Pedestrian Struck on Route 1 — Added at 9:15 a.m. — The southbound lanes of Route 1 were closed this morning while police investigated a serious pedestrian accident. A pedestrian was reported struck by a car between 20th Street and 23rd Street overnight. [WJLA]
Civ Fed Considering Televising Meetings — The Arlington County Civic Federation, which has been trying to retain its relevance in the 21st century, is considering televising its meetings either on local cable or the internet. [Sun Gazette]
Firefighters Collecting Money for Kids’ Coats — Arlington County firefighters have launched a fundraising drive online intended to help buy winter coats for children in need in Arlington. [Operation Warm]
If you find yourself in immediate physical danger while walking through a neighborhood, heading to a nearby fire station may not be the first thing that comes to mind. But the Arlington County Fire Department hopes to change that with its “Safe Haven lobbies.”
Although it is not yet widely known, a number of the county’s fire stations have been outfitted with special lobby features to protect a person who goes there for help.
The person in danger can go through the outside doors and into the fire station lobby, where the second set of doors leading to the rest of the fire station are always locked. When the person pushes the button on an emergency box inside the lobby, the outside doors automatically lock and the box calls 911.
Someone at the county’s Emergency Communications Center (ECC) answers as if it were a typical 911 call placed from a phone. They speak to the person to determine the type of emergency and will then dispatch the appropriate emergency responders to the location.
There are cameras on the ceiling of the lobby that turn on when the emergency button is pushed. While waiting for police or fire fighters to respond, staff at the ECC will monitor the cameras to see what is happening during the call. The outside lobby doors will remain locked until ECC workers hang up the call when they determine the caller is safe.
The system can be used at any time, even if the station is empty while fire fighters are out on a call.
“The fire house is somewhere you can always come if you’re in danger. If you need help or have to call 911, you can come to any fire house,” said ACFD spokeswoman Lt. Sarah Marchegiani. “It’s important to know that if you live close to one of these locations, one of the five that have it, that this exists and it’s another safety for you.”
All of the newer fire stations — 2, 3, 5, 6 and 9 — have a Safe Haven equipped lobby. Fire Station No. 9 was the first to be outfitted with the system when it was renovated in the late 1990s. The older stations were not built with lobbies, but the goal is to eventually install this type of a system in all of Arlington’s stations when they are upgraded or replaced.
So far nobody has used the system, but it’s unclear if that is because citizens haven’t had the need or if they’re not yet aware the Safe Haven lobbies exist.
Firefighters spent part of the morning dealing with a small fire at Portofino restaurant (526 23rd Street S.) in Crystal City.
According to Arlington County Fire Department spokeswoman Lt. Sarah Marchegiani, firefighters found a dryer fire in the basement of the building. They were able to extinguish those flames quickly with a water can fire extinguisher, as well as some flames that had spread to the area behind the dryer. Crews remained on the scene for a while to ventilate the smoke that had seeped throughout the building.
There were some people cooking inside the building when the fire broke out, but nobody was hurt.
Although a fire marshal was still on scene conducting an investigation as of 10:30 a.m., the fire is not expected to affect Portofino’s business and it will be open as usual.
Photo via Google Maps
The call for a fire in the rear of a home on the 300 block of N. Greenbrier Street came in at 6:38 p.m., according to Arlington County Fire Department spokeswoman Lt. Sarah Marchegiani. The first responding unit arrived on scene, in the Arlington Forest neighborhood, at 6:45.
Firefighters found heavy fire coming from the deck in the back of the home. The flames were spreading to the home’s kitchen, Marchegiani said.
A second alarm was called but in the end it was not needed — firefighters were able to make quick work of the flames, extinguishing the blaze before it had a chance to spread any further.
There was extensive damage to the rear deck, Marchegiani said, and minor damage to the kitchen, but the home was otherwise spared.
This is the second “save” for ACFD in a week. On Sunday Arlington firefighters quickly extinguished a basement fire on the 3600 block of 21st Avenue N., in the Maywood neighborhood, before it could spread to the upper floors of the house.
