Thirty Years Ago Today

Thirty years ago today, a magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck Armenia in what was then the Soviet Union. Shortly thereafter, a request was received for the assistance of our Urban Search and Rescue team along with the Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue Department team. This was the first international deployment of our Urban Search and Rescue team under an agreement with the United States Agency for International Development and the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA).

On December 11, 1988, ten members of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department made history as the first Americans since World War II to travel to the Soviet Union to render assistance. For one week these team members worked under extreme conditions to try to save lives and ease the suffering of the Armenian people devastated by the earthquake.

The team safely returned home late on December 17, 1988. Take a moment to look at some photos below. As well, a copy of a special edition of the department newsletter at the time called Line Copy. In it are reflections of those who were deployed on this historic mission.

Special Edition 1989 Line Copy

Please also take a moment to read a great article by USAID: Armenia Earthquake Anniversary

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A Very Special Reunion

On April 27, 2017 crews from Engine 417, Centreville, Medic 416, Clifton and EMS403 C-Shift responded to a call for a collision involving a motorcycle and a car. They arrived on scene and found the motorcyclist was a multi-trauma patient that was critically injured.

Our firefighters and paramedics knew time was of the essence. They exhibited excellent teamwork assessing and treating the patient. Medic 416’s time on scene was six minutes before they were off to the trauma center at Reston Hospital.

The crews thought they had done they best they could to give the young motorcyclist a chance to survive. That said, many thought the young man may not make it. As with many critical medical or trauma calls, our personnel deliver the patient to the hospital not ultimately knowing the outcome for that patient.

Last night at Reston Hospital Center, most of the crew who treated that young motorcyclist got to see and learn what happened to him. The motorcyclist, Mr. Michael Hyman, was in attendance to meet up with his care team from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue as well as the doctors and nursing staff from the hospital. Together, they reviewed what happened to Mr. Hyman on-scene, at the trauma center, as well as the treatment, recovery and physical therapy processes he has endured. Mr. Hyman has made great strides in his recovery process and due to the quick actions of the prehospital providers and ongoing treatment by the Reston Hospital staff, he survived his injuries.

The evening drew to a close with Mr. Hyman and his mother thanking the firefighters/paramedics and hospital staff involved in his care. There were lots of hugs to go around!

Thank you, Reston Hospital Center, for arranging and hosting this very special reunion for our personnel!

Crews/Units on April 27, 2017

Engine 417                                          Medic 416                                     EMS 403
Captain I Bobby Stricklen           Lieutenant Matt Louzonis        Captain II Jennifer Svites
Technician Gary DeFriest           Firefighter Greg Morton
Technician Eric Hoffman
Firefighter Anthony Harley

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Promotion Blog Graphic

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department is pleased to announce the following uniformed promotions.

The following individual has been promoted to Deputy Chief:

  • Arnold, Thomas

The following individual has been promoted to Battalion Chief:

  • Sellers, David

The following individual has been promoted to Captain II:

  • Bentley, David

The following individual has been promoted to Lieutenant:

  • Corso, Paul

Congratulations to all on their promotions! Best wishes and stay safe in your new assignments.

Malfunctioning Gas Stove Causes Merrifield Townhouse Fire

On Friday, November 30 at approximately 11:59 p.m., units from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue and the City of Fairfax Fire Department were dispatched for a reported kitchen fire in the 9400 block of Lee Highway in the Merrifield section of Fairfax County.

Units arrived on scene to find smoke showing from the front of a two-story, end unit townhome. Crews quickly located and extinguished a kitchen fire located on the first floor. No civilian or firefighter injuries were reported.

There were six occupants home at the time of the fire. Working smoke alarms alerted the occupants to the fire. The occupants were able to evacuate the townhouse prior to fire department arrival. One occupant called 9-1-1.

Fire Investigators determined that the fire was accidental in nature and started behind the gas stove in the kitchen. The fire was caused by the gas stove malfunctioning shortly after the occupants turned the oven on.

Five occupants were displaced because of the fire. Red Cross assistance was offered but declined. Damages as a result of the fire were approximately $93,750.


Firefighters Help Spread Holiday Cheer To Local Veterans

On Saturday members of your Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department (FCFRD) A-Shift, along with over 100 community volunteers, braved the cold and rainy weather to install Christmas decorations on three veteran’s homes. This special community event was run by the non-profit Decorate A Vet.

Decorate A Vet is dedicated to assisting local veterans, who are in need, to make repairs, beautify their houses and yards, and decorate their homes for holidays. Members of the FCFRD were honored to participate and give back to those who have served our country.

Happy Hanukkah! Candle With Care!

Happy Hanukkah

Hanukkah starts this evening and runs through December 10. It is a joyous time, so please ensure you and your loved ones stay safe as December is the peak time of year for home candle fires.

While the use of open-flame candles can add ambience to a holiday and provide “warmth” to a home, battery powered candles are a safer alternative and one our firefighters and paramedics highly recommend you use.

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department would like to remind residents to avoid the dangers of fire while burning candles to please follow the safety tips listed below:

  • Never leave a lit menorah unattended.
  • Keep a lit menorah at least 12 inches away from things that can burn.
  • Do not place a menorah near or under flammable materials such as curtains, books or papers.
  • Do not burn candles near windows or doorways
  • Place menorah on a flat, sturdy non-combustible surface
  • Never leave candles burning when children or pets are present
  • Keep matches and lighters away from children – out of reach.

Home Holiday Fire Facts

It is that wonderful time of year when there are many holiday celebrations occurring. Please take a moment to review the below facts and video about home holiday fires from our partners in safety at the United States Fire Administration and the National Fire Protection Association.

  • One of every four home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems.
  • December is the peak time of year for home candle fires.
  • Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious. On average, one of every 32 reported home Christmas tree fires results in a death compared to an average of one death per 143 total reported home fires.
  • A heat source too close to the tree causes one in every four Christmas tree fires.
  • The top three days for home candle fires are Christmas, New Year’s Day, and Christmas Eve.
  • Candles start two out of five home decoration structure fires.