Friday, February 5, 2016

Town of Abingdon Appoints Full-Time Fire Chief

Abingdon, Virginia

Town of Abingdon Appoints Full-Time Fire Chief

On February 1st, 2016, the Town of Abingdon appointed its first full-time Fire Chief. With support from the Town Council, Town Administration, and the Abingdon Fire Department, the current part-time Fire Chief John McCormick accepted the full-time position. Chief McCormick will begin in full-time status on March 1, 2016. His office will be located at the Abingdon Fire Department on 316 Park Street, Abingdon.

The Fire Department has seen an increase in service calls in recent years, and responded to a record 524 calls in 2015.  In addition, Abingdon Town Council recently adopted the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code to enforce fire safety laws in commercial properties within the corporate limits of the Town.  Along with the onset of new commercial growth in and around Abingdon, the amount of administrative work required of the fire department will increase greatly; which increases the need for a full-time fire chief.

 “A full-time Fire Chief has been discussed since 1996, but has never come to fruition until the Town Council decided to make the part-time position full-time at the February 1, 2016 meeting,” said Chief McCormick.  “The need was clear and has the backing of the Fire Department.  The paid per call/per hour Fire Department is an efficient model, but the Town is realizing that volunteers increasingly require the strong, full-time leadership of a Chief to make everything function smoothly.  The system works well to provide top service without an increased financial burden of having a 100 percent paid department 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”

 “John has served the Fire Department well for many years in all of his roles as a member of the Department,” said Town Manager Greg Kelly. “I am confident that he will do an excellent job as the Town’s first full time Fire Chief, and lead the Department into the future. He is highly regarded among his peers, both personally and professionally, and he possesses all of the skills necessary to run an effective and efficient Volunteer Fire Department.  Due to the increased growth within the Town, and the significant areas of growth in Washington County that the Abingdon Fire Department services, it is becoming increasingly critical for the Abingdon Fire Department to have more than just volunteers so that firefighters can be readily dispatched as quickly as possible.” 

“The Town of Abingdon takes public safety very seriously and tries to always find the resources necessary to ensure that residents of the Town, and our service region, are kept out of harm’s way,” according to Town Manager Kelly.  “As a local government manager, I believe that public safety should be a locality’s first priority.  Given the price tag that comes with funding adequate fire protection throughout Washington County, it is becoming necessary to pool government resources to keep these services at a level that can adequately manage the continued growth our region is experiencing.  To that end, the Town looks forward to working with Washington County to provide the best fire protection services possible for all of our residents and visitors.”

Chief McCormick is a lifelong resident of Abingdon, Virginia with his volunteer career beginning in 1979 at the age of 14.  He served as the Town of Abingdon Building Inspector and Fire Marshal from 1984 until 1995 when he became a Fire Marshal with the Commonwealth of Virginia.  He is a Virginia Certified Building and Fire Official, Fire Inspector and Investigator, Fire Officer IV, and holds a Career Studies Certificate in Fire Science from Virginia Highlands Community College.  He intends to continue his fire science studies and acquire his Bachelors Degree for Columbia Southern University.   He, his wife Susan, and daughters Kaitlin and Kellie reside in the Town of Abingdon.

Pictured Above: Fire Chief John McCormick


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