The goal of the Training Division is to establish and maintain training programs that meet mandated Federal and State certifications, develop and deliver programs that address regional training needs, ensure training is relevant and current to sustain an accurate Records Management System, and provide development training opportunities for firefighters and officers.
You can contact Training at 804-646-4809
The Role of the Chief of Training
The Training Chief plans, organizes, coordinates, interacts with other divisions, conducts and schedules training for Department of Fire and Life Safety personnel in emergency medical services, fire suppression, hazardous materials, driver training, and rescue. The Training Chief also assists in coordinating and administering a variety of tests including entry level testing for Firefighter/Paramedics and promotional exams; assists with career development programs; and implements training needs identified in the quality assurance/improvement program.
Battalion Chief Richardson
Battalion Chief Christine Richardson began her career with Richmond Department of Fire and Emergency Services on April 17, 2000. Battalion Chief Richardson served as a firefighter at Fire Station 1, in the historic Church Hill district, in Quint 1 which was housed at that station. She was promoted to Lieutenant in 2005 and was assigned to Quint 11, located in the East End, before being reassigned to the Fire Marshal’s Office in 2007 and briefly served as a Lieutenant of Fire Training in 2008 before being promoted to Fire Captain in 2009 and stationed at Fire Station 5, in the historic Jackson Ward district. In 2010, she was promoted to the rank of Battalion Chief and was assigned to the Operations Division, Battalion 1 for 7 years and Battalion 2 for approximately 1 ½ years before being reassigned to the Training Division in December 2018.
As the Chief of Training, Chief Richardson manages all aspects of Recruit, Fire Company and Career Development training for the Richmond Fire Department. Battalion Chief Richardson is a graduate of Virginia State University, the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program and the Carl Holmes Executive Development Institute. Lastly, she is a lifetime member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.
About the Facility
The Richmond Fire Department's Fire Training Academy occupies approximately four acres of training area in the adjacent County of Henrico, Virginia. The original academy was constructed in 1958 on a portion of its present site. After five years of study and designing, Richmond City Council funded the two phase project in 1985. The Henrico Board of Supervisors approved the project on April 30, 1985 with Phase I construction beginning on October 14, 1985. The academy was completed and dedicated on June 17, 1988. The architectural company was DePasquale and Associates.
Administration / Classroom Facility
In the summer of 2018, the audio and video equipment in both classrooms and in a breakout training area were upgraded. This upgrade introduced HQ quality video recording and remote viewing capabilities of live training classes, presentations and workshops. One of the classrooms has the capability of being divided into two smaller classrooms. The administration building also provides five offices, reception area, two locker rooms, shower/bathroom, kitchen, turnout gear storage/distribution room, tool and equipment room, exercise room and apparatus garage area.
Drill Tower / Burn Building / Maze
The burn building and maze are attached to the masonry drill tower which measures 60- 4- in height and 19- 9- in width. The tower has window openings on each level and is equipped with a standpipe system.
The two story burn building with basement and attic is constructed of block and concrete and is attached to the east side of the tower. The building is designed to simulate a dwelling and is used for training firefighters under actual fire conditions. There is an inside stairway from the basement to the attic and an outside stairway from ground level to second floor. Doors and window frames are metal. Steel shutters are provided to protect window glass and to block out daylight. Vents are provided so heat and smoke can be channeled from room to room and floor to floor. Smoke machines generate a non-toxic smoke for search and rescue training scenarios. The building is equipped with automatic sprinkler system, thermal heat sensors, emergency lighting and a public address system.
The maze is attached to the south side of the drill tower and can be entered from the outside and from the inside of the tower.
The black painted maze provides many obstacles for firefighters during a training session using self contained breathing apparatus. For the safety of the personnel utilizing the maze, it is equipped with emergency lighting and a public address system. These can be activated by the instructor or the student.
Fire Recruit Academy
Our Fire Recruit Academy is a 24-week program that involves both EMS and Fire-Rescue curriculums. Certifications received during this process include: CPR, EMT, Firefighter 1 and 2, EVOC, Hazardous Materials Operations, as well as NIMS IS100 and IS700. During the Academy, recruits participate in daily physical training that prepares them for a final physical ability evaluation administered at the end of the program. In addition to the evaluation of the obvious knowledge, skills and abilities associated with fire and EMS disciplines, recruits are also evaluated on teamwork, attitude, and work ethic.
Daily Company Training
Daily Company Training is designed to continually increase the proficiency of our uniformed staff in the daily tasks that we are assigned. Every day, with the exception of Holidays and Sundays, the company officer is required to conduct a daily training activity. The contents of which, are provided by the Fire Training Academy. Each day of the cycle falls into a broad category of training topics as follows: Tuesday:Truck Company Operations, Thursday:EMS, Saturday:Rapid Intervention / Firefighter Survival, Monday:Safety, Friday:Engine Company Operations. The format of the training will be either discussion, hands on training, or district familiarization. The daily drills are intended to last between thirty and sixty minutes.
Company Training at the Academy
Personnel of fire companies are scheduled for several days of training at the academy each year. This training includes EMT recertifications, fire extinguishment, rappelling, ground ladders, hose lays, SCBA, search and rescue, defensive driving, hydraulics, hazardous materials, and various special programs such as Mayday and High Rise Operations.
The fire department maintains a library of various training manuals in all fire stations. The academy keeps the libraries current and writes the necessary supplements to manuals. An extensive library of fire service reference manuals and books is maintained at the academy.
The academy purchases and maintains a library consisting of DVD's and power point presentations on topics related to the fire service for the purpose of enhancing training programs. The necessary audio/video equipment is also purchased and maintained by the academy.
Testing and Evaluation of New Equipment
The department is very interested in new technology and welcomes the opportunity to test and evaluate new equipment that may benefit our operations. The Chief relies extensively upon the academy's opinions and findings of facts.
Within reason, when private industry and private organizations, within the City, and other fire service groups make requests for assistance and use of the academy, the department makes every attempt to respond to their needs. Regional cooperation has become the standard.