Volunteer firefighters and emergency medical technicians have served the citizens of Arlington since 1898. Today, our volunteers work alongside of Arlington County Fire Department (ACFD) firefighters in a combination paid/volunteer system. Volunteering provides exciting and rewarding opportunities. Cherrydale volunteers provide additional staffing throughout Arlington County as well as own and operate Support 103 and Utility 103, both of which respond to most working fires in the county.
These members provide administrative support for day to day operations. Administrative members can serve on the board of directors and assist with community outreach, fundraising, treasury, station and equipment maintenance, and other essential duties. We are in great need of additional administrative support, particularly from anyone who has fundraising or grant writing experience.
Firefighter/Emergency Medical Technician
These members supplement career Firefighters/EMTs on engines, ladder trucks, rescue units and medics. They also operate Support 103 on a call-back basis, as well as staff Utility 103 during storms and special events. Members must complete the Arlington County Fire and Rescue Association Orientation program and within two years, both a state certified Firefighter I/II course and an EMT course. Volunteers at the Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department are required to acquire BOTH FF I/II and EMT certifications.
Volunteer Firefighters and EMTs today
The fire and rescue service is one of the most diverse and challenging professions today. It is the diversity that inspires most men and women to enter the service both as volunteers and career employees. Imagine having to train to prepare yourself to cope with situations which range from building fires to childbirth to hazardous chemical spills to heart attacks, and almost any imaginable emergency situation in between. This diversity is coupled with the fact that these skills may be needed at any time of day, seven days a week, in any kind of weather, and very often under potentially stressful and emotional circumstances. These challenges contribute to our profession being personally rewarding.
This business is not for everyone. You need more than just a desire to help people. You need courage and dedication, assertiveness, and a willingness to learn new skills and face new challenges. And you need to have the time, for training sessions, meetings, emergency calls, maintenance of equipment, and other duties. The fire and rescue service is not for the meek or timid for those who lose control during times of crises. Our service is one which calls on its members to perform hot, sweaty, dirty, and strenuous work, often in uncertain and hazardous environments.
The personal rewards and satisfaction received from the fire and rescue service are often beyond description. There is a sense of accomplishment after controlling a building fire, joy and elation when a child is born, compassion for accident victims, and fulfillment in teaching fire safety. This list goes on and on.