The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce recently honored Capt. Mike Allen of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department’s Station 12 in Great Falls as the “First Responder of the Quarter.”
Allen, who has served as the station’s captain for almost 10 years, uses his experience as a lifelong Great Falls resident to prepare, train and respond to emergencies, department officials said.
The Reston area is a busy and challenging area for emergency services, given its variety of large and small communities with different needs. Its structures vary from older, small single-family dwellings to high-rise buildings, officials said.
The area has one-way, single-lane roads leading to major highways, Metrorail, multiple parks and the Potomac River. A portion of the area does not have fire hydrants, so water must be brought long distances for fire emergencies, officials said.
Capt. Allen has invested his time and energy to educate and train himself and his crew and mentor firefighters, officers and chief officers who are not familiar with the area, officials said. He takes time to explain operations and take people on field trips, driving them around to show them the challenges and response plans for these unique areas, they said.
Allen actively is engaged in the community and goes above and beyond what is expected, particularly on non-emergency events, officials said.
When the derecho wind storm struck in June 2012, Capt. Allen provided lifesaving water to horses in the area when well pumps did not have power for days, they said.