VDFP Regional Schools

VDFP Regional Schools

Wise Regional School – September 10-12, 2021
UVA Wise Campus

Register by September 1! 

  • Courses included:
    • Basic Pump Operations
    • Hazmat Operations
    • Instructor I
    • FF1 & FF2 Train-the-Trainer
    • Surface Water I & II
    • Intro to Tech Rescue – Module II
    • Vehicle Operations I

VDFP’s Aid to Localities Funding Increases to $34 Million for Firefighter Training and PPE in the Commonwealth

VDFP’s Aid to Localities Funding Increases to $34 Million for
Firefighter Training and PPE in the Commonwealth

The Aid to Localities funding program increased by 5.45% for Fiscal Year 2022,
stemming from the Virginia Fire Services Board’s approval and fire-related insurance collections.

RICHMONDJuly 12, 2021 – The Virginia Fire Services Board (VFSB), a Governor-appointed policy body that consists of 15 members from Virginia’s Fire Service, the insurance industry, municipal organizations, and citizen representatives; and the Virginia Department of Fire Programs (VDFP) announced today a 5.45% budget increase in the Fire Programs Fund. The increase totals $1.8 million dollars to the Virginia Aid to Localities (ATL) funding program, which bumps up the total aid to $34 million dollars for statewide distribution.

ATL funding comes from the Virginia Fire Programs Fund, which is derived from 1 percent of fire-related insurance coverage collected in the previous calendar year. Approximately 75% of the total fund goes directly to a total of 323 counties, cities, and incorporated towns within the Commonwealth. Twenty-five percent goes to VDFP’s operational budget.

VDFP administers the ATL program in conjunction with the Board.

The current fiscal year (FY22) increases follow pivotal milestones for the Board. In 2020, VFSB pushed to increase ATL funding to support training initiatives, construction of fire training centers, firefighting equipment, and protective gear. The Board’s request was made in response to increasing budget trends in Virginia’s Fire Service. During fiscal year 2021 (FY21), minimum ATL funding levels jumped from $10,000 to $15,000 and $20,000 to $30,000. This fiscal year, 152 Virginia localities will see an increase as they received above the minimum in FY21. The Board approved to allow the minimum funding levels to remain at the FY21 increases.

“The Board saw a trend in the rising costs of insurance, particularly the types of insurance in which the 1% that goes to the Fire Programs Fund is derived – fire, miscellaneous property and casualty, marine, homeowners, and farm owners insurance,” said VFSB Chair Scott Garber. “We made a strategic move in considering these increases to align with the rising costs in keeping fire departments operable.”

“The increased funding allows us to assist Virginia’s Fire Service in growing their departments and personnel. In some cases, ATL funding increases budgetary choices for financially strapped fire departments,” said VDFP Acting Executive Director Garrett Dyer. “Our purpose is to assist where we can to help fire departments meet or exceed their service delivery goals.”

Funding is available annually on July 1, the start of VDFP’s new fiscal year. Qualifying localities are required to submit annual reports and financial documentation to receive an allocation.

VDFP State Fire Marshal’s Office Stresses Safety Amid Openings During the Fourth of July Holiday

VDFP State Fire Marshal’s Office Stresses Safety Amid Openings
During the Fourth of July Holiday

RICHMOND – June 30, 2021 – The Virginia Department of Fire Programs’ (VDFP) State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) reminds Virginians that this year’s Fourth of July Holiday will be celebrated with increased pre-pandemic behavior—permitted professional firework shows have been reinstated, but at-home celebrations will still be at the forefront.

With worldwide permissible firework shortages due to COVID-19 and shipping issues, it is again highly anticipated that there will be an influx of illegal fireworks usage throughout the Commonwealth.

In general, any firework that explodes, moves on the ground or in the air, or shoots a projectile is illegal.

