Window Screens Keep Bugs Out But Won’t Keep Kids In!

Warmer temperatures usually prompt many residents to open the windows in their home. Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department wants to alert residents to an issue that tragically comes up each spring (and fall): children falling out of open windows. Sadly, in past years, this has resulted in serious injury and death.

window-safety-image

Photo Via the National Safety Council web site

Open windows are a safety risk to children. Screens DO NOT prevent children from falling out. Windows must operate easily for emergency exits in case of fire, but should be made “childproof” by following these safety tips:

  • Keep children away from open windows
  • Never leave children alone in rooms with open windows
  • Open windows from the TOP when possible, or only open four inches from bottom
  • Keep beds, chairs, and other “climbing aids” away from windows
  • Consider installing window guards
  • Educate older children about the dangers of open windows

 

APRIL 19: COVID-19 Update for Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Personnel

Every week the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department (FCFRD) will be posting information regarding COVID-19 impacts to personnel. The following information is up-to-date as of 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 18:

TESTING:


This includes those who have received testing at the site designated for first responders and those who have shared their results from testing conducted at a private physician.

• Known FCFRD personnel who have tested positive for COVID-19: 168

• FCFRD personnel who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have recovered: 166

Two personnel are currently COVID-19 positive. One hundred and sixty-six of the 168 COVID-19 positive personnel have fully recovered.

All personnel are closely monitored by a nurse at Fairfax County’s Occupational Health Center.
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue works with the Fairfax County Health Department to notify the public or any applicable persons if there is any concern of exposure.

QUARANTINE:

• FCFRD members currently in quarantine: 13

This number is in addition to the personnel who tested positive for COVID-19.

FCFRD continues to fully staff all stations and apparatus.

Calling 9-1-1 To Report An Emergency? Call If You Can, Text If You Can’t!

National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week is a good time to remind county residents that you can text 9-1-1 to report an emergency. For over five years, the Fairfax County Department of Public Safety Communications (Fairfax County 9-1-1) has utilized a technology to allow receipt of text messages to request emergency help.

Your Fairfax County firefighters and paramedics want to remind you that when you need 9-1-1 to request emergency help, Call If You Can, Text If You Can’t! The following are some examples of when Text-to-9-1-1 may be a better option:

  • If you are in a situation where it is not safe to place a voice call to 9-1-1.
  • If you are experiencing a medical emergency that renders you incapable of speaking.
  • If you are unable to call 9-1-1 due to being in a remote location with limited voice network availability.
    • Often times, due to differences in network communications technologies, it is still possible to send/receive text messages when voice communication is unavailable.
  • If you are unable to speak due to injury or physical restraint.

Watch the below video to learn more. As well, go here to learn more: WHEN SHOULD I USE TEXT TO 9-1-1?

APRIL 12: COVID-19 Update for Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Personnel

Every week the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department (FCFRD) will be posting information regarding COVID-19 impacts to personnel. The following information is up-to-date as of 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 11:

TESTING:

This includes those who have received testing at the site designated for first responders and those who have shared their results from testing conducted at a private physician.

• Known FCFRD personnel who have tested positive for COVID-19: 167

• FCFRD personnel who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have recovered: 163

Four personnel are currently COVID-19 positive. One hundred and sixty-three of the 167 COVID-19 positive personnel have fully recovered.

All personnel are closely monitored by a nurse at Fairfax County’s Occupational Health Center.
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue works with the Fairfax County Health Department to notify the public or any applicable persons if there is any concern of exposure.

QUARANTINE:

• FCFRD members currently in quarantine: 12

This number is in addition to the personnel who tested positive for COVID-19.

FCFRD continues to fully staff all stations and apparatus.

National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week

This week, April 11 – 17, is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. These dedicated individuals work at the county’s Department of Public Safety Communications and are the ones who answer a 9-1-1 call, or text, and also dispatch Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, Police, and Sheriff department’s to emergency incidents.

They are the critical first link in the chain of emergency first response.

A huge “Thank You” to our public safety partners – the Fairfax County Public Safety Communicators team! Learn what it takes to be a member of this critical team in the video below.

First Battalion, B-Shift Firefighters Train in Self-Rescue Techniques

By: Battalion Chief David Bentley, NREMT-P Battalion 401, B-Shift

On Wednesday, units from the 1st Battalion, B-Shift participated in firefighter survival training at Station 4 in Herndon. Survival training is conducted to train firefighters to become more self-reliant in a variety of emergencies on the fireground.

The exercises were conducted in complete darkness. In the first scenario, firefighters followed a fire hose line and had to determine, by feel, the direction to safety outside.

