Tuesday, September 16, 2008


From Sun-Gazette
Sept. 9, 2008

A plan to augment Arlington County's seven emergency-medical services (EMS) ambulances with an eighth unit for peak times will have to wait until the government's budget situation improves.

Fire officials had hoped to bring the unit into service over the summer, but pulled back the idea due to “serious budget constraints,” Fire Chief James Schwartz said.

The proposed eighth unit, which would have operated weekdays when the system is most overloaded, was not included in the fiscal 2009 budget adopted by the County Board. But, given an increasingly high level of service calls, Schwartz earlier this year tried to find a way to add it.

“I tried to see if it was possible to create the additional unit with existing resources,” Schwartz told the Sun Gazette. “I ultimately determined that it wasn't possible.”

Schwartz cited increasing personnel costs, due to higher-than-anticipated turnover, for his decision to scrap the proposed eighth unit. He said he will wait until the fiscal 2010 budget process to request the new medic unit.

The extra unit has long been sought by some safety advocates and the Arlington Professional Firefighters and Paramedics Association, which represents many firefighters.

They point to “paramedic burnout” and the increasing number of times that the county government runs out of available medic units over the course of the year.

Monday, September 08, 2008


Photo: Collection of Capt. Randy Higgins
Hall's Hill Volunteer Fire Department
Old Fire Station No. 8

The Hall's Hill Volunteer Fire Department protected Hall's Hill - a historic African-American neighborhood in the northern part of Arlington County.

Hall's Hill is ``situated on land that was an antebellum estate'' and ``a number of current residents are descended from the estate's slave families,'' according to the web site The residents of Hall's Hill ``endured the era of segregation and the struggle for civil rights,'' the web site said.

Until the early 1960s, the Arlington County Fire Department was also segregated and only black firefighters - paid and volunteer - were assigned to old Station No. 8.

The old station was replaced in 1963 by the current firehouse, which is located adjacent to the site of the old structure.

Read more about Hall's Hill and the book ``Up On The Hill" at: