Page 10 - Salem Magazine Spring 2015
P. 10

                                                                      Changing of the Guard
John Prillaman rang in the New Year with a new job and a new title as he was named Salem’s Fire and EMS Chief effective January 1. City Manager Kevin Boggess selected Prillaman from a pool of candidates to succeed retiring Chief Pat Counts, who served the city for four decades.
“In my 25 years of serving as a volunteer firefighter, military firefighter and career firefighter I have been very fortunate to have some great mentors who have helped me develop as a leader,” says Prillaman. “I am very grateful to each and every one of them, and I hope to make them proud as I lead this great organization.”
Prillaman earned his Bachelor’s degree in Fire Administration as an honors graduate of Hampton University in 2004. In 2007, he acquired his Master’s degree in Public Administration from Virginia Tech. Prillaman also graduated from the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer School earlier this
year. In addition, he has served for the past four years on the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association Board of Directors and he was instrumental in the research, design and construction of the state-of-the-art Roanoke Valley Regional Fire Training Tower on Kessler Mill Road.
A little over three months after his appointment, Prillaman named Matt Rickman Salem’s new Deputy Fire Chief. Rickman joined the Salem Fire Department in the summer of 2005. He was named a Paramedic and Senior Firefighter in 2008 and in November of 2011, he was elevated to the rank of Captain and named the city’s EMS Coordinator.
Biology with a Chemistry minor. He earned his Associate of Social Sciences in Fire Science degree from Virginia Western and his Master’s degree in Public Administration from Troy University. He also has completed three years of the four-year Executive Fire Officer Program. In addition, he has served as an emergency room paramedic, emergency health sciences skills instructor and a life support instructor for LewisGale Medical Center, Jefferson College of Health Sciences and Carilion Clinic Corporate University.
“I am humbled and thankful for the opportunity to serve the City of Salem as the department’s Deputy Chief,” says Rickman. “The experiences that have been offered to me as an employee of the City of Salem Fire-EMS Department have allowed continual growth
and development both professionally and personally.
Rickman earned his Bachelor’s degree at Radford University majoring in
SPRING 2015 |
                 A Classy Rating
Salem Fire Department and the city, in general, recently received some outstanding news from the Insurance Services Office. This classification agency which assesses a community’s fire protection services and assigns it a level of competency, elevated Salem’s status from Class 4 to Class 2.
“This puts us in the top two percent of all rated communities in the nation,” says John Prillaman, Salem Fire and EMS Chief. “This new classification should benefit everyone in the City of Salem, as they may see a decrease in their insurance rates. This will especially benefit the businesses in the City of Salem and may even assist in bringing businesses to the city.”
The Insurance Services Office collects information on municipal fire-protection efforts in communities throughout the United States and then analyzes the data to help establish fire insurance premiums. Of the 48,855 rated communities in the country, only 97 are Class-1 and only 917-have Class 2 distinction.
“I have never heard of a community moving
up two grades in one evaluation period,” says Kevin Boggess, Salem City Manager. “I think this is largely due to Chief Prillaman’s efforts and is great news for the entire city.”

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