VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. –
The Virginia Fire Marshal’s Academy conducted a four-week fire investigation course Jan. 23- Feb. 16, 2018, at the State Military Reservation in Virginia Beach. Twenty attendees representing 18 jurisdictions participated in the course, one of three offered yearly around the state and one of several that must be mastered to achieve certification as a Fire Marshal in Virginia.
The course focuses predominantly on classroom training but practical training is also included in order to reinforce skills and techniques in areas such as fire scene examination, collection of evidence, vehicle fires, explosives, and post-blast investigation.
Vehicles, furniture and other items are used to set up scenes which are then burned and extinguished before the students are brought in to conduct a complete fire investigation, according to Ed Fuzy, a Virginia Fire Marshal and coordinator of the course.
The Virginia Fire Marshal’s Academy falls under the guidance and control of the Virginia State Fire Marshal. The Fire Marshal’s office is part of the Virginia Department of Fire Programs which, like the Virginia Department of Military Affairs, is under the Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security. The primary goal of the state Fire Marshal’s office is the adoption and enforcement of fire safety regulations throughout the Commonwealth.
Under Virginia law, local counties and cities can appoint members of the fire department as fire marshals. These men and woman are responsible for code enforcement and fire investigation activities in their jurisdictions and operate with law enforcement powers.
The VFMA is the certifying agency that provides training for these candidates, teaching the skills required to do their job.
Fuzy said one of the attractions of SMR is it provides both classroom space and an area to conduct practical exercises. The ability to house the students and instructors at the same location is an added benefit.
“We have been utilizing Camp Pendleton for the Tidewater regional course since the early 1990s,” Fuzy said. “We’ve enjoyed a long relationship with the Virginia National Guard and the 203rd RED HORSE Squadron.”
“It was our pleasure to host the Virginia Fire Marshal’s training at Camp Pendleton,” said Lt. Col. Tim Pillion, commander of Camp Pendleton. “We believe we are uniquely situated to accommodate a wide variety of training here and this is just another great example.”
In addition to National Guard units, SMR routinely hosts other military components, first responders, and various other government agencies, according to Pillion.
“They, as with past commands, were very accommodating and supportive of our operation,” Fuzy said of their experience at SMR. “The facility and staff proved once again to be an excellent location for our training. We look forward to returning in the future and continuing to develop an already-strong relationship.”