National Firefighters of Colombia Visit FCFRD And Virginia Task Force One

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.

VATF1 andColumbia

Helping Those Who Help American Heroes

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By: Captain II Randal Bittinger
Station Commander, Fire Station 39 – North Point

On Thursday, February 28, members of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department and VA-TF1 traveled to Boulder Crest Retreat to assist with clearing debris from recent storms. Personnel volunteered their time to help clear debris that was blocking the main creek and surrounding grounds on the property. 

Boulder Crest Retreat is a private wellness center in Bluemont, Virginia serving active and veteran members of the military. 

The Retreat opened its doors on September 6, 2013, and is the first private wellness center in the country serving active-duty, reserve and National Guard personnel, veterans, and their family members. In its first 20 months of operation, the Boulder Crest Retreat has hosted more than 1000 guests for a combination of structured therapeutic retreat programs and family rest and re-connection (R&R) stays. These family stays and retreat programs facilitate delivery of combat-related stress recovery programs free of charge.

Department members have been assisting Boulder Crest Retreat for almost five years to include helping them get ready to open.


Thanks Chief!

Master Technician Raul Perla (14-C), on behalf of Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department’s Urban Search and Rescue Team, Virginia Task Force One, presented Fire Chief Bowers with a plaque thanking him for the support he provided to the families of deployed team members.

The Chief always makes sure to engage the families and keep them up to date on their loved ones activities while they are deployed.

Thanks Chief!

L to R: MTech Raul Perla (14-C), Lt Robert Schoenberger (RLF7-C), Fire Chief Bowers, Tech Juan Ayala (14-B), and Capt-I Matthew Tamillow (10-C)

Technical Rescue Monthly Training Drill

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.

VA Task Force-1 K9 Training

By: Technician Trisha Danula
Fire Station 39, North Point, B-Shift

Recently, members of VA Task Force-1 journeyed to our Lorton training complex to conduct a training exercise with our K9 partners. To assist with the training, Rescue Squad 21, Fair Oaks, A-Shift came down to set up a pendulum rope system that was integral to the training session.

We train with our K9’s on rope to get them acclimated in case on a deployment we need to hoist them to do searches.

The photo below is Firefighter/Medic Sally Dickinson and K9 Jessie. Jessie is a Live Find Detection Dog. She is a black lab.

K9 training

The next photo is of Technician Trisha Danula and K9 Tuula who is a Human Remains Detection dog. Tuula is German Shepherd.
 K9 training