Frequently Asked Questions
Are all of Fairfax County fire stations volunteer organizations?
No. All Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Departments are staffed with career firefighters and medics 24/7. Twelve of the county’s 36 fire departments are considered volunteer departments. Fairfax County's volunteer fire and rescue services are an integral partner with the Fire and Rescue Department in the delivery of services to the citizens and visitors of Fairfax County. Volunteers are active operationally as well as administratively - with volunteer personnel available to provide supplemental staffing for fire and rescue departments. The volunteer companies raise funds as tax-exempt organizations to procure fire apparatus, ambulances, and other essential equipment and serve a vital role in the career/volunteer system.
What is the minimum age for volunteering at GSVFD?
Members must be 18 years of age to apply to volunteer. Those under 18 years can contact the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department’s Fire Explorer Post at Fairfax Fire Explorers.
How do I volunteer?
Click on "JOIN NOW" and fill out the on-line Volunteer Recruitment form. You will initially receive an automatic email response, but then you will be contacted by a volunteer coordinator to let you know when the next Prospective Member’s Meeting is (typically the first Thursday of each month). This meeting will introduce you to the fire and rescue service and the commitment that volunteering entails. You will complete the application form and will be given a brief one-on-one interview. For the meeting, bring your driver’s license, your driving record from the Department of Motor Vehicles (for each state which you had/have a license in), three character references names/phone numbers/addresses; and your social security card. The meeting is held at GSVFD, Fire Station 22 located at 7011 Backlick Rd, Springfield VA 22150 (intersection of Backlick Rd and the Franconia-Springfield Parkway).
What are the training requirements and commitments?
Initial training consists of a one-night session Volunteer-In-Station-Training (VISIT); Level 1, and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). Level 1 is a series of introductory classes to include CPR, Infectious Control, Accountability, Communications, Hazardous Material Awareness, etc. Level 1 classes meet two nights a week and weekends for about three weeks.
When are training sessions held?
All weekday classes go from about 7pm-10pm; weekends are about 8am-5pm.
What training is required to become an EMT-B?
The Emergency Medical Technician – Basic Course is an intensive 3-month course held at the Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Academy of West Ox Road in Fairfax twice a week (7pm-10pm) and Sundays (8am-5pm). After successfully completing the course you will take the Virginia State EMT-B exam. Prerequisite: Scheduled for a physical, VISIT, Level 1, HIPAA.
What training is required to become a Firefighter?
The National Fire Protection Association Firefighter I/II program is another intensive program that will train you in fire suppression, self-contained breathing apparatus, ladders, hoses, hazardous materials mitigation, search & rescue, basic extrication, etc. This course is a vigorous 6-month training program to include two weeknight sessions (7pm-11pm), Saturday and Sunday sessions (8pm-5pm). Prerequisites: VISIT, Level 1, EMT-B, HIPAA, Class A/B physical; CPAT, and IS 100. Watch CPAT Videos here.
What if I already have an EMT-B, EMT-I, or EMT-P certification from Virginia or another state?
If you have a valid Virginia State EMT certification then you are not required to attend the EMT course but are still required to attend the VISIT and Level 1 classes and a few EMT classes that discuss Fairfax County Protocols. If you have an out-of-state EMT certificate, you will likely be required to take the next EMT-B refresher course and Virginia state exam for reciprocity. You should make sure you learn the Virginia and Fairfax County EMS protocols.
What if I already have Firefighter I/II?
To determine if Virginia accepts your certificates, contact the Virginia Department of Fire Programs (VDFP). Likely, your certificates will be accepted if they are Pro-Board Certificates and issued within the last five years. Once you get the VDFP certifications, the county will test your skills. If you pass them, you will only be required to take those firefighter modules above NFPA 1001 during the next volunteer fire school. You must have completed EMT, VISIT, Level 1 (minus Hazmat Awareness, extinguishers, communications, and personal safety), and obtain a Class 1 physical. You would not be required to do CPAT.
What happens after I turn in my application?
The application prompts a background check (about a 3-4 week process). Upon completion of the background check, assuming no negative results (no poor driving/criminal record, etc.), you will be contacted by the Fairfax County Professional Standards Office (PSO) to come in for fingerprinting. The PSO will notify the GSVFD as to your status; we will then contact you and invite you to attend the next monthly general membership meeting held on the third Monday/month. Be prepared to speak informally to the membership about who you are, what you do, why you are interesting in volunteering with GSVFD, your experiences, how long you’ve lived in the area and how long you plan on staying. New members are considered probationary for the first 6 months of membership during which time they can still ride (after meeting requirements) but cannot vote on issues during membership meetings.
I have additional questions, who do I contact?
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org .
FireCorps FAQs for Citizens
What is Fire Corps?
Fire Corps is a locally-driven Citizen Corps program that enables community members to offer their time and talents to their local fire/EMS department in a non-emergency capacity.
What is Citizen Corps?
Citizen Corps is an initiative under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to help coordinate volunteer activities that will make our communities safer, stronger, and better prepared to respond to any emergency situation. It provides opportunities for people to support first responders and participate in a range of measures to make their families, homes, and communities safer from the threats of crime, terrorism, and disasters of all kinds. Citizen Corps is comprised of five programs – USAOnWatch/Neighborhood Watch, Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS), and Fire Corps – along with several affiliate organizations. Citizen Corps activities are coordinated at the local level by Citizen Corps Councils. For more information about Citizen Corps, please visit www.citizencorps.gov.
Why should I join a Fire Corps program?
As a Fire Corps volunteer, or citizen advocate, you will be part of a renowned national volunteer program where you can support your local fire/EMS department with non-emergency tasks so department members may better protect your community from fires, natural disasters, terrorism, and other emergencies. In return, you will gain a greater understanding of the fire and emergency services and become better prepared to handle your own emergencies as well as those of your neighbors.
What can I do for my local fire/EMS departments?
Citizen advocates may use their individual talents and skills to support various non-emergency tasks, including but not limited to:
- Fire Prevention and Life Safety Education
- Rehab or Canteen Services (providing food and water to first responders during lengthy incidents)
- Data Entry
- Administrative Functions
- Public Relations
- Preplanning and Research for emergency incidents
- Apparatus and Facility Maintenance
The types of tasks available are limited only by the needs of the department. Fire/EMS departments seek a variety of skills and will match your talents and interests to an appropriate assignment. For example, if you're a graphic designer, they may ask you to help design a brochure, or if you're a computer software expert, they may want you to help improve their existing information system.
How can I learn about Fire Corps opportunities in my area?
Visit www.firecorps.org to find a list of Fire Corps programs in your area. You may also contact your local fire/EMS department or local Citizen Corps Council to ask if they have a program.
What if there is not a Fire Corps program in my area?
If your local department is not registered with Fire Corps, you may contact your local department or Citizen Corps Council and advocate for a Fire Corps program to be implemented. Perhaps you could offer your services to help start a Fire Corps program within the department. The Fire Corps web site at www.firecorps.org contains resources to help you and/or the department advocate, start, implement, and manage a Fire Corps program.
Are there age-specific requirements for who can or cannot volunteer? How about teenagers?
Age requirements for Fire Corps programs differ from department to department. Please contact your local fire/EMS department for information on its specific requirements.
Do I have to dedicate a certain number of hours per day, week, or year? How long do I have to serve?
Most departments are happy to have you offer any level of service. Most often, you may work out a schedule of hours with your local department.
What training do I need?
Your department will likely have an orientation and training to introduce you to its program. Additional training may be offered depending on your assignment.
I have additional FireCorps questions, who do I contact?
Send an email to JoinFireCorps@gsvfd.org.