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Farmer named fire chief

Dean Farmer has been appointed chief of the Farmville Volunteer Fire Department.

The news of his appointment came during the Farmville Town Council’s July 12 meeting, where Town Manager Gerald Spates sought council members’ concurrence of his appointment of Farmer.

“Dean Farmer has been … nominated by the fire department as the chief, and I’d like to appoint him as chief with council’s concurrence,” Spates said during the meeting.

The council agreed with Spates by a unanimous vote.

In February, former chief Andrew Goss announced his resignation from his post after receiving a competitive transfer with the Virginia State Police (VSP).

Until now, Farmer has served as interim chief. Goss announced to his crew his last day as chief was Feb. 28.

For 17 years, Farmer has been with the department where he’s served as property sergeant, lieutenant, captain and assistant chief.

“I always had an interest in the fire service since I was a child,” Farmer said, discussing what precluded his volunteerism and service. “When I was 6 years old, my mom took me to the fire station, which was located on South Street (at the time). Robert Saunders gave me a tour of the fire station and showed me the fire trucks. Once my tour was over, I told my mom, ‘One day, I will work with Robert Saunders.’ As the years progressed I always had a desire to pursue a career in emergency services.”

“I think Dean has demonstrated his leadership ability in working within the fire department. He was very instrumental in getting the grant with (Town Planner) Cindy Morris on the burn building,” Spates said, noting Farmer had “just really come forward and (has) done a great job with the department.”

Spates noted Farmer’s ideas of training and leadership as being advantages to the department.

In 1998, Farmer joined the Cumberland Volunteer Rescue Squad where he began training as an EMT.

“I served there until moving to Farmville in 2000. When I graduated high school, I began working at Davis Ambulance Service and moved to Farmville. I submitted my application to Prince Edward (Volunteer) Rescue Squad and the Farmville Fire Department in January and was successfully voted on both agencies in March of 2000. I took every opportunity to learn as much as I possibly could.”

Farmer began his formal training as a firefighter, and progressed from there, he said.

“In 2007, I had the opportunity to transfer to the fire station and work with my mentor, Robert Saunders. It was a true honor to work and learn from this man that had meant so much to me as a child. He took time to teach me so many things about the fire department and about the town. Words cannot describe the gratitude I have to him for the support he provided me.”

Since 2000, Farmer said he’s seen several changes in the department.

“The most impressive change is the level of training we require for our members. When I completed (the) Firefighter I (training course), it was 99 hours. The training our members go through now is 160 hours and then an additional 40 for hazardous materials operations. The level of dedication these young men and women give is amazing.”

Farmer said the second-largest change he’s seen is in apparatus.

“We are blessed with top-of-the-line apparatus and equipment. We are proud of our fleet and take pride in what we have accomplished.”

“When I started, our first out engine was a 1996 Freightliner which would only hold three firefighters,” Farmer said. “In today’s time, we have engines with seating for six, and when we arrive we have a crew for fire suppression as well as a Rapid Intervention Crew which is vital to firefighter safety.”

Farmer said he couldn’t begin to express the gratitude the department has to the local government. He said he’s humbled to lead the organization.

“We have protected Farmville since 1870, and I will keep the tradition alive and strong while also embracing change to better meet the needs of the fire service. It is truly an honor to serve the citizens of the Town of Farmville, and I count it an honor to work daily to safeguard the lives and property of those in which we serve.”

Farmer said the department is always looking to grow.

“I would like to say my door is always open to new members, as well as any member of the community (who) may have ideas or questions on fire safety.”

Farmer has established several goals this year for the department “to include training for our officer staff as well as enhancing our operating procedures. This will provide a more efficient approach to response to incidents. I am also working closely with our partners in emergency services to enhance our relationship and provide quality on-scene operations.”

Farmer offered thanks for the support from Spates and the town council.

“It is a true honor to serve this town and the citizens of the Town of Farmville,” Farmer said.