About Us

President's Message

On behalf of the entire VFCA, I would like to thank you for your interest in our association.  The VFCA’s leadership has narrowed its focus in recent years to better understand how we can provide the right kind of assistance and resources to fire service leaders in the Commonwealth. 

There are very specific things the association can do – in fact, things only this association can do – to help fire service leaders in a real and meaningful way.  For example, we all need to understand with clarity what is going on with legislative matters in the General Assembly.  But for a fire chief who has his or her own fire department to run, it’s virtually impossible to personally monitor, research, and understanding every bill that impacts the fire service, much less single-handedly push to support or oppose that bill.  However, the VFCA can do that for you, and do it extremely well.  The VFCA provides you, as a member of the association, and as a fire service leader, with the clarity and answers you need regarding legislative matters in Richmond. 

In terms of professional development and training, the VFCA has identified the gaps that no other organization is filling.  This is how we came to create and operate the Virginia Fire Officer Academy, the only resident-style state-wide leadership program that focuses on personal leadership and communication skills, with a curriculum that does not duplicate anything you will find in existing DFP or NFA course descriptions.  It fills the gap so well that it has been recognized by the NFFF and the U.S. Congressional Fire Services Institute for excellence.  It doesn’t hurt that we now have nearly 1,000 graduates of the program – representing an entire generation of company officers and chief officers from across the Commonwealth - who have graduated from the program and have gone on to change Virginia’s fire service for the better. 

Building on that success, we are now approaching the third year of the Virginia Chief Officer Academy, which again will offer the chance to fill the educational gaps and provide chief officers from across Virginia the chance to grow professionally and personally.

We often get the question - what does the VFCA do for me?  In my mind the answer is simple.  The VFCA provides you with a vehicle to do your job more effectively, whether it’s by sharing examples of new programs, accessing valuable education, or gaining access to legislative knowledge.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.  We have grown as an association and we have changed to meet the needs of today’s fire service leaders.  But at the end of the day, the face to face connections are still the heart of what we do.  Being active in your association gives you the chance to get to know your peers, to develop a network of professional and personal contacts.  You can’t do this job alone, and sometimes you need someone from outside your department to talk to when you’re facing a difficult decision. 

Traditions are important in the fire service, and we stand on the shoulder of those who came before us.  And just like the fire service leaders from nearly a hundred years ago, we still need that human contact with each other, the chance to engage.  That is what the VFCA does for us.

It is an honor to serve as the president during the 2018-19 term.  If there is anything I can do to assist you, please do not hesitate to call me at (804) 501-4901or email to tony.mcdowell@henrico.us.






Mission Statement

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

(Formerly SFCAV)

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.