Fire and Rescue

CONTACT INFORMATION: Our office is open 8:00AM-4:30PM M-F
12099 Government Center Parkway
Fairfax, VA 22035
John S. Butler
Fire Chief

Career as a Fairfax County Firefighter

FCFRD field personnel work one of three 24-hour rotating shifts, including weekends and holidays. The FCFRD staffs 38 ALS engines, 14 ALS trucks and towers, eight ALS rescue squads, five tankers, a hazardous materials unit, a hazardous materials support unit, and 42 medic units.  Several other types of apparatus, such as brush trucks, boats, and support vehicles supplement the needs of the FCFRD.  

Additionally, the FCFRD is home to VATF-1/USA-1, part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) response system and one of two internationally deployable Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Teams in the United States. A Firefighter/Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) provides firefighting and emergency medical services, participates in community risk reduction activities, operates apparatus and equipment, participates in physical fitness training, attends drills and training, maintains, and inspects equipment, and performs other related duties. 

Expectations as a Fairfax County Firefighter 

Joey - FirefighterFirefighting is a gratifying and challenging career.  The position is physically demanding as firefighters must work with heavy equipment while wearing up to 50 pounds of structural firefighting gear. 

Regardless of area of assignment, all uniformed fire and rescue personnel, who are medically qualified for field duties as a firefighter, must maintain a level of fitness sufficient to enable them to participate in fire suppression and rescue activities when the need arises, as demonstrated by successful completion of the Fitness Measurement and Assessment Program Test.

Before becoming a firefighter, consider all aspects as it may carry a significant impact physically, psychologically, and personally.

Core Competencies 

Firefighting is more than the technical aspects and working under pressure. Character shines through demonstrating these core competencies:

Time Management

From planning your morning commute to putting away gear at the end of shift, time management is an integral part of your day. Set a schedule for your daily tasks such as equipment check, studying, performing drills, and physical training so that when you run calls while in the middle of a task, you can pick up where you left off.


Organization and attention to detail provide a healthy work environment. It is your responsibility to maintain the firehouse, lockers, and clean tools. The apparatus must be stocked and always maintained. Keep lockers organized. The firehouse is a home away from home with daily chores and set standards. When items are organized and well maintained with attention to detail, your shift can perform their job effectively.


Treat everyone with the same level of respect. Whether you are talking to a coworker or a patient, everyone gets treated kindly and fairly. Talk to and learn from shift mates. Keep shirts tucked in, shoes clean, and follow identified grooming standards. Whether on duty or off duty, every firefighter is always representing the department.


Leadership must be demonstrated in every rank in the fire department. Whether it is a firefighter or the fire chief, everyone must lead by example, take initiative, and always give 100 percent. Plan drills set up workouts, complete tasks before asked, and mentor any new recruits for success. 


Being a successful firefighter means being able to effectively communicate with shift mates and the public. Ask pertinent questions, share with your shift mates your plan of action, learn how to speak on the radio, and how to write memos. Successful communication results in a cohesive work environment.


Teamwork is an essential skill for firefighters. From running calls to cooking meals, firefighters work together throughout their 24-hour shift. Respect teammates’ strengths and help them with their weaknesses. Be open to constructive feedback and prepared to share your skill sets. Working together helps complete projects quickly and efficiently. Often, crew safety and positive outcomes are dependent on the ability for firefighters to work as a team. Your lives and the lives of our county citizens depends on teamwork and communication.

Physical and Mental Fitness                                   

A firefighter’s life is a life of action and adrenaline. A firefighter is pushed to their limits both physically and mentally. Participate in regular physical training and find outlets for emotional stress. Keeping a healthy body and mind helps with resiliency for a healthy personal life and career.

Preparing for the unexpected

The role of a firefighter is to expect the unexpected. One minute the shift may be eating dinner, the next the shift may be called to a house fire or a CPR. Remaining calm, moving quickly, and falling back on training helps to move from one event to the next in a matter of seconds.

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