June 16, 2023

Jessica Xenakis Named 2023 Fire & Life Safety Educator of the Year

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (June 16, 2023) – The National Fire Protection Association® (NFPA®) has named Jessica Xenakis, life safety education coordinator, for the Virginia Beach Fire Department, as the 2023 Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year. Xenakis was chosen as the best of the best from nominations submitted from across the United States and Canada. This prestigious award is given to recognize educators who take the lead role in making their communities safer through innovative and measurable fire and burn prevention education. The city is so proud of the work of our life safety education staff. Chief Ken Pravetz stated, "Jessica has been instrumental to the revitalization of the programs. She has implemented new ideas and new teaching methods that truly resonate with her audience, which makes our community a much safer place. This award is a recognition of how far she has moved the needle in solidifying fire life safety education in our community."

Life Safety Education Specialist Kristin Mauer's, nomination stated, "The amount of time Jessica devotes to identifying every opportunity to effectively reach and teach fire and life safety to the citizens of Virginia Beach (and beyond) is truly remarkable. Her desire to deliver quality, data-driven lessons and resources to our most at-risk citizens is the driving force behind how and why our department is so very successful and well-received by our community members. Jessica's leadership in her department coupled with her tenacity, innovative thinking, and authentic approach to delivering fire and life safety education to the public will make her an excellent candidate and representative for this prestigious award."

Xenakis will be accepting her award at the 2023 NFPA Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada, as part of the 2023 NFPA Conference & Expo to be held later this month. She will also be a speaker at the conference as part of the Spotlight on Public Education program. The Fire & Life Safety Educator of the Year award is awarded to qualified educators in the United States and Canada who:

  • Work for a local/municipal fire department or fire marshal's office.
  • Use NFPA educational programs and materials in a consistent and creative way for their community/audience, and
  • Demonstrate excellence and innovation in reaching out to the community with NFPA materials.

As part of Xenakis' recognition, she will be awarded:

  • $1,000 for a charity of her choice
  • Paid registration to attend the 2023 NFPA Conference & Expo
  • $1,000 donation to the Virginia Beach Fire Prevention Bureau's Life Safety Education Division to support public education activities: and
  • A Golden Sparky the Fire Dog® Statue Award The National Fire Protection Association® (NFPA®) is a global self-funded nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property, and economic loss due to fire, electrical, and related hazards. The association began its work to solve the fire problem in a young, industrialized nation in 1896 and has since become a global force known for advancing safety worldwide. NFPA delivers information and knowledge through more than 325 consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach, and advocacy, and by partnering with others who share an interest in furthering the NFPA mission. For more information or to view NFPA codes and standards for free, visit www.nfpa.org.

Contact Information

VBFD Public Information Officer

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