Harrisonburg firefighters complete prestigious training programs


Hilley and Bauserman
Lt. Matthew Bauserman and Master Firefighter Robert Hilley. The two recently completed the Virginia Chief Officer Academy and Virginia Fire Officer Academy, respectively. Photo courtesy City of Harrisonburg.

Two members of the Harrisonburg Fire Department recently graduated from one of the state’s most prestigious fire officer training programs.

Lt. Matthew Bauserman completed the Virginia Chief Officer Academy, and Master Firefighter Robert Hilley completed the Virginia Fire Officer Academy.

Established in 2007, both courses include an intense focus on leadership and personnel management, physical training, practical scenarios, team building exercises as well as speakers from all aspects of the fire service.

The goal of the VFOA is to develop leaders in the fire service through scenario-based training with a focus on accountability, education, safety and ownership. The goal of the VCOA, is to prepare officers to assume the responsibilities associated with higher rank, typically focused on strategic leadership and management.

Both programs were held concurrently at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg.

Bauserman has been employed with the department for more than 16 years and is currently assigned to the Maryland Avenue Fire Station on “C” shift. He commands personnel assigned to the Tower Ladder. Bauserman is authorized to function as an acting battalion chief and is on the eligibility list to be promoted to the rank of captain.

Bauserman has completed the managing officer program at the National Fire Academy and is a previous graduate of the VFOA.

Hilley is also assigned to the Maryland Avenue Fire Station but serves on “A” shift. He has been with the city for more than eight years, serving as both a firefighter and a sworn law enforcement officer.

Hilley is a certified fire investigator and fire inspector and works in the Fire Marshal’s Office, in addition to his primary responsibilities as a firefighter. Hilley is also a nationally registered and Virginia certified paramedic. He is the primary relief officer on Engine 28, and recently competed in the promotional process for the rank of Lieutenant, finishing first. (

“We are tremendously proud of both Lt. Bauserman and MFF Hilley, who are continuing the department’s tradition of sending talented current and future officers to these programs. Their investment in this intense week of training will pay dividends for years to come,” Fire Chief Matthew Tobia said. “We also extend our deepest appreciation to the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association for implementing and supporting these courses of instruction.”



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