Stay Safe Around Water

Stay safe around water

Sadly, there have been several near, and fatal, drownings across the metropolitan region recently. Please take a moment to review the helpful water safety tips below from our friends at the American Red Cross.

Our firefighters and paramedics do not want to meet you, or your loved ones, by “a preventable accident” today, tomorrow or ever.

Make Water Safety Your Priority

  •  Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
  • Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone. Even at a public pool or a lifeguarded beach, use the buddy system!
  • Ensure that everyone in the family learns to swim well. Enroll in age-appropriate Red Cross water orientation and Learn-to-Swim courses.
  • Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
  • Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
  • Establish rules for your family and enforce them without fail. For example, set limits based on each person’s ability, do not let anyone play around drains and suction fittings, and do not allow swimmers to hyperventilate before swimming under water or have breath-holding contests.
  • Even if you do not plan on swimming, be cautious around natural bodies of water including ocean shoreline, rivers and lakes. Cold temperatures, currents and underwater hazards can make a fall into these bodies of water dangerous.
  • If you go boating, wear a life jacket! Most boating fatalities occur from drowning.
  • Avoid alcohol use. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination; affects swimming and diving skills; and reduces the body’s ability to stay warm.

Prevent Unsupervised Access to the Water

  • Install and use barriers around your home pool or hot tub. Safety covers and pool alarms should be added as additional layers of protection.
  • Ensure that pool barriers enclose the entire pool area, are at least 4-feet high with gates that are self-closing, self-latching and open outward, and away from the pool. The latch should be high enough to be out of a small child’s reach.
  • If you have an above-ground or inflatable pool, remove access ladders and secure the safety cover whenever the pool is not in use.
  • Remove any structures that provide access to the pool, such as outdoor furniture, climbable trees, decorative walls and playground equipment.
  • Keep toys that are not in use away from the pool and out of sight. Toys can attract young children to the pool.

Maintain Constant Supervision

  • Actively supervise kids whenever around the water—even if lifeguards are present. Do not just drop your kids off at the public pool or leave them at the beach—designate a responsible adult to supervise.
  • Always stay within arm’s reach of young children and avoid distractions when supervising children around water.



Ready For Any Situation

By: Battalion Chief Keith Ludeman
Battalion 407, C-Shift

Personnel from Fire Station 16, Clifton, and Battalion Chief 407, C-Shift test a recently installed dry hydrant on Wyckland Drive in the Clifton area of Fairfax County.

A dry hydrant allows for quick access when utilizing a static water source, such as a pond, in areas of the county with no domestic water supply systems. This dry hydrant was recently installed thanks to a grant approved by the Virginia Department of Forestry.

Thanks to Captain Mohler (A-Shift) for coordinating all the necessary efforts.

Uniontown House Fire A Total Loss

On Friday, June 9, at approximately 3:20 p.m., units from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue and Prince William Fire and Rescue responded to a reported house fire in the 14700 block of Pickets Post Road in the Uniontown section of Fairfax County.  

First arriving units reported heavy fire showing from the garage and extending into the two-story single family house. Crews quickly attacked the fire from the exterior of the home to knock it down before moving inside to continue extinguishing the fire. The fire was brought under control in approximately 20 minutes. One occupant was transported to the hospital. There were no firefighter injuries.

The house next door sustained heat damage to its exterior siding. However, it did not extend into the house due to preventive efforts by firefighters.

A passerby discovered the fire and notified the occupants. Red Cross is providing assistance to four occupants.

Fire Investigators determined that the fire started in the attached garage. The cause is under investigation.

Damages as a result of the fire are estimated to be approximately $419,375. The heat damage to the neighboring home is not included in the damage estimate.

Our (Young) Hero

Ava, age 8, is a cancer survivor. Recently, she and her family ran their 5th Annual Team Ava – Alex’s Lemonade Stand! This effort is dedicated to raising funds for research into new treatments and cures for children battling cancer.

To help the cause of this inspirational young lady Fire Station 40, Fairfax Center, B-Shift Lieutenant Ray Johnson organized a mini-parade in the community to help draw attention to Ava’s lemonade stand. Several units from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue and the City of Fairfax Fire Department attended in force.

They also purchased some delicious lemonade and gave tours of the fire trucks to the community! It was a great event! Ava’s mom reports the stand raised over $800!

Ava is an inspiration and our hero!

Photos courtesy of Ava’s mom Jeannie

Unattended Cooking Causes Reston House Fire


On Saturday, June 3 at approximately 4:22 a.m., units responded to a reported house fire in the 2200 block of Dosinia Court in the Reston section of Fairfax County.

First arriving units reported fire showing from the garage of a two-story single family home. Crews went to work extinguishing the fire in the garage. Fire suppression operations were hindered due to hoarding conditions found on all levels of the home.

The fire was discovered by one of the occupants who was cooking on a propane fueled burner in the garage. She alerted the remaining sleeping occupants, exited the structure, and called 911. All other occupants safely evacuated the home prior to fire department arrival. The home was equipped with one battery operated smoke alarm on each level. All of the smoke alarms, except the one in the basement, were found to be disabled (battery removed).

Fire Investigators determined that the fire started within the garage of the home. The cause of the fire was accidental in nature and was the result of the ignition of cooking oil spilled on the propane burner in use inside of the garage. The fire quickly spread to nearby cardboard boxes located around the propane burner.

One civilian occupant was transported to an area hospital for non-life threatening injuries. There were no firefighter injuries reported. Red Cross Assistance was offered and declined.

Damages as a result of the fire were estimated to be approximately $120,000.



Electrical Malfunction Causes Reston Townhouse Fire

On Wednesday, June 7, at approximately 5:09 a.m., units were dispatched for a reported townhouse fire in the 1600 block of Greenbriar Court in the Reston section of Fairfax County.

First arriving units reported fire showing from a three-story townhouse. Firefighters made an aggressive attack and extinguished the fire in approximately 20 minutes.

During fire extinguishment operations, one firefighter fell through the first floor to the basement. A mayday was initiated and the firefighter was recovered in short order. Crews evaluated the firefighter and no obvious injuries were noted. As a precaution, the firefighter was transported to a local hospital for a checkup. The firefighter was released a short time later and cleared medically to return to duty.

A passerby discovered the fire and called 9-1-1. No occupants were in the townhouse at the time of the fire. There were no smoke alarms present.

Fire Investigators determined that the fire started in a recessed light above the basement ceiling. The cause was determined to be accidental in nature involving a junction box suppling electrical power to a recessed light fixture.

One adult male and one adult female were displaced as a result of the fire. Red Cross assistance was declined. There were no reported civilian injuries.

Damages as a result of the fire are estimated to be approximately $125,000.