The Virginia Beach Fire Department is a customer service organization partnering with communities, members, citizens and visitors to foster the feeling of safety any place, any time through planning, mitigation, response and restoration.
District Chief Michael Barakey joined the Virginia Beach Fire Department in 1995. He currently serves as the District Chief of Personnel & Development and oversees Human Resources, Training, Safety, Health and Wellness. He also serves as the department’s accreditation manager. Chief Barakey is a HazMat Specialist, Instructor III, National Registered Paramedic, Plans Team Manager for VA Task Force II Urban Search & Rescue, and a classroom instructor for the Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC). He holds a Master of Public Administration from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA and is a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program.
Research and Analysis Manager District Chief Richard V Cooper
has served the Virginia Beach Fire Department since 1990. As District Chief of Administration, he oversees the Emergency Response System (ERS) as well as the Budget, Finance, Fire Marshal’s, Life Safety Education, Research & Analysis, and Procurement offices. He served in many other operational and service based roles which included technical rescue and hazardous materials specialties. He is also proud of his participation with VA-TF2 FEMA Urban Search & Rescue team since 1994 and currently serves as one of the Task Force leaders.
District Chief Cooper holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Fire Administration from Hampton University, and a Master of Public Administration from Old Dominion University. He is a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program and received the Chief Fire Officer Designation from the Center for Public Safety Excellence.
Human Resources Administrative Specialist
Susan Salafranca manages the department’s promotional and hiring processes, Workforce Planning & Development and Equal Opportunity Employment reporting, Diversity & Inclusion, career progressions, and performance appraisals. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology with an emphasis in Industrial & Organizational Psychology and a minor in Human Resources Management from Old Dominion University.
Cathy Morse, Senior Public Safety Analyst is responsible for collecting data and providing research, reporting, and statistical data necessary to support the mission and programs of the fire department. Included in her division’s responsibilities is the reporting of all incidents responded to by the Fire Department to the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS). She is also responsible for oversight of the department’s RMS RedNMX and data administration of Deccan applications CAD Analyst and ADAM HPC used to assist the department in the analysis and deployment of current and future resources.
Christia M. Webb
coordinates the recruitment and hiring process for all uniform, civilian, volunteer, and student intern personnel.
She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from the College of William and Mary, with a Minor in French.
She also has four years of Human Resources experience and has worked in public safety for the City of Virginia Beach since 2009.
If you’re interested in a rewarding career with the Virginia Beach Fire Department, contact Christia at hireVBFD@VBgov.com
Fire Department Accountant
Mike Maher is an Accountant III with the Fire Department’s Fire Administration Division where his responsibilities include budgeting, accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll and grants management. Mike holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Government Administration from Christopher Newport University and a Master of Public Administration from Virginia Tech. He has 6 years of experience with the City of Virginia Beach in budget, financial administration and grant management. In his spare time, he enjoys running long distances, watching Virginia Tech football and working on his house.
Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator
Mark C. Marchbank
is responsible for the day-to-day operations and emergency responsibilities of the Office of Emergency Management. This Office is responsible for the support of the City's Emergency Management Organization and the management of large-scale emergencies by providing staff support to the Emergency Services Director (City Manager) and the Emergency Services Coordinator (Fire Chief). The Office of Emergency Management also coordinates, and is an advocate of a comprehensive emergency management program including the following key elements:
MITIGATION - PREPAREDNESS - RESPONSE - RECOVERY.
Emergency Response System/Safety
Battalion Chief Kenneth Pravetz joined the Virginia Beach Fire Department in February 1999. He is currently assigned as the departments Safety Battalion Chief. He is a Pro Board Certified Health and Safety Officer and Incident Safety Officer. Chief Pravetz is responsible for oversight of the department’s Health, Safety and Wellness Programs. He serves on two NFPA technical Committees, Emergency Service Organization Risk Management and Respiratory Protective Equipment.
Chief Pravetz holds an Associate’s degree in Fire Science, a Bachelor’s degree in Health and Safety with a minor in Labor Studies and a MBA in Public Administration. He is also a graduate of the West Point Leadership Course.
Battalion Chief Stephen Lesinski joined the Virginia Beach Fire Department since September of 1985. He is presently assigned to Fire Administration where his job responsibilities include management of the department’s communications and emergency management programs, facilitates mutual aide agreements, coordinates the department’s homeland security awareness program, coordinates special event planning and is the administrative aid to the Deputy Chief of Operations. He represents the department on a numerous local, regional, and state committees and teams associated with his assigned program areas.
Chief Lesinski has served in a variety of assignments within the department. He has been a member of the special operations division on the Hazardous Material and Marine Teams and been a member of the FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Team VA-TF2 as a Plans Manager. He is affiliated with the International Association of Fire Chiefs and the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association.
Battalion Chief Timothy Riley joined the Virginia Beach Fire Department in July 1985. He is currently assigned as the Department’s Public Information Officer and provides administrative support to the Fire Chief and the Deputy Chief of Support Services. The primary responsibility of the Public Information Officer is to communicate important public safety messages, as well as provide accurate and timely information to all the media outlets that have a concern for public safety. Chief Riley also provides oversight for the Fire Department’s website and social media programs.
Chief Riley has been a certified National Registry Paramedic since 1990, currently serves as a medical specialist for Virginia Task Force 2 Urban Search and Rescue Team, and is a tactical SWAT medic with the Norfolk Field Office of the F.B.I. He is a member of the Tidewater Emergency Medical Services STEMI Steering Committee and is affiliated with the International Association of Fire Chiefs.
Chief Riley holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Richmond in Human Resource Management with a minor in Leadership and ASA in Emergency Management from Tidewater Community College.
He has been married to his wonderful wife, Molly, for 26 years, has two grown children, and two wonderful grandchildren.
Virginia Beach Fire Department Organizational Chart