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Full Conference

Full Conference

INTERSCHUTZ USA Main Conference Program

Announcing the first release of the conference program, bringing you session speakers and titles from around the globe.  

Stay tuned and keep checking back as we roll out even more sessions, tracks, workshops and speakers. 

Complete schedule of classes to come, including specific dates and times.

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Diversity & Inclusion

Kids These Days: Leading the Modern-day Firefighter

Jay Dixon, Lietenant, Torrington Fire Department (CA)

Rich Driscoll, Captain, Hartford Fire Department (CT)

“Kids these days” is a commonly-uttered catchphrase adults use in frustration when the younger generations do things differently than they once did. It is also used in the fire service when the new firefighters behave differently than they did during the “good old days.” The service is irritated with the current generation! While the new crop may not be what we expect, with some understanding and techniques, we can better manage how we communicate with the newer generation of firefighters. With understanding and techniques, we can lead them to exceed our expectations and excel through generational transitions. This program draws upon changing education techniques and experience to give you tools to communicate with and train the millennial firefighter. It will discusses generational divides and success stories for managing these challenges. We will draw on experiences from the audience, both positive and negative, and work on solutions for millennial instruction and leadership.

Prototypicality and Leadership

Susanne Klatt, Division Chief, Essen Fire Department (Germany)

Throughout our career, we're confronted with various theories about leadership. The field theory and the social identity theory are two of them. The field theory states that behavior is a function of the person and his/her environment. The social identity theory addresses explicitly the influence of processes of social identity - and categorization. A central aspect in this theory is the perceived prototypicality of a (potential) leader with the in-group because characteristics people typically associate with leadership are often stereotypical. This workshop looks at these theories from different angles to work out, how someone who belongs to a minority and is therefore not a prototypical member of the in-group, can be a successful leader of this group.

Health & Wellness

Are You Ready - Mental Health Seminar

John Sahatjian, Chief (Ret.), South Wall Fire Rescue Company, Fire District # 3 (NJ)

Last year more first responders committed suicide than died in the line of duty. This statistic continues to grow every year.​ At a moment’s notice, first responders can be engaged in a life and death situation. These incidents can be incredibly stressful, both physically and mentally. This very personal seminar will review and discuss several serious incidents, and expose the after effects that the speaker suffered during his career.

This incredibly powerful and energetic presentation includes discussion on Firehouse Culture and changing the “Suck it up” mentality that deters discussion of mental health. Resilience is defined as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.

How many times can you do this? Are You Ready?

Approved for NJ EMT CEUS and NJ Division of Fire Safety .5 Technical CEUs. 

Creating a Positive Fitness Culture in Your Department

Aaron Zamzow, Firefighter/ Owner, Fire Rescue Fitness

The fire service today is not conducive to a healthy lifestyle. Poor eating and sleeping habits and little emphasis on fitness has created an unhealthy culture. This culture can be changed. Attendees will learn how to start a fitness movement with these strategies: fitness challenges, fitness assessments, air consumption drills, yearly physical incentives and fitness resource management and how to successfully implement them into a yearly plan. This session is perfect for those who want to make a difference in the health and fitness culture of their department.

Forged in Scars & Stripes: A Trooper's Victory Over Critical Injury

Robert Bemis, Sergeant (Ret.), Pennsylvania State Police

On March 27, 2015, Sergeant Bemis, then a 22-year veteran of the Pennsylvania State Police, stopped along the side of an interstate highway to render assistance to a disabled motorist whose vehicle was on fire.  A passing vehicle approaching the scene lost control and struck the rear of Sergeant Bemis’ police vehicle, which subsequently went forward and struck Sergeant Bemis, causing life-threatening and permanent injury. After seven months of surgery, rehabilitation and physical therapy, Sergeant Bemis returned to his job as a supervisor and instructor at the State Police Academy.  

Sergeant Bemis tells the story of his journey from a disadvantaged youth, to early and prestigious service in the U.S. Marine Corps, and on to an accomplished career with the Pennsylvania State Police that was abruptly altered by one act of service.  The story provides an account of the circumstances leading up to the accident; the emergency response; the long recovery and living with a spinal injury; the initial agency, peer and community support; the highs and lows of returning to his role as a Trooper; and finally, finding a new way to serve others beyond retirement.  

