police Department, and he has several cousins working in fire and police departments across the country. With his family history of public service, it only felt right for him to continue down this path.
Not only did Robert’s family impact his career choice, but he also felt greatly influenced by the faculty and staff at Mount Saint Joseph. “I have always been drawn to service and wanted to be able to help people. This passion for service was built upon during my time at The Mount,” he shares. Robert says the Mount Saint Joseph faculty and staff were supportive of his decision to pursue a career in the fire service, teaching him the importance of being active in his community.
Now, with 20 years in the fire service under his belt, Robert has seen just about everything. “Working in the fire department, we get to see a lot of things that many people never get to experience. We see people both at their lows and highs and get to take something away from each of those encounters. Being assigned to the Special Operations division has allowed me to get involved in things above and beyond what the fire department typically provides,” he explains.
As part of the Special Operations division, Robert trains for and responds to incidents both in and around Anne Arundel County. “We were active in both Ellicott City floods, searching the area and providing support, such as building collapse checks and shoring operations of damaged structures, in the days after the events,” he explains. “Along with the responsibilities of Special Operations, we also respond to fire suppression and Emergency Medical Services calls daily, and being able to help someone during these calls is truly rewarding.”
Robert is also a member of a joint task force between Maryland Fire Departments and Maryland Air National Guard, called the Maryland Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team (HART), in which fire departments provide rescue swimmers for national deployments during severe weather events. In 2018, Robert deployed to North Carolina with eight Air National Guard pilots and crew members and five other fire department rescue swimmers. The HART team flew down on two military Blackhawk helicopters day and night for 10 days, evacuating people from areas destroyed by flooding. The Maryland HART team also deployed to South Carolina in 2017.
“No day is ever the same, which keeps things interesting,” Robert says. “At the end of a shift you can look back and realize even some of your smallest actions may have impacted someone, whether it be helping someone during a medical emergency, house fire, or building collapse. Knowing what we do matters keeps me coming back to work.”Article from The Mount magazine.