VDFP Extreme Weather Policy

Outdoor Training Activities During Extreme Weather Conditions

July 16, 2019 

Temperatures are soaring this week and weekend, with weather forecasts calling for heat index values to reach 105-110 degrees on Wednesday until Monday of next week.
The safety of our instructors and students is paramount. With extreme temperatures anticipated, Fire Programs wants to remind you of its weather related training policy.
This policy serves as a guide for instructors so that they are able to make reasonable judgments and decisions with regard to outdoor training activities in extreme weather conditions. Please follow the link below for more information.

VDFP Extreme Weather Policy

Safety First During the Fourth of July Holiday

VDFP Media Advisory – July 1, 2019

Virginia Department of Fire Programs’ State Fire Marshal Office Stresses Safety First During the Fourth of July Holiday

Don’t Get Burned. Leave the Fireworks to the Professionals.

GLEN ALLEN – The Virginia Department of Fire Programs’ (VDFP) State Fire Marshal’s Office reminds Virginia residents and visitors that operating fireworks is extremely dangerous – let professionals handle the fireworks this Fourth of July holiday weekend.

“Around this time of year, an increase in burns to hands, fingers, and arms occurs due to the mishandling of fireworks by consumers,” said VDFP Executive Director Michael Reilly. “There are more adverse effects from handling fireworks improperly that residents don’t consider, such as the start of fires and excessive noise. The safest way to celebrate the holiday with fireworks is to visit a professional fireworks show.”

According the 2018 Fireworks Annual Report by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were a reported five deaths from the direct impacts of fireworks. An estimated 5,600 fireworks-related injuries were treated across the U.S. during June 22 and July 22. In that four-week span, children ages 10 to 14 years of age suffered the most fireworks-related injuries. Teens ages 15 to 19 had the second highest rate of injuries.

“We also emphasize that the possession of and selling illegal fireworks in Virginia is a criminal offense,” said Deputy State Fire Marshal Steven Sites. “The State Fire Marshal’s Office confiscated nearly 2,000 illegal fireworks in Virginia by the Fourth of July holiday in 2018. Remember that illegal fireworks are illegal for proven and sensible reasons.”

Only “permissible fireworks,” as defined in the Code of Virginia, can be legally sold, possessed or used within the Commonwealth.  A list of permissible fireworks can be viewed here.  The fireworks listed in this document have been field tested to compare the items to the performance criteria of the American Fireworks Standards Laboratory (AFSL).  Permissible fireworks may also be further limited in different localities. Check local ordinances as well as the Statewide Fire Prevention Code prior to purchasing and utilizing fireworks.  In general, any firework that explodes, moves on the ground or in the air, or shoots a projectile is illegal.

The sale, possession and /or use of any fireworks not classified as permissible is prohibited.  Violations can be prosecuted as a Class I Misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not to exceed $2,500 and/or up to one (1) year in jail. Any illegal fireworks can be confiscated by authorities.  Many localities prohibit the sale, possession or use of all fireworks.

Fire and law enforcement officials will be working over the holiday to ensure the safety of Virginia’s residents and visitors.

If you do use permissible fireworks, follow these important safety precautions:

  • Check local ordinances on the use of fireworks.
  • Fireworks can only be used on private property with the consent of the owner.
  • Never use fireworks indoors.
  • Never use fireworks while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Never allow children to use fireworks.
  • Ensure adequate clearance from people, buildings and combustible material.
  • Have a garden hose or other water source readily available in case of fire.
  • Soak spent fireworks in water before placing them in the trash.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Never hold the fireworks in your hands while lighting them.
  • Never point fireworks at a person.

About the VDFP
The Virginia Department of Fire Programs provides training, support services, and resources to more than 700 fire and emergency service organizations, and approximately 44,000 fire service personnel in the Commonwealth. Support areas include funding, professional development, research, operational support, technical assistance, and fire prevention inspections through its State Fire Marshal Office.

2019 Legislation In Effect on July 1

2019 Fire Services Legislation Effective July 1

The 2019 Virginia General Assembly Legislative Session lasted 46 days this year and brought over 3,000 bills and resolutions with nearly 1,900 going to Governor Northam for action.

Fire Programs pursued three bills and tracked a total of 18 bills and resolutions that affect Virginia’s Fire Service. Here is a list of the 11 bills and one resolution that go into effect on Monday, July 1.

*Note: The bill otherwise known as the “cancer bill” among Virginia’s Fire Service will be revisited during the 2020 Legislative Session and is under review by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC).