Internal Size-Up

Jeff Dill, CEO/Founder, Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance

This presentation involves a careful examination of behavioral health awareness for Firefighters and EMS with an emphasis on understanding emotional and physical stressors, communication skills, addictions, depression, PTSD, suicide statistics, retirement and creating a behavioral health program. FBHA is the only organization in the U.S. which tracks and validates all FF and EMS suicides.

This is an interactive workshop in which topics are presented by the instructor. Attendees will be expected to participate through discussion, role-play and question and answer session. When completed, attendees will be able to observe signs and symptoms of emotional and physical stressors, addictions, depression and stress within others but most importantly within themselves. In addition, attendees will gain insight on understanding the role of EAP’s, counselors, chaplains and how to create outside resources for their organizations.

U.S. Fire Administration Research and Applied Technology Program

William Troup, Chief, National Fire Data Center, United States Fire Administration

This presentation will provide information about the U.S. Fire Administration’s (USFA’s) innovative research efforts to support the fire service and fire safety to reduce firefighter on-duty deaths and injuries as well as to enhance fire safety of the public. This presentation will discuss the Ergonomics and Wellness Study of the Fire Service, the Occupational Health and Safety Study of the Female Firefighter and Emergency Responder, a study of fire station safety, an EMS responder health and safety study, the National Safety Culture Change Initiative for the Fire Service project, an update on the findings to the Study of Cancer among Firefighters with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a study on new technology for smoke alarms, emergency vehicle and roadway operations safety research for both the fire service and law enforcement, as well as a retention and recruitment study focusing on the volunteer fire, a retrospective study of the  America Burning reports, and other projects. 

Incident Management

Hazardous Materials Operations: Creating and Maintaining a Safe and Effective Program that Fits Your Department

Chris Weber, President/CEO, Dr. Hazmat Inc.

The importance of well-crafted operating procedures and task-oriented training cannot be underestimated.  Hazardous materials responses are not routine for most departments and therefore can turn out to be incidents fraught with danger and near misses.  We will tabletop recent incidents involving hazardous materials responses by first due companies and examine effective operating procedures and training that would make the initial response safer.  We will look at the entire response, from apparatus placement and isolation distances, through personal protective equipment, mitigation actions, and decontamination, to air monitoring and detection/identification procedures.

High-Rise Firefighting Operations – SOP, Improvisation or Both?

Dario Gaus, M.Sc., Rijeka Fire Brigade (Croatia)

Among firefighters, high-rise firefighting is considered as one of the most difficult challenges they are faced with. It isn’t just the fire they have to fight with. To start fighting fire there is an altitude difference that needs to be overcome. For decades young firefighters were learning from senior colleagues about height as only factor that makes difference between structural firefighting on ground level and high-rise firefighting. Today, firefighters learn about several factors that are making significant difference between ground level and high-rise firefighting where flow path and wind impact are the most important. Beside fire as an enemy, evacuation of occupants is another point of interest. Several hundreds of occupants can be in one high-rise building. Depending on the fire origin floor, there will be certain number of those who need to be evacuated to the safe zone. For everything to work properly three things must work together, fire prevention, occupants’ fire risk awareness and fire brigade’s preparedness. What if that’s not the case? How does fire brigade prepare?

It’s Not Rocket Science: Understanding the “Why”

Paul Strong, Battalion Chief, Valley Regional Fire Authority (WA)

You’re riding in the hot seat and need to make effective decisions when you arrive at the fire. More importantly, you better understand why you are doing what you are doing. We’re going to discuss fire behavior / dynamics, tactical considerations, spot-on size up, and your initial actions in those first 10 minutes. This is an interactive class that requires your participation in discussion and practice with developing your initial radio reports, follow up reports, initial action plan, and putting your plan to work. We will use videos and tactical simulations in this class to support real world decision-making. The target audience for this class is the company officers and acting officers who are expected to make critical decisions. The decisions and actions taken in the first 10 minutes will determine how the rest of the incident plays out. Attendees will walk away with increased knowledge, understanding, and confidence in their decisions made on the fire ground.

Lessons Learned from Amtrak 188 Passenger Train Crash

Vincent Mulray, Deputy Fire Chief, Philadelphia Fire Department (PA)

Learn from the first due Incident Commander how suppression, search, rescue, medical care and environmental obstacles were handled in this Mass Casualty Transportation Accident.

This presentation will follow the magazine article published in Fire Engineering Magazine, October 2015, volume 168, number 10 titled Amtrak Derailment Operations: The First 24 Minutes. This article outlines emergency scene operations through the eyes of the initial responding incident commander. 

