At the heart of the volunteer fire and rescue system in Fairfax County are the 12 volunteer departments. Each volunteer department is an independent, legally-designated non-profit organization chartered in the Commonwealth of Virginia, with some having been established over 100 years ago. Every volunteer in the County belongs to one of these 12 departments.
The volunteer departments operate in close partnership with the FCFRD through a series of agreements. Operational volunteers are trained at the County’s fire and rescue academy, and operate side-by-side with the personnel of the FCFRD.
The volunteer departments also contribute materially to the fire and rescue system. Volunteer departments own and/or help operate 15 of the 37 fire stations in the County, each of which is staffed 24 hours a day by career personnel. They also purchase fire and rescue apparatus (fire engines, ambulances, etc.) and equipment; both for front line service (staffed 24 hours a day by career personnel) and for ready reserve service (staffed only by volunteers).
The following is the mission statement of the Fairfax County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Departments, as revised and adopted by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and the Volunteer Fire Commission in November 1997: “Volunteer Fire & Rescue Departments in Fairfax County serve the citizens by providing operational and financial support to the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department and by providing direct service to the other organizations which support the needs of the community. In order to do this, we will:
- Provide personnel trained to state and national standards which:
- put suppression and emergency medical units in service during peak as well as normal activity periods;
- cover scheduled public events and special departmental needs;
- staff units as “minimum staffing” when requested to reduce county costs;
- supplement career operations officers in response positions in accordance with established departmental regulations;
- provide a corps of certified instructors to teach fire and emergency medical service (EMS) subjects at the County Fire Academy; and
- serve on technical advanced operational units and national and international resource teams.
- Provide appropriate facilities to house career and volunteer personnel.
- Provide state-of-the-art apparatus and equipment.
- Operate canteen services for major incidents, training events, and other departmental needs.
- Provide a strong program of fire safety education within our community through open house programs, as well as talks and demonstrations to local community and civic groups.
- Recruit from the community a cadre of individuals who are willing to contribute their time and talent.
- Participate in the long-range planning for the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department.”