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Quick Action Helps ACFD Save House

by ARLnow.com | November 16, 2013 at 10:10 am | 2,029 views | No Comments

Arlington County fire truckArlington County firefighters quickly extinguished a house fire Friday night before it was able to spread to the entire structure.

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.

Man Arrested After Crash Involving Ambulance

by ARLnow.com | November 11, 2013 at 12:15 pm | 2,470 views | No Comments

Crash damage to Medic 109 (photo courtesy Robert Eversburg/ACFD)A man has been arrested after allegedly driving into an Arlington medic unit and fleeing the scene.

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

Inside Arlington’s Emergency Communications Center

by Katie Pyzyk | November 8, 2013 at 11:30 am | 1,231 views | No Comments

Arlington's Emergency Communications Center“Arlington 911, where is your emergency?”

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.

Arlington's Emergency Communications CenterAnswering 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.”

(more…)

BREAKING: Fire Dept. Truck Rear-Ended After Ferrari Crash, Fire on GW Parkway

by ARLnow.com | November 1, 2013 at 11:20 am | 6,375 views | No Comments

(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.

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | October 23, 2013 at 9:15 am | 1,430 views | No Comments

Morning sky in Rosslyn

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

Photos: Fire Department Memorial Service

by Ethan Rothstein | October 22, 2013 at 4:30 pm | No Comments

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

BREAKING: Office Worker Falls Through Grate in Ballston

by ARLnow.com | October 9, 2013 at 10:10 am | 19,451 views | No Comments

(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.

Fire Stations to Hold Open Houses on Saturday

by ARLnow.com | October 9, 2013 at 9:55 am | 673 views | No Comments

3. "Douglas Park Fire Station" by Mary TroyanIt’s Fire Prevention Week, and Arlington’s ten fire stations will be holding open houses this weekend to mark the occasion.

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

Hospital Planning Emergency Exercise Saturday

by Ethan Rothstein | October 4, 2013 at 10:00 am | 314 views | No Comments

Exterior of Virginia Hospital Center's maternity wardThe Virginia Hospital Center will host an emergency preparedness exercise this Saturday, including a simulated fire within the hospital walls.

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.

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | September 24, 2013 at 8:30 am | 1,827 views | No Comments

Bicycle commuter on the W&OD Trail (Flickr pool photo by ddimick)

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

Arlington to Hold 9/11 Commemoration Ceremony

by ARLnow.com | September 9, 2013 at 10:00 am | 629 views | No Comments

Courthouse PlazaArlington County will hold a special commemorative ceremony to remember the 184 victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the Pentagon.

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.

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | September 3, 2013 at 8:30 am | 1,344 views | No Comments

Arlington firefighters respond to a minor trash fire at the Waterford condominium the night of Sunday, Sept. 2, 2013 (Flickr pool photo by Maryva2)

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

Woman Rescued After Fall Near GW Parkway

by ARLnow.com | August 12, 2013 at 9:30 am | 2,611 views | No Comments

Second overlook on the GW Parkway (photo via Google Maps)Arlington County firefighters helped to rescue a woman who fell 20 feet near the second overlook on the GW Parkway.

The incident happened around 3:00 on Sunday afternoon. It’s unclear where exactly the woman fell, though there is a trail near the overlook.

The woman suffered non-life-threatening injuries from the fall, according to ACFD spokeswoman Lt. Sarah Marchegiani, but the terrain made it difficult to get her to an ambulance. Instead, a technical rescue team was called to the scene and managed to lower her to a waiting D.C. fire boat.

The woman was transported to George Washington University Hospital. No additional information was available about the incident.

Photo via Google Maps

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | July 25, 2013 at 8:50 am | 1,437 views | No Comments

Yard sale on Quincy Street (Flickr pool photo by Ddimick)

Too Much Cash on Hand? — Is Arlington County’s nearly $300 million cash hoard excessive? Many county officials says the extra cash cushion is an example of good fiscal stewardship. County Treasurer Frank O’Leary, however, suggests the cash reserves are “causing us to pay more taxes than we should.” [Sun Gazette]

More Coverage for Girls’ Firefighting Camp — The Today Show broadcast a segment yesterday about the Arlington Girls’ Fire Camp. The unique camp has also been covered by CBS News, among other broadcast outlets. [Today Show]

Korean War Tribute at Twilight Tattoo — Last night’s Twilight Tattoo performance at Fort Myer featured a special tribute to the heroes of the Korean War. The high-energy performance commemorated the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Korean War Armistice and was hosted by Joseph Westphal, Under Secretary of the Army. [U.S. Army]

Dating Event for Ages 31-40 — Date Social, the Arlington-based dating startup, will be hosting a dating mixer for those ages 31-40 at Hard Times Cafe tonight, starting at 7:00. Tickets are $12. [Clarendon Nights]

Flickr pool photo by Ddimick

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | July 17, 2013 at 8:30 am | 914 views | No Comments

Traffic on the Key Bridge facing Rosslyn (Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann)

Code Orange Air Quality — Hot and unhealthy air is in the forecast today. Code Orange air quality is expected today through Friday, meaning that pollution levels could be harmful to children, the elderly, or people with health problems. On this hazy and humid day, the heat index could reach as high as 107 degrees. [WJLA]

Arlington Girls’ Fire Camp Profiled — CBS News correspondent Chip Reid took a look at Arlington’s girls fire camp on the network’s morning show. The camp is an effort to help spark interest in the department among potential future female recruits. Percentage-wise, Arlington has more than double the national average of female firefighters. The county also hired the first paid female firefighter in the nation. [CBS News]

Board Approves Improvements to Parks — The Arlington County Board on Tuesday approved nearly $2 million in contracts to repair and upgrade Towers Park and Ft. Barnard Park. Towers Park will get new tennis courts and a basketball court, among other things. Ft. Barnard Park will have its playground and picnic shelter replaced. [Arlington County]

Yorktown Running Back Commits to UNC — Star Yorktown running back M.J. Stewart will play Division I football at the University of North Carolina. Stewart, a rising senior, will still play at Yorktown this fall. [Sun Gazette]

New Pilates Studio Opens – A new pilates studio recently opened in Courthouse. It’s the second Arlington location for the company, My Thrive Pilates. The studios are located at 1401 N. Adams Street and 2800 S. Randolph Street. [PRWeb]

Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann

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