CSB Emergency Services


The following is an article reprinted from Summer 2012 edition of the The Beacon (newsletter for CSB employees).

What is CSB Emergency Services?

CSB Emergency Services staff is on the job 24/7 every day of the year to respond when a psychiatric crisis presents a potentially life-threatening situation. Mandated by the Code of Virginia, CSB emergency services may never shut down, regardless of staff shortages, hiring freezes, blizzards, torrential storms, or power outages.

Where do CSB Emergency Services employees work? What do they do?

  • Woodburn – The CSB Emergency Services headquarters is at the Woodburn Center, tucked behind Inova Fairfax Hospital. (They will move in 2014 to a new CSB “mid-county” office building now under construction.) Services provided at the site include crisis intervention; risk assessment; evaluations for emergency custody orders and hospitalizations; and other psychiatric and medication evaluations.

  • Gartlan
    • Two Emergency Services clinicians provide emergency services during business hours at the Gartlan Center in South County.
    • Mobile Crisis Unit (MCU) – Emergency Services staff operates the CSB’s Mobile Crisis Unit (MCU) from 8 a.m. to midnight every day (that’s 16 hours a day, 7 days a week). The MCU takes emergency services into the community, responding to critical situations throughout the 399 square miles of Fairfax County. Most of the MCU’s work is in response to requests from police and hospitals, but the unit also works closely with Fire and Rescue, the Sheriff’s Department (evictions), the Department of Family Services (Adult and Child Protective Services), Board of Supervisors’ staff (constituent concerns), and the county’s Department of Human Resources.
      • The Mobile Crisis Unit also maintains three rapid deployment teams that can be called up at any time to respond to a hostage/barricade situation, to provide stress management (debriefings) after a critical incident, or to respond to disasters in our region (as they did on September 11, 2001).
      • The Mobile Crisis Unit provides extensive training to the police departments of Fairfax County, the Cities of Fairfax and Falls Church and the Towns of Herndon and Vienna, including week-long classes in crisis intervention and crisis negotiation.

  • Civil Commitment Program – Emergency Services provides clinical psychologists to evaluate individuals who have been civilly detained (Temporary Detention Orders) and to provide expert testimony at the civil commitment hearing. This involves traveling with “the court” to the four hospitals where civil commitment hearings are held.

How many employees work in CSB Emergency Services?

The entire Emergency Services staff – Emergency Services, MCU and the Civil Commitment Program – consists of about 50 employees (many work part-time) including psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers, licensed professional counselors, clinicians, and a peer specialist. And, although technically not part of Emergency Services, administrative assistants are a critical part of the team.

What kind of training is required for CSB Emergency Services staff?

Specialized training is essential for this work and includes:

  • Prescreening Certification (required by the Code of Virginia),
  • FBI and CSB hostage barricade training,
  • Critical incident stress management,
  • Legal training, and
  • Extensive on-the-job training.

An employee must work in emergency services for at least three years before they are eligible to be a “primary” MCU clinician.

How many individuals receive CSB Emergency Services?

For FY 2011 (FY 2012 projected):

  • Woodburn: 4,161 (4,848)
  • Gartlan: 546 (597)
  • Mobile Crisis Unit: 1,219 (1,304)
  • Civil Commitment Program: 525 (680)

How are CSB Emergency Services funded?

The CSB receives some state funding and also charges a fee (reimbursable through Medicaid or private insurance) to individuals who receive CSB emergency services. In addition, local tax dollars from Fairfax County (and the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church) fund much of the CSB’s overall operating budget which provides many supports that undergird the Emergency Services operation.

Final Observation

As if the daily work were not challenging enough, the Emergency Services team faced additional challenges when the “derecho” storm blew in on a Friday night in late June 2012, taking out not only the power supply and air conditioning, but also phone service, including the CSB’s 24/7 emergency hotline and the 9-1-1 center. People continued to show up at Woodburn for help, and the staff carried on.

“Our training is very rigorous and very extensive. But it has to be. ES/MCU clinicians have just a single shot at making a decision that, if wrong, could result in death of the individual or others. And they have to be able to do this without consulting with a supervisor or manager.”

– Kaye Fair, Director, CSB Acute Care Services


Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board

24-Hour CSB Emergency Services
Phone: 703-573-5679 | TTY: 703-207-7737

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Phone: 703-383-8500 | TTY: 711
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12011 Government Center Parkway, Suite 836, Fairfax, VA 22035-1100
Phone: 703-324-7000 | Fax: 703-653-6626 | TTY: 711

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