Office of the Fire/EMS Chief
Interim Fire Chief Jim Schwartz
With the retirement of Fire/EMS Chief Corey Smedley in January 2024, City Manager Jim Parajon appointed Jim Schwartz as Interim Fire Chief of the Alexandria Fire Department. Schwartz retired in 2021 as the Deputy County Manager for public safety and technology in Arlington, Virginia.
Prior to that he served in the Arlington County Fire Department for 32 years, the last 11 as Chief of Department. During his tenure with the fire department, he served in a variety of positions including Assistant Chief for Operations, responsible for all response-related activities, including fire, EMS, hazardous materials and technical rescue response, incident management and operational training. In 2003, he was assigned to the Office of the County Manager where he established a new department of Emergency Management and served as its director until his appointment to Fire Chief.
The Arlington County Fire Department was the lead agency for the response to the September 11, 2001 attack at the Pentagon. Chief Schwartz led the Unified Command effort for the Pentagon incident.
Schwartz is a senior fellow with the Program on Crisis Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and teaches in the Executive Education programs including, Leadership in Crises, the General and Flag Officer Homeland Security Executive Seminar, and Leadership in Homeland Security. Schwartz provides frequent lectures on crisis leadership for such organizations as the U.S. State Department, FBI, local universities, and numerous international audiences; he also lectured as part of the Joint Counterterrorism Awareness Workshops (JCTAWS) sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) from 2014 to 2018.
Schwartz is a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs Committee on Terrorism and Homeland Security which he chaired from 2008 until August 2014. Additionally, he has served on advisory councils at the National Counterterrorism Center and the Department of Homeland Security. He is a founder of the Northern Virginia Emergency Response System, a multi-disciplinary, multi-jurisdictional organization that works to support and enhance regional preparedness.
Schwartz is a life-member of Leadership Arlington, an organization that develops and connects leaders in the public, private and non-profit sectors of Arlington County. He received the organization’s Leadership Legacy Award in 2012.
Schwartz graduated from the University of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in Fire Administration and is a graduate of the Executive Leaders Program at the Center for Homeland Defense and Security at the Naval Postgraduate School.
Schwartz lives in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria with his wife Susan.