This year, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department (FCFRD) celebrates its 70th anniversary. In 1949, the Board of Supervisors approved the hiring of firefighters for each of the volunteer stations. In addition, they approved the installation of a central fire alarm system so Police dispatchers “would dispatch the engines from the department or departments nearest the fire and this would eliminate a great deal of confusion”.
On July 1, 1949, the first 10 career firefighters were hired at an annual salary of $2,500.00. The first to be hired was Samuel Redmond who was issued badge #1 and assigned to Station 1 (McLean). Career firefighters were called “paid men” and served primarily as daytime apparatus drivers. The various chiefs of the volunteer departments would choose the personnel who would be hired by the County and ultimately work for their departments. This practice would continue for many years. As members of their respective volunteer departments these firefighters responded to “after hours” calls from their homes.
The department has grown exponentially since its inception. Today, FCFRD is a career and volunteer organization providing fire suppression, emergency medical, technical rescue, hazardous materials, water rescue, life safety education, fire prevention, and arson investigation services. There are approximately 1,400 career firefighters, 170 civilians, and 370 operational volunteers making the FCFRD the largest fire department in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of the best in the nation. We continue the traditions of our past with a commitment to service excellence and a vision to protect the lives, property, and environment of our community.