Marine Corps Base Quantico, VA --
The Provost Marshall Office (PMO), Marine Corps Base Quantico Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) are more than the Keepers and Protectors of the Crossroads. They also provide aid to those in need around Prince William, Stafford and Fauquier Counties.
Both currently have mutual aid agreements with Prince William, Stafford and Fauquier County, which are reviewed annually. If the base or outside community needs assistance, a request for support is submitted by either party.
According to QFES Chief Bruce Sullivan, QFES has radios to communicate with their mutual aid partners, including state-wide fire and emergency medical services.
QFES responded to more than 780 mutual aid calls between Stafford and Prince William County in 2017 equating to approximately 15 requests per week. The counties responded to approximately 312 requests—six per week—during 2017. Requests were typically for fire apparatus, to fill required response protocols for alarms and gas leak investigations.
QFES is an all civilian force of 91 personnel. The team includes Firefighter and Emergency Medical Technicians Basics and Paramedics, Fire Inspectors and Emergency Dispatchers.
A minimum of 25 Firefighters is on duty at all times, ready 365 days a year, 24-hours a day.
“Our pledge is to protect lives and property through fire suppression, emergency medical services, fire prevention, disaster management, and public education,” Sullivan said. “Our team will deliver the highest degree of service through professionalism, dedication, and integrity.”
While mutual aid is one component of maintaining a standard of readiness for the fire department, the protectors also conduct training with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and Marine Corps Air Facility (MCAF) Aircraft Rescue Firefighting Marines (ARFF).
Through various government agencies, QFES uses these partnerships to learn about proper response protocol for active shooter exercises, the proper way to burn and disposal of illegal narcotics and response protocol for an aircraft crash.
In some cases, the partnership between QFES can train Marines to experience what it’s like to be a civilian firefighter.
For example, ARFF, The Basic School fire and emergency services, PMO and Marines of Sercurity Battalion have the ability to join a QFES ride along program.
By providing mentorship, the 30-day program is established to help with Marines learn from their civilian counterparts and furthermore ready Marines to keep their community safe.
Base firefighters also participate in training exercises with various entities around the base, such as Base G-3, Natural Resource and Environmental Agency, Game Wardens, Russell Knox and TBS Fire Department to maintain regular familiarization with all areas and personnel on base.
PMO has a mutual aid agreement in place that give counties the ability to assist with legal matters aboard base.
Because PMO does not hold jurisdiction off base nor do county police on base, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), helps law enforcement cooperate with one another.
While PMO strives to provide the public with exemplarily professional law enforcement services, PMO still needs to request assistance from Prince William County on occasion.
Between Stafford and Prince William County, the base requested assistance with 45 emergency calls this year.
The MOU allows outside law enforcement to help with security and civilian arrest on base.
However, some of the more lucrative interactions between PMO and Prince William County is the training relationship.
According to Deputy Police Chief Joseph Riley, it is not uncommon for an officer to go through a six-month officer training school with Prince William County to learn how to conduct themselves as civilian law enforcement and further handle Marines and civilians lawfully.
Riley believes by allowing transitioning Marines to participate in police academies civilians can learn from and become inspired by the lengths Marines go to serve and protect their country.
PMO Provost Marshal, Maj. Kristofer Knobel also says that they conduct training with FBI and DEA to learn about proper response protocol for large-scale threats and drug enforcement.
According to Knobel, PMO and security Marines recently learned how to properly identify and dispose of illegal narcotics, thus keeping the base drug free and Marines in top shape.
All those under Security Battalion, QFES and PMO, are committed to the highest level of public safety, serving and protecting all in need.
When disaster strikes, an entire person’s world can change in an instant, but in those moments QFES and PMO have the ability to change the course of a potentially catastrophic event, whether on or off base.