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We invite you to attend the 2017 State Chiefs Convention, hosted by the Montana State Fire Chiefs Association, in Helena on October 11-13, 2017.

MSFCA recognizes the need and urgency for increasing firefighter and EMT safety, health and wellbeing.  This year’s convention will feature the latest cutting edge science and technology related to firefighter safety, and will focus on important and fresh topics such as leadership development, railroad safety, wildland fire, and much more. There will be something for everyone, with a good balance between career and volunteer topics.

This convention is the premier event for Chief Officers and aspiring and potential Chief Officers in Montana. Through networking you will build relationships and engage in meaningful conversation with your peers. This alone will be worth your time to travel to Helena, not to mention the valuable education and training you will receive.

First time attending this convention? You can be assured that MSFCA is an inclusive member driven association of professionals who value active and honest communication. We welcome all to attend and actively participate in our event!

Additional Training Opportunity:
Fire Rescue Organization Guidance Course (October 13-14) following the convention.
Inquire about travel scholarships.

Featured Presenters

2016_EmertWelcome to Helena and Opening Remarks

Chief Mark Emert, Helena Fire Department

Chief Emert began his career as a Firefighter/Paramedic with Lemay Fire Protection District in July of 1985, he moved to the Affton Fire Protection District in October of 1986 attaining the rank of Assistant Chief of Operations & Training. In January 2012, he accepted the position of Fire Chief in Collinsville, Illinois and served there until January 2016 when he accepted the position of Fire Chief with the City of Helena Fire Department. Chief Emert has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Southern Illinois,  Carbondale on Fire Service Administration. He has one daughter, Jessica, who is 19 years old and will be attending the University of Montana,  Missoula next fall. He is honored to be a part of the Montana Fire Service and lead the members of the Helena Fire Department.

GovernorBullock (683x1024)

Governor Steve Bullock

Steve Bullock was born and raised in Montana, and served as the state’s Attorney General. As Governor, Bullock works to make Montana stronger so that his three children and all future generations enjoy the same opportunities afforded to all who grew up here. Governor Bullock has worked with Republicans and Democrats to make responsible decisions about our state’ces, balancing the budget and maintaining a $300 million rainy day fund. He is a strong advocate of Montana’s public lands and fought to preserve public access to Montana’s rivers, streams, and wild places. He believes public education is the great equalizer and has made historic investments in public education. As Attorney General, Bullock fought against the disastrous Citizen’s United decision, and as Governor, fought for the right of Montana voters to know who is financing our elections. Every day, Governor Bullock heads to work committed to ensuring that Montana remains the best state in the nation to live, work, start a business, and raise a family.

Eddie_BuchannanKeynote #1: Leadership in the Fire Science Movement
Keynote #2: Leaving it Better for the Next Generation
Eddie Buchannan, Assistant Fire Chief, Hanover Fire & EMS, Richmond, VA

Eddie Buchanan began his fire service career in 1982 and is an assistant chief with Hanover Fire & EMS in Richmond, VA.He is a past president of the International Society of Fire Service Instructors and is the 2015 recipient of the George D. Post, Instructor of the Year Award from the ISFSI. He serves on the executive advisory board of Fire Engineering Magazine and FDIC and is author of the Volunteer Training Officer’s Handbook from Pennwell Publishing. He serves on the NFPA Technical Committee on Fire Service Training and the newly formed NFPA 1700 Committee. He is a past board member of the Volunteer/Combination Officer’s Section of the International Association of Fire Chiefs and serves on a variety of advisory boards and committees for the fire service industry. Chief Buchanan is known for the creation of the SLICE-RS concept that is part of the ISFSI Principles of Modern Fire Attack Program.
Chief Buchanan has an Associates Degree in Fire Science from J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College and a Bachelors Degree from the University of Richmond in Human Resources Management.

cohen photo - smallerAn Alternative for Preventing Wildland-Urban Fire Disasters
Jack Cohen PhD, Research Physical Scientist, USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station (ret.), Missoula, MT

