This Section provides communication equipment to all of the firefighters, paramedics, and staff of the Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department, and provides support for the 9-1-1 Emergency System at the Fairfax County Department of Public Safety Communications (DPSC).


When a citizen dials 9-1-1, an emergency call-taker answers the phone at the Fairfax County Department of Public Safety Communications center the call-taker will state "Fairfax County 9-1-1 WHERE is your Emergency?" and will ask these questions:

  • Where is the emergency? (so we can call you back if disconnected)
  • What phone number are you calling from? (So we can call you back.)
  • What is your emergency; Fire, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) or Police?

This information is absolutely crucial for fire and EMS personnel to provide the needed services efficiently. Any person calling in an emergency should be prepared to answer these questions.

At the same time as the call-taker is asking these questions of the caller, a screen on the desk in front of him/her will display the address of the caller and phone number they are calling from, the information is sent via CAD to a dispatcher located nearby, who dispatches the closest and most appropriate units. The time between when a 9-1-1 call is answered and when units are dispatched is usually less than 30 seconds.


The call-taker uses a Computer Aided dispatch (CAD) System where they enter the type of assistance needed, the address, call back name and number and any additional information that will assist the police, firefighters and paramedics to provide the appropriate level of service as quickly as possible.

The call-taker will utilize Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) protocols for EMS/medical calls. EMD is a systematic method to efficiently and effectively gather essential information to match the appropriate dispatch or allocation of resources to meet the needs of those calling for emergency medical assistance. The call-taker will remain on the phone to provide life-saving first-aid such as how to assist a choking victim perform CPR and even provide instructions to assist in the delivery of a baby. In the event of a fire in your house, the call-taker will instruct you to get everyone out of the house immediately.

Fire and Rescue units currently use an eleven site, 800 MHZ Digital Trunk, radio system. The Public Safety Communications network that will allow police, fire and sheriffs to communicate reliably and with our neighboring counties of Arlington, Loudoun, Montgomery, Prince William; the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Town of Herndon, Town of Vienna, and Washington D.C. and fire departments at Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority at Dulles and Reagan National Airports. In addition to the radio system, each fire truck, medic unit and ambulance have a Mobile Computer Terminal (MCT) in the vehicle. These terminals receive all the CAD information for the emergency event when they are dispatched.

When a unit is dispatched, the MCT in the vehicle is activated with the address, the situation, and information the call-taker obtained that will be helpful to determine what is on fire or what the patient’s current condition is.

Contact Fairfax County: Phone, Email or Twitter | Main Address: 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035
Technical Questions: Web Administrator

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