On behalf of the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association’s Board of Directors, thank you for visiting our website.
First let me say it is humbling to be the president of the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association for the upcoming year and it is a true privilege to be the fourth Virginia Beach Fire Chief to be president of this great organization. I am grateful to Steve Cover for selecting me to fill his spot on the board when he was president. I can honestly say, when I first started in the fire service 32 years ago, I didn’t envision reaching such a milestone. Through hard work, timing, and a bit of good luck anything is possible.
I am very fortunate to have come up through the VFCA Board at this time. Over the past several years, we have changed the name of the conference, delved heavily into legislative issues facing today's firefighters and added state wide leadership classes such as VCOA and the VFOA to name just a few.
One significant modification was renaming the conference from the Virginia Fire Chiefs Conference to the Virginia Fire and Rescue Conference. This sent a clear message to the Commonwealth that the conference was for all firefighters in Virginia. It is focused on the best training, expanding vendor representation and increasing fellowship.
The VFCA Board met in Staunton for our annual retreat this past October to discuss our collective goals for 2020. The areas we are going to concentrate on include:
- Diversity and Inclusion
- Legislative issues
- Health and Wellness
- Professional Development
We are committed to inclusion and diversity as a core organizational value in all facets of the VFCA. This includes: targeted recruitment of under-represented, historically marginalized groups for VFCA membership and VFCA leadership roles, VFCA Scholarships for 2020, Virginia Fire Equity and Diversity Conference with a commitment from the VFCA board to attend as well as support staff attendance.
When we find ourselves in situations where women and minorities are under-represented and marginalized, we need to rise to the occasion and carry the flag for them. I challenge all of my colleagues, no matter what level of the organization you may be in, to embrace our core commitments for fair and just treatment for all of our women and men and to work toward a system that is equitable and inclusive.
An area of increased emphasis over the last couple of years has been your Executive Board and legislative committee involvement in statewide legislative issues we face as a fire service. A major focus this past year has been working with the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission to improve cancer presumption legislation.
We were successful because we leveraged our partnerships with other fire service organizations and labor. None of this would have been possible without the professionalism and guidance of our lobbyist organizations.
We have experienced a major victory with cancer presumption legislation with the added bonus of adding PTSD legislation. An area we have identified that needs more attention from us as in the fire service is we need more grass roots work by utilizing everyone in the fire service to have conversations with officials in your own backyards. If you know any senator, delegate, council person or staffer please let us know. I have personally seen where one conversation swung a key vote our way.
We are looking forward to an incredible 2020 for the VFCA and Virginia’s Fire & EMS Service. It is a privilege to serve as your 2020 VFCA president.
Chief David Hutcheson
Virginia Beach Fire Department
2020 VFCA President
The Virginia Fire Chiefs Association, (VFCA) serves the communities of Virginia through its fire service leaders and advances the Fire & Rescue service through leadership, education and advocacy.
History and Purpose of VFCA
The State Fire Chiefs Association of Virginia, Inc., was organized in 1930 by progressive Fire Chiefs who saw the need to work together for the betterment of the fire service. The Association's original purpose was to work for the promotion of fire prevention, protection from and extinguishments of fires, and attendant reduction of insurance rates. The Association proposed to accomplish this by bringing into closer contact the various Fire Chiefs in the Commonwealth for their mutual benefit and welfare. Among the first matters discussed in 1930 were the need for a State Firemen's School, the Firemen's Pension Bill, and a Model Arson Law.
The Association has continued to grow through the years and its goals have broadened to keep pace with the challenges. Today, the Association's stated purpose is to bring together at least once a year persons interested in the advancement of the fire service; to discuss ways of improving life-saving and fire extinguishments procedures; to assist in research studies; to serve as the recognized organization for the exchange of ideas, information, knowledge and experiences affecting the safety of life and property from fires; to encourage and assist in the development of public education in fire prevention programs in the Commonwealth of Virginia; to cooperate with all organizations in the promotion of the goals and objectives of the fire service; and to support and encourage the delivery of pre-hospital emergency medical services by the fire service to relieve human suffering.
In 2002, the SFCAV changed its name to become the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association in order to facilitate searching capabilities on the Internet and a more direct identification similar to other organizations throughout the United States.