Botetourt County has a unique and highly complex emergency services delivery system. A combination of highly trained career and volunteer personnel provide for the citizens and visitors of Botetourt County around the clock. These individuals spend thousands of man-hours each year training, preparing, and responding to incidents.
Our system provides emergency preparedness and response for over 32,000 citizens over a 548 square mile area. Botetourt County maintains centralized offices for coordination of fire, rescue, and emergency medical services operations.
Our staff works with local volunteer fire and rescue leadership, along with regional and state officials to ensure coordinated efforts for emergency and disaster preparedness.
The combined agencies of Botetourt County Emergency Services will provide prompt and professional services to our community in order to protect citizens, property, and the environment.
The Department of Fire & EMS was codified in 2014. Prior to the official development of the Department, in December 2001 two paramedics were hired to begin to address the need for daytime advanced life support (ALS) services. Since 2001, the organizational name, Botetourt County Emergency Services was used to identify this component of the system. In 2012, Botetourt County codified the Department of Emergency Services and hired the first official Director. This was the county's first attempt to formalize the establishment of the Department for the long-term oversight of the coordinated system.
After two years of significant change, the Virginia Department of Fire Programs was requested to conduct a third-party review of the system and provide recommendations on the future of fire and emergency services in Botetourt County. After the results of the study, in early 2014, the ordinances pertaining to the Department of Emergency Services were reviewed and revised, to form a more collaborative structure for fire and EMS operations, using career and volunteer personnel, but also formalizing the organizational structure with a Chief of Fire & EMS.
The first Chief of the Department was hired in the fall of 2014. Chief Jeffery W Beckner, a 30-year veteran of the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department was hired to lead the newly adopted department and oversee the coordinated fire and EMS system. In June of 2016, Chief Beckner unexpectedly passed away. The memories of his leadership attributes will forever live on as part of the organization.
Since December 2018, Chief Jason D. Ferguson has served as the Chief of Fire & EMS. Chief Ferguson has been part of the department since December 2001 and has served at almost every rank in the organization prior to being named chief. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Emergency Services from Jefferson College, a Graduate Certificate in Local Government from Virginia Tech, and is a graduate of the National Fire Academy's Executive Fire Officer Program.
Today the Department is an all-hazards organization, responsible for fire, emergency medical services, emergency and disaster preparedness, as well as a host of prevention and public education efforts. There are just over 125 volunteers throughout the system, as well as 48 full-time and 26 part-time career staff. In addition to various volunteer fire and EMS resources, the department staffs 5 ALS ambulances and a shift supervisor 24/7. Additionally, a fire engine is staffed out of the Read Mountain station 24/7.