FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 24, 2021
This training is part of the Charlottesville Fire Department's orientation for 15 new firefighters, the most diverse class of new hires by the department since 1865.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - On Tuesday, the Charlottesville Fire Department (CFD) team participated in Implicit Bias training entitled "Creating A Welcoming Environment in CFD." Attendees included Deputy Chiefs, Battalion Chiefs, Captains representing each of the three shifts, firefighters, and recruits.
The session was coordinated by Dr. Hezedean Smith, the new fire chief, and facilitated by Flora Kelly-Bertsche, the City's Human Resources Organizational Development Specialist and HR Generalist. The hybrid virtual session opened with Chief Smith, Chip Boyles (City Manager), Lisa Robertson (Acting City Attorney), and Jamie Valencia (Human Resources Consultant). The professional development opportunity was held at the Fontaine Fire Station and streamed live to other participating employees.
Through the support of a 2020 SAFER Grant, the Charlottesville Fire Department has hired 15 new firefighters to address the staffing shortage and five additional personnel through attrition. The new employees will start on March 1, 2021. The group is the most diverse class of new hires by the fire department since 1865. The recruit class demographics include seven females (2 Black-African American; 5 White) and 13 males (4 Black-African American; 9 White).
With the 2021 Strategic Plan release, CFD has committed to six goals and accompanying objectives that will guide the fire department over the next 3-5 years. The professional development session addressed an element within the Strategic Plan's first goal and the related objective that focuses on improving inclusion and diversity in the Charlottesville Fire Department to represent the community we serve.
Deputy Chief & PIO
City of Charlottesville