The Howard County Fire and Rescue Services Department is statutorily responsible for managing the county's affairs in the areas of fire extinguishing and prevention, fire training, fire investigation, rescue services, and emergency medical services. In December 1946, the department responded to two tragic fires, one of which claimed the lives of two young children. Fire departments responded from Howard, Carroll and Baltimore Counties with mutual aid companies called from as far away as Pennsylvania and Virginia. The first emergency medical services in the West Friendship area were the result of the combined efforts of the Glenwood Lions Club and the West Friendship Volunteer Fire Department.
During this assembly, a meeting was held and the 17 members present voted in favor of organizing a volunteer fire department. On April 19, 1991, the Auxiliary Ladies voted to change their name to “Assistant to the West Friendship Volunteer Fire Department”. The new canteen provided support to firefighters at the scene of the incident and included members of the participating volunteer fire departments and assistants. On October 26, 1977, the West Friendship Junior Fire Department was organized with seven members, all 13 years old.
In 1993, the department gave its furthest mutual aid response in history when the 34 engine was requested at the site of a fire at the Associated Tire Distributors agency in Inwood, West Virginia. With the dawn of the era of computerization, the time came for the department to begin keeping records on its own computer, so in 1985 a personal computer was purchased from IBM and used it to facilitate record keeping. The motor was a class A pump, which gave the department a higher rating and helped reduce the fire tax in the Third District. On August 28, 1992, an F1 tornado touched down in West Friendship starting on Walt Ann Drive, destroying one house, damaging dozens more, injuring two people and continuing on the road to Route 32, destroying more than 1000 trees before ending up at the Howard County Fairgrounds on Route 144, where it damaged several trailers.
The E34 joined 130 fire departments and more than 200 firefighters from four states, along with units from the United States Army and Air National Guard, to combat a 10-acre fire involving more than 250,000 used tires. In the fall of 2003, the department purchased a new device known as the Quint, which could perform five functions. The only major airline disaster in Howard County occurred in the Third District on November 23, 1962. Six of these members were women who were part of the Ladies Auxiliary and were among the first women from Howard County to travel as ambulance hostesses.