State Fire Marshal’s Office Stresses Firework Safety During the Fourth of July Holiday

State Fire Marshal’s Office Stresses Firework Safety During the Fourth of July Holiday

Will Merritt
VDFP Public Information Officer


RICHMOND (June 29, 2022) - The Virginia Department of Fire Programs-State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) urges Virginians ahead of the Fourth of July holiday weekend to leave fireworks to the professionals.

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

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.

Many localities prohibit the sale, possession or use of all fireworks. The State Fire Marshal’s Office advises Virginians to check local ordinances as well as the Statewide Fire Prevention Code prior to purchasing and utilizing fireworks.

VDFP’s State Fire Marshal’s Office serves as the fire code enforcement sector of the state government training agency. Roughly 125 retail locations were inspected by SFMO in 2021, where nearly one-third locations were found to be selling non-permissible fireworks. In 2021, more than 10,000 non-permissible fireworks were confiscated that were either for sale, or in possession.

“We urge Virginians to leave fireworks to the professionals,” said Billy Hux, VDFP Assistant State Fire Marshal of Special Operations. “As in years past, the State Fire Marshal’s Office, Local Fire Marshals and Local Law Enforcement will be out inspecting retail locations to ensure items being sold meet the Code of Virginia definition for Permissible Fireworks.”

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 and you can be summoned by a Fire Marshal or Law Enforcement Officer.

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

  • If you have fireworks, make sure they are on the 2022 Virginia Permissible Fireworks List
  • 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 or while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Ensure adequate clearance from people, buildings and combustible material
  • Have a garden hose or other water source readily available in case of fire
  • 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.


Virginia Fallen Firefighters & EMS Memorial Service Scheduled for June 4

Virginia Fallen Firefighters & EMS Memorial Service Scheduled for June 4

Annual service to be held in the Exhibition Hall at the Richmond Raceway Complex

RICHMOND – The Virginia Department of Fire Programs (VDFP) invites the public to attend the 2022 Virginia Fallen Firefighters & EMS Memorial Service on Saturday, June 4 at the Richmond Raceway Complex.
The memorial service will begin at noon in the Main Exhibition Hall. The Virginia Fallen Firefighters & EMS Memorial Service will be streamed live for those who cannot attend in person. Visit: 2022 Virginia Fire & EMS Memorial Service live stream - YouTube.
The service will honor four fallen firefighters:
  • Lyndell N. Woods – Fort Lewis Volunteer Fire Department
  • Lawrence J. Phipps, Sr. – Hanover Fire and EMS
  • Todd A. Landreth – Norfolk Airport Fire Department
  • Sean H. Land – Virginia Beach Fire Department
Now in its 25th year, the Virginia Fallen Firefighters & EMS Memorial Service was established to honor firefighters and EMS personnel who perished in the line of duty, in accordance with the Virginia Line of Duty Act (§ 9.1-400).
Emergency response personnel, government officials, and public safety members gather to celebrate the courage and dedication of each honoree. The Memorial Service includes 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.

Garrett Dyer Appointed as Executive Director

Garrett Dyer Appointed as Executive Director of VDFP

RICHMOND – March 18, 2022 – Governor Glenn Youngkin announced the appointment of Garrett Dyer as Executive Director of the Virginia Department of Fire Programs.

Dyer, who has served as Acting Executive Director since January 2021, will oversee 79 full-time employees and more than 300 adjunct instructors used to deliver more than 130 courses to Virginia’s fire service. In addition, he will manage the enforcement provisions of the Statewide Fire Prevention Code.

Dyer is an accomplished public safety professional with more than 35 years of fire and emergency service experience. He began his career with the La Plata Volunteer Fire Department and became a career firefighter and nationally registered paramedic with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. Dyer served in Fairfax County for 30 years and rose through the ranks to Assistant Fire Chief. He joined VDFP in 2018 as the Virginia Fire Marshal Academy Chief before becoming the State Fire Marshal.

Dyer received his bachelor’s degree in Fire Science from the University of Maryland University College. He received his paramedic training from George Washington University and law enforcement training from the Fairfax County Criminal Justice Academy. Dyer is a graduate of Leadership Fairfax and the Senior Executive Institute at the University of Virginia – Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service.

2021 Governor’s Fire Service Awards Nominations Open Through December 31, 2021

2021 Governor’s Fire Service Awards Nominations Now Open

Nominations accepted until December 31, 2021


RICHMOND – November 3, 2021 – 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 2021 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 Rescue Conference held in February at the Virginia Beach Convention Center.

Nominations can be submitted through an online form on the VDFP website through December 31, 2021.


