Arlington County Fire Department

Arlington County Fire Department

name = Arlington County Fire Department

motto =
established = 1950
staffing = Combination
strength = 400
stations = 10
engines = 9
trucks = 3
squads =
rescues = 2
EMSunits = 7
FirstResponderBLSorALS = ALS
chief = James Schwartz

The Arlington County Fire Department (ACFD) provides essential fire, emergency medical, and allied public safety services for Arlington County, Virginia and the City of Falls Church, Virginia. It is highly regarded within the profession as an innovator and leader in enhancing the industry. Among its many firsts are the hiring of the first female career firefighter in the nation in 1974 and partnering with the United States Public Health Service to develop the nation’s first Metropolitan Medical Strike Team to respond to the consequences of a chemical, biological or radiological terrorist attack.

The county fire department operates 10 stations, and is a signatory to an automatic regional response plan with neighboring Fairfax County as well as the city of Alexandria, and participates in a regional mutual aid pact with the District of Columbia and the Maryland counties of Montgomery and Prince George’s. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, also in Arlington County, fields a fire department and works closely with the county's fire service. The 305 employees of the Fire Department are committed to eliminating threats to the lives, safety and property of the Arlington community. They provide services through a combination of education, prevention and effective response to fire, medical and environmental emergencies.

The Arlington County Fire Department holds a Class 2 Rating from the Insurance Services Organization, the highest rating given to a Virginia fire department, and one of only 3 such ratings awarded in the state. This rating helps the local community by bringing lower insurance rates to homeowners and businesses.

9/11 and the Pentagon

The Arlington County Fire Department was the lead agency in the response to the Pentagon attack. Led by Incident Commander James Schwartz, ACFD worked with the Fort Myer Fire Department, which operates the Pentagon station in addition to a firehouse at its main post, as well as fire departments throughout the region.

On September 11, 2001, the Arlington County Fire Department employed 279 men and women, supplemented by the volunteer firefighters and EMTs of the Arlington County Fire and Rescue Association.

As a result of the attack on the Pentagon, additional career firefighters were hired, bringing the total to 305 by 2005. Minimum staffing on the county's engine companies was also increased to four firefighters from three in the months after the attack. A number of new volunteers also signed after the September 11 attack, and the county trained CERT Teams - Community Emergency Response Teams - in cooperation with the federal Department of Homeland Security as a part of its stepped up disaster preparedness program.


Arlington County Fire Department is a combination fire department, with over 300 sworn career firefighters and approximately 50 volunteer firefighters. All county-owned units are staffed 24 hours a day by career firefighters, with volunteer firefighters providing additional manpower to those units and by staffing volunteer-owned units. Career Firefighters are divided into three platoons and work a 24-on/24-off/24-on/24-off/24-on/96-off work schedule. Engine, rescue and truck/tower companies in Arlington are typically staffed by four firefighters and ALS medic units with two firefighter/paramedics. Arlington operates nine engine companies, three truck companies, two rescue companies and seven medic units. Additional medic units and two volunteer staffed BLS ambulances can be placed in service as necessary. The county is divided into two battalions, the north battalion (112) and the south battalion (111), with one EMS captain in each battalion to supervise medic operations.

Volunteer operations

Prior to 1950, independent volunteer fire companies protected Arlington County. As the demand for services for fire and EMS grew, the need for full time paid staff was acknowledged by the County. Staff was hired, first to augment the volunteers, then finally to provide the full range of services required in a modern, urban, fire department. The department is now staffed with full-time career professionals that are supplemented with professional volunteers from the legacy volunteer fire companies. These volunteers are a trained group of people who work with the paid staff of Arlington County. The seven volunteer companies all belong to an umbrella organization, the Arlington County Fire and Rescue Association. The seven volunteer companies are Co. 1 (Arlington VFD), Co. 2 (Ballston VFD), Co. 3 ( [ Cherrydale VFD] ), Co. 4 (Clarendon VFD), Co. 5 (Jefferson District VFD), Co. 6 ( [ Falls Church VFD] ), Co. 7 (Fairlington VFD).

Volunteer firefighters without previous training can begin riding county-owned units upon completion of 187-hour Indoctrination class, which covers fire department operations, and both basic fire and EMS operations. The next step for those on the fire track is the 240-hour FFI/II class. For those interested in EMS, a 140-hour EMT-Basic course is required.

ee also

*Arlington County, Virginia
*American Airlines Flight 77
*911th Engineer Company - Formerly the Military District of Washington Engineer Company, specialize in Urban Search and Rescue and responded to the Pentagon following the attack on the Pentagon.


*Arlington County Fire and Rescue Association 2002 Annual Report
*Arlington County Fire Department website

External links

* [ ACFD's official website]

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