Credentialing commission honors city fire chief

Fire Chief Mike Varnell

Rocky Mount Fire Chief Mike Varnell


Staff Writer

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Rocky Mount's top firefighter has been thrice recognized for his professionalism and experience by an international public safety organization.

Fire Chief Mike Varnell has earned a second redesignation as Chief Fire Officer from the Commission on Professional Credentialing of the Center for Public Safety Excellence.

“The Chief Fire Officer designation is a huge honor in the fire service, as there are currently only 1,260 CFOs worldwide,” Varnell said. “It is a validation of experience, education and professional knowledge that is verified by the CPC.”

Varnell demonstrated through education, leadership and management skills that he possesses the requisite knowledge, skills and abilities required for the fire and emergency services profession, according to information from the credentialing commission.

An Edgecombe County native, Varnell is a 27-year veteran of the fire service.

Varnell joined the fire department in 1989 as a firefighter and emergency medical technician. He worked his way up through the ranks to serve as fire captain and battalion chief in the operations division before being promoted to the rank of assistant fire chief. He was appointed chief in 2015.

Varnell earned initial designation in 2011 and redesignation in 2014. The nationally-recognized designation must be reapplied for every three years.

Designation renewal is based on four components: continuing education, professional development, community involvement and training. Candidates must also adhere to a code of conduct that includes setting an exemplary standard for subordinates and peers to follow, promoting the understanding of public protection, safety services and issues and much more.

Varnell has a master’s degree in executive fire service leadership, a bachelor’s degree in business administration and an associate degree in fire protection.

The Center for Public Safety Excellence is a primary resource for the fire and emergency services profession that seeks to continuously improve services, resulting in a higher quality of life for communities, according to information from the nonprofit organization.