VDFP’s State Fire Marshal’s Office serves as the fire code enforcement sector of the state government training agency. Almost 100 retail locations were inspected by SFMO in 2020, where nearly one-third of locations were found to be selling non-permissible fireworks. Approximately 12,000 illegal fireworks were confiscated that were either for sale, or in possession. In 2019, SFMO pulled approximately 10,000 non-permissible fireworks.

VDFP Acting Executive Director Garrett Dyer says, “If all residents follow our precautionary measures, there will be less of a chance of a fire related event, injuries, and an overall safer and happier holiday.” Fire and law enforcement officials will be working through the holiday to ensure the proper safety of the Commonwealth’s residents and visitors.

“The number of illegal fireworks has increased since last summer, even with permissible firework shortages,” said Billy Hux, VDFP Assistant State Fire Marshal of Special Operations. “We stress Virginians to leave fireworks to the professionals—they host for the proper use of permissible fireworks, safety factors, and capabilities.”

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 on the VDFP website. 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 order to ensure the proper disposal of used fireworks, residents can call local police or SFMO. VDFP Assistant State Fire Marshal of Special Operations Hux added, “When celebrations come to an end, be sure to dispose of your used fireworks properly, soak spent fireworks in water before placing them in the trash to further prevent a fire-related incident.”

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.

If you decide to use permissible fireworks, please follow these important safety procedures:

  • 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.

If you wish to report illegal fireworks, contact your local police department or contact the State Fire Marshal’s Office at (540) 270-6617.

The 2021 Virginia Fallen Firefighters & EMS Memorial Service

The 2021 Virginia Fallen Firefighters & EMS Memorial Service

The 24th annual Virginia Fallen Firefighters & Emergency Medical Services Memorial Service will be held at 12 p.m. on Saturday, June 5, 2021 at the Richmond International Raceway Complex, Main Exhibition Hall. Due to the fluidity of COVID-19 protocols, this event is limited in attendance to Honoree families and respective fire departments. It is not open to the public. 

We experienced technical difficulties with the livestream on Saturday. Click here to watch the recording of the Memorial Service.

This year’s Memorial Service will honor Fallen Firefighters who have been recognized in the Virginia Line of Duty Act in 2019 and 2020 for their bravery and dedication to the citizens of the Commonwealth. In 2020, the Memorial Service was cancelled due to the onset of COVID-19.

2020 & 2021 Honorees 

  • Dennis Lynn Brent – Charlottesville Fire Department
  • Tommie Lee Collier – Crozet Fire Department
  • Vivian Thomas Crawford – Scruggs Volunteer Fire and Rescue
  • John Ross Laronda – Altavista Volunteer Fire Company
  • Owen Lee Lewis, Jr. – Rocky Mount Volunteer Fire Department
  • Rubin O’Neal Lineberry, Jr. – Dublin Volunteer Fire Department
  • Joseph A. Mary – Richmond Department of Fire and Emergency Services
  • William H. Moore IV – Amelia County Volunteer Fire Department
  • Kenneth Wesley Smith – Madison County Volunteer Fire Company
  • Robert Jacob Thomas – Fieldale Volunteer Fire Department
  • Eddie T. Vick – Stony Creek Volunteer Fire Department/Sussex County
  • Charles C. Woods – Adwolfe Volunteer Fire Department

About the 2021 Memorial Service 

The Memorial Service will include a keynote address, a Virginia Fire Services Honor Guard procession, a musical performance, and a fire and EMS apparatus display from departments throughout the Commonwealth. State flags will be presented to the families of the fallen.

Contacts

  • General Information: For more information on the Virginia Fallen Firefighters & EMS Memorial Service, contact VDFP PIO Vanessa Copeland at (804) 249-1986 or Vanessa.Copeland@vdfp.virginia.gov.
  • Sending Apparatus: If your department is interested in sending apparatus to the Memorial Service, please contact Memorial Service Committee Member Floyd Greene at floydpowhatan@gmail.com.

