Department of Fire Rescue  |  Frequently Asked Questions

 Q. When should I call 911?
A. 911 should be called for any emergency which is threatening to life or property. This includes crimes in progress, medical problems, suspicious persons or activities, and fire emergencies.

Q. What do I do after a fire?
A. Recovering from a fire can be a physically and mentally draining process.  When fire strikes, lives are suddenly turned around.  Often, the hardest part is knowing where to begin and who to contact.  The information contained in our After the Fire: Returning to Normal booklet (pdf) is to provide you with initial assistance in your time of need.

Q. How do I schedule public education, a station tour, or a presentation to my group, organization, or school?
A. Call the Department of Fire Rescue at 434.296.5833 or complete a Request for Information or Services form.

Q. Why do I get a fire engine when I call 911 for an ambulance?
A. The closest ambulance is dispatched to answer your call; however, it is imperative that emergency medical help arrive on the scene as soon as possible. Since ambulances may be transporting other patients or completing duties at the hospital, it is likely that a fire engine will be closer to the call. Therefore, the nearest fire engine is dispatched with the ambulance.

Q. How do I get a copy of a fire incident report or patient care report?
A. Certain limitations apply.  Call the Department of Fire Rescue at 434.296.5833 or complete a Request for Information or Services form.

Q. Where can I learn about Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), First Aid, or Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) classes?
A. The Charlottesville Albemarle Rescue Squad provides CPR courses to community members and prospective CARS volunteers as a public service.  E-Mail CARS for more information or contact the American Red Cross at 434.979.7143 or the American Heart Association at 434.973.5072.

Q. Where can I learn about training opportunities?
A. For training opportunities, click here or contact the Department of Fire Rescue at 434.296.5833.

Q. What types of things do I need a permit for?
A. A permit is needed for, but not limited to, the following: control burns, blasting, tank removals, tents, fireworks, and public displays.

Q. How do I get a permit for burning, fireworks, and other things?
A. Call the Department of Fire Rescue at 434.296.5833 or complete a Request for Information or Services form.

Q. How can I become a volunteer?
A. Click here, e-mail here, or call the recruitment hotline at 434.296.5825.

Q. How can I become a career firefighter/EMT?
A. Information on employment opportunities is posted on the Albemarle County website at or you may call the County’s Human Resources Department at 434.296.5827.

Q. Where should smoke detectors be placed in my home?
A. Residential smoke detectors are early warning devices to alert persons to a potential fire.  Smoke detectors should be placed in living areas of the home including each bedroom (sleeping area) and in the hallway leading to the bedrooms.  The Department of Fire Rescue now offers a limited free smoke detector program to bring single family residences into compliance with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommendations.  Free smoke detectors are available to homeowners who may not be able to afford/install detectors on their own.  Interested homeowners may call the Department of Fire Rescue at 434.296.5833 or complete a Request for Information or Services form.

Q. If I'm building a home, should I consider a residential sprinkler system?
A. Absolutely!  Studies by the Federal Emergency Management Agency's United States Fire Administration indicate that the installation of residential fire sprinkler systems could have saved thousands of lives, prevented a large number of injuries, and eliminated hundreds of millions of dollars in property losses.

Q. Where should fire extinguishers be placed in the home?
A. Having a fire extinguisher in the home is a great idea.  If you have an extinguisher, it should be placed where it is easily accessible. The kitchen and garage are good sites for an extinguisher.  However, do not place an extinguisher over the stove or buried in storage in the garage.  Hang it on the wall between four (4) inches and five (5) feet from the ground.

Q. Where can I see if my child safety seat is installed properly?
A. Child safety seat checks are available at the some Albemarle County Fire Rescue stations.  Appointments for checks must be arranged in advance by calling 434.531.6614 or complete a Request for Information or Services form.

Q. What should I do if an emergency vehicle approaches with lights flashing and siren wailing?
A. By Virginia law, you are required to pull to the nearest edge of the roadway and stop, thereby yielding the right-of-way to the emergency vehicle.

Q. How much does fire and EMS apparatus cost?
A. Our fire and EMS apparatus is custom designed to be multi-purpose, efficient, effective, and state-of-the-art while keeping our personnel's safety paramount.  The prices below represent approximate equipment and apparatus costs.  For more information, view our Cost of Doing Business (pdf).

    • Engine:    $550,000
    • Tanker:   $350,000
    • Ladder Truck/Aerial:  $1,100,000
    • Heavy Rescue Squad:  $600,000
    • Ambulance:   $200,000
    • Quick Response Vehicle:  $90,000
    • Brush/Quick Attack Vehicle:  $100,000
    • Command Vehicle:  $80,000

Q. How much does it cost to outfit and train personnel?
A. The approximate costs shown below are not all-inclusive.

    • Personal Protective Equipment (per person):  $2,345
    • Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (per person):  $4,350
    • Uniforms (per person):  $1,400
    • Basic Training (per person):  $1,500
    • Average Training (per person):  $5,000
    • Required Continuing Education (per person/year):  $1,200

Contact the Department
Fire Rescue
460 Stagecoach Road
Charlottesville, VA 22902
FAX: 434-972-4123
Email the Department