Fire & Rescue Chief Recruitment
Roanoke County is currently seeking applicants for the position of Fire & Rescue Chief. Since the Department was formed in 1986 there have been only three Fire Chiefs as the Department continues to be well-managed at all levels of the organization and supported by County Administration. The current Fire & Rescue Chief was promoted up through the ranks and is retiring after 27 years, with almost six years as the Chief.
- About the Department
- Major Duties
- Education & Experience
- Current Challenges
- Our Community
The Roanoke County Fire & Rescue Department is predominately a career department with volunteer support at some stations providing fire and rescue services to the citizens of the County.
The Department currently employs 198 sworn personnel and five (5) civilian staff that operate from fourteen (14) fire and rescue facilities across the County, including twelve (12) fire and rescue stations, one (1) administrative office located at the Roanoke County Public Safety Center and one (1) training facility. Currently, the County has approximately 150 active volunteers that make up nine (9) volunteer fire companies and four (4) volunteer rescue squads that serve as firefighters, emergency medical technicians and rescue drivers. See the department's current Organizational Chart for more information.
The department has continued to increase its paid staffing to ensure adequate coverage for all county residents and partnership stations. Volunteers currently respond to approximately 5% of total call volume with paid staff answering 95% of calls. Last year Roanoke County Fire & Rescue responded to 15,047 calls with 86% EMS calls and 14% fire calls. As of June 1, 2021, all career field staff will work rotating 24/7 shifts similar to the neighboring cities of Roanoke and Salem. See more information about 2020 Incidents and Staffing Levels.
The department has an active capital outlay plan for both fire and emergency medical services apparatus and equipment which is funded on a regular basis in the County budget. The Roanoke Valley Regional Fire and Rescue Training Center is a jointly operated facility that is managed by Roanoke County, Roanoke City, the City of Salem and the Town of Vinton. The facility provides training to fire and EMS personnel throughout the Roanoke Valley area and offers multiple classrooms, a burn building, a pump and drafting simulator, mayday firefighter simulator, a fixed trench, confined space area, SCBA maze, railroad tank car, sprinkler area and a breathing air replenishment station.
The County has a land area of 250+ square miles for which the department is directly responsible. The County also exercises automatic mutual aid with several surrounding jurisdictions. The Fire & Rescue Department is operating with a budget of approximately $18 million for Fiscal Year 2020.
The Roanoke County Fire & Rescue Chief, appointed by and under the direction of the County Administrator, is responsible for all aspects of fire and emergency medical service operations in the County. The Chief provides executive-level leadership and is responsible for planning, directing, and managing all programs and functions of the department.
Major duties of the position include:
- Emergency Management and coordination through in-depth knowledge of the Incident Command System;
- Developing and maintaining open, and productive, lines of communication with personnel at all levels as well as with volunteers;
- Financial planning and budgeting with a specific emphasis on the aggressive and successful pursuit of state and federal grant opportunities as well as the successful administration of grant funding;
- Providing oral and written presentations on behalf of the department to the County Administrator, the Board of Supervisors, citizens, public and private agencies, community groups, and the media;
- Coordinating with appropriate internal and external agencies to develop strong mutual aid agreements and ensure mitigation of emergency incidents;
- Planning for long-term department staffing, program, training, equipment and facility demands;
- Engaging and interacting with department staff through staff meetings and visits to various fire stations;
- Leading, planning, organizing, evaluating, and coordinating the development and implementation of policies and procedures in accordance with applicable state laws and county ordinances;
- Assuring personal and departmental compliance with all applicable laws, ordinances, certifications, regulations, and standards of good business practice in all department activities and endeavors;
- Leading, planning, organizing, evaluating, directing and coordinating the work of subordinate personnel in conducting fire, rescue and related emergency service functions in collaboration and cooperation with other county departments and neighboring communities;
- Responding to emergency incidents and assuming direct command of large-scale operations;
- Managing the recruitment, training and certification functions of the department;
- Providing for accurate record keeping and ensuring training, safety, certification, incident and other necessary records and reports are complete and up to date;
- Preparing and supervising development and management of the department’s annual budget;
- Researching and developing recommendations and implementing approved operational policies, expenditures, plans and administrative matters as they affect the operation of the department;
- Supervising the County’s fire inspection and related fire safety programs;
- Ensuring that all work is performed in accordance with OSHA and county and state safety standards and policies.
For more information, see the Fire & Rescue Chief Job Description.
Any combination of education and experience equivalent to a bachelor’s degree in public administration, fire sciences, emergency management, emergency medical services or related field from an accredited university is required.
