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Alexandria Fire Department to undergo restructuring

The Alexandria Fire Department will undergo an organizational restructuring this month that will shift resources to better respond to emergencies.

“Over the past year, our team has reviewed various data including response times, call volume, response coverage and staffing to help us make a data-driven decision that will benefit our workforce and the community,” Fire Chief Corey Smedley said in a recent AFD video.

The plan goes into effect June 12, and includes the formation of battalion management teams (BMTs), where a battalion chief and EMS captain or fire captain is on duty for all three shifts for the East and West Ends of the city. The department says the plan will “improve day-to-day operations by leveraging the experience of more tenured staff to improve daily station management, proactively address personnel and facility issues, and provide professional development opportunities for newly promoted frontline supervisors.”

The Department is plagued by burnout and low morale, said Josh Turner, president of the Alexandria Fire Fighters Inc. and International Association of Firefighters Local 2141, told ALXnow.

“I think we are limited by years and years of a lack of resource allocation and lack of facilities,” Turner said. “Right now, we need another medic unit, but we don’t have a firehouse that can handle it, and obviously we’re working towards that with this new redevelopment. We have larger city problems in our small city, but we don’t necessarily have the infrastructure right now on the public safety side to deal with them adequately.”

Other changes:

  • The Technical Rescue Team will move from Station 204 to Station 209 at Potomac Yard
  • Inland Water Rescue will also relocate to Station 209 for more efficient response to possible flooding in the area
  • The Hazardous Materials Team will move to Station 210 (5255 Eisenhower Avenue) for more efficient response to the industrial park, the Norfolk Southern Ethanol Transloading Facility and easy access to the Interstate 495
  • The Marine Operations Team will relocate to Station 204 (900 Second Street) in Old Town North
  • An addition of a ladder truck at Station 203 (2801 Cameron Mills Road) in the city’s North Ridge neighborhood

“Our department transports approximately 12,000 patients each year,” said EMS Deputy Chief Brian Hricik. “With the organizational restructuring, nearly 50% of our suppression apparatus will be minimally staffed with one paramedic.”

AFD will conduct community conversations on the restructuring on Saturday, June 5, at 10 a.m.; Monday, June 7, at 2 p.m. and Thursday, June 10, at 7 p.m.

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