Education Sessions

Thursday, May 3rd

8 AM – 5 PM (lunch on your own)

Opening Ceremonies

When It’s Your Time to Lead
Whether you are currently a fire officer of any rank, or plan to become one during your career, this session was created for you.  Leadership is more than a title, the bugles on a shirt, or the color of a helmet.  The most effective fire department leaders are students of the past, respectful of the present and curious about the future.  They are committed to their customers, their direct reports and to the organization as a whole.  Bottom line, the content of this session will make current and future fire department officers (whether volunteer or career) more effective in performing their roles.

Learning Objectives:

  • Examine and define fire department leadership and the impact it has on attitudes, behaviors, performance and outcomes.
  • Identify critical leadership skills and behaviors that tend to make leaders and those they lead more effective.
  • Review specific actions that fire department officers can take to stay informed and current throughout their careers – including their ability to change and adapt as necessary.

Dennis Compton, Fire Chief (Ret.), Mesa (AZ) Fire Department, Chairman of the Board, National Fallen Fire Fighters Foundation

Caring for Our Own Starts at Home
The VCOS has spent countless hours researching, presenting and preparing papers on mental health, cancer in the fire service and firefighter safety and fitness.  Hear from our presenters as they report out their findings, what has been done because of this research and what still needs to happen.
James Seavey, Chief, Cabin John Park (MD) Volunteer Fire Department; Chuck Flynn, Chief, Suffield (CT) Fire Department; John Buckman, Chief (Ret.), German Township (IN) Volunteer Fire Department

Is There a Future for EMS in the Fire Service? 
The taxi industry never saw Uber coming, the consequences of which will probably be their demise.  Healthcare today is in a complete state of disorganization.  The Affordable Care Act is being dismantled, insurers are scrambling to keep up with technology, more care is being delivered at home than in hospitals, and the future is increasingly difficult to predict.  This presentation is about technologies, reimbursement models and healthcare changes you might not see coming.  Failing to see the writing on the healthcare wall may spell the end of EMS as the Fire Service knows it and likely the demise of associated budgets and personnel responsible for nearly 80% of fire service responses.
Mike McEvoy, PhD, NRP, RN, CCRN, EMS Chief, Saratoga County, New York

Fit for Duty, Fit for Life
Cardiac events are the number one cause of line-of-duty deaths in the fire service, but no responder expects to be personally affected – particularly those who work at taking care of themselves. The reality is that without appropriate medical screening, it is impossible to accurately assess and address cardiac risks. A firefighter-specific assessment saved Chief Kevin D. Quinn’s life; he will share his story and key lessons learned. Options for departments to consider when developing a firefighter medical assessment program will be discussed, along with how to implement a screening program in your department.
Kevin Quinn, Chairman, National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC)

Get Fired Up!
Paul Combs has been creating fire/EMS service editorial cartoons for over a decade and has the stories, successes, failures, and backlash scars to show for it! During Get Fired Up! you will get an inside look at Paul’s creative process and see what makes one of his zany cartoons come to life. Paul will also show a selection of work that has made a difference in his career and share the cartoons that have evoked the strongest reactions – the good, the bad... and the hilarious!

However, there’s more to this presentation than a showcase of cartoons. Like any fire truck or ambulance, every firefighter/EMT possesses a set of tools that can be used to achieve a goal or mission.  Get Fired Up! will explore your ability to make a difference and you will be encouraged, in a positive environment, to seek out your unique voice to influence and lead the people around you. Paul will present an energetic and inspiring class that will engage and motivate you to set these skills into motion. Join Paul in his visual and inspirational journey and Get Fired Up about the fire service again!
Paul Combs, Artist and Lieutenant, City of Bryan (OH) Fire Department

Networking Reception
5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Networking is the cornerstone of the IAFC’s VCOS offerings.  There is no substitute for the face-to-face connections you make when engaging with other like-minded leaders.  Connect with top leaders of volunteer and combination departments and see how they are tackling the unique challenges facing their departments.