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 2020 recipients were Virginia Beach Fire Department and the City of Staunton Fire and Rescue, who were recognized for Excellence in Virginia Fire Service Trainingand Outstanding Fire Department Response, respectively. Read more about the 2020 Governor’s Fire Service awards recipients

About the Virginia Department of Fire ProgramsThe 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’s Office.

VDFP Now Accepting Course Requests from Localities Until Sept. 1

VDFP Now Accepting Course Requests from Localities Until Sept. 1
VDFP staff is currently working with our stakeholders to reschedule classes that were affected by the March – July shutdown. Additionally, we continue to plan for future VDFP funded deliveries to the more than 700 fire departments that exist in the Commonwealth.
Beginning August 15, 2020 and continuing until September 1, 2020, VDFP Division Chiefs will accept funded course requests from localities for the period of January 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022 (18-months). This extended time will enable VDFP and its stakeholders to be more efficient, allow for a reduction in cancelled classes, allow stakeholders to plan on attendance for future course offerings, and reduce duplicate course offerings in adjacent geographical areas.
  • Stakeholders who submit requests for January and February of 2021 will be notified of their request status by October 1, 2020.
  • Stakeholders submitting requests for the time frame of March 2021 – June 2022 will be notified of their request status by December 1, 2020.
Please make sure that your request is fully filled out to include requested dates as well as venue. VDFP staff will make every effort to accommodate training requests but may have to combine requests in adjacent areas of the Commonwealth.
Questions or comments should be directed to Bill MacKay, VDFP Chief of Training and Operations at

VDFP Launches New Learning Management System, Cornerstone OnDemand

VDFP Launches New Learning Management System, Cornerstone OnDemand

April 23, 2020 – The Virginia Department of Fire Programs (VDFP) announced today the launch of its highly anticipated online, learning management system, Cornerstone OnDemand

Over 40,000 fire service professionals in Virginia have access to the cloud-based system that is equipped with a dynamic search feature and events calendar to easily locate VDFP training offerings throughout the Commonwealth.  

VDFP is taking a phased approach to implementing many features in Cornerstone OnDemand. The system unveiling is Phase 1. Users are encouraged to learn about Cornerstone OnDemand’s self-service features: registration, profile changes, searchable events calendar, and access to student training guides and instructor resources.

Before you log in for the first time, watch our Welcome Orientation Video.

*If you have taken, registered for, or completed a VDFP training from November 2, 2019- April 1, 2020 you already have an account in Cornerstone OnDemand. You will not need to create a new account.

VDFP is encouraging new users to do the following after the initial login: 

  • Check your user name and profile
  • Browse the Cornerstone OnDemand home page to become familiar with its features, and new look and feel. 
  • Review the Terms & Icons guide for a quick overview of the differences between Cornerstone OnDemand and FSTRS.
  • Upload your FSTRS transcript. This step is critical as you begin to register for new courses (sessions) that have pre-requisites. 

VDFP is kicking off CSOD Office Hours – Online next week for stakeholders who prefer a visual walkthrough of Cornerstone OnDemand, followed by a Q&A session. Register on the CSOD page

Phases 2 and 3 of the Cornerstone OnDemand implementation will be determined and announced at a later date. Visit the CSOD Page for updates.

VDFP Earns Pro Board Re-Accreditation with 23 Certification Courses

VDFP Earns Pro Board Re-Accreditation with 23 Certification Courses

RICHMOND – April 16, 2020 – The Virginia Department of Fire Programs (VDFP) announced today its accreditation renewal with Pro Board, which solidifies 23 certification courses for the state training agency. VDFP is one of 70 agencies accredited by Pro Board throughout the world and is the accrediting body for fire service professionals in Virginia.

Pro Board accreditation is a rigorous process that entails an agency self-study within the submission of an application package. After the Pro Board application review, a committee conducts a site visit to review testing and certification processes. The result is a report that is reviewed for an accreditation decision.

“We are beaming with pride to have earned reaccreditation with Pro Board and add newly- accredited courses to our training program offerings. The news couldn’t have come at a better time, as we are currently working on our post-COVID-19 training recovery plan,” said VDFP Executive Director Michael Reilly. “This is also an achievement that will benefit Virginia’s Fire Service in upskilling or maintaining credentials to enhance performance and service delivery in the field.”

In February, VDFP announced 16 courses accredited by the International Fire Services Accreditation Congress (IFSAC). IFSAC is the accrediting body that recognizes and standardizes competencies in fire and emergency services programs worldwide.

