Fire Administration

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.

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 Letter from the Chief

The City of Virginia Beach is located in the southeast corner of the Commonwealth of Virginia.  With a land mass of 249 square miles, 59 square miles of inland waterways, and 38 miles of shoreline its boarders stretch from the Chesapeake Bay in the north to the North Carolina State line in the south. 

The Virginia Beach Fire Department (VBFD) 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.  The VBFD, founded in 1963 when the Town of Virginia Beach merged with Princess Anne County, is a career Fire Department focusing on all-hazards response for the community.  Currently it employs nearly 450 uniform responders and 40 civilian staff members dedicated to serving over 450,000 permanent residents as well as the City's 12.8 million annual visitors.  The VBFD is comprised of several divisions to include Fire Administration, Fire Operations, Fire Prevention Bureau, Resource Management, Special Operations, and Emergency Management and is under the direction of Fire Chief Steven R. Cover.  Responders staff 19 fire stations and work from variable response platforms including: twenty engines, eight ladder trucks, two heavy rescue vehicles, a Hazmat truck, a technical rescue truck, and three fire boats. 

The VBFD was first accredited by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) in 2001 and has successfully maintained accredited status ever since.  The Department has strong regional, state, and federal ties that support emergency response, training, and both automatic and mutual aid and is home to Virginia Task Force 2, one of the 28 FEMA Urban Search & Rescue Teams from across the country.  Virginia Task Force 2 is a specialized rescue organization comprised of highly trained Firefighters, Technical Rescue Technicians, Medical Professionals, Canine Handlers, Engineers and Physicians from various cities and departments located throughout the region such as Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Franklin, James City County, Navy Regional, Newport News, Norfolk, Hampton, Williamsburg, Henrico County, and York County. 

The VBFD is prepared to manage a variety of responses including:

  • Fire Operations: Structural, Rural, & Wildland Urban Interface
  • Emergency Medical  Basic Life Saving & Advanced Life Saving First Response
  • Hazardous Materials
  • Vehicle Extrication
  • Confined Space, Trench Collapse, and High & Low Angle Rope Rescue
  • Marine Search and Rescue
  • Marine & Shipboard Firefighting
  • FEMA Urban Search & Rescue
  • Domestic Preparedness & Planning

 Fire Operations Branch

burning house with firefighter​The Fire Operations Division provides trained personnel for 24-hour response to emergencies which includes: all reported fires and technical rescues, hazardous materials incidents, extrications, boat emergencies in and around the costal waters of the city, administering medical care to the sick and injured, providing services during disasters, and responding to public service calls.

​Emergency Response System - BLS/ALS

The Virginia Beach Fire Department operates Basic (BLS) and Advanced Life Support (ALS) Engine/Ladder/ and Heavy Rescue companies. Each apparatus is not only equipped with BLS gear but also equipped with ALS equipment that includes cardiac monitor/defibrillators, drug boxes, IV boxes, and intubation equipment. The department has over 100 National and State certified EMT – Intermediates and EMT-Paramedics who provide advanced patient care off of our ALS Engines/Ladders and Heavy Rescues. All of our apparatus maintain a permit issued by the Virginia Office of Emergency Medical Service designating the apparatus as a Non-Transport Vehicle.  As a participating agency in the City of Virginia Beach’s Emergency Response System our firefighters/medics can initiate Basic and Advanced Life support patient care and when the need arises to continue providing patient care during transport in a Department of EMS ambulance, and deliver the patient to the hospital as the primary patient care provider.​

 Public Information Officer

Art KohnArt Kohn is the first Civilian Public Information Officer employed by the Virginia Beach Fire Department.  Before coming to the Fire Department  Art was a broadcast journalist covering the military for WAVY –TV and FOX 43.  During his more than 20-years in broadcast news Art covered both Gulf Wars and prior to that the civil war in Somalia.  He also covered our local military providing humanitarian assistance to the victims of the 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti.  As a reporter and Saturday morning anchor for WAVY he also covered a number of hurricanes, and snow storms in Hampton Roads and Southeastern North Carolina.  Art left WAVY for a time to work as a Training Program Developer and Video Producer for Newport News Shipbuilding before returning to WAVY after the September 11th attacks.   He has called Virginia Beach home for most of his life.  He graduated from Kempsville High School before earning a BS in Communications from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA.

He has two grown daughters who live in Virginia Beach.  Art lives at the oceanfront where he enjoys surfing, fishing, bicycling and spending time with his daughters and friends.​

Contact Information