The incident happened around 11:00 Sunday night. Arlington Medic 109 was exiting a parking lot onto the 2400 block of S. Glebe Road, with lights and sirens blaring and a medical patient on board, when the driver observed a car approaching at a high rate of speed. The ambulance stopped but the driver of the approaching vehicle did not, and the car broadsided the ambulance, according to Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Bill Shelton.
The driver of the car then fled on foot, Shelton said. He was later apprehended by police and transported to the hospital for treatment of injuries suffered in the crash.
The patient on Medic 109 was taken to the hospital by another ambulance, apparently unhurt by the collision, according to Shelton. The two paramedics were taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure, also uninjured.
“They were very lucky in that respect,” Shelton told ARLnow.com. “It was a very substantial impact.”
A police spokesman could not be reached to confirm which charges are being filed against the alleged hit-and-run driver. Until repairs can be made, Medic 109 will be replaced by a reserve medic unit from the fire department’s fleet.
Photo courtesy Robert Eversburg/ACFD
A call comes in for a seemingly typical vehicle accident on a seemingly typical morning in Arlington. But for the rattled caller, the situation is anything but typical. Enter Lynne Putnam, Emergency Communications Tech III. Putnam has 30 years of experience as a 911 dispatcher, 27 of those spent in Arlington County. She attempts to soothe the caller while transferring the person, because it turns out the accident did not occur in Arlington’s jurisdiction.
“Stay on the line, ma’am, I’m sending you to Park Police.”
Putnam remains on the line with the caller until she can hear the person speaking with a representative for the U.S. Park Police. As with this case, Putnam frequently must make sense out of a caller’s choppy phrases and gather all the facts she can. Often, callers panic and collecting the necessary information becomes a more daunting task than it may first appear.
“I think the part I like best is I’m able to help people in their time of need,” said Putnam. “I like being the calming voice on the other side helping you through your emergency.”
Adding to the difficulty of call taking is the ECC goal to answer each 911 call within 90 seconds. Although not easy to rapidly collect information and then move on to the next call, it’s the ECC employees’ speedy actions that help maintain Arlington County Fire Department’s four minute average response time.
“We’re really proud of that,” said Putnam.
Answering 911 calls is only part of the job for Putnam and her co-workers at Arlington’s Emergency Communications Center in the Courthouse neighborhood; they also train as police and fire dispatchers. Although it takes about 18 months for the average employee to become fully trained in all three disciplines, it allows for more flexibility and employees can help out wherever needed.
Dispatchers are the voices the public hears when listening to scanners. They deal with calls to the non-emergency police line as well as emergencies called in to 911. Based on the information entered into the system by the 911 call takers, dispatchers determine which response units should head to the scene and how many units should respond. They examine which units are closest and call them to the scene via police and fire radios, explain the emergency as best they can and sometimes give directions.
“The mechanics of the job look easy, answering phones and inputting information,” said Emergency Communications Tech III Sheree Rymenams. “But there’s a lot of judgment involved for each call.”
Dispatchers say occasionally their jobs can be “like that telephone game” in that the details or severity of the original call can end up being nothing like what officers actually find on the scene. With the long hours, multi-tasking and intense situations sometimes comes nervousness, despite having cue cards at each cubicle with prompts for what to ask in a wide variety of situations. After all, emergency responders’ and citizens’ lives are on the line.
“You can’t worry constantly. You just have to do what you’re trained to do, what you’re supposed to do,” said Rymenams. “It’s a team effort.”
(Updated at 11:40 a.m.) A Ferrari crashed and caught fire on the GW Parkway this morning, prompting an emergency response that then led to an accident involving a fire department vehicle.
The first wreck happened around 9:30 a.m., in the southbound lanes of the GW Parkway under I-66, according to Arlington County Fire Department spokeswoman Lt. Sarah Marchegiani.
The Ferrari lost control on the rain-slicked road and struck the bridge, coming to rest on the side of the parkway. The Ferrari then caught fire, quickly becoming fully engulfed before the flames were extinguished by firefighters. The driver was uninjured, according to Marchegiani.
Just past 10:30 a.m., a pickup truck rear-ended an Arlington County Fire Marshal’s truck that was stopped in the northbound lanes of the GW Parkway, adjacent to the first wreck. A third vehicle was also hit but no injuries were reported, Marchegiani said.