Re-accredited Courses Newly-Accredited Courses
1. NFPA Standard – 1001: Edition – 2013, Chapter 5 Fire Fighter I
2. NFPA Standard – 1001: Edition – 2013, Chapter 6 Fire Fighter II
3. NFPA Standard – 1002: Edition – 2017, Chapter 5 Apparatus Equipped with Fire Pump
4. NFPA Standard – 1002: Edition – 2017, Chapter 6 Apparatus Equipped with an Aerial Device
5. NFPA Standard – 1003: Edition – 2015, Chapter 4 Airport Fire Fighter
6. NFPA Standard – 1005: Edition – 2014, Chapter 4 Marine Fire Fighter
7. NFPA Standard – 1021: Edition – 2014, Chapter 4 Fire Officer I
8. NFPA Standard – 1021: Edition – 2014, Chapter 5 Fire Officer II
9. NFPA Standard – 1021: Edition – 2014, Chapter 6 Fire Officer III
10. NFPA Standard – 1021: Edition – 2014, Chapter 7 Fire Officer IV
11. NFPA Standard – 1031: Edition – 2014, Chapter 4 Fire Inspector I
12. NFPA Standard – 1031: Edition – 2014, Chapter 5 Fire Inspector II
13. NFPA Standard – 1033: Edition – 2014, Chapter 4 Fire Investigator
14. NFPA Standard – 1035: Edition – 2015, Fire and Life Safety Educator I
15. NFPA Standard – 1035: Edition – 2015, Fire and Life Safety Educator II
16. NFPA Standard – 1041: Edition – 2012, Chapter 4 Instructor I
17. NFPA Standard – 1041: Edition – 2012, Chapter 5 Instructor II
18. NFPA Standard – 1041: Edition – 2012, Chapter 6 Instructor III
1. NFPA Standard – 1072: Edition – 2017, Awareness
2. NFPA Standard – 1072: Edition – 2017, Operations
3. NFPA Standard – 1072: Edition – 2017, Operations Mission-Specific 6.2
4. NFPA Standard – 1072: Edition – 2017, Operations Mission-Specific 6.6
5. NFPA Standard – 1521: Edition – 2015, Chapter 5 Incident Safety Officer

COVID-19: What You Need to Know

The coronavirus (COVID-19) is a declared pandemic that is evolving throughout the U.S. and abroad at a rapid pace. As with many localities and government agencies in the Commonwealth, the Virginia Department of Fire Programs is remaining flexible and working proactively to announce changes to agency training programs and operations as they occur.

Visit this page for real-time updates on VDFP-specific actions and decisions.

March 21, 2020

  • Effective March 23, 2020VDFP will cease providing funded staff for testing and to support live burns. 

March 20, 2020

  • April 20-27, 2020: Driver Aerial Operator (NFPA 1002-14) course being held by the Williamsburg FD is postponed.
  • Offices in Divisions 3, 5, and 6 are closed until further notice. You can conduct VDFP business with Divisions 3, 5, and 6 by contacting those divisions directly by email or phone.
  • We are also taking measures to practice social distancing and adhere to Governor Northam’s mandate that bans gatherings of 10 or more people in a location. In-person and walk-up visitors at all VDFP offices are discouraged. Conduct VDFP business by email or phone.

March 19, 2020

  • April 6-10, 2020: Virginia Fire Marshal Academy Environmental Crimes course is cancelled.

March 17, 2020

  • April 17-26, 2020: Rockingham Regional Fire School is postponed.
  • May 4-7, 2020: Rescue Challenge 2020 is postponed. There will be a conference call held on Monday, April 6 between TRAVA, VDFP, and Regional Hosting Agencies to determine a reschedule and/or cancellation options. Please do not contact them until information is forwarded to you from the April 6th conference call. Review the details.

March 16, 2020

  • March 16-April 3, 2020: Effective immediately, all VDFP Funded and Reimbursable Courses that are currently in progress or beginning, up to and including April 3, 2020 are cancelled or postponed. In addition, at this time VDFP will not be accepting any new course requests. Further guidance will be provided by April 1, 2020.

March 13, 2020

  • Albemarle County Regional School scheduled on March 21-22, 2020 has been cancelled.
  • The 1031 Fire Inspector course scheduled on Monday, March 16, 2020, has been cancelled due to the local state of emergency declared by the City of Portsmouth. Please be advised that there are other 1031 Fire Inspector course offerings available this year and we welcome you to register for those classes. Please indicate during registration that your class was cancelled due to this state of emergency and you will be given preference in registering.
  • The joint Fire Services Board Meeting and DHCD meeting scheduled for Monday, March 16 has been cancelled.
  • The Virginia Fallen Firefighters & EMS Memorial Service Committee meeting scheduled on Tuesday, March 17 will occur as scheduled. Members will be advised of the meeting process.
  • The Virginia Fire Services Board Live Structures meeting scheduled on Friday, March 20 will be postponed until further notice. However, the Code Subcommittee meeting will occur as scheduled and members will be advised of the process.