On May 12, 2015, at approximately 9:20pm Amtrak Train #188 traveling from Washington D.C. to New York City derailed and crashed on the Frankford Junction curve on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor.  All seven cars and the electric locomotive left the tracks.  The derailment and crash resulted in 8 deaths and over 200 passengers injured.   

This case study details the actions of first arriving Philadelphia Fire Department companies and their operations on May 12, 2015 at the Amtrak Train #188 derailment and crash. This incident required the rescue, extrication, treatment and transportation of over 200 passengers. The derailment and crash involved 7 passenger cars and one electric engine (#601) on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor at the Frankford Junction curve (MP. 81.62). The crash and derailment resulted in 8 deaths of the 243 passengers and 5 crew members. Amtrak estimates that this accident will cost taxpayers approximately 9.2 million dollars.  Initial responding companies remained on scene for one operational period (12 hours).  Fire Department assistance was required for approximately 5 days until service was fully restored.

Post Incident Reviews - Does Your Department Conduct Them? Why or Why Not?

Tom Richardson, Assistant Chief, FDNY

Post Incident Reviews can be utilized to  reinforce sound strategy, demonstrate proper use of tactics and procedures and document lessons learned from fire operations and other complex events. This process and the creation of a solid presentation can provide your Department a valuable learning opportunity. A Post Incident Review is an informal review that can be shared with chiefs, officers, firefighters and EMS personnel  who were involved in an operation, and can also be disseminated throughout your Department to share lessons learned. This may be a fire or emergency that did not extend to a multiple alarm but significant challenges were overcome by units at the scene. This presentation will provide students with suggestions on how to develop  effective Post Incident Reviews and how to properly use them. Several case studies will be presented as examples.

RIT Operations: Officer Impact and Development

Jeffery Kraft, Instructor, Illinois Fire Service

The RIT Operations: Officer Impact and Development course will prepare the officer or senior member to deploy, manage, and control a RIT Team. The instructor will discuss the reasons maydays occur and correlate lessons learned to NIOSH reports. Students will engage in thought-provoking discussions on ways to prepare for the challenges of the fireground.

This course is appropriate for all officer experience levels and will include a collaborative discussion facilitated by an experienced RIT instructor. The target audience for this course is company and chief officers. Instructor Kraft will apply and adapt course delivery to meet the needs of all skill levels.

Strategy and Tactics for High-Rise Fires

Sergio Selman, Firefighter - Staff of the Chief,  Engine 20 - Cuerpo de Bomberos de Santiago (Chile)

Cities from all sizes are being built towards the sky, that’s a fact. At the same time in history Volunteer Fire Departments are facing a shortage of manpower and with the impossibility to secure an exact number of firefighters in each engine. Bottom line of this mix is that the role of the Incident Commander in a high-rise fire is more complicated than ever.

This class is designed to make each volunteer fire fighter think as the incident commander of a high-rise fire. Among the tasks we rethink are scene size up, lobby control, use of the standpipe, standpipe alternatives, fire attack from 2 floors below, nozzle selection vs. water availability among others. We’ll review all the important task that has to be done before a high-rise fire can be put out and teach techniques to prioritize in order to optimize the human resources available for the first Incident Commander, role that has to be played by the first firefighter in the scene.

The presentation starts situating the audience in their fire stations and suddenly hearing their dispatch to a high-rise fire. The first set question appears: what is a high-rise fire? What can we expect? What does our SOP/SOG says? The experience will show that a “standard answer” doesn’t exist so the first important thing is to be flexible.

Understanding Fireground Decision-Making

Michael Teague, Fire Captain (Ret.), Sacramento Fire Department (CA)

Fireground decision-making is an important skill for fire officers, however, most officers do not have any training on how decisions are actually made. The objective of this program is to provide fire officers with a background in decision-making science such that they will be able to understand how to make better decisions under uncertainty, understand the situations that can create decision errors, and how to better train themselves and others for effective decision making. This program will also look at how our perceptions affect decision making, and will use the latest research in decision making to assist the fire officer in making effective decisions.

ISFSI Instructor Development

An Assessment Center for Training Officers and Instructors

Forest Reeder, Fire Chief, Tinley Park (IL)

Using case-based scenarios, real life instructor and current training officer experiences, the attendee will be challenged to provide solutions and participate in small group discussions to develop best practices.  Scenarios will range from developing short and long term training plans, dealing with learning problems, motivational strategies in training and knowledge of the standards and measures that training programs and instructor skills are based on.

