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The 2024 Virginia Fallen Firefighters & EMS Memorial Service

The 2024 Virginia Fallen Firefighters & EMS 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 - Round Hill Community Volunteer Fire and Rescue - Frederick County
  • 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

Honor Guard:

Individuals or departments interested in Honor Guard participation should contact Toby Martin at Tmartin@roanokecountyva.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.

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 2024 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.

2023 Structural Collapse Specialist School Scholarship

VDFP is currently 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 by 5:00pm on Friday, August 4, 2023.
 
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
 

State Fire Marshal’s Office Urges Virginians to Leave Fireworks to the Professionals 

State Fire Marshal’s Office Urges Virginians to Leave Fireworks to the Professionals 

Contact:
Will Merritt
Public Information Officer
804-249-1986

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

RICHMOND (June 29, 2023) - The Virginia Department of Fire Programs-State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) reminds Virginians ahead of the Fourth of July holiday weekend that the possession of and selling illegal fireworks is a criminal offense – 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.

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.

“The safest way to celebrate the holiday with fireworks is to attend a professional show,” said Billy Hux, State Fire Marshal. “Improperly handling fireworks can result in catastrophic outcomes including fires and severe injuries.”

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 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:

  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy, in case of fire or other mishap. Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move quickly away from the fireworks device.
  • Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water before discarding.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.
  • Never point or throw fireworks (including sparklers) at anyone.
  • Consider safe alternatives to fireworks such as party poppers, bubbles, silly string, or glow sticks.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office will be working over the holiday to ensure the safety of Virginia’s residents and visitors.

For more firework safety tips and information about using fireworks in the Commonwealth, visit the State Fire Marshal’s Guide to Fireworks in the Commonwealth – Virginia Department of Fire Programs (vafire.com).

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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.

The 2023 Virginia Fallen Firefighters & EMS Memorial Service

The 2023 Virginia Fallen Firefighters & EMS Memorial Service

Watch the Live Stream Below!

Virginia Fallen Firefighters & EMS Memorial Service Live Stream

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 Tmartin@roanokecountyva.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.

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 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 william.merritt@vdfp.virginia.gov.

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.

“Fire Won’t Wait, Plan Your Escape” by following these safety tips

"Fire Won't Wait, Plan Your Escape" by following these safety tips

Contact:
Will Merritt
VDFP Public Information Officer
804-249-1986

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

RICHMOND (October 14, 2022) – As National Fire Prevention Week comes to an end, the Virginia Department of Fire Programs (VDFP) reminds Virginians that fire prevention is not just a week-long event but a year-round focus.

“Fire education is not just for children,” said Ken Brown, Community Risk Reduction Coordinator. “National Fire Prevention Week is about making sure everyone – kids, adults and seniors – understand how to stay safe in case of a fire.”

Follow these ten safety tips to keep you and your family safe:

  1. Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and outside of each bedroom
  2. Create a home escape plan with your family and routinely practice fire drills together
  3. Establish an outdoor meeting place for your family to gather in the event of a fire
  4. Test smoke alarms every month and change batteries at least once a year
  5. Keep a fire extinguisher in your home
  6. Store matches and lighters in a safe spot and out of reach from children
  7. Never leave a burning candle unattended
  8. Keep portable heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn
  9. Use electricity safely by never overloading circuits and replacing cracked or frayed cords
  10. Have your furnace and chimney inspected and cleaned every year

The 2022 Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Fire Won’t Wait, Plan Your Escape,” works to educate everyone about simple but important actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe from home fires. This week, VDFP released fire safety tips to help Virginians be prepared in case of an emergency:

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“Fire Won’t Wait, Plan Your Escape” by closing your door before you doze

"Fire Won't Wait, Plan Your Escape" by closing your door before you doze

Contact:
Will Merritt
VDFP Public Information Officer
804-249-1986

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

RICHMOND (October 13, 2022) – Did you know that closing your doors can reduce fire growth, limit damage and can even save your life if you become trapped during a fire? That is today’s tip from the Virginia Department of Fire Programs (VDFP) as part of National Fire Prevention Week.

According to the Fire Safety Research Institute, a closed door can make a 900 degree difference with an open-door room reaching 1,000 degrees compared to 100 degrees in a closed-door room.

“Make closing bedroom doors part of your routine,” said Ken Brown, Community Risk Reduction Coordinator. “Fire needs oxygen to burn and a closed door helps prevent the fire from getting more oxygen.”

For more information, visit the Fire Safety Research Institute’s “Close Before You Doze” webpage for more information: closeyourdoor.org

The 2022 Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Fire Won’t Wait, Plan Your Escape,” works to educate everyone about simple but important actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe from home fires. Each day, VDFP will release fire safety tips to help Virginians be prepared in case of an emergency.

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“Fire Won’t Wait, Plan Your Escape” by conducting home fire drills twice a year

"Fire Won't Wait, Plan Your Escape" by conducting home fire drills twice a year

Contact:
Will Merritt
VDFP Public Information Officer
804-249-1986

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

RICHMOND (October 12, 2022) – Today’s tip from the Virginia Department of Fire Programs (VDFP) for National Fire Prevention Week is to practice home fire drills at least twice a year.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, while 71% of Americans have an escape plan in case of a fire, only 47% of those have practiced it.

“A home escape plan that is regularly practiced saves lives,” said Ken Brown, Community Risk Reduction Coordinator. “Walking through the plan – just like kids practice fire drills at school – ensures everyone knows how to escape if the smoke alarm sounds.”

Follow these steps to protect you and your family:

  1. Practice home fire drills at least twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day and practice using different ways out.
  2. Children should be taught what to do when they hear a smoke alarm and there is no adult around. Show them how to exit by crawling on the ground and using the back of their hand to check doors for heat before opening and to use a different way if the door is hot.
  3. To conduct the drill, sound the smoke alarm and start the timer. Once everyone gets to the meeting place, stop the timer. If everybody made it out in two minutes, celebrate. If not, give it another try.

The 2022 Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Fire Won’t Wait, Plan Your Escape,” works to educate everyone about simple but important actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe from home fires. Each day, VDFP will release fire safety tips to help Virginians be prepared in case of an emergency.

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