Jackson Baynard named chief of Division of Fire

Henrico County has appointed Jackson P.F. Baynard to serve as chief of the Division of Fire, effective Jan. 28.

He joined the division as a firefighter in 2003, rose through its leadership ranks and served most recently as assistant fire chief. He succeeds Alec W. Oughton, who recently retired after serving nearly four years as chief. Baynard also served as Henrico’s emergency manager in 2020 and 2021, helping to lead the county’s initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fire is responsible for fire prevention and suppression, emergency medical services (EMS), technical rescue, hazardous materials mitigation and disaster preparedness in Henrico. The division has an approved budget of $79.7 million and 638 employees in fiscal year 2022-23. It responds to more than 54,000 calls for service each year and operates 22 firehouses, which includes the recently opened Staples Mill Firehouse 20 on Willis Road. The Nine Mile Road Firehouse 23 is targeted for the start of construction this spring and an opening in summer 2024.

Henrico holds the highest-possible Class 1 rating from the Insurance Services Office, which is based on a comprehensive review of the county’s fire response, including its fire department capabilities and training.

Baynard earned a bachelor’s degree in health science from James Madison University and a master’s degree in human resource management from the University of Richmond. Baynard will be sworn in as chief at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 1 in the Board Room at the Henrico County Government Center, 4301 E. Parham Road. The ceremony will be available online via a livestream.

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