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 (CFO) joined the Virginia Beach Fire Department in 1995. He currently serves as the District Chief of Administration and oversees Communication and Information Technology, Finance and Budget, Resource Management, Research and Analysis, and Accreditation. Chief Barakey is a Hazardous Materials Specialist, Instructor III, National Registered Paramedic, Plans Team Manager for VA Task Force II Urban Search & Rescue, a classroom instructor for the Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC),and is a regular contributor to Fire Engineering Magazine. Chief Barakey 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.
District Chief James M. Ramsey Joined the Virginia Beach Fire Department in 1990. He currently serves as the District Chief of Personnel @ Development and oversees Human Resources, Training and the Fire Marshal Office. James has served in numerous operational and administrative roles within the Department. He is a member of the regions Type 3 Incident Management Team and veteran of the U.S. Army.
District Chief Ramsey holds an Associate’s Degree in Fire Science from Tidewater Community College and a Bachelor’s of Science from Columbia Southern University in Fire Administration. He is a graduate of West Point Leadership, VFMA Law Enforcement, NFPA 1031 and NFPA 1033.
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.
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
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.
Safety and Wellness Bureau
Chief Deborah Gaudet joined the Virginia Beach Fire Department in 1995. She is currently assigned to the Safety and Wellness Bureau. She is Pro-Board certified Health and Safety Officer and Incident Safety Officer. She is responsible for oversight of the Department’s Health, Safety and Wellness Programs. Chief Gaudet is an NFPA appointee to the Technical Committee on Respiratory Protection Equipment. Additionally, she served with the FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Team VA-TF2 for nine years, first as a Technical Information Specialist then as a Plans Officer.
Chief Gaudet holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Labor Safety and Health from the National Labor College, Silver Springs, Maryland.
Technology and Communications
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 Amy Valdez joined the Virginia Beach Fire Department July 1996. She is currently assigned to Fire Administration as the Battalion Chief of Research and Analysis. Battalion Chief Valdez is responsible for the daily management of Public Information and Media Relations and is also the department's Accreditation Manager.
Battalion Chief Valdez is a Nationally Registered Paramedic and currently serves as a Medical Specialist for the FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Team, VA-TF2. She is a Heavy Technical Rescue Instructor for the Virginia Department of Fire Programs, holds a Bachelor's Degree in Human Resource Management from the University of Richmond, and an A.A.S. in Emergency Medical Science from Tidewater Community College.