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

EMS Simulation Center

New Fairfax County Fire and Rescue EMS Simulation Center Uses State-of-the-Art Patient Simulator to Teach First Responders Latest Medical Techniques to Save Lives



A landmark study published in November of 1999 made headlines when it stated, “Medical mistakes kill between 44,000 and 98,000 hospitalized Americans a year” (Dallas Morning News). A poll by the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) finds that 42 percent of people, more than 100 million, say they’ve been affected by physician errors, either directly or through a friend or relative (ABC News). Patient safety is concern for all areas of health care delivery, including care delivered by Emergency Medical Services.

In November 2000 the Committee on Quality of Health Care in America published “To Err is Human”, a report containing recommendations for improving patient safety. Training and educating health care workers using patient simulation saves lives by allowing medical professionals to learn in a more realistic, risk free environment. Simulated training replaces traditional teaching and learning models that incorporate “see-one, do-one, teach-one” methodology on live patients. Simulated education allows students to learn both life saving skills as well as strengthens how teams work together. The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department is now incorporating simulation technology as part of their emergency medical training program.

The Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department, in conjunction with EMS Training Programs and West Group Management opened a new EMS Training Facility and Community Meeting Room to deliver this simulation training. The center is located at the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Academy 4600 West Ox Road in Fairfax, Virginia. The center provides a state-of-the-art training facility for the nearly 1400 firefighters and paramedics in Fairfax County and is staffed by one Continuing Education Coordinator, three Clinical Practitioners, and six ALS certified Lieutenants.

69% of all Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department response calls are medically related. This volume emphasizes the need for quality pre-hospital care in Fairfax County. The center is equipped with two simulation stages; the first is an ambulance simulator that, on the inside, looks and functions exactly as a Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department ambulance. The second simulation stage can be modified to appear as a living room, hospital room, or nursery depending on the topic being taught.

The patients are “SimMan” or “SimBaby”. Produced by Gaumard, both are full-sized realistic manikins that can produce vitals signs, a pulse, a heart beat, lung sounds, blood pressures and other signs found in real humans. SimMan and SimBaby also have vocal capabilities such as speaking or crying. First responders can perform CPR, start an IV, or even shock him with defibrillators. Both SimMan and SimBaby are operated remotely from a control room, removing the instructors from the performance area in order to allow students and teams to act and practice as they do at work.

The center provides the space, staff, and equipment necessary to meet the demands of the Department’s training needs while complying with certification requirements set forth by the National Registry of Paramedics and the Virginia Office of EMS. The facilities lecture hall also jointly serves members of the Providence District as a meeting space.

For more information, please contact Battalion Chief Matthew Lopez.


Fairfax Virtual Assistant