Arlington County Fire Department

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Arlington County Fire Department
Operational area
Country  United States
State  Virginia
County Arlington
Agency overview
Established 1950
Employees 327 (uniformed & civilian)
Staffing Career
Fire chief James Bonzano
EMS level ALS
IAFF 2800
Facilities and equipment
Battalions 2
Stations 10
Engines 9
Trucks 2
Platforms 1
Rescues 2
Ambulances 8
Official website
IAFF website

The Arlington County Fire Department (ACFD) provides fire, emergency medical, and allied public safety services for Arlington County and the City of Falls Church in Virginia, USA. It is highly regarded within the profession as an innovator and leader in enhancing the industry.[1] Among its many firsts are the hiring of the first female career firefighter in the world in 1974[2] and partnering with the United States Public Health Service to develop America's first Metropolitan Medical Strike Team to respond to the consequences of a chemical, biological or radiological terrorist attack.[3]

The ACFD operates ten 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.[4] Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, also in Arlington County, fields a fire department as part of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Fire and Rescue Department and works closely with the county's fire service. The 300-plus employees of the Fire Department 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 second-highest rating given to a Virginia fire department, and one of only three such ratings awarded in the state. This rating helps the local community by bringing lower insurance rates to homeowners and businesses.[1]


Arlington County firefighters often train with the 911th Engineer Company.

Arlington County Fire Department is a career fire department, with over 300 sworn career firefighters. All units are staffed 24 hours a day by career firefighters who are divided into three platoons.[1] 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.[1] Additional medic units can be placed in service as necessary. The county is divided into two divisions, the North (112) and the South (111), with one Deputy Chief, one Battalion Chief, an EMS Supervisor, an Assistant Fire Marshal and Deputy Fire Marshals in each division.[1]

Units and Station Assignments[edit]

Station Location Engine Truck Rescue Medic Battalion Chief EMS Supervisor Specialty Units
1 Glebe Road Engine 101 - - Medic 101 Battalion 111 - HazMat Trailer 101
2 Ballston Engine 102 - - Medic 102 - EMS 112 Mass Casualty Support Unit

Medical Ambulance Bus

Command Unit

3 Cherrydale Engine 103 - - - Battalion 112 - Bomb Unit(s)
4 Clarendon - Tower 104 Rescue 104 Medic 104 Command Aide 114 - -
5 Jefferson District Engine 105 Truck 105 - Medic 105 - - Swift Water Rescue
6 Falls Church Engine 106 Truck 106 - Medic 106 - - -
7 Fairlington Engine 107 - - - - - -
8 Hall's Hill Engine 108 - - Medic 108 - EMS 113 Mobile Air Unit
9 Nauck Engine 109 - Rescue 109 Medic 109 - EMS 111 -
10 Rosslyn Engine 110 - - Medic 110 - - Tech Rescue Trailer 110

Other Fire Departments in the Arlington County System[edit]

Arlington County Fire Department is the primary all-hazards response agency for Arlington County, Virginia. In addition to ACFD, other fire departments operate and provide emergency and support services to Arlington County.

Station Location Staffing Department
3 Cherrydale Volunteer Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department
6 Falls Church Volunteer Falls Church Volunteer Fire Department
61 Joint Base Myer–Henderson Hall Career Fort Myer Fire & Emergency Services

Prior to 1950, independent volunteer fire companies protected Arlington County.[5] 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 volunteer members ride as supplemental staffing on apparatus and do not count as minimum staffing. The Arlington County Fire Department uses the volunteer apparatus for providing support services, such as special event stand-bys, storm and natural disaster staffing, and scene lighting, air replenishment and canteen services for long duration incidents.[6]

Bomb Squad[edit]

The Arlington County bomb squad is jointly operated by the ACFD and the Arlington County Police Department. While the bomb disposal rigs are staffed by the fire department, and stored at Fire Station 3, the Bomb Squad works with the ACPD explosive canine teams on explosive related incidents.[7] The squad is classified as a Type 2 squad on FEMA's three-level classification system.[8] This classification denotes that the bomb squad has the following equipment available:[9]

  • 2 or more response teams
  • Full coverage bomb suits
  • Portable x-ray devices
  • Employ explosive tools to conduct specific or general disruption
  • Demolition Kit
  • PPE for chemical and biological devices
  • A Bomb disposal robot capable of handling non-vehicle IEDs
  • Explosives reference library

September 11th and the Pentagon[edit]

Arlington Engine 105 is seen here operating at the Pentagon shortly after the crash of Flight 77.

The Arlington County Fire Department was the lead agency in the response to the Pentagon attack.[10] ACFD Assistant Chief James Schwartz implemented an incident command system (ICS) to coordinate response efforts among multiple agencies.[11][12] It took about an hour for the ICS structure to become fully operational.[13] Firefighters from Fort Myer and Reagan National Airport arrived within minutes.[14][15]

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. 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.[citation needed][16]


See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "About the Arlington County Fire Department". Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  2. ^ Terese M. Floren. "History of Women in Firefighting". International Association of Women in Fire & Emergency Services. Retrieved 2013-04-18. 
  3. ^ Schmitt, Mark (3 October 2008). "The Metropolitan Medical Response System". Firehouse. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  4. ^ "Mutual Response Agreement". March 2009. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  5. ^ Jones, Mark (9 September 2014). "Arlington's Bravest: The Arlington County Fire Department". WETA. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  6. ^ Holt-Springston, Kathy. "History". Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  7. ^ Geraci, Brian (6 June 2013). "County Board Agenda Item Meeting of July 13, 2013". Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  8. ^ Sheridan, Mary Beth (July 13, 2007). "Bomb Squads Are Left Lacking". Washington Post. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  9. ^ "Typed Resource Definitions - Law Enforcement and Security Resources" (PDF). U.S. Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency. July 2007. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  10. ^ "James Schwartz - Fire Chief". Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  11. ^ Goldberg et al., p. 72.
  12. ^ Eversburg, Rudy (1 November 2002). "The Pentagon Attack On 9-11: Arlington County (Va) Fire Department Response". Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  13. ^ Goldberg et al., p. 77.
  14. ^ Goldberg et al., p. 78.
  15. ^ "Arlington, Virginia After-Action Report" (PDF). Arlington County Fire Department. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 27, 2007. Retrieved June 10, 2008. 
  16. ^ "Arlington community-emergency-response team graduates new classes". 26 May 2015. Retrieved 2 October 2016. 

Coordinates: 38°53′5.5″N 77°5′45″W / 38.884861°N 77.09583°W / 38.884861; -77.09583