Fairfax, Va. — The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department welcomed 21 new volunteer firefighters on Oct. 16 during a recognition ceremony held at the Fairfax County Government Center.
The candidates, who represent eight volunteer fire departments, were from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue recruit class “VFF 2019,″ which met from January to June. They took part in 470 hours of demanding training over six grueling months while juggling full-time school or jobs. The youngest candidates were still in high school.
“Our county has a rich history of citizen-firefighters who answered their neighbor’s calls for help and our newest volunteers are proud to join those ranks,” said Michael Wendt, president of the Fairfax County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association. FCVFRA represents the volunteer departments in the County.
Volunteer firefighters in Fairfax County perform the same operational role as their career counterparts and the recruits receive the same physically demanding training, Wendt said.
The training started primarily in classrooms learning about topics such as ropes and knots, ladders, fire behavior, forcible entry, and safety. But, once the recruits learned the basics, they began dragging hoses, climbing ladders, and running into burning buildings for training. It culminated in a live burn and incident simulations where students demonstrated their skills in front of state evaluators.
The Firefighter I/II class is a national certification that exceeds the standards for the National Fire Prevention Association’s Standard for Firefighter Professional Qualifications.
The students had a support system throughout training: colleagues spent some weeknights and weekends staffing medical aid stations at the Fire Academy to ensure training injuries could be treated as soon as possible. Other volunteers from local fire departments signed up as actor-victims who had to be “rescued” by the trainees in various multi-person rescue scenarios.
Each year, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department’s Training Division offers one all-volunteer fire academy class. In order to qualify for an academy slot, recruits must have a Virginia Emergency Medical Technician certification and pass a physical abilities test.
The new volunteer firefighters in Fairfax County are:
Vienna Volunteer Fire Department
Nathan M. Hellman
Michael C. Medwedeff
Franconia Volunteer Fire Department
Annandale Volunteer Fire Department
William D. Richmond
Bailey’s Crossroads Volunteer Fire Department
Javier J. Delaguila
Dunn Loring Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department
Payton C. Smith
Burke Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department
Ian R. Dickinson
Shaun M. Kurry
Joseph P. Shields
Bryan T. Smith
Centreville Volunteer Fire Department
Jong D. Choi
Dalton W. Dillon
Samuel C. Portillo
Joshua M. Schuchman
Sunny J. Thapa
Greater Springfield Volunteer Fire Department
Glenn D. Hanna
Laura E. Olsen
The Fairfax County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association is a partnership of 12 volunteer fire and rescue departments in Fairfax County, Va. Learn more about the Association and each of the independent volunteer organizations at www.fcvfra.org. (10/16/2015)