Dr. Jack Cohen has been involved in wildland fire research since 1972 and was a research scientist at US Forest Service fire laboratories in Missoula, MT, Riverside, CA and Macon, GA. He co-developed the U.S. National Fire Danger Rating System and contributed computational methods to U.S. fire behavior prediction systems (1976 – 1981). He conducted research on live fuel fire behavior in southern California chaparral, developed the FIRECAST fire behavior prediction system, and served on wildfire suppression teams as a fire behavior analyst (1981 – 1987). More recently (2007 – 2016) he conducted theoretical and experimental research that revised international thinking about the fundamental processes governing how wildland fires spread. This research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2015).
Dr. Cohen has been interested in understanding the wildland-urban (WU) fire problem since the 1970s, but he formally started his research on how structures ignite during wildfires in 1989. Using computational modeling, laboratory and field experiments, and WU fire disaster investigations, he identified the limited area that principally determines structure ignition potential during extreme wildfires and developed the home ignition zone (HIZ) concept. He has applied this understanding to create the National Fire Protection Association’s “Assessing Structure Ignition Potential from Wildfire” training and Firewise Communities USA program. Dr. Cohen retired from the US Forest Service in 2016 but continues his involvement in developing effective methods for preventing WU fire disasters.

Firefighter Stress, PTSD and Suicide; Saving the Lives of Firefighters
Chief Heitman
Steve Heitman, Chief, Mercer Island, WA Fire Department
Steve Heitman is currently the Fire Chief for the Mercer Island Fire Department, located in Washington State, where he started his fire service career in 2001.  He holds three Associates Degrees, A Bachelor of Science Degree in Public Safety Administration, and a Master of Arts Degree in Security Studies (Homeland Security and Defense) from the Naval Post Graduate School.  In addition, he earned his Executive Fire Officer (EFO) in 2012 and his Chief Fire Officer (CFO) in 2013.  His Master’s thesis was titled, “Suicide in the Fire Service: Saving the Lives of Firefighters”, and was recently released and distributed by the Naval Post Graduate School.  In addition, he is a military veteran, serving with the 2nd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment from 1987-1990, and was honorably discharged with the rank of sergeant.  He has been married to his wife Darla for 21 years and has three children ages 17, 15, and 11


Scott Geiselhart.jpgScott Geiselhart, Firefighter, Frazee, MN Volunteer Fire Department
Scott Geiselhart, a 21 year member of the Frazee MN Fire department.   For years Scot was getting short tempered, angry, and verbally abusive.  He was having nightmares every night.  Life got to be so bad that Scott locked himself into his shop with his gun and in a single misfire moment got a second chance at life.  Scott believes divine intervention saved his life that day and was determined to find out why.  He searched the internet after the suicide in an attempt to find answers…. and he found them. “I had PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and I didn’t even realize it – my symptoms were right there”   Scott will share his journey through the years of confusion and the incredible transformation and recovery into Post Traumatic Success.

Chiefs CollinsReleasing the Reins – The Art of Succession Planning
Norvin Collins, Fire Chief, Sauvie Island Fire District, OR

Chief Collins was selected as Sauvie Island Fire District’s first paid fire chief in Dec. of 2010. Sauvie Island Fire District has a paid Chief, administrative assistant, facilities/apparatus manager, and 40 volunteer members; serving approximately 36 square miles of predominately rural and Oregon State land with 1600 citizens and portions of two counties and receives 1.5 million visitors a year.

Norvin Collins served as a Division Chief for Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue where he worked from 1994 through 2012 having held the ranks of firefighter/paramedic, lieutenant, captain, battalion chief, and division chief. Additionally, Norvin served as the District’s Volunteer Coordinator for five years overseeing the volunteer operations for Oregon’s largest combination department.

Chief Collins presents nationally on a variety of leadership and development topics including International Association of Fire Chiefs’ (IAFC) Volunteer and Combination Officers Section (VCOS) “Beyond Hoses and Helmets,” leadership training for combination and volunteer departments and “Fire Rescue Organizational Guidance for fire leadership,” a graduate course following Beyond Hoses and Helmets. Norvin holds positions on the VCOS national conference planning committees, a VCOS VISION Project section leader that focuses on future development, a Planning Section Chief for a regional Type III Incident Management Team, and a member of numerous committees both internal and external to the fire service.

