ACFD To Honor Unprecedented Number of Retirees

by ARLnow.com January 18, 2012 at 12:05 pm 2,906 12 Comments

Arlington firefighters will be honoring an unprecedented number of retirees at a ceremony next week.

A retirement ceremony is being held on the morning of Tuesday, Jan. 24 for about 20 Arlington County Fire Department retirees. The firefighters have all retired over the past month or so after 25 to 37 years of service, according to department spokesman Lt. Gregg Karl.

“This is the largest number of retirees the ACFD has seen at one time and we want to honor them for their service,” Karl said.

Over the past 1-2 years the fire department has been in “heavy recruitment mode” as it anticipated the retirements. Fire Chief Jim Schwartz said in 2010 that the timing of at least some of the retirements was driven by changes to Arlington County’s retirement benefits. Older firefighters who might otherwise have stuck around for a bit longer were planning to retire by January 2012 in order to take advantage of better retirement health coverage.

  • yequalsy
    • Huh?

      What does the article at the end of that link have anything to do with the retirement of public safety employees in virginia?

      • Zoning Victim

        This article talks about our firefighters retiring now before changes kick-in that will affect their retirement health benefits. The Vanity Fair article actually talks about all states debt problems and how underfunding their pension plans is one of the ways states are becoming indebted. It also talks a lot about how pensions are a big problem for states and pension reform is needed. The link between the two articles seems pretty clear to me.

        • AllenB

          It’s my understanding that Arlington doesn’t have a problem with underfunding its pension plan. The change the article is referring to is that the medical benefits upon retirement are gradually being reduced so some are retiring now to get the higher benefits.

          • 4Arl

            Arlington doesn’t have nearly as serious a pension problem as most governments. But the funded ratio is now below 100% and annual costs are rising. The retiree healthcare costs are not pre-funded, but the county has begun to set aside money each year to begin addressing those future costs. The sustainability remains to be seen. Since it’s harder to cut benefits to those already retired, it may have been better to retire now. Good luck to retirees and thank you for your service.

  • JimPB

    I understand that the calls for fires have dived (if true, that’s very good news). As a result, the bulk of calls that fire departments respond to have become EMRs. Has this impacted selection and training? The composition of fire department equipment?

    Is “fireman” still a man’s occupation, or are women in the ranks increasing? If so, what’s the replacement for the occupational label, “fireman”?

    • truth be told

      I would guess women being in EMS has increased. Being a “fireman” could be imposing just because of the physical strength and stature required to lug heavy water-filled hoses, with 100 pounds of equipment on your back, up a ladder or into a building. Most women just may not be strong enough regardless of training and physical condition.

      • Anon

        Jim — You are correct that a majority of calls most fire departments respond to these days are EMS-related. However, with any major municipal career-staffed (or volunteer, for that matter) fire department tasked with both fire suppression and EMS response duties, the training extensively covers both fire suppression knowledge/skills/abilities as well as EMS training (Emergency Medical Technician/EMT-Intermediate/Paramedic here in VA). I’m fairly familiar with ACFD, and I know they’re one of the most progressive career FD’s out there, with a large number of women within their ranks. All ACFD career members are cross-trained as fully certified firefighters and EMT-Basic’s, and are capable of performing in both roles.

        EMS response has slightly altered the way most FD’s spec out their fire suppression rigs, in that room for EMS equipment is taken into account (ACFD is no exception). FD’s that provide EMS transport capabilities (i.e., ambulances) also have fleets of ambulances or medic units to keep up.

        As far as labels go, the gender-neutral term “firefighter” is used most often these days, since really, gender has much less to do with one’s ability to do the job than it might have, say, 30 years ago…

        And last but not least, best of luck to all the recent ACFD retirees!!

  • charlie

    disappointed in the lack of interest in this item. it is so much more important that frogurt, health clubs, and flip flops.

    • truth be told

      Apparently it isn’t to most. Sad.

  • truth be told

    A big thank you to all the retirees for their service to our community. THANK YOU!

    • charlie

      absolutely. they’ve been to my place numerous times. thank you.


Subscribe to our mailing list