The 2024 Virginia Fallen Firefighters & EMS Memorial Service

The 2024 Virginia Fallen Firefighters & EMS Memorial Service

About the 2024 Memorial Service 

The 27th annual Virginia Fallen Firefighters & Emergency Medical Services Memorial Service will be held at 12 p.m. on Saturday, June 1, 2024 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 2023 for their bravery and dedication to the citizens of the Commonwealth.

2024 Honorees
  • Larry W. Akers - Longshop-McCoy Fire and Rescue
  • James M. Alexander Jr. - Hanover County Fire-EMS
  • James E. Brewster - D.A.D Volunteer Fire Department
  • Ernest N. Cash - Monelison Volunteer Fire Department
  • Matthew R. Chiaverotti - Virginia Beach Fire Department
  • Cameron B. Craig - Abingdon Fire Department
  • Mia Ethridge - Louisa County Fire and EMS
  • James A. Foster - Rice Volunteer Fire Department
  • Brian R. Hricik - Alexandria Fire Department
  • Helen "Gracey" C. Humbert - Botetourt County Fire and EMS
  • Chester T. Lauck - Frederick County Fire and Rescue
  • William A. McFarland - Richmond Department of Fire and Emergency Services
  • Gregory C. Meinel - Vinton First Aid Crew
  • Alicia A. Monahan - Chesterfield County Fire and EMS
  • Rory "Bud" C. Swanson - Lower King and Queen Volunteer Fire Department
  • Stephen D. Whitson - Henrico County Division of Fire
  • Rocky S. Wood - Virginia Department of Forestry

Live Stream Information and Digital Program Access

Click here to watch the recording of the service on YouTube

A digital version of the program is available at this link: 2024 Fire + EMS Memorial Booklet

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 william.merritt@vdfp.virginia.gov.


About the 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 william.merritt@vdfp.virginia.gov.

Guide to Fireworks in the Commonwealth

Guide to Fireworks in the Commonwealth

Many local jurisdictions prohibit the use of all fireworks. Check with your locality to determine any local regulations.

In accordance with Section §27-96.1 of the Code of Virginia, unless prohibited by a local ordinance, the provisions of the Statewide Fire Prevention Code pertaining to fireworks shall not apply to the sale of or to any person using, igniting, or exploding permissible fireworks on private property with the consent of the owner of such property.

The fireworks listed in the 2023 Virginia Permissible Fireworks List have been field tested to compare the items to the performance criteria of the American Fireworks Standards Laboratory (AFSL) and are classified as "permissible fireworks" for purposes of applying and enforcing the Statewide Fire Prevention Code. The requirements for the sale or use of other than permissible fireworks, including certification and permit requirements, can be found in Chapter 56 of the Statewide Fire Prevention Code (https://codes.iccsafe.org/content/document/1360/14583684).

CAUTION: Code of Virginia §27.97 allows local jurisdictions to adopt fire prevention regulations that are more restrictive or more extensive in scope than the Statewide Fire Prevention Code. Many local jurisdictions prohibit the use of all fireworks. Individuals should check with their city, county or town to determine any local regulations.

Click the graphics below to download and share on social media. Remember the only safe way to celebrate is by attending public displays. Leave fireworks to the professionals!

   

The Purpose of the Permissible Fireworks List

Each year countless Virginians are injured or worse due to fireworks. Pictured below is the State Fire Marshal's Office annual field testing of fireworks to compare the items to the performance criteria of the American Fireworks Standards Laboratory (AFSL) and are classified as "permissible fireworks" for purposes of applying and enforcing the Statewide Fire Prevention Code. These tests make sure only code compliant consumer grade fireworks are bought/sold in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

 


Firework safety tips

The only safe way to view fireworks is by attending public displays and leaving the lighting of fireworks to the professionals.

Be Proactive

  • Purchase only legal fireworks available at approved stands. Never craft your own fireworks or combine multiple fireworks.
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby in which all used fireworks can be placed.
  • Know the laws for your specific locality as local jurisdictions may adopt fire prevention regulations that are more restrictive or extensive in scope than the Statewide Fire Prevention Code.

Be Safe While Using

  • Use eye protection, wear safety goggles.
  • Always read and follow the directions on the label.
  • Never point fireworks at people, pets, cars or buildings.
  • Do not use fireworks near tall dry grassy fields, combustible materials or wooded areas.
  • Do not use under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances.

Disposal of Fireworks

  • After you finish — clean up all debris when finished. Duds (fireworks that didn't function) can be dangerous; if a device does not light or fire, an adult should wait at least 15 minutes, approach it carefully, and place it in a bucket of water.
  • Be sure all unused fireworks, matches and lighters are out of the sight and reach of children.
  • Dispose of fireworks properly. Soak them completely in water before putting them in the trash can.
  • Monitor the area for several hours after using fireworks.

 

Virginia Fallen Firefighters & EMS Memorial Service Scheduled for June 3

Virginia Fallen Firefighters & EMS Memorial Service Scheduled for June 3

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

Photo collage of Virginia Fallen Firefighters and EMS Memorial Service at the Richmond Raceway with text: VDFP and the agency website: www.vafire.com.

RICHMOND – The Virginia Department of Fire Programs (VDFP) invites the public to attend the 2023 Virginia Fallen Firefighters and EMS Memorial Service on Saturday, June 3.
The memorial service will begin at noon at the Richmond Raceway Complex in the Main Exhibition Hall.
The Virginia Fallen Firefighters and 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 will 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.
This year's service will honor ten fallen firefighters:
  • Gary C. Campbell - Spotsylvania County Fire, Rescue and Emergency Management
  • TyVaughn N. Eldridge - Chesterfield Fire and EMS
  • Christopher G. Griffin - City of Norfolk Fire Rescue
  • Robert W. Nelms - Fries Fire and 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 Departmen

For those who cannot attend in person, the Virginia Fallen Firefighters and EMS Memorial Service will also be streamed live on VDFP’s social media and website: www.vafire.com.

2022 Governor’s Fire Service Awards Nominations Open Through December 16, 2022

2022 Governor's Fire Service Awards Nominations Now Open

Nominations accepted until December 16, 2022

 

RICHMONDNovember 1, 2022 - 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 2022 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 16, 2022.

 

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 2021 recipients were Loudoun County Combined Fire and Rescue High Threat Team and the Occoquan Woodbridge Lorton Volunteer Fire Department, who were recognized for Excellence in Virginia Fire Service Training and Outstanding Fire Department Response, respectively. Read more about the 2021 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's Office.

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 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.

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.