What is the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)?
Pursuant to Section 2.2-3700 et seq. of the Code of Virginia, as amended, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides citizens of Virginia with access to existing public records. This access is also provided to newspapers and magazines with circulation in Virginia, as well as radio and television stations broadcasting into the Commonwealth. There are few statutory requirements for making a request under FOIA. Section 2.2-3704 indicates only that FOIA inquiries should be directed to the custodian of the requested records and must identify those records with reasonable specificity. This section also grants the custodian of the records the right to require a requester to provide his or her name and legal address.

While no form is necessary for the request of records, Frederick County has developed a form to assist.  If the form is not used, we do suggest the following:

  • That the request be in writing, although not required.
  • That the request be directed to the custodian of the records, if known to the requester.
  • That the request specify the documents rather than the information sought.
  • That the request be as specific as possible regarding the documents sought.

Types of Documents
The requested documents include the following:

  • Fire Incident Reports
  • Fire Marshal Report (if applicable)
  • Fire Marshal Investigative Report (if applicable)
  • Fire Code Violations – Due Diligence
  • Environment Assessments – Hazardous Materials Incident Reports
  • Any other Fire Marshal related request

Records routinely withheld by the Fire Marshal include certain fire investigation reports. Where the origin and cause of a fire event is classified as incendiary, under investigation, or undetermined, only the fire incident report will be released. Active criminal fire investigation reports will not be released.

EMS Records
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) ensures patient information is protected. The County is a covered entity under HIPAA’s privacy and security regulations. Frederick County Fire and Rescue must follow these regulations when requests for EMS records are made. Click the link below for personal EMS records.
Protected Health Information Request

Fees
Please check with the Fire Marshal’s Office for applicable fees, the fee is non-refundable.

Contact Us
You may submit your request in person, by fax, email, or mail to the address listed. Please be as specific as possible in your request to include the type of document. When requesting fire reports, please include the incident address, date, and approximate time. Thank you.