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Bedford County, Virginia

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Deputy Fire Chief – Operations – Bedford County, Virginia


The Position

Bedford County, Virginia’s next Deputy Fire Chief of Operations has the opportunity to help lead a combined system that includes a history of well-trained and equipped fire and emergency personnel. The department covers all aspects of fire and rescue services and has many specialty functions, including special operations command, urban search and rescue, wildland fire, fire investigation, hazardous materials, swift water rescue, confined space, bike team, and rope and trench rescue. It is also situated in one of Virginia’s most beautiful areas. Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and encompassing about half of Smith Mountain Lake, Bedford County has retained its rural charm and affordability, while providing residents with a great quality of life with access to the metro areas of Roanoke and Lynchburg.

The Deputy Fire Chief of Operations works under the general direction of the Chief of Fire and Rescue and has three direct reports, field lieutenants each of whom supervises a shift. This position is also generally the first point of contact for the volunteer chiefs. The position requires a combination of complex leadership and operational skills to ensure the provision of emergency services throughout the County. In the absence of the Chief of Fire and Rescue, the Deputy Fire Chief assumes all operational responsibilities involved in managing the department. The Deputy Chief may also respond to calls and take incident command in some instances. The position also works with chiefs in the volunteer fire companies and captains of the rescue squads to ensure there is good communication, adequate training, and adherence to systemwide policies and protocols.

This position is one of two deputy chiefs – one over operations and one over administration – and is part of a realignment of duties in the department. The Chief of Fire and Rescue may retire in the next few years.

The Organization

Bedford County operates under the traditional Board of Supervisors form of government. The Board of Supervisors appoints a County Administrator who oversees all departments, including the Fire and Rescue Department. The Fire Chief reports to the County Administrator. Bedford County employs approximately 600 full-time employees and additional part-time staff members. The County’s FY 2018 budget is $182M in total funds, $106M of which is the General Fund budget.

The Department

The Fire and Rescue department is a combination of both career and volunteer personnel administering fire and rescue services throughout the entire county. The department is divided into three divisions—the fire division, rescue division, and ancillary fire and rescue services. Bedford County is served by 11 land-based fire companies, one marine-based fire company, and 11 EMS rescue squads. These agencies operate stations throughout the County to provide broader fire and EMS service coverage and an improved Insurance Service Office (ISO) fire protection rating. The County’s ISO rating is 5/9. Bedford County provides funding for apparatus, equipment, operations, and training to ensure responsive service for the various communities within the County. All agencies and personnel are covered by property, vehicle, accident, health, and liability insurance, which the County sponsors through a blanket policy. Services are dispatched through a joint E-911 center with the Town of Bedford and a portion of eastern Bedford County is serviced by the Campbell County Rescue Squad. Pursuant to county code, the Fire and Rescue department also coordinates countywide pandemic planning; hazardous materials response and management; mass evacuation situations; nuclear, biological, and chemical emergency response; and Emergency Operations Center management. The department has a fire training center that houses a burn building; may-day training module, confined space simulator and maze complex; urban search and rescue collapse “city”; and classroom facilities.

The Fire and Rescue department’s FY 2018 budget is $5.8M and it employs 56 FTEs. Each year, the Fire and Rescue combined system responds to approximately 10,000 EMS calls and 4,000 fire calls. Career staff in the department respond to 80 percent of EMS calls within the County, while volunteer personnel respond to the remaining 20 percent of calls. Volunteer fire companies initially respond to fire calls, with career staff of EMS/firefighters providing supplemental services. The department collects $2 million annually from ambulance fees accrued during responses to Emergency Medical Services. There are approximately 100 active EMS volunteers and 200 active fire volunteers.

The department’s mission statement is “To protect the lives and property of the citizens and visitors of Bedford County while providing safe, timely, compassionate, effective and efficient services.”

The Ideal Candidate

Bedford’s next Deputy Fire Chief is a dedicated, well-rounded professional with substantial experience in fire and rescue operations, budget preparation, and human resource management. The ideal candidate has strong interpersonal and communication skills and is able to establish positive relationships with the public, volunteers, staff within the department, other County departments, and outside agencies. He or she is able to both oversee operations and work on day-to-day issues, as well as develop and execute long and short-term goals.

This candidate is composed when dealing with emotionally-charged situations that may result in injury or loss of life. In addition, this person has the ability to develop, implement, and facilitate educational programs to improve the skills of department personnel as well as help them cope with the difficulties emergency personnel experience. Bedford County’s next Deputy Fire Chief is a diplomatic leader with the ability to improve upon the recruitment efforts of volunteers for both fire companies and EMS squads, direct the actions of personnel during emergency operations, is well-versed in incident command, and can develop administrative and operational policies and procedures. The ideal candidate will make recommendations for departmental equipment purchases, research and prepare specialized reports as needed, and plan accordingly for the department’s short and long-term needs.