The dual wrecks shut down lanes and caused major backups for GW Parkway commuters. Two trucks are currently on scene to haul away the vehicles involved.
Video (above) courtesy David Johnson. Photos (below) courtesy @Chief288.
Terminal A Revamp Underway at DCA — A $37 million renovation project at Reagan National Airport’s Terminal A is proceeding swiftly. The project isn’t adding a significant amount of extra space to the historic terminal, but it will make the existing space seem brighter and more open. Most of the work is expected to be complete by the holiday travel season. [Washington Post]
Pupatella Makes National Pizza Rankings — Bluemont’s Pupatella Neapolitan Pizzeria (5104 Wilson Blvd) serves one of the top 40 slices of pizza in the country, according to new rankings. Pupatella’s capricciosa pizza was ranked No. 36 on the list, as judged by the Daily Meal website. [Daily Mail]
Students Receive Scholarships at NAACP Banquet — Through a partnership with the Arlington NAACP, a new scholarship fund awarded $2,500/year college scholarships to four high-performing local students over the weekend. The scholarship fund allows the NAACP to “invest in our youth,” said the head of the Arlington branch of the organization. [Sun Gazette]
Beer and Wine Walks Return to Crystal City — Crystal City’s 1K wine and beer walks will return next month. The walks — which allow participants to sample various wines and beers while walking through Crystal City’s underground shopping center — will take place on Nov. 16 and 17. [Crystal City]
County Board Adopts Public Safety Radio Resolution — The Arlington County Board adopted a resolution yesterday (Tuesday) that calls on builders to install technology that allows better police and fire department communications in new buildings. Modern construction materials have made it difficult for first responders to receive radio signals in newer buildings. The Board’s non-binding resolution calls on builders to install in-building wireless systems to better transmit public radio signals. [Arlington County]
Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser
Arlington Volunteer Fire Department, Company One held its annual memorial service and celebrated its 90th anniversary on Saturday afternoon.
Held at the fire station at 500 S. Glebe Road, the ceremony was also the unveiling of a park to the north of the station and new memorial statues honoring firefighters, both career and volunteer, who have died. Family members of deceased firefighters laid roses and the feet of the memorial during Saturday’s ceremony.
Fire Company One was originally located on S. Edgewood Street when it opened in 1923. The keynote speaker at the event was Judge Henry Hudson, of the Fourth Circuit Court in Richmond, who is a lifelong member of Company One.
Photos courtesy Marcy Genest
(Update at 11:25 a.m.) An office worker has been hurt from a fall behind 950 N. Glebe Road in Ballston.
The incident happened just before 10:00 a.m. The worker was walking to a meeting when he stepped on a steel grate, adjacent to the sidewalk, which collapsed. He fell about 15 feet into a ventilation shaft, landing on a concrete ledge. Scanner reports suggest he suffered head and rib injuries.
A technical rescue team from the Arlington County Fire Department used a Stokes basket to lift the man from the shaft. With dried blood visible on his face, he was loaded onto a stretcher and taken to the trauma center at Inova Fairfax Hospital around 11:00 a.m.
The man, a white male in his 50s, was conscious, alert and breathing, fire department spokesman Capt. Bill Shelton said. There’s no official word on the nature of his injuries.
In his experience, Shelton said, incidents like this one, in which a grate collapses under the feet of a pedestrian, are uncommon.
Two lanes of N. Glebe Road were blocked by the emergency response. A county building engineer has responded to the scene to inspect the grate.
The fire station open houses will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12. The events will give residents an opportunity to talk with firefighters, tour the stations, climb aboard fire trucks and learn about fire safety. There will also be activities for kids.
The theme of Fire Prevention Week this year is “Prevent Kitchen Fires.”
“More fires start in the kitchen than in any other part of the home,” says the Arlington County Fire Department website. “Come to the open house and learn how to prevent cooking fires from starting in the first place and other important fire safety tips.”
Photo by Mary Troyan
Beginning Oct. 5 at 6:00 a.m. and continuing until noon, the emergency exercise will include all the aspects of the Arlington County Fire Department’s response to a real fire, without lights and sirens.
