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City of Alexandria, VA City of Alexandria, VA
Fire Department
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Page updated Dec 5, 2011 8:03 AM

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Media Advisory


For immediate release: December 5, 2011

WHEN:           DECEMBER 8, 2011, 10:00 am



WHAT:           Thursday, December 8, 2011, the City of Alexandria Fire Department will hold a graduation ceremony for its 39th Fire Academy class.  The graduating class consists of nineteen Firefighter/Rescuers who underwent strenuous classroom, skills, and physical training regiments.  Members of the 39th Fire Academy Class is made up of diverse backgrounds in work and education. Many of the graduating class came into the academy with some, if not most of the required Virginia State certifications for firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician.

Twelve of the nineteen recruits were hired as part of a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) award of $1.6 million grant to hire and train twelve new firefighters as part of the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant.   The SAFER grant positions will be utilized to increase the minimum staffing levels on four of the City’s eight engine companies from three to four persons.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1710, Standard for the Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations, and Special Operations to the Public by Career Fire Departments, 2010 edition, calls for four person staffing for engine companies and four person staffing for ladder truck companies.  Fire departments with four person minimum staffing levels are able to deploy more personnel and equipment faster at an incident scene with less fire apparatus than three person staffed units.  This dramatically reduces the amount of time to suppress a fire or mitigate an emergency, thus demonstrating a more efficient use of resources.  The Alexandria Fire Department currently maintains three person minimum staffing for both engine companies and ladder truck companies.

The twelve SAFER positions will be fully funded during the period of performance for the grant which commences on June 5, 2011 and concludes on June 4, 2013.  The City will be required to continue to fund these positions for an additional year afterward.

The Academy staff used a collegiate format as opposed to the more traditional military style for providing instruction and implementing any corrective actions that were needed. This format was successful through the creation of teambuilding skills within the class which aided each member to successfully complete the process. They leave the Academy to begin their probationary year and their long standing careers with the Alexandria Fire Department.

For more information, contact Robert Rodriguez, Chief Fire Marshal / Community Services Officer, Alexandria Fire Department, at 703.746.5217 or