Creating and Managing an Effective Training Officer Program

Brad French, Captain, Dayton Fire Department (OH)

Engaging, realistic, dynamic training programs have the largest downstream Return-On-Investment (ROI) of any expenditure in our industry.  If our members are trained well, they will perform at a high level in the most adverse and challenging conditions that the streets can throw at them.  In order to have the best training, we have to equip our instructors and training officers with the best foundational skills and support available, and reinforce high expectations in the classroom and on the drill ground.  This session will provide attendees with a set of key foundational elements to establish an effective training program, cultivate instructors, and ensure consistency across cognitive and psychomotor instruction.

Fire & EMS Operations at Highway Incidents

Jack Sullivan, Director of Training, Emergency Responder Safety Institute

Distracted, drowsy, drunk, drugged and disgruntled drivers are striking firefighters and emergency personnel and vehicles at highway incidents with increasing frequency. Fire & EMS personnel must train and operate in a methodical and professional manner at all roadway incidents. The highway is one of the most dangerous areas of operation for firefighters and EMTs so it is critical that personnel establish and maintain a solid defensive strategy during all highway operations. This session will review specific case studies, describe successful strategies and tactics for highway operations, and educate attendees about some emerging technologies that present some potential solutions for crew safety. At the same time, semi-autonomous vehicles might present additional hazards that we need to anticipate. Participants will walk away with the essential steps and actions every FD should be taking to protect their personnel from being struck on the highway.  

International Training Techniques for Your Training Programs

Dennis Van't Ende, Sergeant Major, Royal Netherlands Air Force

In the Netherlands we have a nationwide curriculum that’s provided by the institute for psychical safety (IFV). I will give you an inside in how we teach our students from zero to hero. What do they need to know and what are we going to teach them, before the can call themselves a firefighter. And what resources we use, like LMS systems and virtual systems and our training props.

The (not so) New Firefight

Pete Van Dorpe, Vice President, ISFSI

Starting in April 2017, the Underwriters Laboratories Firefighter Safety Research Institute (UL-FSRI) research team, along with members of their Advisory Board and select fire service educators and leaders from across the country, teamed up to present Fire Dynamics Bootcamps throughout the US. As part of each 3-day event, FSRI’s Steve Kerber and Dan Madrzykowski lectured on several Core Concepts developed from over a decade’s worth of fire dynamics research at UL and NIST. 

Peter Van Dorpe has been intimately involved with the UL/NIST research since 2006 and is fortunate to be a member of the instructional team at the bootcamps. At this workshop he will use Madrzykowski’s Fire Dynamics lecture and Kerber’s Core Concepts to lead a discussion on how these ideas and information can assist participants in developing best practices for mounting an intelligent interior fire attacks in a modern fire environment.  Along the way, he may help debunk some of the myths, misstatements and misinterpretation that has made its way onto blogs and social media.  At the end of the day we need to be more “aggressive” than ever before, BUT we must come to a better understanding of what that means and how we can intelligently do so.   

The Fire Service Instructor: Leading Change Through Training

Devon Wells, President, ISFSI

The fire service is in a state of change. How do we, as instructors, lead this change? How do we get firefighters to look at things differently?

Major fire service organizations have been meeting to discuss this "new" way of thinking and how to get the message delivered. Instructors and company officers are the most important positions involved in leading change and presenting new information.

How can the fire service provide emergency response in a more effective and efficient way? Rethinking how the fire service responds and mitigates emergencies is needed. Who is going to be the change-agent of this paradigm shift? It starts with training officers and instructors thinking about how these changes will positively impact the safety of the world's fire service.

Participants will be engaged in discussion, encouraged to lead change, and will be invigorated to return to their agencies and effect positive change. Attendees will leave the classroom with the courage to lead.

Today’s Training Officer: Modern Techniques for Modern Times

Jesse Marcotte, Training Chief, Northville Township Fire Department (MI) 

Today’s fire service must be prepared for anything. We need to ensure our members have the basic skills needed to solve complex problems. This session examines the components needed to effectively inform, engage and prepare our personnel for the situations they may be called to respond to. Multi-tasking, creativity and follow-through are just a few of the skills required of today’s fire service training officer. This course provides attendees with creative ways to build new skills as well as ways to maintain and reinforce skills that were previously developed. Today’s Training Officer must excel at understanding today’s responders as well as tomorrow’s challenges. Students will embark on a journey that illustrates how to build unconscious competence through dynamic training sessions. Students will also learn how develop their very own podcast series and virtual reality scenarios despite a limited budget.