  • *HB 1804 – HugoWorkers’ compensation; presumption of compensability for certain diseases, review of program. Adds cancers of the colon, brain, or testes to the list of cancers that are presumed to be an occupational disease covered by the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act when firefighters and certain employees develop the cancer. The measure will become effective if reenacted by the 2020 Session of the General Assembly. The measure also directs the 2020 Session of the General Assembly, in considering and enacting any legislation relating to workers’ compensation and the presumption of compensability for certain cancers, to consider any research, findings, and recommendations from the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission’s review of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation program. The provisions of this bill do not become effective unless reenacted by the 2020 Session of the General Assembly.


  • HJ 646 – Mullin – First Responders Day. Designates September 11, in 2019 and in each succeeding year, as First Responders Day in Virginia.

VDFP Bills: 

  • HB 2093 – Guzman – Virginia Fire Services Board; changes membership. Changes the membership of the Virginia Fire Services Board by removing a member of the Virginia Society of Fire Service Instructors and the State Fire Marshal and adding a certified Virginia fire service instructor and a local fire marshal.
  • SB 1411- Mason – Burn buildings; change in terminology. Changes the term “burn buildings” in the Code of Virginia to “live fire training structures” to conform to the terminology used by the National Fire Protection Association and the Virginia Department of Fire Programs.
  • SB 1625 – McPike – Statewide Fire Prevention Code; changes definition of permissible fireworks. “Permissible fireworks” means any fountains that do not emit sparks or other burning effects to a distance greater than five meters (16.4 feet); wheels that do not emit a flame radius greater than one meter (39 inches); crackling devices and flashers or strobes that do not emit sparks or other burning effects to a distance greater than two meters (78.74 inches); and sparkling devices or other fireworks devices that (i) do not explode or produce a report, (ii) do not travel horizontally or vertically under their own power, (iii) do not emit or function as a projectile, (iv) do not produce a continuous flame longer than 20 inches, (v) are not capable of being reloaded, and (vi) if designed to be ignited by a fuse, have a fuse that is protected to resist side ignition and a burning time of not less than four seconds and not more than eight seconds.

Additional Virginia Fire Service Bills:

  • HB 1725 – KnightPublic school building security enhancements; compliance with Uniform Statewide Building Code, etc. Each school board shall, in consultation with the local building official and the state or local fire marshal, develop a procurement plan to ensure that all security enhancements to public school buildings are in compliance with the Uniform Statewide Building Code (§ 36-97 et seq.) and Statewide Fire Prevention Code (§ 27-94 et seq.).
  • HB 1911 – Peace – Duties of drivers approaching stationary vehicles displaying certain warning lights; penalty. Makes a driver’s failure to move into a nonadjacent lane on a highway with at least four lanes when approaching a stationary vehicle displaying flashing, blinking, or alternating blue, red, or amber lights, or, if changing lanes would be unreasonable or unsafe, to proceed with due caution and maintain a safe speed, reckless driving, which is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor. Under current law, a first such offense is a traffic infraction punishable by a fine of not more than $250, and a second such offense is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.
  • HB 1966 – Yancey – Uniform Statewide Building Code; issuance of building permits. Requires any fees that are levied by a local governing body in order to defray the cost of Building Code enforcement and appeals, with the exception of the levy imposed for the support of training programs of the Building Code Academy, be used only to support the functions of the local building department. The bill also requires local building departments, when denying an application for the issuance of a building permit, to provide to the applicant a written explanation detailing the reasons for which the application was denied. The bill provides that the applicant may submit a revised application addressing the reasons for which the application was previously denied and that, if the applicant does so, the local building department shall be encouraged, but not required, to limit its review of the revised application to only those portions of the application that were previously deemed inadequate and that the applicant has revised.
  • HB 2263 – KrizekFirefighters and Emergency Medical Technicians Procedural Guarantee Act; breach of procedures, etc. Provides that any Evidence gathered through the conduct of an interrogation that violates the provisions of this chapter shall not be admissible in any administrative hearing against a firefighter or “emergency medical services personnel
  • HB 2762 – BulovaFirefighting foam management; use of foam that contains PFAS chemicals. Firefighting foam management. Prohibits, beginning July 1, 2021, the use for training purposes or for testing, with some exceptions, of a class B firefighting foam that contains intentionally added PFAS chemicals, as defined in the bill.
  • SB 1494 – Edwards Firefighters and Emergency Medical Technicians Procedural Guarantee Act; Prohibits evidence gathered through the conduct of an interrogation that violates the provisions of the Firefighters and Emergency Medical Technicians Procedural Guarantee Act from being admissible in any case against a firefighter or emergency medical services personnel.
  • SB 1755 – Hanger – Changes to Codes for safety measures for schools. Directs the Department of Housing and Community Development to convene stakeholders representing entities that enforce the Uniform Statewide Building Code and the Statewide Fire Prevention Code and other law-enforcement organizations to develop proposals for changes to each such code for submission to the Board of Housing and Community Development. Such proposals shall have the goal of assisting in the provision of safety and security measures for the Commonwealth’s public or private elementary and secondary schools and public or private institutions of higher education for active shooter or hostile threats. The review conducted by the stakeholders shall include the examination of (i) locking devices, (ii) barricade devices, and (iii) other safety measures that may be utilized in an active shooter or hostile threat situation that occurs in any classroom or other area where students are located for a finite period of time.
  • SB 1774 – Edwards – Automatic fire sprinkler inspectors; requirement for licensure, certification. Creates the classification of fire sprinkler contractor for the purpose of licensure by the Board for Contractors (the Board). The bill also creates a certification for automatic fire sprinkler inspectors and prohibits any person from conducting inspections of automatic fire sprinkler systems unless he maintains or is accompanied by a person who maintains a Level II or higher NICET certification. The bill requires the Board to promulgate regulations requiring continuing education and knowledge of the Statewide Fire Prevention Code as prerequisites for certification renewal as an automatic fire sprinkler inspector. The provisions of the bill mandating NICET certification have a delayed effective date of July 1, 2021.



