Britt Grimm, City of Charlottesville

Britt Grimm, Deputy Fire Chief, City of Charlottesville

Where were you born (and raised, if different)?
I was born in Washington D.C., and lived in Fairfax until my family moved here.
When and why did you move to the Charlottesville/Albemarle area?
We moved to Albemarle County in 1966, when my father accepted a position with Charlottesville Savings and Loan Association.
What neighborhood do you live in now?
I live in Earlysville.
Family (spouse, kids, etc.)?
I have a wife, Sharon, and two children – a son (Ian) and daughter (Stefanie).
What is your alma mater and when did you graduate?
I have two. I graduated from Northern Virginia Community College in 1983 with three AAS degrees in Fire Science (Administration, Management and Investigation), and from University of Maryland University College in 1997 with a BS in Fire Science.
What were you doing before you came to work for the city?
I was a volunteer firefighter in Fairfax County, and working two jobs – customer service at Toys R Us and doing fire protection equipment surveys at the Smithsonian Institution.
Your job title is Deputy Fire Chief – what, in your own words, would you say you do?
We’ve got a great organization! As the Deputy Chief, I’m responsible for the day to day operations of the Department and making sure that the men and women here have the things they need to continue doing the great jobs that they do. I’m involved with personnel administration, Department finances, planning, equipment purchases, all sorts of things – and also respond to emergencies.
What is the best part of your job? The most difficult part?
The best part of the job is that it isn’t necessarily the same every day – when you walk in the door in the morning, there’s no telling what the day will bring. The most difficult? Disciplining employees (fortunately that’s pretty few and far between).
How does your job most directly impact the average person?
People call us for all sorts of emergencies. Some of those emergencies may be fires, many aren’t, but when they call, that big red truck is always going to show up to help. I’m very proud to be part of that.
What is the most interesting project or work experience that you’ve had while with the city?
Some of the most rewarding experiences have been those where I was involved in a citizen or firefighter “save”. The most interesting work experiences have been those involved with presidential or VIP visits to the area, beginning with President Reagan in 1988. I find it fascinating to see how much work is involved in running a safe and successful visit. I’ve also been trying to put together something of a history of the Fire Department here in Charlottesville, which has been a lot of fun.
What is a little-known fact about you?
I’ve worn one of the original Darth Vader costumes, used in “Star Wars.” Really neat (but really hot)!
What do you do outside of work hours – hobbies, etc.?
I love to read. Given the right circumstances, I’ve been known to read a book a day.