Training Chief Academy- Designing, Implementing, and Evaluating Innovative Professional Development Programs

Jacob McAfee, Deputy Fire Chief, North Central Fire Protection District (NJ)

Creating, structuring, and implementing effective and relevant professional development plans can be a challenge. Specifically, plans that can be looked at as the gold standard in content, quality, and diversity. Collecting aggregate data from programs and trends across the country numerous training and educational opportunities were identified that many may have never heard of that assist in creating a professional development road map that everyone can benefit from. This presentation will highlight findings and discuss professional development plans that encompass education, training, and certification.


Avoiding Municipal Mayhem: a New Chief's Guide to Surviving Local Politics

Jared Renshaw, Fire Commissioner, Western Berks Fire Department (PA)

Newly promoted chief officers are often well versed in the strategies, tactics, and operations of their departments. With their new positions come the added responsibility of becoming the “face” of their agency with every encounter they have. The focus is on the formal and informal politics that a newly promoted chief officer must be ready to encounter, navigate, and engage upon. These will be some of, if not the most critical relationships that must be developed for both the chief and agency to be successful. This interactive presentation will discuss how politics impact not only the internal stakeholders, but also how external stakeholders and their support are affected by it. Emphasis will be placed on the attitude, practices and steps that the new chief can take to avoid mayhem and survive local politics. 

Firefighter Mentorship: Designing, Implementing and Managing an Effective Mentoring Program

Christopher Baker, Volunteer Advocate, Region IX Advocate Manager, Everyone Goes Home Program®, National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

It is paramount to effectively engage every member of your agency from recruit school through the senior firefighter ranks with an assigned mentor and mentee. This program will focus on how fire service personnel of all positions can positively benefit from mentorship. This program will provide training and technical assistance with the goal of working towards implementing and strengthening a mentoring program for your agency. The takeaways will be an understanding of the required tools to design, implement and manage an effective mentoring program tailored specifically for your agency. The purpose of this course is to encourage the implementation of firefighter mentorship programs in the fire service. Mentorship is a way we can improve the fire service. It is critical to engage all members of the fire service to further the discussion on how mentorship can be utilized to bring continuous improvement to our honorable profession. It is our responsibility as firefighters to pass on our knowledge to every new person that enters our profession. The future of our profession requires all of us to actively engage future members in a positive and meaningful way.

Nerves of Steel – Front Line Leadership and Decision Making on the Fire Ground

LeRoy Smith, Fire Chief, Holly Springs Fire Department (NC)

It is 3 a.m. you are part of the response to a reported residential structure fire with possible persons trapped. Information coming from dispatch provides clues that this is most likely a working fire. As you turn into the neighborhood the smell of a house fire is in the air. You make your way onto the street, you can see a large volume of fire coming from the rear of a single-family dwelling, people are outside pointing at the house and screaming for help…It’s crunch time, no matter what your role is…. are you ready?

Can you quickly identify the critical risk factors on the fire ground? When you must make decisions under pressure and in the heat of battle, are you confident they are be the right decisions?

When the pressure is on, great fire officers remain laser focused, confident, and fully in command of their crews. They are clutch, strategic and tactical decisions are made, orders are given and executed without hesitation. The outcome is successful. How do they do it?

Focusing on the dynamics of critical decision making along with the use of videos from real-life incidents, this workshop will outline a process designed to assist with quickly identifying risk, analyzing that risk, and making rapid decisions while operating on the most chaotic of fire scene.

Topics covered will include company preparation, fireground tactics, fire scene risk factors, rapid risk assessment, self-improvement, situational awareness, and avoiding common pitfalls and mistakes. Participants will be provided the tools and information that will enable them to develop their own rapid decision-making model.

Six Alarm Leadership: Chapter 1 - Foundations for Leadership Success

Matthew Pegg, Fire Chief, Toronto Fire Services (Canada)

Today’s fire service leaders, especially aspiring leaders, are bombarded with countless formulas, models and frameworks that all promise career success. From educational institutions who guarantee unparalleled advancement and success as graduates of their program, to a plethora of self-help strategies that promise to ignite careers, it is all too easy to become confused about what it really takes to succeed.

