VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Beach has a new fire chief. Kenneth A. Pravetz was sworn in as the new Fire Chief for the Virginia Beach Fire Department on Monday in a ceremony at the City Council Chamber.

Prior to the appointment, Pravetz had been with the department since 1999 and has 35 years of career fire experience. Pravetz has also served in the U.S. Air Force and has been deployed to several national disasters as a member of the Federal Emergency Management Agency Urban Search & Rescue Virginia Task Force 2.

In his previous role as Deputy Chief of Services, Pravetz was responsible for personnel, finance, training, logistics, planning, and community risk reduction. He holds an associate degree in fire science, a bachelor’s degree in health and safety, and a Master of Public Administration degree. Pravetz also completed a master’s degree in security studies from the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security in 2019 and has a certificate from the Senior Executives in State and Local Government at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He is also nearing completion of the International Association of Fire Chiefs Fire Service Executive Development Institute.

“Pravetz has the proven leadership and communication skills needed to be successful across our organization, in collaboration with our community partners and through a wide range of public safety emergencies,” said City Manager Patrick Duhaney. “His decades of diversified management experience will help Virginia Beach continue to be a national leader in public safety for many more years to come.”

Pravetz is active in the fire service, serving on three NFPA technical committees and the IAFC Terrorism and Homeland Security Committee. He also represents the IAFC on the Department of Homeland Security Emergency Services Sector Coordinating Council Executive Committee. His appointment became effective on Jan. 1.

Check WAVY.com for the latest updates.