Jethro H. Piland III has been appointed Fire/EMS Chief for Hanover County. A 22-year veteran of the department, he had been acting chief since October.
“Jethro Piland has experience in every realm of fire and EMS operations,” said Cecil R. Harris Jr., County Administrator. “Through the years, he has been a key contributor to the development of the department and has established effective working relationships with the people in the field, as well as public safety personnel in other departments. Jethro is an employee with great values and proven leadership skills and I’m sure he will do a fine job as Chief.”
Jim Taylor, deputy county administrator, who is responsible for supervising Fire/EMS, said Piland had demonstrated he was the right person for the job.
“Chief Piland is bright and articulate, he is committed to Hanover County, and we have been impressed with his ideas for working through some challenging times and also his vision for continued success,” Taylor said. “He truly understands that this system doesn’t work without the active participation and support of our volunteers. He has demonstrated that he is the right person for the job.”
Piland has served in the separate roles of division chief of training, operations and administration, learning every aspect of the organization. Prior to being named acting chief upon the retirement of Fred Crosby in October, Piland had been division chief of administration. In that role he was responsible for coordinating the financial operations of the department, including developing and monitoring a $14.4 million annual operating budget as well as the capital budget.
Piland also managed the maintenance of 150 department vehicles and coordinated all department vehicle purchases, including design specifications, bid processes, contracts and the rotation of apparatus between Hanover’s 16 fire and rescue stations. He assumed command and control of the Fire/EMS Department in the absence of the chief and deputy chiefs.
He was selected from a field of 49 applicants.
“I really appreciate this opportunity,” Piland said. “It’s an honor to serve the department and the citizens. I look forward to the challenges the position will bring and I’m excited to offer others the opportunity to be involved in the process of making the department even better.”
A Mechanicsville native, Piland’s service with Hanover Fire/EMS began as a volunteer with the East Hanover Rescue Squad in 1990. He became a career field medic in 1997 and was promoted to EMS operations manager in 2000. The Fire and EMS departments consolidated into one department in 2002, at which point Piland was promoted to division chief of operations.
He is a 1996 graduate of Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in biology. He received his master’s degree in public administration and public affairs from Virginia Tech in December 2005.
Among his numerous career achievements, Piland is certified as a national registered emergency medical technician – paramedic and is trained in counter narcotics and terrorism operational medical support and as a critical care flight paramedic.
In 2005, he received a Hanover Fire/EMS Line of Duty Performance Award given for his actions during Tropical Storm Gaston, when he helped save a man who was pulled into the raging waters when a bridge failed.
In 2010, Piland was an honor graduate as awarded by the Virginia Fire Marshals Academy Department of Fire Programs, for academic excellence in achieving top scores in all testing during the Law Enforcement School for Fire Marshals.
He and his wife Mary Catherine Piland and their children Ava and Alex live in Mechanicsville.