On August 16-17, a delegation from the National Firefighters of Colombia visited Fairfax County Fire and Rescue and Virginia Task Force 1 in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)/Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA). The purpose of the meeting was to exchange best practices.
As a thank you for hosting, Fire Chief Richard Bowers was presented with Colombian Coffee as a gift by the Firefighters of Colombia.
On Monday, May 1, the High School Firefighter Program went on a field trip to Fire Station 40, Fairfax Center.
The main purpose of the field trip was to practice Hazardous Material (HazMat) decontamination procedures. What better place to practice than the fire station that houses the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department HazMat Team!
In addition, the class got a tour of the station as well as all of the equipment by members of C-Shift. For the last several weeks, the high school firefighters have been learning about all things HazMat that will eventually lead to a certification in Haz Mat.
By: Randal Bittinger, Captain II
Fire Station 39, North Point, B-Shift
On Saturday, April 15, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department’s Technical Rescue team conducted training at Great Falls National Park on the Potomac River. During this training the Fairfax County 911 center alerted the team that an adult male had fallen approximately 40 feet down the rock face along the Potomac. Rescue crews immediately responded and provided emergency care for the injured man. The rescue crews transported the injured man by boat to the U.S. Park Police helicopter for transport to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
As the young man was being loaded onto the helicopter, the rescue team received another emergency call that there was a missing child on the park grounds. The park was extremely crowded on Saturday due to the nice weather and the free park admission weekend. An organized search was implemented by the fire department members and park rangers. The young girl was located by firefighters in less than 10 minutes along the trails of the park. She was safely reunited with her family.
While our crews were originally at the park for training, it turned out we were at the right place, at the right time, to provide assistance on two calls for help.
Video and Photos by Technician Herb Knerr
On Saturday, April 1, at approximately 8:41 a.m., units were dispatched for a report of a construction worker who had fallen approximately eight-feet from a ladder.
A medic unit from Fire Station 21, Fair Oaks, arrived on scene and quickly learned that the patient was on the fifth floor with limited access. The crew requested assistance and the incident was upgraded to an above ground rescue with a Technical Rescue Operations Team (TROT) response. This brought additional crews from Fire Station 21, as well as Fire Station 18 (Jefferson) and Fire Station 40 (Fairfax Center).
Firefighters found the patient on a flat roof section of the fifth floor. It was determined that the patient had fallen more than 12-feet from the sixth floor roof. A rope rescue operation was needed to extract the patient safely. Once crews stabilized the patient, he was placed into a stokes basket and lowered down a ladder to the fourth floor. The building had no interior stairs so crews transferred the patient from a fourth floor balcony to the bucket of Fire Station 40’s Tower Truck and lowered him to the ground.
The patient was transported to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
A great morning to train! Right now, at Fire Station 39, North Point, firefighters are conducting Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) training.
When your Fairfax County Firefighters are fighting structure fires, a group of firefighters are designated as the RIT. The RIT crew then stands by outside at the ready to go into the burning structure if a firefighter becomes incapacitated or trapped. Basically, the RIT are the firefighters who may have to rescue their fellow firefighters.
As you can see in the photos below, the firefighters are training for a variety of situations they could potentially encounter when rescuing a downed firefighter.
By: Captain Matthew Burns
Fire Station 21, Fair Oaks, C-Shift
Recently, technical rescue team members from all three shifts, and all four technical rescue stations, spent time at the Lorton training site participating in the technical rescue monthly training drill. January’s structural drill focused on advanced torch work and crane operations/load rigging.
The torch work portion consisted of practicing with our cutting torches on steel I beams, 1 inch plate steel and steel cables. Our heavy rigging operations involved evaluating different types of material consisting of steel, concrete pipes, a car, a steel structural beam and estimating their weights prior to using a crane. The crane was then utilized to unstack and then restack the variety of materials in a new puzzle for the next crew.
It is important we keep our various skill sets sharp so that we are ready to respond locally, or afar, to a variety of unique emergency situations.
By: Captain II Randy Bittinger
Fire Station 39, North Point, B-Shift
Members of the Special Operations section of the department recently conducted three days of training on trench rescue. Pictured is a simulated elevator pit under construction. Crews had to shore the 10 x 10 x 10 foot hole and then rescue a simulated victim.