By: Lieutenant Christopher Zach, NREMT-P
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue’s VCU paramedic students are nearing the end of their initial education program. The foundation has been laid, now they are refining that knowledge by continually running real-time scenarios to prepare them for their field ride along with Richmond Ambulance Authority, and ultimately, the National Registry test. Up until this point, the students had practiced EMS scenarios in the comfort of the Fire Academy, but that was about to change.
Last week, the students were brought to one of Fairfax County’s offsite training facilities for two very unique training opportunities. The first of which took place in what is called “Practical Plaza,” where there are mock occupancies set up in order to run scenarios in a realistic environment. Some of the occupancies include a coffee shop, a convenience store, bar, bank, and even a pizza shop. Behind the mock store occupancies is even an alleyway. Students acting as patients were moulaged and acted as the live interactive patient, while others acted as bystanders or family members/coworkers who were intended to be both helpful and distracting to the call.
The students were also taken to another county training site, where they have a “maze house” that is laid out like an apartment building with tight corners that are difficult to maneuver a stretcher through. In addition to demonstrating proper EMS interventions, the students also had to figure out the best way to both arrive to, enter and exit a scene with their equipment and cot. They were able to respond to the location in an ambulance provided by the Centreville Volunteer Fire Department. They quickly learned how important unit position is, as well as how time consuming it may be to retrieve a piece of equipment that was not initially brought into the incident and located back on the ambulance.
The VCU students have been doing scenarios for a while now, but placing them in new and realistic training environments, as well as adding the logistical elements to the scenarios, greatly increased the complexity and learning experience. By the end of the week they had really learned how much more there is to successfully running an incident beyond just the patient care.
Yesterday (5/18/17) Deputy County Executive Rohrer and Fire Chief Bowers stopped by Fire Station 26, Edsall Road, A-Shift on the shifts first day back to work since the fire in their station.
Both Deputy County Executive Rohrer and Fire Chief Bowers expressed relief that everyone had escaped the fire unharmed. They also wanted to ensure that all of the crews needs were being met as the station continues to operate in temporary accommodations.
Captain Kuley conveyed to the Deputy County Executive and Fire Chief how proud he was of his crew for their actions during the early morning hours on Sunday, May 14 when they were alerted to a fire in the station. Everyone played a critical role in coordinating the safe removal of the remaining equipment and then transitioning immediately to firefighting operations.
Captain Menton, Station Commander, and Captain Kuley then took Deputy County Executive Rohrer and Fire Chief Bowers on a tour of the facility and provided an update on clean up and construction.
Captain II Mark Menton, Station Commander, provides a quick update regarding Fire Station 26, Edsall Road, which was damaged by fire on May 14.
The Fairfax County Fire Marshal’s Office is looking for assistance in locating a person of interest regarding last week’s townhouse fire in the Lorton section of Fairfax County. Darren William Hinzman, 47, last seen on the evening of May 11, 2017, may have witnessed or have information regarding the incident. Interviews with family and friends indicate he may be headed to either Texas or Clearwater, Florida. He may be travelling with his girlfriend/wife, Donna Mae Metro Hinzman. If you have any information or if the subject is seen, please call Lieutenant Palmer, (571)221-1049.
On Sunday, May 14, at approximately 12:45 a.m., units from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue and the City of Alexandria Fire Department were dispatched for a report of a fire at Fire Station 26, Edsall Road, located at 5316 Carolina Place in the Springfield section of Fairfax County.
Twelve firefighters were awoken by the fire alarm. Further investigation revealed the rescue squad vehicle was on fire in one of the station’s apparatus bays. The station Captain evacuated the station and notified 911. He then coordinated removal of the foam unit, fire engine, and medic unit. Crews began an exterior attack on the fire as the apparatus bay suffered a partial collapse. A second alarm was called bringing additional assistance from the Arlington County Fire Department. Approximately 60 firefighters responded to the scene. There were no reported civilian or firefighter injuries.
The fire was contained to the apparatus bay area and did not extend further into the fire station.
Fire Investigators determined that the fire originated in the left front cab of the rescue squad vehicle. The cause of the fire was accidental in nature as a result of an electrical event. The exact source could not be determined.
The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department wishes to thank the residents of Fairfax County for the outpouring of support following the fire at Fire Station 26, 5316 Carolina Place, early Sunday morning. At this time Fire Station 26 is uninhabitable. It is anticipated that firefighters will be able to work 24-hour shifts at that station again within the next week or so.
We want to assure residents that there will not be any impact to the efficiency or quality of services provided by the department. The Fire and Rescue Department has created an action plan to ensure there are no delays or interruptions to the fire and emergency medical services provided to the residents of Fairfax County as we repair our fire station. We again want to thank all residents for the outpouring of support.
Reserve Rescue Squad 26 outside Fire Station 26 this morning (5/15/17).
On Friday, May 12, at approximately 1:42 a.m., units were dispatched for a reported townhouse fire in the 8500 block of Koluder Court in the Lorton area of Fairfax County.
Units from Fire Station 35, Pohick, arrived on scene and observed fire showing from all floors on the rear of a middle unit, three-story townhouse. A second alarm was requested. Firefighters quickly advanced fire hose to the rear and front of the home to begin extinguishing the fire. There was minor fire extension into the attic of an adjacent townhome. The bulk of the fire was contained to the townhouse where the fire originated. There were no reported civilian or fire department injuries.
There was no one home at the time of the fire. The fire was discovered and reported by a neighbor. It is unknown if there were working smoke alarms in the home. Two occupants of adjacent townhomes are receiving Red Cross assistance.
The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.
Damages as a result of the fire are approximately $219,400. This estimate does not include minor damage to an adjacent townhome estimated at $5,000.