The Fairfax County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association (FCVFRA) is pleased to present the 2021 Fairfax County Volunteer Fire Service Annual Report. The production of this report was a collaborative effort between the Fairfax County Volunteer Fire Commission and the FCVFRA.
Opening Statement from Fire Chief John Butler, Fire and Rescue Department; Chairman Shawn Stokes, Volunteer Fire Commission; and President Michael Wendt, FCVFRA.
2021 was a year of transition, adaptation, and recovery from the initial impacts of COVID-19 by your volunteer partners in the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. We transitioned to a different operating environment due to the roll out of vaccines and changes in masking and social distancing requirements. We quickly adapted to the needs of the Fire and Rescue Department to support staffing shortfalls caused by COVID-19. Finally, recovery began by our volunteer fire departments to ensure our continued viability as a partner in the community.
The challenges in 2021 continued to be significant – operationally, financially, and personally – for our volunteer departments and their members. However, the opportunities to continue to serve, to reconnect in the communities, and to plan for the future have set us on a path for 2022 and beyond. Our commitment to providing service to the citizens of Fairfax County remains the same.
Our continued relationship with the Fire Chief and the Fire and Rescue Department has allowed us to continue evolving and integrating the volunteers at all levels. While the operational challenges brought on by COVID-19 surged throughout the year, we used this as an opportunity for the volunteers to increase participation and provide coverage to keep units in-service. A few years ago, this level of integration would have been the exception, but today it is the rule. Our focused efforts to strengthen our partnership are providing dividends during this challenging time and they lay the groundwork for a stronger, more robust volunteer system.
In 2022, we continue our efforts to grow the volunteer system through targeted retention and recruitment efforts, we build on the successes of the existing volunteer integration, and we collectively and strategically plot a path to the future of the combination system. We look forward to continuing the partnership between the 12 member companies of the Fairfax County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association and the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department.