The most competitive applicants will have an extensive amount of fire and emergency medical service leadership and management experience, with a minimum of six (6) to nine (9) years as a Chief, Division or Deputy Chief in a comparably sized or larger department, and experience in a progressive and full-service community with a wide range of duties in fire/emergency services operations and management is also sought.
A progressive record of strong professional, executive and administrative leadership is also an important consideration and experience with accreditation is important. Past experience should demonstrate a successful record of collaborative team building with volunteers and paid staff, other departments within the organization, including successful management of diversified recruitment and promotion, planning for growth in services and service demand, capital planning and project management, training and certifications, general management, finance, and human resources related to fire and emergency management services.
Experience in fire suppression, basic fire prevention, fire investigations, emergency medical services, safety and training, hazardous materials, management information systems, emergency response planning and exercises, and outreach and development of high-performance functions of a comparable department is a significant consideration. Chief Fire Officer and/or Executive Fire Officer designations are desirable.
We are a fully integrated fire and rescue department. If you have fire only or rescue only experience, this is not the right position for you.
Some of the key issues and challenges that the new Chief will face in the first six to twelve months on the job include:
- The Department is the lead agency for the County’s response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Chief will be directly involved in coordination of public health efforts with the Virginia Department of Health and other municipal Fire and Rescue agencies. The Department also manages a Medical Control Unit that provides COVID-19 testing for all County employees.
- Improving employee engagement and two-way communication among department staff while instilling a strong commitment to ‘teamwork’ within the department as well as with other county departments and regional organizations;
- Developing a common vision for the department, and developing and maintaining a strong, focused and accountable management team within the department;
- Assessing the department’s organizational structure and staffing while increasing operational efficiency, responsiveness, accountability and capabilities to provide and maintain a high level of service to the County’s citizens and businesses;
- Meeting long term capital equipment needs in a constrained budgetary environment.
Roanoke County is located in the Roanoke Valley of Southwest Virginia, and is home to 94,000 residents over 250+ square miles. The Valley, which also includes the cities of Roanoke and Salem and the Town of Vinton, is located in Virginia’s Blue Ridge, with a regional population of more than 250,000 people. The physical beauty of the region allows a unique blend of culture, entertainment and outdoor activities.
The region is served by the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional airport, award-winning school systems, modern libraries, museums and recreation centers, along with varied entertainment and dining options. There are over 20 colleges and universities located within an hour’s drive, providing extensive opportunities for life-long learning and employee development. Virginia Western Community College, Roanoke College, Hollins University and the Roanoke Higher Education Center allow residents to pursue post-secondary educational opportunities close to home.
While the atmosphere is vibrant, the residents are friendly and relaxed. Commute times are short, leaving plenty of time to take advantage of a large range of outdoor activities.
Both the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Appalachian Trail run for miles through the County, while the Roanoke River provides the framework for an extensive greenway system. Family-friendly activities, such as recreation club sports, festivals and abundant outdoor recreation, make the County an ideal place to raise children. At the same time, the exciting pace of the downtown Roanoke restaurant scene and night life provides options for evenings and weekends. There are many spectator sports, too – from Virginia Tech football and basketball to the minor league baseball and ice hockey franchises to dozens of youth sports tournaments each year. There is something for everyone in the Roanoke Valley.
The Roanoke region has a growing economy and recent new business announcements include the additions of the Mack Trucks manufacturing facility and Carilion Children’s pediatric outpatient practice. The expansion of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute promises to bring additional professional employment to the community. Other major economic initiatives include the continued development of Roanoke County’s Explore Park, an 1,100 acre outdoor adventure attraction, the 419 Town Center Project, a major commercial redevelopment planning effort along the County’s main corridor, and expansion of broadband services to rural parts of Roanoke County.
See more information about Things to Do in Roanoke County.
The starting salary is competitive, and the expected hiring range is in the low to mid $100,000’s depending on background and qualifications of the successful candidate. Benefits include, but are not limited to, use of a department vehicle, participation in the Virginia Retirement System, voluntary deferred compensation, excellent health and dental insurance, short and long term disability, life insurance, flexible leave policy, wellness program, professional dues, conference expense reimbursement.
Residency within the County will not be required; however the ability to physically respond to incidents in a timely manner around the clock is crucial. Relocation expenses may be negotiable.
For more information, see our Benefits Brochure.
Application and Selection Process
Initial review of applications will begin on February 1, 2021. To be considered, please submit a cover letter, resume with salary history and five (5) professional references, and a completed application through the County’s online application process. The County will review recommended candidates who most closely meet the established criteria and finalists should be interviewed in Roanoke during the month of February 2021.