Friday, May 4th 

8 AM – 5 PM (lunch on your own)

What Makes a Good Leader? 
We all know the value of leadership.  We have all seen different styles, personalities and traits of a leader.  But what makes us really great?  Hear from Erin Essenmacher and how the leaders in her industry -  Public Company CEOs and Boards of Directors act.  Is there a difference between a CEO and a Fire Chief?  The answer may surprise you.
Erin Essenmacher, Chief Programming Officer, National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD)

Creating an Effective Relationship with Your City Council
Elected Officials have more of an impact on our work than we sometimes care to admit.  Its all about communicating with your City Council Rep and creating a positive relationship.  Now is the time to ask questions from our pair of presenters that are proving that great communication yields great results.
John O’Neal, Fire Chief, City of Fairfax (VA) Fire Department; Jon Stehle, Councilmember, City of Fairfax

The Unexpected Challenges of Leadership
Many newly promoted officers do not realize what they don't know until they are in these leadership positions. Time management, organization and human relations are just some of the skills that many officers haven't polished prior to promoting. This course will help attendees identify areas they should focus on in order to better prepare for their new leadership role.
Josh Waldo, Fire Chief, Bozeman (Montana) Fire Department

Afternoon Panel: Bringing it All Together
Hear from our morning presenters in a facilitated discussion.  Attendees will be able to submit questions for the panel to answer before and during the conference.
Erin Essenmacher, Chief Programming Officer, National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD); John O’Neal, Fire Chief, City of Fairfax (VA) Fire Department; Jon Stehle, Councilmember, City of Fairfax;  Josh Waldo, Fire Chief, Bozeman (MT) Fire Department

Aerial Incident Management Systems – Realtime Situational Awareness
Situational Awareness is one of the most important aspects of an incident managers job.  With the advent of newer technologies, situational awareness can be enhanced for all divisions of the emergency by using aerial incident management systems and support.  This course will present options for the use of real-time aerial incident management tools in wildland-urban interface operations.  The system discussed allows the incident personnel control of the camera as air assets circle the incident area.
Devon Wells, First Vice President, ISFSI

Networking Beyond the Reception
Networking is more than just collecting names and meeting new people. Learn techniques that will help you turn a simple meeting into a resource to help you meet your recruitment and retention goals.
Cathy Feyh, Member Engagement Manager, International Association of Fire Chiefs

Saturday, May 5th  

8 AM – 4 PM (Lunch on your own)

Fire in the Columbia River Gorge
It took approximately three months to contain the Eagle Creek Fire in 2017. Learn more about the history, progression and lessons learned from the largest fire to hit the Columbia River Gorge in 100 years.
Jessica Bennet, Fire Chief, Cascade Locks Fire & EMS; Jim Wilson, Chief (Ret.), Mariposa County (California) Fire Department

Leadership Comes in Many Forms
Hear from IAFC leadership on the different forms of leaders you have in your department.  What personalities do you need to round out your leadership team?  
John Sinclair, Fire Chief, Kittitas Valley (WA) Fire and Rescue

Recruitment and Retention Forum – Recruitment
You asked for it, so now you have it!  Attendees always walk away from the Recruitment and Retention Forum wanting more time to discuss the topic.  We have broken the forum into two parts: Recruitment and Retention, to allow for more discussion.  This session will focus on Recruitment – what are some success stories?  How can you recruit with little to no budget?  Hear from our facilitators as well as other attendees on how they are increasing their department numbers.

Recruitment and Retention Forum – Retention
After they are recruited, how do you keep them from leaving?  During this session we will pose this very question.  What is the secret to getting – and keeping – good members?  

The Afterglow
After 3 days of educational programming, join us for a relaxing time in the Embassy Suites lounge to watch the Kentucky Derby.  Connect with other attendees as you prepare for your journey home and watch the fastest two minutes in sports.


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