VDFP Trainings at VFRC 2020 – Descriptions

VDFP Training Descriptions at VFRC 2020

Wednesday, February 19, 2020 (NFPA 1033)


  • Legal

Focus on criminal procedure as outlined by title 19.2 of Virginia Code; basic rules of evidence; proper foundation and limits of expert testimony at trial, and; significant changes to criminal trial rules, set to begin on July 1, 2020, which will impact all Fire Marshal’s Offices throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. Attendees will receive four (4) hours of “legal” in-service credit from the Virginia Fire Marshal’s Academy.

Presenter: J.W. Senter, Assistant Fire Marshal, Newport News Fire Department

1:00- 3:00

  • Flame Jetting Awareness and Investigative Challenges

Over the last several years, science demonstrations and experiments in school settings have gone terribly wrong. Popular Science experiments conducted regularly in schools have resulted in critical injuries to students from pre-school to high school, and their teachers. When the conditions are just right, a hand-held container of flammable liquid being poured near an ignition source can shoot out a 15-foot jet of flame. The phenomenon, called flame jetting, is a serious, largely unknown danger that is both devastating and deadly. This presentation will:

  • Provide a review of the research conducted to correctly identify flame jetting;
  • Define hazardous combinations in the educational setting
  • Review public education strategies aimed at ending flame jetting hazards
  • Review the other areas affected by flame jetting and what is being done
  • Detail possible solutions for prevention
  • Ensure investigators are correctly identifying the causes of these incidents.

Presenters: Battalion Chief Kerwin A. McNamara, Connie McNamara


  • UAV Familiarization and Awareness

In the ever-changing fast paced world of unmanned aerial vehicles, this course aims to clarify misinformation with respect to rules, enforcement and current threats.   Using a plethora of videos and discussion point’s, participants will engage and interact to discuss topics including:

  • How first responder are utilizing UAV technology
  • Type of Operators
  • Hobbyist vs Commercial UAV rules
  • Airspace and Privacy
  • VA specific drone law
  • “What would you do” LEO/UAV interactions
  • Malicious actors and UAV related threats
  • Government response and mitigation

Presenter: SA Dante Robinson, Virginia Fusion Center

Thursday, February 20, 2020 (NFPA 1031)


  • Blasting & Case Reviews

(Lessons and Pit Falls in Blasting Code Enforcement)

Blasting is a highly regulated industry and as a standard of practice, commercial blasting firms doing business in Virginia make every effort to follow applicable federal, state, and local regulations to ensure personal safety and to prevent damage to property.  FMs work closely with the industry to ensure they comply with all regulations and performs timely investigations whenever complaints arise.  If the FM has reason to believe that blasting is occurring outside of the established regulations they will suspend or terminate permit(s) until compliance is achieved.

But what happens when it isn’t quite so cut and dry?  Historical markers and districts, hand dug wells, monuments, and implosive devices to splice power lines, mis-fires and throw rock.  When and how does NFPA 495 and the ATF Federal Explosive Law and Regulations apply to the SFPC?

We are going to address the basic blasting provisions the SFPC, expand to NFPA 495 and ATF explosive laws and then discuss several cases that just don’t fit the norm.

Presenter: Chief Fire Marshal Linda Hale, Loudoun County Fire & Rescue Department


The 2015 SFPC – How to navigate the (N), applicable building code and section deleted:

The 2015 edition of the SFPC underwent a dramatic change in appearance that was a “rewrite” to remove unenforceable language from the code. The end result caught many fire code enforcement personnel off guard. The words “section deleted”, “applicable building code” and the symbol “(N)” now consume much of the code. This program will review the 2015 SFPC and discuss how to navigate the respective changes and discuss what this really means for the fire code enforcement community.  This program will also review the development of the 2018 SFPC and how the fire inspector can participate in the code development process.

Presenter: Gerry R. Maiatico, Warren County Department of Fire & Rescue Services

Friday, February 21, 2020 (NFPA 1031)


NFPA 25 Step-by-Step Inspections and Tests

This one-day seminar provides a comprehensive look at the roles and responsibilities of the AHJ, the service provider and the owner of water based fire protection systems and will highlight the requirements of NFPA 25. Using NFPA 25 as a guide, the session reviews procedures for inspecting sprinkler system components along with procedures for many common tests performed by inspectors. The session is deigned to be interactive with attendees having the opportunity to discuss the various options for the complete and efficient inspection and testing of sprinkler and related systems. This seminar will benefit inspectors, contractors, AHJ, and property owners.

Presenter: Bob G. Caputo, CFPS, CET, instructor for American Fire Sprinkler Association & NFPA