The Botetourt County administration has announced that one of the county’s own will lead the Botetourt Fire and EMS. County officials announced this week that Jason Ferguson is the new Chief of Fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS).
Ferguson is currently a Battalion Chief with the county and brings more than 20 years of career and volunteer fire and EMS service and leadership to his new post, the announcement said.
In this role, Ferguson will oversee a combined fire and EMS system of seven volunteer fire departments, two volunteer rescue squads, and a county department of more than 50 full- and part-time staff. He will manage the daily operations of the department, serve as county’s Emergency Services Coordinator, and administer the budget and capital improvements plan for the fire and EMS system.
“I am truly humbled and honored to be given the opportunity to serve the citizens and visitors of Botetourt County as the Chief of Fire and EMS,” said Ferguson. “I look forward to the opportunity to work with our volunteer and career personnel along with our other stakeholders to strengthen our fire and EMS system and to complete our primary mission of saving lives and protecting property.”
The appointment follows a seven-month nationwide search, according to the announcement. The county has been without a chief since December 1, 2017 when the former chief and county parted ways after six months. Ferguson has been employed with Botetourt since December 2001, when he was hired as the county’s first staff paramedic. In his time with the county, he has held multiple leadership positions within the department, including Fire and EMS Training Coordinator, Captain, Division Chief of Operations, Deputy Chief, and Battalion Chief of Administration and Support Services. Ferguson has a wealth of emergency response and command experience and has overseen nearly every aspect of the operations of the county’s department, the announcement said, most recently working within a departmental management team that ran operations and managed staff during the search for a new chief. In addition to his extensive professional experience, Ferguson has continued his education throughout his career. He earned a Bachelor of Science from Jefferson College of Health Sciences and the Graduate Certificate in Local Government Management from Virginia Tech, and in 2017, he received the Executive Fire Officer designation from the National Fire Academy.
“It is always nice to have the opportunity to promote someone from within who knows the county and its people so well,” said Board of Supervisors ViceChairman Mac Scothorn. “I appreciate the citizens, volunteers and staff who have all had the opportunity for and have provided input into this decision making process, and I know we have made a great choice.” Prior to his initial arrival in Botetourt, Ferguson began his volunteer service in the fire and EMS community at the Montvale Rescue Squad in Bedford County. He continued his volunteerism at both the Montvale Volunteer Fire Department and the Blue Ridge Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad, serving as an officer in both departments. After beginning his work with the county, Ferguson volunteered with the Troutville Fire Department and the Botetourt County Volunteer Rescue Association.
“Jason is well known among both Botetourt’s fire and EMS community and throughout the region,” said Board of Supervisors member and Fire and EMS Chaplain Ray Sloan. “His service and his willingness to work closely with the volunteers has earned him tremendous respect.” Ferguson is also recognized as a regional and statewide leader in EMS policy formation and education. He was recently appointed by the Governor to serve a second term on the State EMS Advisory Board, currently serving as chair of the State Medevac Committee. He has served on the Western Virginia EMS Council Board of Directors and Executive Committee and the Jefferson College of Health Sciences Emergency Services Board. He also has been an adjunct instructor with the Virginia Department of Fire Programs since 2011.
“Chief Ferguson begins his time as chief with broad support from the entire fire and EMS community across the county, region and state,” said County Administrator Gary Larrowe. “I and the Board of Supervisors are excited about this new role for Jason. In fact, Jack (Leffel), prior to his passing, wholeheartedly supported this appointment. “I am proud that Jason has accepted this opportunity to expand his service to Botetourt,” Larrowe said in the announcement. Ferguson assumed the position as Chief on Monday, Dec. 17, which also started his 18th year with Botetourt. A formal swearing-in ceremony will be held at the Greenfield Education and Training Center in Daleville on Friday, Jan. 11. Community meetings to introduce Chief Ferguson will be scheduled throughout the winter.