Winner Announced for 2021 VCOS Training Officer Recognition Award Sponsored by Vector Solutions

The International Association of Fire Chiefs’ (IAFC) Volunteer & Combination Officers Section (VCOS), in partnership with Vector Solutions, the leading provider of computer-based training and operational management applications for public safety agencies, are proud to announce Volunteer Training Coordinator James Hedrick of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department (Virginia) as the recipient of the 2021 VCOS Training Officer Recognition Award. The award honors training officers for exemplary conduct and dedication to their fire department’s training program.

Chief Norvin Collins, VCOS Board Member and Training Officer Recognition Award Committee Member stated, “The VCOS Board and Award Committee are again pleased to partner with Vector Solutions for the annual Training Officer Recognition Award. During the past year, all response agencies were challenged with meeting ongoing community demand, in addition to COVID-19. This demand put additional stressors on the training of our responders. The Award Committee and Vector Solutions were very pleased at the quality and number of submissions for this award. The VCOS Board of Directors would like to offer their congratulations to this year’s recipient, James Hedrick.”

Hedrick has been responsible for coordinating and developing all operational training for the volunteer members of the 12 partner volunteer fire departments that are part of Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, which is 400 volunteer members strong. He has also been responsible for managing an adjunct instructor corps of more than 40 part-time instructors and scheduling all basic training classes including introductory training, EMT basic, Firefighter (I & II as a package), EVOC, Driver Operator, recertification classes, required recurrent training and new skills training. He is a retired career battalion chief from Fairfax County and now a civilian, so he has been able to leverage his experience as a command officer to train volunteers sitting for the lieutenant’s exam and other leadership positions and is able to teach any class including 1403 burns.

When COVID-19 started, things dramatically changed at the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Academy. Volunteer Training Coordinator Hedrick immediately took several steps to adjust the training of volunteers to allow for the continuation of training including:

  • The move of all classes possible to Zoom to allow for continued training.
  • Utilization of the Vector Solutions platform, formerly known as TargetSolutions, for testing, as able, per class.
  • Adjusting classes that required in-person activity such as CPR by moving most of it to online learning and creating a drive-through process in the high bay to allow members to pull in, do their skills, and drive out, minimizing exposure to all involved.
  • Created a modularized process for completing the state requirements for EMT.
  • Transferred many smaller evaluation tasks to the volunteer chiefs at the station level.
  • Moved forward with an online tablet-based training and testing process for EMT-B that is accepted by the Commonwealth of Virginia to allow for safer EMT training.  

Through his efforts, Fairfax County graduated more than 70 new EMTs, on-boarded more than 150 new members, held monthly recertification training such as CPR and offered suppression training and EVOC all with reduced capacity because of COVID-19.

 “Jim’s impact on the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department has been immense; he is a consummate leader – promoting, developing and encouraging the next level of firefighters and leaders, all while quietly sitting in the background and not wanting any spotlight on him,” said Shawn Stokes, Chairman of the Fairfax County Volunteer Fire Commission. “His impact and legacy can be seen every day in the number of members, volunteer and career, in the right front seat of our rigs making a difference because of Jim’s efforts.”

Fire Chief John S. Butler of Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department said, “The positive impact of Jim’s dedication and leadership is visible every day through the men and women, both career and volunteer, of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. He has propelled the department forward and allowed us to adapt through the most unforeseen of circumstances. His guidance and encouragement have inspired countless firefighters, EMTs, and paramedics. His legacy thrives through the career and volunteer members who serve our community.”

The award will be presented at the VCOS Annual Meeting at Fire-Rescue International in Charlotte, N.C. on July 29. This year marks the eighth consecutive year Vector Solutions and the VCOS have partnered to present this award. Volunteer Training Coordinator Hedrick joins a group of leaders in the fire service industry who have been recognized for their excellence: Deputy Chief of Training Karl Neubecker of Ellington (Connecticut) Fire Department (2020), Chief Whitner of South Adams County (Colorado) Fire Department (2019), Captain Chip Everett of Oshtemo Township (Michigan) Fire Department (2018), Assistant Chief Brad Pinsky of Manlius (New York) Fire Department (2017), Deputy Chief Steve Malone of the Manhattan (Illinois) Fire Protection District (2016), Michael Accardo III of the St. Tammany (Louisiana) Fire District 9 (2015), and Josh Blum of Loveland-Symmes (Ohio) Fire Department (2014).

About the IAFC’s VCOS

VCOS provides chiefs and chief officers who manage volunteers within a volunteer or combination fire, rescue or EMS delivery system with information, education, services and representation to enhance their professionalism. The VCOS mission is to provide chiefs and chief officers who manage volunteers within a volunteer or combination fire, rescue or EMS delivery system with information, education, services and representation to enhance their professionalism. The VCOS vision is to represent the interests of all volunteer and combination fire/rescue/EMS agencies. We are a dynamic organization, characterized by our integrity, customer focus and membership development, with value placed on people and the superior utilization of technology. We excel by creating educational programs through unrivaled networking and by helping VCOS members further their success and reach their potential. For more information, visit VCOS.org.

About Vector Solutions

Vector Solutions, a leader in eLearning and performance support, provides award-winning SaaS solutions for public safety agencies. Vector Solutions, formerly known as TargetSolutions, offers industry-focused, innovative products to solve its clients’ needs, helping them improve outcomes, optimize performance and reduce risk. Vector Solutions delivers state-of-the-art training and performance solutions, including Vector Check It™ and Vector Scheduling™. Vector Solutions recently unified all its brands, including TargetSolutions, CrewSense, and Halligan, under the Vector Solutions name, bringing additional resources and innovative new solutions to help our customers achieve the operational readiness that’s critical to success.

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