VDFP Advises Virginians on Motor Fuel Dispensing and Storage Safety amid the Colonial Pipeline Cyberattack

VDFP Advises Virginians on Motor Fuel Dispensing and Storage Safety amid
the Colonial Pipeline Cyberattack

RICHMONDMay 12, 2021 – With the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack causing gas shortages in parts of the East Coast and in the Commonwealth, there have been reports of long lines at gas stations and Virginians traveling to remote locations to find gas reserves in order to stock up.

The Virginia Department of Fire Programs wants to advise residents and commuters about safe ways to dispense flammable fuels such as (gas, diesel or heating oil) into a portable container for proper storage:

  • Flammable fuels should not be dispensed into portable containers over 6 gallons, and the containers should be listed and approved for the flammable liquid intended for the portable container.
  • Portable containers should have a tight closure with a screwed or spring-loaded cover to prevent spills and vapors from escaping.
  • When transporting gasoline in a portable container make sure it is secured against tipping and sliding, and never leave it in direct sunlight or in the trunk of a car.
  • Flammable fuel should never be dispensed into portable cargo tanks or any other container not listed for flammable liquids.
  • Never fill a container while located in the trunk, passenger area of a car or in the bed of a pickup truck.
  • All containers should be placed on the ground and clear of any possible ignition sources such as the exhaust from a vehicle.
  • Fill portable containers slowly to decrease the chance of static electricity buildup and minimize spilling or splattering. Keep the nozzle in contact with the rim of the container opening while refueling. Fill container no more than 95 percent full to allow for expansion.
  • If gasoline spills on the container, make sure that it has evaporated before you place the container in your vehicle. Report spills to the station attendant.
  • Never smoke around flammable fuels.

For additional reference, the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code outlines the specific requirements for fuel dispensing and storage:

  • 2304.4 Dispensing Into Portable Containers
  • 2304.4.1 Approved Containers Required
  • 2304.4.2 Nozzle Operation
  • 2304.4.3 Location of Containers Being Filled

Contact your local fire marshal or VDFP’s State Fire Marshal’s Office for further information regarding fire and life safety education.

VDFP Cautions against the Mishandling of Dry Ice Used for Shipping and Storing COVID-19 Vaccines

VDFP Cautions against the Mishandling of Dry Ice Used for Shipping and Storing COVID-19 Vaccines

Improper handling of dry ice when converted to a gaseous state presents structural, respiratory, and environmental hazards.

RICHMOND – December 30, 2020 – The Virginia Department of Fire Programs, a leader in enhancing public safety, is cautioning first responders, health care professionals, and citizens in the Commonwealth about the dangers of improper storage and disposal of dry ice, which has surged in use to transport COVID-19 vaccines that require storage at ultra-low temperatures.

Dry ice is a solid form of carbon dioxide (CO2). Dry ice weighs just about twice as much as regular ice. Dry ice goes from a solid to a gas (sublimates) as it warms, releasing carbon dioxide.

According to a white paper on dry ice response issued by the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) Hazardous Materials Committee, the primary health hazard occurs when dry ice returns to its gaseous carbon dioxide state at -78°C. The gas quickly expands and displaces oxygen inside enclosed spaces such as in transport compartments, small buildings, and walk-in coolers.

“We’re noticing a number of groups who are coming into contact with dry ice with the mass distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, who may not be aware of the risks that dry ice may impose. For example, dry ice at room temperature, could “off-gas” a high level of CO2 in a confined space. This is a hazard,” said VDFP Executive Director Michael Reilly. “First responders who are trained in hazardous materials response are aware of the proper handling, storage, and disposal of dry ice. We remain partners in response and prevention. We also want to stress the importance of risk mitigation during such an unprecedented time.”

Additional Hazards

If carbon dioxide gas is released while in transport or in storage, hazards can include an increased potential for an explosion due to pressure building within tightly sealed containers with no pressure relief device, unconsciousness due to displaced oxygen, and frostbite or burns if contact with cryogenic liquid or solid pieces of dry ice occurs.

VDFP encourages groups such as health care professionals and medical facility employees who are administering COVID-19 vaccines to call on first responders when carbon dioxide exposures arise.

