Mutual aid, sometimes called automatic aid, is assistance provided by one fire department to another of a different jurisdiction, which is dispatched automatically by a contractual agreement. Last Thursday night’s crew exemplified two different ways mutual aid is so important – for incident response and to fill-in.
Before midnight, Ambulance 511 was dispatched to an auto accident on Interstate 66 in Fairfax County. Two people were transported to a nearby level-2 trauma center. Our ambulance crew cared for the driver of a passenger vehicle that struck the rear of a moving tractor-trailer, subsequently crashing into a highway guardrail.
After midnight, Truck 511 was dispatched to fill-in at Fairfax County fire station 417, in order to respond more quickly to potential calls in and near Centreville, Virginia, while numerous Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department personnel were handling two significant fires elsewhere in the county. We call this type of mutual aid response fill-in because firefighters are filling in for busy or absent fire crews.
Volunteers from Stonewall Jackson Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad frequently provide and receive mutual aid to and from surrounding jurisdictions, including Manassas City, the City of Manassas Park, Fairfax County, and less frequently to Fauquier and Loudoun counties.