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The 2023 Virginia Fallen Firefighters & EMS Memorial Service

The 2023 Virginia Fallen Firefighters & EMS Memorial Service

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 in the Virginia Line of Duty Act in 2023 for their bravery and dedication to the citizens of the Commonwealth.


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.

Contacts

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.

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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“Fire Won’t Wait, Plan Your Escape” by knowing two ways out of every room

"Fire Won't Wait, Plan Your Escape" by knowing two ways out of every room

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

RICHMOND (October 11, 2022) – As National Fire Prevention Week continues, the Virginia Department of Fire Programs (VDFP) urges Virginia residents to make an escape plan with two ways out of every room.

According to the NFPA, only one of every three American households have actually developed and practiced a home fire escape plan.

“Fire moves fast and every second counts when you need to get out,” said Ken Brown, Community Risk Reduction Coordinator. “Developing a home fire escape plan that includes two ways out of every room and meets the needs of your family is extremely important.”

Follow these steps to protect you and your family:

  1. As a family, draw a map of the layout of your home. Include all doors and windows. You can use this grid from the U.S. Fire Administration
  2. Find two ways out of every room in case one way is blocked by fire
  3. Teach children how to escape on their own in case an adult can’t help them
  4. Make sure doors and windows open easily and are not blocked by furniture
  5. Choose an outside meeting place such as the end of your driveway or your mailbox
  6. Assign someone to call 911 once everyone is out
  7. Make sure the address of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find

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 installing and testing smoke alarms

"Fire Won't Wait, Plan Your Escape" by installing and testing smoke alarms

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

RICHMOND (October 10, 2022) – National Fire Prevention Week is October 9-15 and the Virginia Department of Fire Programs (VDFP) reminds Virginia residents to check smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in their home.

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.

Working smoke alarms are an essential part of any home fire escape plan. According to the NFPA, three out of five home fire deaths result from fires in properties without working smoke alarms.

“You may have as little as two minutes – or even less time – to safely get out of your home during a fire,” said Ken Brown, Community Risk Reduction Coordinator. “A properly installed and maintained smoke alarm greatly increases your chances of surviving a home fire.”

Follow these tips to protect you and your family:

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas
  • Choose interconnected smoke alarms, so when one sounds, they all sound
  • Test smoke alarms monthly by pushing the “test” button and change the batteries at least once a year, if your model requires it
  • Check the manufacturer’s date. If the alarm is 10 years or older, it needs to be replaced
  • Teach children what a smoke alarm sounds like and what to do if it goes off

VDFP is teaming up with the National Fire Protection Association to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Fire Prevention Week. Each day, VDFP will release fire safety tips to help Virginians be prepared in case of an emergency.

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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
 

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

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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.

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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.