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Alexandria Fire Department Earns Certified Autism Center™ Designation Enhancing Care for Community Members

Four firefighters at the Alexandria Fire Department.

The Alexandria Fire Department becomes a Certified Autism Center™ through IBCCES, improving the quality of care for individuals within the community.

By committing our staff to continual training and certification in the field of autism, AFD aims to ensure quality emergency response and care, equitably tailored to the unique needs of the people...”
— Fire Chief Jim Schwartz of AFD.

ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA, UNITED STATES, April 12, 2024 / -- The Alexandria Fire Department (AFD) has achieved the Certified Autism Center™ (CAC) designation, a certification awarded by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) to organizations that have trained 80% or more of public-facing team members in how to better communicate with and respond to autistic and sensory-sensitive individuals.

"By committing our staff to continual training and certification in the field of autism, AFD aims to ensure quality emergency response and care, equitably tailored to the unique needs of the people in our community,” says Fire Chief Jim Schwartz of AFD.

The comprehensive training equips AFD personnel with knowledge and strategies related to sensory triggers, communication differences, and scenario-specific approaches to enhance safety and comfort during interventions for autistic individuals and their families. This commitment not only improves outcomes, but also underscores AFD's dedication to fostering inclusivity and equitable service delivery within the community.

"We are truly excited to partner with AFD to help build a safe and inclusive community. This designation shows the department's commitment to providing the best care for autistic individuals and ensuring they can respond appropriately in critical and emergency situations," said Myron Pincomb, IBCCES Board Chairman.

For more than 20 years, IBCCES has been a leader in cognitive disorder training and certification for emergency response, healthcare, education, and corporate professionals around the globe. IBCCES programs include evidence-based content as well as the perspectives of autistic individuals, alongside other resources, ongoing support, and renewal requirements to ensure there is continued learning and a lasting impact for organizations who complete certification.

IBCCES also created, as a free online resource for families that lists certified locations and professionals. Each organization listed on the site has met Certified Autism Center™ (CAC) requirements.


About Alexandria Fire Department
Today, the Alexandria Fire Department employs more than 300 professional personnel, which include firefighters, paramedics, fire prevention staff and administrative support. A network of 10 stations protects nearly 16 square miles. Among the department's specialized teams are the Northern Virginia Regional Hazardous Materials Team, Technical Rescue, Marine Operations, and the Special Operations teams.

Committed to providing The Global Standard for Training and Certification in The Field of Cognitive Disorders – IBCCES provides a series of certifications that empower professionals to be leaders in their field and improve the outcomes for the individuals they serve. These programs are recognized around the world as the leading benchmark for training and certification in the areas of autism and other cognitive disorders.

Meredith Tekin
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