The V.F.D. insignia.

You may wish to consult V.F.D. (disambiguation) for other, similarly-named pages.

V.F.D. or Volunteer Fire Department is a secret society in A Series of Unfortunate Events and All the Wrong Questions, which Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire become increasingly involved with after their encounter with Count Olaf. The insignia of the organization appears to be a single eye, made up of the letters 'V,' 'F,' and 'D.' They are the main international organization within the books of which most of the recurring characters are members.

Exactly what V.F.D. does is never made clear, and the organization goes to great lengths to conceal all traces of its activities through the use of complex disguises and codes. Lemony Snicket revealed that they primarily put out fires, but they also carry out other humanitarian acts.

In The Penultimate Peril, Kit Snicket explains that "V.F.D. was once a united group of volunteers, trying to extinguish fires - both literally and figuratively. But now there are two groups of bitter enemies."


Volunteers are recruited by V.F.D. at a very young age if they are seen by other volunteers to be as observative, even those currently at apprenticeship. Neophytes, or young trainees of V.F.D., are carried away by their ankles in the middle of the night. From INfrequently asked questions about VFD (citation needed)it states:

"On the day you officially join the organization, you will hear a noise outside your home. It may sound like the howling of a wolf, the cawing of a crow, (names many different sounds)or the turning of a page. The noise will come in the middle of the night, the middle of the morning, or, in very rare cases, late in the afternoon. Ask your parents what the noise was. If they reply "nothing," they are replying in code, because there is never "nothing" outside one's home. If you are interested in volunteering, answer your parents with the following question: "if there's nothing out there, what was that noise?" We will be listening, and will know it is safe to act."

Recruitment has also been known to occur when a taxi driver attempts to show his passenger a photograph of a baby.

After being taken from their homes (with their parents' permission) neophytes were once taken to the V.F.D. Headquarters where each was given a commonplace book and trained throughout childhood and into adulthood in a particular topic that interested them. Beatrice Baudelaire, for example, was trained in the art of rhetoric. According to Captain Widdershins, “VFD isn’t just a fire department. Aye–it started that way. But the volunteers were interested in every such thing!” Before the schism, Volunteers were required to get a tattoo of the V.F.D. insignia on their left ankles.

When a volunteer graduates, they are to choose their chaperone and become an apprentice under them.

V.F.D. Codes

Main article: V.F.D. Codes

The V.F.D. utilizes several codes for communication between Volunteers. After the schism, however, both sides continued to use the same codes, so it is difficult, if not impossible, to tell if the member using the code is on the Fire-Fighting or the Fire-Starting side.

V.F.D. Disguise Training

Main article: V.F.D. Disguise Training

The Schism

Main article: The Schism

The Schism is an incident that occurred within V.F.D. that broke up the members into two sides: The Fire-Starting Side, and the Fire-Fighting side. As stated by Kit Snicket in The End, those sides are literal and figurative. For example, the Fire-Starting Side not only commits arson on certain occasions, but generally causes panic and mayhem wherever they venture. The way the schism was fought out is not known, but it's possible it was fought through the two sides effect points, Reptiles, Birds, Fire, Water, and miscellaneous weaponry of sorts (Olaf's complimentry harpoon gun.)

The Fire-Fighting Side

Members of the Fire-Fighting Side are known as Volunteers. This faction of the organization prizes various values, such as being well-read, arriving early, and drinking bitter tea.


A photograph of the Paltryville Volunteer Fire Department: (L-R) Georgina Orwell, Montgomery Montgomery, Mr. Quagmire, Mrs. Quagmire, Bertrand Baudelaire, Beatrice Baudelaire, Josephine Anwhistle, Ike Anwhistle, Larry the Waiter and Lemony Snicket.

Known Volunteers

The Fire-Starting Side

This faction is home to those V.F.D. Volunteers who are no longer noble. They favor arson, hoard money, and commit murder as they please. Since the schism, they appear to have more resources than the other half of V.F.D and to have more associates throughout the public (e.g. the police and the press).

Known members

Unknown side

These names are seen in a VFD tunnel, implying their connection to the organization:

It is also speculated that Sir and Vice Principal Nero may be a part of V.F.D., presumably the Fire-Starting side. Jerome Squalor may be part of V.F.D. as he reveals he knew Beatrice.

Safe places

A VFD safe place, as quoted by Kit Snicket, is where volunteers can safely gather "to exchange information, discuss plans to defeat our enemies, and return books we borrowed from one another." Before the Schism, there were an innumerous number of safe places across the globe, such as bookstores, banks, restaurants, stationary stores, cafe's, laundromats, opium dens, geodesic domes, etc.

Here is a list of known safe places


"The world is quiet here" is the motto of V.F.D. It functions as a password and marks a letter or item as connected to V.F.D.

The Eye

The V.F.D. Insignia (seen above) is an eye made from the letters 'V,' 'F,' and 'D.' Any member of V.F.D. who joined before the schism has a tattoo on their left ankle of the eye. After the schism, the practice of tattooing members desisted.[1]

Behind the scenes

  • In France, the VFD is instead called the VDC due to French translation. It even has a slightly modified version of the eye symbol to fit the letters. In Itay, VFD is called VF.
  • Translating every instance of V.F.D. into different languages is one of the difficulties the translators go through, as terms such as "Volunteer Fire Department", "Very Fancy Doilies", etc, don't have the same initials in every language.
  • Most of the Baudelaires guardians were/have been volunteers of V.F.D. (Count Olaf , Montgomery Montgomery, Josephine Anwhistle, Charles (newly), Jerome (newly) and Esmé Squalor, Hector, Olivia Caliban, Captain Widdershins, Kit Snicket and Ishmael.)
  • In the movie along with the spyglass is a case with VFD on it.


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