R. Rudy Evenson
Chris Bennett gave you some good advice, so I second everything he said.
What are you thinking????
I worked at Golden Gate Natl Rec Area in SF for 8 years. It’s the only national park with its own structural fire department, which is located on the Presidio. (Yes I know there are plenty of parks with structural fire programs, like Crater Lake, Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Lake Mead, but it’s not the same. Ask anyone.) Anyway, the Presidio–like the US Park Police SF Field Office–is essentially a training program for Bay Area local departments. New hires come in, get trained, work a couple years, then go into the local departments where they can make more money and have more of an impact. I reckon Baltimore is a pretty big organization, but if you can get into a smaller municipality or county outfit, you will have much more leeway to actually improve things than you will in any federal agency.
That’s why I like the first thing that Chris had to say when he told you to focus on what you can do in your current department first. That may lead you into some good things.
I would also say you should really look at what you want to accomplish before you decide to go into federal service. There is a lot more difference among all the various agencies than you might think. Although emergency services tends to be more of an interagency arena than a lot of fields, the really tight networks are still pretty agency-specific. Plus there are emergency planning opportunities in a lot of agencies besides FEMA.
Feel free to call me anytime if you want to follow up on this. There are a lot of NPS opportunities near Baltimore as well.