The 2023 Virginia Fallen Firefighters & EMS Memorial Service

The 2023 Virginia Fallen Firefighters & EMS Memorial Service

The 26th annual Virginia Fallen Firefighters & Emergency Medical Services Memorial Service will be held at 12 p.m. on Saturday, June 3, 2023 at the Richmond International Raceway Complex, Main Exhibition Hall. This event is open to the public. 

The Virginia Fallen Firefighters & EMS Memorial Service will be streamed live for those who cannot attend in person.

This year's Memorial Service will honor fallen firefighters who have been recognized under the Virginia Line of Duty Act in 2022 for their bravery and dedication to the citizens of the Commonwealth.

2023 Honorees
  • Gary C. Campbell - Spotsylvania County Fire, Rescue and Emergency Management
  • TyVaughn Eldridge - Chesterfield Fire and EMS
  • Christopher G. Griffin - City of Norfolk Fire Rescue
  • Robert W. Nelms - Fries Fire & Rescue
  • Jeffrey T. Rizzo - Loudoun County Fire Rescue
  • Kimberly A. Schoppa - Fairfax County Fire and Rescue
  • James A. Sturgill - Pound Volunteer Fire Department
  • Gregory V. Thomas - City of Danville Fire Department
  • Michael W. Webb - Callaway Volunteer Fire Department
  • Herbert T. Wilcox - Rocky Mount Fire Department

Honor Guard:

Individuals or departments interested in Honor Guard participation should contact Toby Martin at

Sending Apparatus:

If your department is interested in sending apparatus to the Memorial Service, please contact Memorial Service Committee Member Floyd Greene at

Main Point of Contact:
For more information on the Virginia Fallen Firefighters & EMS Memorial Service, contact VDFP PIO Will Merritt at (804) 249-1986 or

About the 2023 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.

History of the Memorial Service

  • The Virginia Fire Services Board established the Memorial Service and enlisted the services of a Memorial Service Committee to plan the annual event. The committee is comprised of representatives from fire departments, family representatives of fallen firefighters previously honored, the Office of Emergency Medical Services and the Virginia Department of Fire Programs. Honor Guard from across the Commonwealth participate each year, as well as fire departments from across Virginia who display apparatus for the Memorial Service.
  • A reception immediately following the Memorial Service is open to the families, distinguished guests, and the public.

Virginia Fallen Firefighter and EMS Facts

  • For more than 20 years, on the first Saturday in June, firefighters and EMS personnel who have died in the line of duty or have been recognized by the Virginia Line of Duty Act in the previous year, are honored at the Virginia Fire and EMS Memorial Service.
  • With the completion and dedication of the Virginia Public Safety Memorial, names of firefighters who are honored may also be added to the wall of the memorial annually.

Contact Information

For more information about the Virginia Fallen Firefighters & EMS Memorial Service, contact VDFP PIO Will Merritt at (804) 249-1986 or

Structural Collapse Specialist School Scholarship

VDFP is now accepting applications for scholarships to attend the VATF-2 Structural Collapse Specialist Course in Virginia Beach! Candidates must be in good standing with a local, regional or divisional technical rescue team and have Operations/Level 1 certification at a minimum in all core VDFP technical rescue courses in order to be considered for the scholarship.
The deadline to apply for the scholarship is Friday, August 5, 2022.
To apply, complete the following steps:
  • Obtain a letter of recommendation from your department head or team leader, provided on departmental letterhead.
  • Complete the VATF-2 SCS student application and follow the instructions on the form for payment and submission
  • Complete the VDFP scholarship application
  • Submit the VDFP scholarship application and the letter of recommendation to Chad Riddleberger, Division Chief of Heavy Technical Rescue

Ken Brown Appointed Coordinator of Community Risk Reduction.

The Virginia Department of Fire Programs is excited to welcome Ken Brown who has been appointed by Governor Youngkin to serve as the Coordinator of Community Risk Reduction.

Ken retired from the position of Fire-Rescue Chief and Coordinator of Emergency Services for Goochland County Virginia after 33 years of career experience. Ken has a long career in the Virginia Fire Services, holding the previous positions as Director of Fire Services for Prince George County, Company Officer with the City of Newport News Fire Dept., and Fire Chief for the 909th CES Fire Dept. USAFR (Ret).

Ken is a certified Instructor IV and has been an adjunct with the Virginia Department of Fire Programs for 38 years. He is a proud graduate of the National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officers Program.

Ken has been a member of many fire service organizations, including the Virginia State Firefighters Association, the Metro Chiefs Association, the Emergency Fleet Management Association, where he was the former President, Metro Regional Fire Investigation Task Force, and Virginia State Public Fire and Life Safety Coalition where he was the former Chairman. In 2003, he was appointed to the Virginia Fire Services Board and remained on the Board for ten years.

Currently, he is the State Director for the NVFC, serving as chairman of the Recruitment and Retention committee and Past President of the Virginia State Firefighters Association. Ken has been active in the volunteer fire service for 45 years and is currently an active member of Fire Company 4 of Goochland Fire Rescue.

Creasy Appointed Executive Director

Governor Youngkin appointed Brad Creasy as the Executive Director of the Virginia Department of Fire Programs.

Creasy is an accomplished public safety professional with more than 26 years of fire and emergency service experience.

He began his career with the Bedford Volunteer Fire Department before becoming a career firefighter with the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department. Creasy served in Roanoke City for 21 years and rose through the ranks to Captain. Creasy has served the past 15 years as the fire chief for the Town of Bedford.

Creasy received his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Liberty University. He is a Virginia Fire Officer Academy graduate and holds the Chief Fire Officer Designation (CFO) from the Center for Public Safety Excellence.

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.

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.


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