Senate Committee Approves AFG/SAFER Reauthorization

On Wednesday, May 17th, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs unanimously approved S. 829, the AFG and SAFER Program Reauthorization Act.  S. 829, the AFG and SAFER Program Reauthorization Act reauthorizes the Assistance to Firefighters (AFG), the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER), and Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) grant programs through Fiscal Year 2023. Additionally, the legislation removes a “sunset” provision in the current authorizing statute that would eliminate the programs on January 2, 2018.

Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) provides financial assistance to eligible fire departments, nonaffiliated Emergency Medical Services (EMS) organizations, and State Fire Training Academies. Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations to help them increase the number of trained firefighters available in their communities.  Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) Grants are part of the Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) and support projects that enhance the safety of the public and firefighters from fire and related hazards. FP&S helps reduce injury and prevent death among high-risk populations.

829 was introduced by Senator John McCain (AZ) and Senator Jon Tester (MT), both co-chairs of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus.  Senator Susan Collins (ME), chair of the Fire Caucus, and Senator Tom Carper, a fellow Fire Caucus co-chair, are original co-sponsors of the legislation.  S. 829 will now go before the full Senate for consideration.

Flag Order for Roger Johns

Governor’s flag order for the Commonwealth of Virginia

This is to order that the flag of the Commonwealth of Virginia be flown at half-staff on all state buildings and grounds in the Commonwealth of Virginia in respect and memory of Eagle Rock Volunteer Firefighter Roger Johns, who lost his life in the line of duty.

Read full text of flag order.


2017 Training Survey

The 2017 VDFP Training Survey launched on Monday, May 1.  The deadline to return the survey is May 31.  The status of completed surveys, by Fire Department, will be posted to the website weekly.

2017 Virginia Fire Service Training Survey Stats

Completed: 115

In Progress: 24

Not Started: 245

Response Rate: 30%

Click here for detailed report.

For assistance or questions about the survey please contact Rob Magnotti at 804-249-1989.

Check Your Smoke Alarms This Weekend!

Daylight Saving Time starts this weekend. When you change your clocks, please remember to check your smoke alarms for functionality and replace batteries, if needed. Here are some basic smoke alarm maintenance tips:

•Smoke alarms should be maintained according to manufacturer’s instructions.
•Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.
•Make sure everyone in the home understands the sound of the smoke alarm and knows how to respond.
•Follow manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning to keep smoke alarms working well. The instructions are included in the package or can be found on the internet.
•Smoke alarms with non-replaceable 10-year batteries are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. If the alarm chirps, warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away.
•Smoke alarms with any other type of battery need a new battery at least once a year. If that alarm chirps, warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away.
•When replacing a battery, follow manufacturer’s list of batteries on the back of the alarm or manufacturer’s instructions. Manufacturer’s instructions are specific to the batteries (brand and model) that must be used. The smoke alarm may not work properly if a different kind of battery is used.

2016 Annual Report

We are proud to announce the publication of our 2016 Annual Report.  This document offers an overview of our accomplishments in the last year and our vision and goals for the future.  Printed copies of the report will be available at our Division offices.  You may also read and/or download the electronic version here.

2016 Annual Report


To prepare the Commonwealth for the REAL ID Act, a federal act that was passed in 2005, federal facilities including the National Fire Academy will be enforcing this act effective June 7, 2017. Any students taking courses at the National Fire Academy including our Tennessee/Virginia State Weekend will be required to furnish the required identification before being allowed to enter the facility. This enforcement tells us that students from Virginia will need to furnish another form of ID other than a state issued drivers license/ID Card for access to the facility. Other forms of identification include a valid federal PIV (Personal Identity Verification) card, military ID (active, retired, reserve, dependent, civilian employee), U.S. passport, U.S. passport card, or Transportation Worker’s Identification Card (TWIC).  Individual criminal background (NCIC) checks can be performed, but will require submission of personally identifiable information from the state that would be responsible for collecting and transmitting that information. Possessing a U.S. passport would eliminate the need for repeat NCIC checks upon each visit to campus. State Enhanced Driver’s Licenses (EDLs) designated as acceptable border-crossing documents by DHS under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative are acceptable for official federal purposes such as accessing a Federal facility or boarding a commercial aircraft. Individual agency policies may still apply.

Here is a link for more information on the REAL ID Act:

Commonwealth Burning Law

To help reduce the number of wildfires this time of year, the Commonwealth’s 4 p.m. Burning Law goes into effect February 15. The law prohibits open burning between the hours of midnight and 4 p.m. each day. Burning is permitted between the hours of 4 p.m. and midnight, but officials at the Virginia Department of Forestry caution people that, even though burning is allowed from 4 p.m. to midnight, they not burn if the weather conditions are such that a fire will likely escape. (Such conditions include low humidity, warm temperatures and winds over 10 miles per hour.) The law remains in effect each year until April 30.