2019 Firefighter Safety Stand Down

2019 Firefighter Safety Stand Down 


Cancer risk prevention and education are critical in today’s fire service. It can mean saving the lives of personnel who put their lives at risk for others daily. Firefighter Safety Stand Down is a risk reduction program that brings awareness and attention to the harsh byproducts of a rewarding and special profession.

The Virginia Department of Fire Programs will join in participating in 2019 Firefighter Safety Stand Down, a joint initiative of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC). The theme of Safety Stand Down 2019 focuses on reducing exposure risks and implementing the cancer prevention recommendations in the Lavender Ribbon Report. Many fire departments and organizations have developed training, resources, and videos related to this critical topic.

VDFP will provide topics daily through June 22, here on the VDFP website and on social media, which you may utilize for informational and training purposes to help educate members of your respective agencies. We will also include a few other current health and safety topics that are concerns within the public safety community today.

The first resource we offer is the Lavender Ribbon Report, which was jointly released by The International Association of Fire Chiefs’ Volunteer and Combination Officers Section (VCOS) and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC). This report outlines actions that firefighters can take to reduce risk factors of cancer in the fire service.

Volunteer Fire and EMS Departments Can Purchase Bulk Fuel Direct Through State Contract

Volunteer Fire and EMS Departments Can Purchase Bulk Fuel Direct Through State Contract

In 2018, HB1170 was passed, allowing fire companies as defined in §27-6-01 or volunteer emergency medical services agencies as defined in §32.1-111.1 that is recognized by an ordinance to be part of the safety program of a county, city, or town to utilize state contracts to directly purchase motor fuel from the Virginia Department of General Services without seeking approval from the governing body of such county, city or town.

For more information regarding the benefits of these contracts and how to purchase from them, please contact your Local Government Account Executive. Learn more.

Fire & EMS Memorial Week, June 2-8, 2019

June 2-8, 2019 is recognized as Fire and Emergency Medical Services Memorial Week in Virginia. Take a moment this week to acknowledge Virginia’s fire and EMS personnel who devoted their lives and careers to protecting the Commonwealth.

Fire and Emergency Medical Services Memorial Week — Proclamation

WHEREAS, firefighters and emergency medical services personnel play essential roles in saving lives and protecting property in communities throughout Virginia; and

WHEREAS, the safety and well-being of Virginians is important to the prosperity of Virginia’s families and communities; and

WHEREAS, Virginians value the courage and devotion of our Commonwealth’s fire and emergency medical services professionals who put their lives in danger in order to safeguard the lives and property of Virginians; and

WHEREAS, on the first Saturday of June, a statewide memorial service is held to pay tribute to firefighters and emergency medical services personnel who have paid the ultimate sacrifice; and

WHEREAS, seven valiant individuals who gave their lives to protect the people of the Commonwealth in 2018 will be recognized at the 2019 Virginia Fallen Firefighters and Emergency Medical Services Memorial Service; and

WHEREAS, Fire and Emergency Medical Services Memorial Week is an opportunity for Virginians to stand with firefighters and emergency medical services personnel, honor their tremendous sacrifices, and continued devotion to serving the Commonwealth;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize June 2-8, 2019, as FIRE AND EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES MEMORIAL WEEK in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.