Firefighters then had to maneuver through two obstacles. The first simulated a situation in which they became trapped under a ceiling collapse and entangled in low hanging wires. Obstacle two required firefighters to remove their breathing apparatus from their backs and navigate an 18-inch-wide opening leading them to safety.

Officers leading the training used thermal imaging cameras to monitor the progress and safety of personnel. Certainly, training we hope our firefighters never have to use. However, it is critically important they are continuously trained to react and self-rescue if needed.

Spring Into Safety! Prepare Your Gas Grill Before First Cookout Of Season!

It is that time of year when many of us pull the grill out of winter storage to use. If you have a gas grill, please take a moment to watch a video from the National Fire Protection Association on how to prepare your grill before your first cookout of the season.

Please spread the message of safety! Consider sharing this important life safety information on your social media platforms. Use #SafeFairfax

FCFRD Enhancing Reality-Based Incident Simulation Training Capabilities

By: Battalion Chief Rocco Alvaro
Professional Development Section – FCFRD Training Division

Recently, the Professional Development Section (PDS) completed a final round of incident simulation testing. A vehicle storage bay at our North Apparatus Service Center, which is located on the campus of the Fire and Rescue Training Academy, was utilized. The purpose of the testing was to finalize equipment and logistical needs to support incident simulations for both our company and command officers.

A beta test was conducted to simulate an engine company arriving on the scene of a house fire. The company officer provided an on-scene report, initial situation reports, assumed command, implemented an incident action plan (IAP), and effectively managing their crew. To evaluate appropriate benchmarks and expectations, Jessica LeBlanc from our Data Analytics Section, provided feedback and realistic validation measures for capturing additional metrics and data.

All participants utilized a training radio channel along with a Mobile Cad Terminal (MCT) that is specifically programmed for testing and training. The scenario was designed with participants driving a pre-determined route and then being dispatched to the house fire. While driving, the expectation for the command officer (Battalion Chief) was to monitor radio traffic of units on scene and begin a mental assessment of actions being taken, along with actions that still required consideration. Notable benchmarks were ensuring company strategy and tactics matched on scene reports, along with the proper incident priorities.

Once on scene, the Battalion Chief drove into the vehicle bay and began the simulation that was projected on the screen in front of the unit. The participants put real knowledge, skills, and experience into practice to solve a myriad of incident challenges (distractors and stressors) that were built into the simulation. Participant’s ability to critically think through some of these “problems” is the foundation to building mental memory or developing that mental match known as, Recognition Primed Decision Making.

For the company officer participant (a Lieutenant or Captain), the simulation was the same. However, the measured benchmarks were adjusted with a focus on crew resource management (CRM) and initial on scene strategy and tactics. An assessor was placed with the engine company to observe the ability of the crew to information share, problem solve, work as a team, and empower one another through a decision-making process.

As with the Battalion Chief simulation, the engine was driven into the service bay and the company officer was presented with the same house fire. Assessors observed actions taken by the officer and the crew to include water supply reports, on scene reports, and crew deployment. In this simulation, the company officer instructed their crews to deploy fire hose in support of firefighting efforts.

A critical component and measured benchmark for the company officer is to effectively manage their crews, while at the same time conducting a 3600 assessment of the house. The necessity for the full view of the structure is so that the scope of the “problem” can identified. This part of the size-up process includes a risk/benefit analysis that will ultimately drive incident priorities. Once the officer completes the 3600 assessment, the expectation is that a command statement is announced followed by initial incident operations.

Our ability to conduct reality-based, immersive style scenarios provides our officers a learning environment that is as close to real-world as possible. These performance-based simulations are designed to challenge the participant’s ability to not only demonstrate knowledge but, more importantly, their ability to critically think through a well-defined decision-making process.

Completing a successful beta test that places an entire crew through a tactical incident simulation has elevated our ability to further refine their situational awareness, develop skill sets, enhance CRM and conduct training/learning in a safe and controlled environment.  

Document Important Medical Information On Downloadable Form

Calling 911 can be scary. There are a lot of unknowns. Will you be able to communicate with paramedics or remember your medical history? Can’t remember all medications you are taking?

Filling out a File of Life form can provide peace of mind and be extremely helpful if you or a loved one has to go to the hospital. This form gives paramedics quick access to important medical information allowing for appropriate medical treatment. Information provided on the File of Life can also be helpful to hospital staff.

Normally the File of Life form comes in a magnetic holder that you place on your refrigerator. We usually provide holder for free but cannot get it to the public at this time. Please use a magnet or tape to attach to your refrigerator so our firefighters and paramedics will find it if you cannot communicate with us.

Go here to download and print out form: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fire-ems/sites/fire-ems/files/assets/documents/pdf/fileoflife.pdf