News

The 2021 Virginia Fallen Firefighters & EMS Memorial Service

The 2021 Virginia Fallen Firefighters & EMS Memorial Service

The 24th annual Virginia Fallen Firefighters & Emergency Medical Services Memorial Service will be held at 12 p.m. on Saturday, June 5, 2021 at the Richmond International Raceway Complex, Main Exhibition Hall. Due to the fluidity of COVID-19 protocols, this event is limited in attendance to Honoree families and respective fire departments. It is not open to the public. 

We experienced technical difficulties with the livestream on Saturday. Click here to watch the recording of the Memorial Service.

This year’s Memorial Service will honor Fallen Firefighters who have been recognized in the Virginia Line of Duty Act in 2019 and 2020 for their bravery and dedication to the citizens of the Commonwealth. In 2020, the Memorial Service was cancelled due to the onset of COVID-19.

2020 & 2021 Honorees 

  • Dennis Lynn Brent – Charlottesville Fire Department
  • Tommie Lee Collier – Crozet Fire Department
  • Vivian Thomas Crawford – Scruggs Volunteer Fire and Rescue
  • John Ross Laronda – Altavista Volunteer Fire Company
  • Owen Lee Lewis, Jr. – Rocky Mount Volunteer Fire Department
  • Rubin O’Neal Lineberry, Jr. – Dublin Volunteer Fire Department
  • Joseph A. Mary – Richmond Department of Fire and Emergency Services
  • William H. Moore IV – Amelia County Volunteer Fire Department
  • Kenneth Wesley Smith – Madison County Volunteer Fire Company
  • Robert Jacob Thomas – Fieldale Volunteer Fire Department
  • Eddie T. Vick – Stony Creek Volunteer Fire Department/Sussex County
  • Charles C. Woods – Adwolfe Volunteer Fire Department

About the 2021 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.

Contacts

  • General Information: For more information on the Virginia Fallen Firefighters & EMS Memorial Service, contact VDFP PIO Vanessa Copeland at (804) 249-1986 or Vanessa.Copeland@vdfp.virginia.gov.
  • Sending Apparatus: If your department is interested in sending apparatus to the Memorial Service, please contact Memorial Service Committee Member Floyd Greene at floydpowhatan@gmail.com.

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.

Resources

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

 

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.

IAFC President Urges Fire & EMS Preparedness for Civil Unrest

IAFC President Urges Fire & EMS Preparedness for Civil Unrest

The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) President and Chairman of the Board Chief Richard R. Carrizzo recently issued an email of resources for its members to consider regarding the potential for civil unrest in response to Election Day and after.

“To help fire departments provide service to their communities in uncertain environments, the IAFC has both compiled and developed the following resources,” read more here.

2020 Governor’s Fire Service Awards Nominations Open Through December 31, 2020

2020 Governor’s Fire Service Awards Nominations Now Open

Nominations accepted until December 31, 2020

 

RICHMOND – October 28, 2020 – 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 2020 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 31, 2020.

 

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 2019 recipients were Hopewell Bureau of Fire and the Arlington County Community Emergency Response Team Training Cadre, who were recognized for Outstanding Fire Department Response and Excellence in Virginia Fire Services, respectively. Read more about the 2019 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.

 

It’s Fire Prevention Week. Get your safety tips from the Virginia Department of Fire Programs.

It’s Fire Prevention Week. Get your safety tips from the Virginia Department of Fire Programs.

This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme is “Serve up Fire Safety in the Kitchen.”

RICHMONDOctober 5, 2020 – The Virginia Department of Fire Programs’ (VDFP) State Fire Marshal’s Office reminds Virginians to keep safety at the forefront while cooking and using appliances in the kitchen. As we spend more time in our residences, the chances of fire-related accidents and injuries increases.

“There have been 29 civilian fire fatalities in Virginia as of September 30. Of those fire fatalities, 3% were caused by cooking. 48% occurred in single-family homes,” said Virginia State Fire Marshal Garrett Dyer. “We often think of the stove and the safety around that appliance, but smaller appliances such as deep fryers and microwaves can start fires that are equally as destructive.”

According to the U.S. Home Cooking Fires Report by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking caused an average of 172,900 reported home structure fires per year (49 percent of all reported home fires in the US). These fires resulted in an average of 550 civilian deaths (21 percent of all home fire deaths) and 4,820 civilian injuries (44 percent of all reported home fire injuries) annually.

Victims of Cooking Fires

In the report, it is noted that high-risk populations include those 55 years of age and older. In Virginia, 24% of the total reported civilian fire fatalities victims were between 56-80 years old.

Dyer continued, “The statistic translates to one out of four Virginians over the age of 55 are at a higher risk of a fire-related casualty or injury. Check on your neighbors that fit this category, bring them a meal from time to time. Make sure the meal is prepared using safe cooking practices. And, don’t forget to wear your mask as you enter their homes.”

People ages 25-44 are the leading age group to suffer from cooking fire injuries in U.S. homes nationwide.

Cooking Safety Tips

  • Never leave cooking food unattended. Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling or broiling. If you have to leave, even for a short time, turn off the stove. Leaving food unattended is the leading factor in cooking fires and related casualties.
  • If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking.
  • You have to be alert when cooking. You won’t be alert if you are sleepy, have taken medicine or drugs, or consumed alcohol that makes you drowsy.
  • Always keep an oven mitt and pan lid nearby when you’re cooking. If a small grease fire starts, slide the lid over the pan to smother the flame. Turn off the burner, and leave the pan covered until it is completely cool.
  • Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.

“We hope that the message resonates before we head into the holiday season in a few weeks,” said Dyer.

Thanksgiving and Christmas Day are the leading days for cooking fires in the home.