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Vienna Volunteers Celebrate 100 Years

Firefighters acknowledge a century of service.

In 1903, Vienna consisted of dirt roads and patches of farmland. One hundred years later, the town struggles to maintain a small-town identity in the midst of traffic congestion and development. Throughout its century of existence, the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department has continued to fight fires and rescue people in need.

The Vienna Volunteer Fire Department celebrated its 100th anniversary on May 31 at the Hyatt Fair Lakes in Fairfax. Current firefighters, longtime members, Ladies' Auxiliary members, area citizens and local officials attended the event, with U.S. Fire Administrator David Paulison giving the keynote address.

"It's really quite amazing when you think back 100 years," said Vienna fire chief Donald L. Burns.

Paulison spoke of the potential challenges firefighters face in today's world. To combat threats and bioterrorism, Paulison called for a nationwide command system as well as a standardized credential system, more cooperation between fire departments and police and public health departments, and identification and practice of worst-case scenarios.

"You do whatever it takes because you are sworn to protect those communities," Paulison said. "You're going to be the ones on the ground doing this job ... so you've got to make sure you're ready and you're trained."

— By Joanna Franco