The EMS Section of the Fire and Rescue Academy ensures department personnel acquire and maintain all of the necessary requirements for EMS certification and recertification. Currently, certification is maintained for over 500 career and volunteer Advanced Life Support providers and over 1,200 career EMT-Basic providers. All uniformed personnel must minimally maintain certification to the EMT-B level.
EMT-B Certification- Department personnel are trained to this level when they attend the Fire and Rescue Department Recruit Training Program. (Accounts for five weeks of recruit firefighter training.)
EMT-B Recertification- All EMT-B personnel must recertify every four years to maintain Commonwealth of Virginia standards. This involves attendance at a 36-hour refresher class given prior to expiration of their certification and delivers the necessary continuing education required by the Virginia State Office of EMS.
Paramedic Certification (EMT-P)- Department personnel wishing to further their career and education may attend additional training as ALS providers. Paramedic certification training teaches employees to interpret electrocardiograms, deliver cardiac defibrillation and synchronized cardioversion, and administer intravenous lines and life-saving pharmacological treatments. This training prepares personnel for the National Registry Paramedic Exam. The training program consists of a 16-week course which the department currently contracts out to the Northern Virginia Community College. Personnel wishing to enter the Advanced Life Support program must complete one year of service from date of graduation, complete the probationary firefighter school, obtain a recommendation from their battalion management team, and successfully complete the Health Occupations Basic Entrance Test (HOBET).
ALS Continuing Education (EMSCEP)- Once certified to the ALS level, personnel must maintain their certification by attending continuing education courses. A state-of-the-art EMS Simulation Training Center teaches the latest medical techniques to save lives. According to the Virginia State Office of EMS, mandatory training hours must consist of required topics and must be taught face-to-face by an instructor certified by the State or authorized by the Medical Director (category 1). In addition, other seminars/courses on additional topics beyond the State requirements taught by other instructors (category 2) or multimedia-type of education (category 3) may be applied as additional mandatory hours. The following list shows the required hours for the ALS certification levels in Fairfax County:
48 hours of category 1
24 hours of category 2
36 hours of category 1
12 hours of category 2 (NREMT requires 36 hours).
The Commonwealth of Virginia will accept up to a maximum of 10 approved CEU hours from category 3 topics. These may include videos, magazine articles, or interactive computer software which have been reviewed and approved by the Office of EMS. Attendance at all the department supported EMSCEP sessions satisfies the 48 hours of category 1 needed for Paramedic and National Registry. Although Virginia State certification is good for a period of three years, the department recertifies its personnel every two years. Additional information on Virginia State Certification can be obtained by following the link to Virginia Department of Health.
For more information, please contact Battalion Chief Matthew Lopez.