September 1, 2023

18 Firefighters Graduate from Virginia Beach Fire Department Academy

Fire Academy Class 12 endured six months of training that tested their physical and mental strength.
VBFD Academy Class 12 posing in front of training building

Virginia Beach Fire Academy Class 12 began with 29 recruits earlier this year. On Aug. 24, 18 graduates walked across the stage at the convention center and officially became firefighters.

Battalion Chief Michael Carter, lead at the Harry E. Diezel Fire Training Center, gave insight into this year's class, who had recruits from all walks of life. The youngest recruit in the class turned 20 during the academy while the oldest recruit is 40 years old. The class gained practical, firsthand experience during the academy. When fire crews responded to a three-alarm commercial structure fire on July 11 that destroyed three businesses, the recruits were pulled in to assist with clean up and to help the firefighters working the large incident. They also did community work with a smoke detector outreach event in a nearby neighborhood.

The Virginia Beach Fire Academy and its curriculum are held to a high standard. Even before they are accepted into the academy, recruits endure a sixth-month, multi-step hiring process. Carter said that’s what the department and residents expect from their firefighters: to be the best. “The standards are even higher than the past.”

The next Fire Academy begins this month. Carter said the department is growing and is always in need of recruits due to attrition such as anticipated retirements.

If you are interested in learning more about the Virginia Beach Fire Department and what a day in the life of a firefighter is like, visit For any questions regarding the hiring process or to be added to the interest list for next year’s hiring process, email

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Virginia Beach Fire Administration

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