Bedford’s next Deputy Fire Chief has demonstrated knowledge of radio systems in relation to emergency services and enhanced 911 telephone operations; accounting principles; employee recruitment and retention; and modern policies and practices of public administration.

Bedford County is seeking a Deputy Fire Chief with these traits:

  • Committed to excellence
  • Analytical
  • Courteous
  • Approachable
  • Organized
  • Technologically savvy
  • Adaptable

Experience and Education

The minimum qualifications for this position are a bachelor’s degree in fire science, EMS, public administration, business administration, or a closely related field with advanced level course work in modern methods of fire suppression and rescue or a combination of course work and significant operational level experience. Applicants must possess experience in health and safety relevant to fire and rescue operations, experience in emergency management functions, and training in the field of public speaking and public education. Instructor credentials are required of the Deputy Fire Chief, thus applicants without accreditation must be able to obtain credentials within one year.

Preferred qualifications include specialized certifications such as Firefighter II and EMT, CPR, National Incident Management System’s ICS-100 – 400 and 700 courses, EVOC (Emergency Vehicle Operators Course), Hazardous Materials Operations, Fire Marshal, Fire Officer, and Fire Instructor certification. Executive Fire Officer and Chief Fire Officer certification are also strongly desired. Experience working in a combined system (career and volunteer), supervision, and expertise in recruitment, training, and retention of fire and rescue personnel are also preferred qualifications.

Special Requirements

Applicants must be at least 21 years of age, have five years of driving experience, and possess a valid Commonwealth of Virginia driver’s license with an acceptable driving record and proof of insurance.

While reasonable accommodations may be made for individuals with disabilities, the position of Deputy Fire Chief requires the ability to execute physically demanding work, such as the occasional exertion of over 100 pounds of force and the constant exertion of more than 20 pounds of force. While in the field, the Deputy Fire Chief often must climb, kneel, crouch, crawl, lift, reach, and perform other repetitive motions relevant to fire and rescue operations.

The Community

Centrally located in the Commonwealth of Virginia just minutes from Lynchburg and Roanoke, Bedford County is one of the quickest growing communities in the region. Bedford’s county seat is the Town of Bedford, which operated as an independent City for nearly 45 years before rejoining the County in 2013. The County was officially formed in 1754 and was named for the Fourth Duke of Bedford, an 18th century British statesman. While a large percentage of the County’s land is still rural and agricultural in nature, recent years have brought forth ample residential and suburban development from neighboring communities.

Over 30 different properties and districts within Bedford County are included on the National Register of Historic Places, exemplifying the magnitude of the community’s rich history. In addition, the world famous National D-Day Memorial and Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest are all located in Bedford County.

The Commonwealth of Virginia’s most popular lake is partially located in Bedford County, with the majority of Smith Mountain Lake’s northern shores within the County’s borders. Smith Mountain Lake offers over 500 miles of shoreline with unparalleled opportunity for outdoor recreation, 12 marinas, seven public boat launching sites, four nearby golf courses, and a flourishing entertainment and tourism district. The County is also home to the Peaks of Otter, a thriving artisan community, fine wineries, several orchards, and countless breathtaking natural amenities.

The Bedford Area Welcome Center, owned by the County and home to the Tourism Department, opened its doors in 2004 and welcomes an average of 55,000 visitors annually. This state of the art facility features meeting space, a gift shop, firefighter exhibit, RV parking, two electric car charging stations, picnic area, and information about exploring and relocating to the area.

A wide variety of exciting community events can be found within Bedford’s borders on any given day. The Sedalia Center Summer Concert Series, Celtic Festival, Gross’ Orchard Apple Blossom Festival, Annual Thomas Jefferson Craft Beer Tasting, Olde Liberty Fibre Faire, Sedalia Blues and BBQ Festival, Lyrics on the Lake, and Christmas in Sedalia are only a small portion of the annual and recurring events that make Bedford County such a wonderful place to call home.

Students living in the County are served by Bedford County Public Schools, which operates 13 elementary schools, three middle schools, and three high schools. Within driving distance of the County are several colleges and universities, most notably Liberty University, the largest private, non-profit higher education institution in Virginia.

Quick Facts

  • Population: 77,974
  • Median Household Income: $56,725
  • Median Home Value: $196,900
  • Median Age: 45
  • Total Area: 754 square miles


The salary range for this position is $61,204-$107,500, depending on qualifications, with an excellent benefits package.

How to Apply

Apply Online

Applications will be accepted electronically by The Novak Consulting Group at Applicants first complete a brief online form and then are prompted to provide one document (Word or PDF) that contains a cover letter and resume with salary history. The position is open until filled with a first review of applications October 18, 2018.


Please direct questions to Catherine Tuck Parrish at 513-221-0500 or

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