“Our concern is about how Virginians should properly interact with the volumes of dry ice that the vaccines are packed with. There should be no eating, drinking, or smoking wherever the dry ice is handled, stored, and disposed,” said Virginia State Fire Marshal Garrett Dyer, “If an accident involving carbon dioxide occurs, such as a spillage, there are also environmental impacts to consider. This is why proper disposal of volumes of dry ice by a trained professional is important.”

How to Safety Interact with Dry Ice

  • Protect Your Skin – Contact with unprotected skin will cause severe thermal injury equivalent to full thickness burns. Tight fitting cryogenic gloves are required when handling dry ice and offers the most protection. Where the skin is injured due to exposure to dry ice, the contact area will need to be warmed to avoid tearing off skin.
  • Store in a well ventilated area – Most health hazards occur during the sublimation process, when dry ice is warmed and converts from a solid directly to a gas. Dry ice will sublime (melt) at -78°C and begin “off-gassing” which will quickly displace the oxygen inside of confined areas.

Resources

VDFP’s State Fire Marshal’s Office Issues Outdoor Heater Safety and General Guidelines for Tent and Membrane Structures

VDFP’s State Fire Marshal’s Office Issues Outdoor Heater Safety and General Guidelines
for Tent and Membrane Structures

RICHMOND – November 25, 2020 – As COVID-19 continues to place severe limitations on work and social environments, the seasonal weather will further impact how and where people gather. Many restaurants and other venues may use open outdoor space or a temporary membrane structure for patrons to have the adequate social space to comply with social distancing guidelines. With temperatures dropping, many business look to use portable heating appliances to provide necessary environmental comforts to its patrons. This guidance document provides general safety and code requirements within the 2015 Statewide Fire Prevention Code (SFPC) that govern the use and storage of portable outdoor heating, tent and other membrane structures. Guidance topics included:

  • Portable, outdoor gas-fired heating appliances
  • Portable, electric space heaters
  • Tent and other Membrane Structure Guidelines

Review the Outdoor Heater Safety and General Guidelines for Tent and Membrane Structures

 

NFIRS Modernization Release: Update

NFIRS Modernization Release: Update

USFA has released the new E-NFIRS. It is now available for users to begin (or continue) entering incidents manually. Users who are using a third party vendor software should refrain from using the Bulk Import Utility (BUI) until further notice. Users also should not export large quantities of data.

USFA priority at this time is to address the Bulk Import file validation:

The eNFIRS release includes checks to enforce the 2015 (current) NFIRS specification: specifically, a check on each data value’s length, and whether it exceeds the maximum length allowed for the field. During imports, each time the check finds a value too large, the incident fails with a generic “system error occurred” message written in the .log file. The check was put in place to enforce the 2015 specification and move toward improving system-wide data quality; however, based on the quantity of errors being reported, the USFA determines the check for max length to be too strict, especially for fields involving local-level data and non-required fields.

 

  • For a short term solution, the USFA will unrestrict the max length checks on text (string, or data type: X) fields.
  • The data in these fields will be truncated to the field’s specified length. The NFIRS Design Documentation contains records and field format length specifics: https://www.usfa.fema.gov/data/nfirs/support/documentation.html  Details on the long term solution will be made available at a later date.

The adjustment for the max length value check is underway and planned for the coming weeks.

If you encounter any import issues, please forward the original import file AND the results .ZIP with a description and vendor (if known) to FEMA-NFIRSHELP@fema.dhs.gov.

IAFC President Urges Fire & EMS Preparedness for Civil Unrest

IAFC President Urges Fire & EMS Preparedness for Civil Unrest

The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) President and Chairman of the Board Chief Richard R. Carrizzo recently issued an email of resources for its members to consider regarding the potential for civil unrest in response to Election Day and after.

“To help fire departments provide service to their communities in uncertain environments, the IAFC has both compiled and developed the following resources,” read more here.