In this candid and straight-shooting presentation, Chief Pegg will share what is truly required to succeed as a leader today. He will discuss the foundations that every leader requires in order to succeed, the role of luck in career advancement, the importance of relationship management and more. Building on his personal style of engaging candor, Chief Pegg will empower and equip the delegates to take command of their personal careers and to set a trajectory for success.

The Hat Dance: Realities of the Short-Staffed C.O.

Marc Aloan, Captain, West Columbia Fire Department (SC)

As adequate staffing continues to become more of a fantasy than a reality for many departments, the modern company officer is asked to wear many hats, ranging from tailboard firefighter to command level officer. This class aims to empower and encourage company officers battling the realities of limited manpower armed only with strategies found in formal training and education designed for staffing models that are no longer realistic for the average fire department. With a strong company officer often being the difference between failure and success on the fireground, we must reconsider what we are asking of our company officers and how they carry out their duties. We will break down how to balance firemanship and leadership to overcome the challenges facing company officers who routinely operate as members of crews with 3 or less personnel. We will discuss how to adapt leadership and managerial responsibilities to low staffing environments, the delicate balance of mentor and boss, proper approaches to delegation, the importance of humility, and strategies for accomplishing mission critical tasks early in the incident without the manpower to do so. By bridging personal and departmental expectations with the realities of limited manpower, current and aspiring company officers will leave with the tools and attitudes necessary to lead their teams to victory lane.

The Leadership Culture: How to Transform from a Leader-Follower to a Leader-Leader Environment

Steve White, Director, Gulf Coast State College

This presentation is for followers looking to become leaders, and leaders at all levels looking to launch the growth of their organization. This presentation will cover the essentials of converting your organization from a leader-follower to a leader-leader environment. Converting to a leader-leader environment takes a great deal of planning, communication, and patience; the pay off is empowered employees, breakthrough productivity and ownership at all levels in the organizations goals.  Participants will learn the essentials of leadership, how to change your vocabulary and make sure you are ready for a successful implementation of this major shift.


Building Collapse; First Due

John Tew, Firefighter (Ret.), FDNY Rescue

This presentation will afford all attendees the opportunity to reference their own company policy and procedures regarding responses to Building Collapses, and why their SOP’s work or do not work.
I will use video, pictures and true documented facts regarding response to, operating at and returning from a building collapse incident. 
All participants will get the chance to feed off other attendees in the audience in respect to how they accomplish tasks on hand, with minimal manpower and equipment. They will interact with each other in a way that causes each  to bring home "homework'' to find out answers about their own department, and to find what’s right for their department, budget and manpower then develop a plan that will always work for them.

This lecture is open to all levels but particular attention shall be on the company officer, and will be shown from the officers' point of view as in most areas around the country are in fact the incident commander as well as the company officer.

Five or Die - Saving Our Own

Michael Horst, Fire Chief (Ret.), Harrisburg Fire Department (PA)

Five Or Die - Saving Your Own FAST is a discussion about how to solve today's Rapid Intervention Teams (RIT) worst-case of their own, down unconscious and not breathing in an Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health (IDLH) environment.  

Healthcare at YOUR Address: Dramatically Increase the Speed to Diagnosis and Treatment by an Integrated 911-Dispatched Mobile Stroke Unit

Alvin Wang, EMS Medical Director, Jefferson Health System Northeast (TN)

Stroke is a time-critical disease and every minute of delay to treatment is estimated to result in the death of millions of neurons. In August 2019 Bensalem EMS (Bensalem, PA) and Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience (Philadelphia, PA) launched Mobile Stroke Unit (MSU) 185. The truck is dispatched by the Bucks County, PA Department of Emergency Communications on 911 calls meeting the criteria for CVAs. Since the launch of the program, the truck has responded to over 100 dispatches meeting stroke criteria and has successfully delivered tPA in the field to eligible patients. The team-designed workflow has produced significantly decreased transport times to thrombectomy-capable comprehensive stroke centers.

Learn how this program has also generated efficiencies in receiving emergency departments freeing up valuable resources such as nurses, physicians, and radiology, successfully expediting diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients, offering expert neuroscience physician consults via telemedicine, and most importantly, bringing hospital-based critical care directly to the patient’s home. 

