March 24, 2011
- Alexandria Fire Department Awarded $1.6 million Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
- Alexandria to hire 12 new Firefighter / Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) positions to bring four of the City’s eight engine companies up to minimum four-person staffing in compliance with national standards.
- Performance for the grant commences on June 5, 2011 and concludes on June 4, 2013.
- Firefighters hired under the SAFER grant are expected to begin Firefighter / EMT recruit training on or about July 1, 2011.
The Alexandria Fire Department was notified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on March 11, 2011 of award of a $1.6 million grant to hire and train twelve new firefighters. The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant was awarded to Alexandria after an extensive nationwide competitive review process. The SAFER grant positions will be utilized to increase the minimum staffing levels on four of the City’s eight engine companies from three to four firefighter / EMTs.
“This is an important step forward in meeting the Department’s commitment to public safety” said Alexandria Fire Chief Adam Thiel. “These new positions will provide safer staffing for responses to fire and emergency incidents, allowing essential tasks to be managed effectively and efficiently. This will bring the Department closer to meeting the NFPA 1710 standard for minimum staffing levels and address deficiencies noted by an independent consultant and the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH) Agency after the August 2007 three alarm fire at Alexandria Knolls West.” Thiel added.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1710, Standard for the Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations, and Special Operations to the Public by Career Fire Departments, 2010 edition, calls for four person minimum staffing for engine companies and four person minimum staffing for ladder truck companies. Fire departments with four-person minimum staffing levels are able to deploy more personnel and equipment faster at an incident scene with fewer pieces of fire apparatus than three-person staffed units. Minimum four-person staffing reduces the amount of time to suppress a fire or mitigate an emergency, thus demonstrating a more efficient use of resources.
The Alexandria Fire Department currently maintains three-person minimum staffing on both engine companies and ladder truck companies. Alexandria’s fire engines are all hazards response units which address numerous emergency incidents including emergency medical calls, technical rescue incidents, spills and releases of hazardous materials as well as responses to fires.
The twelve positions will be fully funded during the period of performance for the grant which commences on June 5, 2011 and concludes on June 4, 2013. The City will be required to continue to fund these positions for an additional year afterward. The Fire Department was authorized to apply for the SAFER grant on September 14, 2010, by the Mayor and Council.
For more information, contact Robert B. Rodriguez, Chief Fire Marshal / Community Services Officer, Alexandria Fire Department, at 703.746.5217 or Robert.firstname.lastname@example.org