From an Arlington County press release:
A simulated hospital fire will test the Arlington County Fire Department’s emergency response while providing hands-on training to the Office of Emergency Management and Virginia Hospital Center staff. During the exercise, emergency personnel will respond as in a real emergency, but will not use their lights or sirens.
The exercise will be held inside the hospital and will not affect normal hospital services. Theexercise will include elements to add realism to the simulated emergency of a real fire:
- A simulated fire and deployment of smoke in a secured and confined area of the hospital with the evacuation of patients will occur for training purposes
- Participation by ACFD, OEM and Virginia Hospital Center personnel will test response times, collaboration and patient care during this simulation
- More than 10 responding emergency vehicles will be used
- Volunteer role players will simulate injuries sustained from the incident
The full-scale emergency preparedness exercise, which is the culmination of months of planning and coordination across these different disciplines, is part of Arlington County’sEmergency Preparedness Plan and will help ensure that ACFD, OEM and Virginia Hospital Center are prepared for real-life fire emergencies.
PLEASE NOTE: Some of the exercise elements may be seen or heard on Saturday morning from areas surrounding the hospital – especially in the proximity of the Virginia Hospital Center campus. This is only an exercise.
Metro Keys Stolen from Arlington Fire Truck — Two men wearing masks and black clothing stole keys to secure areas of the Metro system from an unattended Arlington County fire truck last week. The theft happened during a medical call in Crystal City, and the thieves also stole a forcible entry tool called a Hydra Ram. [NBC Washington]
New Wakefield Aquatics Center Debuts — A ribbon cutting ceremony was held for the new aquatics center at Wakefield High School on Sunday. The center is expected to draw a larger crowd than the aging, existing Wakefield aquatics facility it replaces. The cost of entry is up to $5.50 per day for Arlington residents. [Sun Gazette]
Ft. Myer Heights Playground Opening Imminent — A new playground in Ft. Myer Heights, with slides made to look like hollowed-out logs, is set to open as soon as Wednesday. The playground also features a sand pit and picnic benches. [Ode Street Tribune]
New Poll Shows McAuliffe With Lead in Gov. Race — Democrat Terry McAuliffe is leading Republican Ken Cuccinelli 47-39 among likely votes in the Virginia governor’s race, according to a new Washington Post poll. Cuccinelli had a 10 point lead in a poll conducted this spring. [Washington Post]
Lt. Gov. Debate in Arlington Tonight — The candidates for Virginia lieutenant governor — Republican E.W. Jackson and Democrat Ralph Northam — will face off in a live debate in Arlington tonight. The 90-minute debate will take place at 7:00 p.m. at George Mason University’s Founders Hall Auditorium in Virginia Square. [George Mason University]
Flickr pool photo by ddimick
The event still start at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 11, outsize the Courthouse Plaza county government building at 2100 Clarendon Blvd.
A moment of silence will be observed at 9:37 a.m., marking the time that American Airlines Flight 77 flew into the Pentagon. The silence will be followed by a playing of “Taps” and a lowering of the flag to half-staff.
Arlington County’s combined police, fire and sheriff color guard will be on hand, as will Sheriff Beth Arthur, Chief of Police Doug Scott and Fire Chief James Schwartz.
The event is open to the public.
Yorktown Wins Big in Opener — The Yorktown High School football team defeated Coolidge 49-0 at their season opener on Thursday, Aug. 29. Senior running back M.J. Stewart ran for 215 yards on 15 carries. The Patriots next face Langley on Sept. 6. [Sun Gazette]
Arlington Firefighters Assist on Six-Alarm Fire — Firefighters from Arlington County helped to battle a six-alarm warehouse fire in Alexandria on Labor Day Monday. It took more than 200 firefighters four hours to finally get the fire on S. Pickett Street under control. [NBC Washington]
An Office Built for Millennials — The consulting firm Accenture designed its 90,000 square foot office in Ballston, which opened last year, with 20-something millennial workers in mind. The office eschews private offices for workspaces that are booked by workers when needed, among other innovations. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Maryva2