Leading from Where You Are

Travis Ford, District Chief, Nashville Fire Department (TN)

To some people, leadership is intuitive. It comes fairly easy. They act on instinct; what they do works and they can't easily explain it. To other people, leadership is a mystery. They have no idea what dynamics are at play. All they know is that sometimes people listen to what they have to say and work with them, while other times they're alone scratching their heads. 

 Leadership is dynamic. It is fluid. It changes from person to person, from moment to moment. However, that doesn't mean it doesn't follow a pattern. You can develop a level of mastery, even if you don't possess abundant natural leadership gifts. 

 Leading From Where You Are  provides a plan for developing leadership at different levels. This program covers the upside and downside of each level, as well as the key beliefs and behaviors  that a leader must do in order to advance to the next level of leadership.

The Fulton County Courthouse Active Shooter Event

Dennis Rubin, Fire Protection, D.L. Rubin & Associates

This two-day, active-shooter event started when a 33-year old felon on trial for rape escapes from custody at the Fulton County Courthouse and kills a Judge, a Court Reporter and a Sheriff’s Deputy. While on a rampage throughout Atlanta and surrounding area, the perpetrator steals several vehicles, kidnaps citizens and kills a US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent. The speakers will discuss the lessons fire, police and EMS learned at this event, which are relevant to all communities preparing for an active-shooter event.

Technology & Communication

Developing A Digital Public Information Presence

Bill Delaney, Public Information Officer III, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue (VA)

As more and more news organizations across the country cut staff and streamline, they will seek cost effective and simple ways to collate and distribute newsworthy items. The reality is fire departments that can produce, promote and distribute their own video, photo, audio and written content can communicate directly with residents as well as get priority placement on digital news platforms.

Participants will be introduced to and learn to apply a "Digital First" strategy that will serve as the foundation for their departments' digital public information outreach efforts. This session will help participants identify resources, at little or no cost, that can be utilized to create and disseminate their own news, information, recruiting efforts, public education and content to the media and general public. Participants will also be able to identify various management tools that will allow them to better manage and schedule social media posts across several platforms. In addition, participants will walk away with actionable items to develop or enhance a social media presence for their fire department regardless of size, career, or volunteer composition.

This presentation will also provide an opportunity for participants to understand the need to enhance an established social media presence to improve an agency’s image and effectively communicate with its audience. Participants will examine ground-breaking digital tactics and emerging trends any agency can deliver. The lecture will demonstrate how any size fire, rescue and EMS agency can implement a comprehensive social media plan to enhance public information, outreach, community engagement, and recruitment efforts.

Leveraging Social Media for Retention, Recruitment and Education

Jenny Bragiel, Program Specialist, International Association of Fire Chiefs

Having a presence on social media is a requirement in today's society, but is your department fully utilizing social media to make itself a digital community center? In this interactive workshop, attendees will walk through creating a social media strategy that will allow them to:

  • Understand their department's social media brand and voice
  • Create SMART social media goals
  • Strategically review their website and social media accounts to ensure they are meeting their SMART goals
  • Know where they need to make changes in their approach to social media
  • Understand their bandwidth
  • Identify their target audience and how to reach them

Effectively engaging your target audiences on social media to recruit, retain or educate them requires strategic thought to conduct effectively.This workshop will take you through the process of creating a strategic plan for social media and provide you the tools to take back to your department to enhance and improve your social media presence.

Marketing and Branding your Organization – They Know Your Number - Do You Know Theirs?

Mark Nugent, Division Chief, Midway Fire Rescue (FL)

How you present yourself and your organization to the community is your "Organizational Brand." From a chance meeting with community members in the grocery store, to delivering public education programs across the community, to responding to a tragic emergency situation, to those we don't actually realize, you and your members are presenting your "Organizational Brand." In reality, non-emergency activities far outweigh the time spent with your customers in relation to providing services during an emergency incident.

The opportunities your emergency service organization has in meeting your customers on a “Good Day” far outweigh every other meeting tenfold. The instructors want to impress the critical importance that organizations should be “Making” opportunities with your customers on a “Good Day”, as opposed “Taking” opportunities to meet them happenstance.  This educational session will deliver valuable and proven strategies that can be easily implemented by any sized emergency service organization, from small volunteer organizations to Metro sized departments. Additionally, participants will also be taught the value and requirements of creating a Community Fire and Life Safety Coalition for their emergency service organization.