Public safety heroes: Chris Silvas

Public safety heroes: Chris Silvas
Chris Silvas awarded the Kiwanis Club of Richmond Public Safety Award for Firefighter of the Year for 2019 (Photo credit: Mike Kinney)

Day and night our public safety heroes answer the call, working tirelessly to prevent crime and save lives. When they’re not doing that, they’re working with at-risk local youth or neighborhood councils. For them it’s all part of the job. In early March, before the COVID-19 shelter-in-place order went into effect, the Kiwanis Club of Richmond in partnership with Chevron Richmond honored some of the people who are keeping the city safe at its annual Public Safety Awards Dinner. Amid the COVID-19 public health crisis, the Standard will highlight each of the honorees as a reminder of the sacrifices made by frontline responders.


Following two tours in Iraq, Chris Silvas joined the Richmond Fire Department in 2015 where his military background has shined through…literally.

When it comes to keeping his equipment, quarters and the station clean and touched up, Silvas is always “inspection ready,” according to the Richmond Fire Department. Likewise, Silvas makes sure all the equipment is up to snuff as part of the Small Tools Committee and is always ready to lend a helping hand.

Off the clock, Silvas is a key contributor as well, helping to mold next gen firefighters and EMTs while teaching classes at Sierra College. Other pursuits include serving as the academy director for the Richmond recruit class of 2020-1, and also supporting the Coast X Coast Foundation, an organization devoted to honoring fallen US Special Operations Forces and enhancing the quality of life of wounded soldiers through motorcycle rides and fundraising events. He is also a devoted father to his son, Caden.

Bottom line: Silvas strives to protect his fellow citizens, and his example resonates.

Here are some descriptions from his colleagues: “Deep cleaning the station? No problem. The curbs that needed a red paint touch up in the front? Let’s fix it. The trees that need limbing? Taken care of. Chris arrives to work earlier than most so that he can provide attention to every detail and prepare for the day.”

Silvas enlisted in the U.S. military in December 2003 and served with the 101st Airborne Division before serving as an Army Ranger. During his second deployment, he served as Acting Platoon Sergeant in charge of a 30-man Scout/Sniper Platoon and was given command of an Iraqi Special Forces element to operate with as a force multiplier. All members of his platoon made it home safely.

His dedication to achieving optimal safety for others hasn’t waned.

“He is always researching newer and more efficient tools that will help us save lives,” according to RFD. “He’s tested and specked new hose, maintained our inventory, and of course, cleaned every tool to be “inspection ready.”