Virginia Department of Fire Programs Receives $286,000 from Federal Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program

Virginia Department of Fire Programs Receives $286,000 from Federal Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program

Funding will support Virginia’s specialty firefighting training programs and integrate devices to monitor conditions during live fire exercises

RICHMONDOctober 8, 2019 – The Virginia Department of Fire Programs (VDFP) has been awarded $286,000 in federal grant funding through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s 2018 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program. The funding will be used to replace obsolete equipment for the state’s Heavy Technical Rescue training programs, tow vehicles, and thermal imaging cameras and equipment to monitor dangerous conditions during live fire training exercises.

The state’s Heavy Technical Rescue program will undergo an overhaul of equipment replacements that will be used for specialized training courses that include rope, trench, vehicle, confined space, and surface/swift water rescue training. The funding will also provide Fire Programs with two tow vehicles that will aid in hauling the agency’s existing mobile training support trailers to various training localities throughout Virginia.

“We are ecstatic to begin using thermal imaging cameras and specialized monitoring equipment for our live fire trainings,” said VDFP Executive Director Michael Reilly. “This will enable our instructors to test and observe temperatures and atmospheric conditions in a realistic environment, which will deepen our firefighter training information with evidence-based data in addition to field experience.”

This marks the fourth year in a row that VDFP has obtained federal funding for the Commonwealth’s firefighter training programs. Since 2016, VDFP has been awarded a total of approximately $1.2 million dollars.

The agency will provide $42,900 in matching funds and has 12 months to complete the purchases under the grant.

October 6-12 is Fire Prevention Week

October 6-12 is Fire Prevention Week

VDFP to provide resources to plan ahead in case of a fire in the home

RICHMOND – October 3, 2019 – Does your household know what to do when the smoke alarm sounds?  Many people don’t.  According to the Department of Homeland Security, only 71% of Americans have a home escape plan and only 47% of Americans have practiced their plan.

October 6-12 is Fire Prevention Week and this year’s theme is “Not every hero wears a cape, plan and practice your escape.” The Virginia Department of Fire Programs (VDFP) is providing a fire escape plan checklist and resources from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to remind Virginians to develop and practice plans in case a fire in the home occurs.

“When every second counts, having a planned and practiced home escape plan is an important factor in your and your family’s safety,” says VDFP Executive Director Michael Reilly, who has 40 years of firefighting and fire safety expertise.

Virginia had 61 civilian fire deaths and 404 civilian fire injuries in 2018. NFPA data shows that a home fire occurs every 88 seconds and that, on average, seven people died in a home fire per day during 2012 to 2016. Today’s homes burn faster than ever, with synthetic materials being a key factor. You may only have one to two minutes to escape after your smoke alarm sounds.

A home escape plan should include:

  • A map of your home with all doors and windows
  • Two ways out of every room
  • Smoke alarms marked
  • Meeting place marked

You should also make sure that your escape plan accounts for household members who may need assistance exiting such as disabled individuals, very young children, or older adults. Once you have created your plan make sure to practice the plan at least twice a year.

Visit the Fire Prevention Week page to learn more about how you can keep yourself and your family safe.

2019 Governor’s Fire Service Awards Nominations Now Open

2019 Governor’s Fire Service Awards Nominations Now Open

October 1, 2019

The Virginia Department of Fire Programs, a leader in enhancing public safety, in conjunction with the Virginia Fire Services Board, are seeking nominations for the 2019 Governor’s Fire Service Awards, which honors and recognizes excellence in Fire Services in the Commonwealth.

The annual Governor’s Fire Service Awards is presented in eight categories during the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association Expo and Symposium held in February at the Virginia Beach Convention Center.

Nominations can be submitted through an online form on the VDFP website through December 13, 2019.

About the Governor’s Fire Service Awards
The Governor’s Fire Service Awards were established in 2002. In partnership with the Virginia Fire Services Board, the VDFP facilitates the awards. The Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security presents the Governor with award recommendations, at which the final recipients are then selected. Award categories:

  • Governor’s Award for Excellence in Virginia Fire Service
  • Governor’s Award for Excellence in Virginia Community Risk Reduction
  • Governor’s Award for Excellence in Virginia’s Fire Service Training
  • Governor’s Award for Outstanding Fire Department Response
  • Governor’s Award for Private Sector Excellence in Virginia Fire Service Support
  • Governor’s Civilian Excellence in Virginia Fire Service Support
  • Governor’s Virginia Firefighter of the Year
  • Governor’s Virginia Fire Chief of the Year

Among the 2018 recipients were Hanover County Fire-EMS Department and the Central Virginia Firefighters Association, who were recognized for Excellence in Virginia Fire Services and Outstanding Fire Department Response, respectively. Read more about the 2018 Governor’s Fire Service awards recipients

About the Virginia Department of Fire Programs
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.

Class cancellation due to effects of Hurricane Dorian

VDFP Class Cancellation – Instructor I / Ivor

September 5, 2019

Due to the impending threat of severe weather from Hurricane Dorian and the potential for flooding for the Hampton Roads area, the VDFP Instructor I class for tonight (September 5) in Ivor is cancelled:

VDFP Instructor I
Ivor Volunteer Fire Department
8295 Main Street
Ivor, VA 23866

Class will resume on Sunday, September 8 as listed in the class schedule. Further adjustments will occur as needed. The class instructor will provide information about makeups directly with students.

Contact VDFP Division 5 with any additional questions.

September 11 is First Responders Day in Virginia

September 11 is First Responders Day in Virginia

Virginia public safety agencies are encouraged to recognize and promote the official day

RICHMOND – August 27, 2019Virginia House Joint Resolution 646 officially designates Wednesday, September 11, 2019 and every following year on September 11 as First Responder Day in Virginia.

Public safety agencies, associations, and organizations that work with first responders are encouraged to observe the day of remembrance with community activities, events, and promotion of First Responder Day in Virginia with stakeholders for awareness.

House Joint Resolution 646

HJ 646 was introduced during the 2019 Session of the Virginia General Assembly by Delegate Michael P. Mullin (D-Newport News), and establishes September 11 as the day to remember and recognize first responders in Virginia, according to the resolution, “…for their courage and dedication to protect and aid the public during emergencies as both professional and volunteer first responders.”

In the resolution, first responders are listed as 911 dispatchers, law-enforcement officers, professional and volunteer firefighters, professional and volunteer emergency medical services personnel, emergency management professionals, search and rescue teams, rescue pilots and divers, the Virginia National Guard, and members of other organizations in the public safety sector.

Recommended Recognition Activities and Events

  • Promote on social media using the hashtag #VAFirstResponderDay
  • Hold fundraisers for first responders in your community
  • Observe a moment of silence for the victims and first responders who perished in September 11, 2001 at the Pentagon and New York City.
  • Organize community 5K and 10K walks or runs
  • Share with local organizations and Chambers of Commerce
  • Say “thank you” to first responders with cards and letters

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.

Contact

Vanessa Copeland
VDFP Public Information Officer
(804) 249-1986
vanessa.copeland@vdfp.virginia.gov

 

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.