Chief Collins holds a B.S. in Fire Administration, a M.S. in Psychology, and EFO credentials through the National Fire Academy.He holds numerous fire and medical operational certifications as well as having published papers on various fire service topics.

Tony Bacino - compressed We’ve Been Working on the Railroad: Collaborative Safety Efforts between Montana Railroads and Emergency Responders
Anthony Bacino, Chief – Safety & Security, Montana Rail Link

Tony provides direct Security and Hazardous Materials program for  Montana Rail Link and provides safety guidance for field forces.  He has served as the MRL representative on SERC in Montana as well as numerous LEPC’s across MRL system.  He provides community training in Railroad Safety, Hazardous Materials, and Grade Crossing Accident Investigation.  Tony is the State Coordinator of TRANSCAER, the liaison with Police, Fire, EMS and Emergency Preparedness Agencies and supervises MRL internal Hazmat Team.

Chief Mike WorrellFirstNet Deployment in Montana – What this means for the Fire Service
Mike Worrell, Senior Fire Services Advisor, First Responder Network Authority

Chief Worrell comes to FirstNet from the Phoenix Fire Department in Arizona where he served for 29 years, as a Firefighter, Paramedic, Captain and last serving as the Technical Services Division Chief.  Mike currently represents FirstNet on the NFPA Electronic Safety Equipment Technical Committee and is participating in the development of NFPA 1802, Communications Device standard. Mike was also a member of the Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) to FirstNet, a member of the National Urban Search and Rescue Incident Support Team, and a qualified Communications Unit Leader and Communications Technician instructor.  Prior to joining the Phoenix Fire Department, Mike served in the U.S. Navy, Submarine Service.

Lane WintermuteMoving Forward or Falling Back: Planning for your Agency’s Future
Lane R. Wintermute – Western Regional, Director, Emergency Services Consulting International

Lane Wintermute has served as a Fire Chief for 25 years in both cities and fire districts in three states. His service began at Oregon’s Hoodland Fire District where he served for five years, rising through the ranks from Firefighter and Paramedic to Fire Chief. He was Fire Chief in the City of Astoria, OR from 1987 to 2001, at which time he moved on to become Fire Chief for Longview, WA. He wrapped up his career as a chief in the Coeur D’Alene, Idaho area.

Sponsorship and Exhibitor Information

Sponsoring the Convention will give sponsors the opportunity to showcase your products or services to decision makers within the fire service, during and after the event. We are anticipating 100+ Fire Chief Officers, as well as Aspiring and Potential Chief Officers from all around the state of Montana. There will be dedicated networking time during the convention to build the profile of your organization. All the sponsorship options give you opportunities for high visibility with delegates. We can also build tailored sponsorship packages to suit your organization’s needs.

Exhibit Hours
Set up: Wednesday, October 11, 12:00 – 4:00 pm
Vendor Social Event, October 11, 5:00 – 7:00 pm
Three 30 minute Networking Breaks, October 12 – 13
Tear down: Friday, October 13, 10:00 am


Convention Extras

Fallen Firefighter Ceremony
MSFCA is proud to incorporate a Fallen Firefighter Ceremony during the Banquet
& Meritorious Awards on Thursday, October 12 to recognize and honor those who lost their lives this last year. The ceremony will honor the bravery and public service of firefighters who have passed since June 2016. MSFCA invites you to submit names of those to be recognized during the ceremony.
Email Mikel Robinson or call 406-546-8584
Campfire Conversations
On Wednesday evening, we will host a BBQ followed by Campfire Conversations. Studies have shown that ending the day around the campfire where songs, stories and relationships blossom, has shaped cultures and perhaps even helped to develop our ability to understand one another, cooperate and internalize culture. Story-telling around the campfire was the original social media. Bring your musical instruments and your stories to share!
On Thursday evening, we will host a Banquet with entertainment from Bruce Anfinson known as “Montana’s Musical Ambassador.” With the state’s natural wonders and rich cultural heritage portrayed so well in his songs, it’s a well-deserved title. Bruce has traveled the world with his music and has entertained folks from all 50 states. The banquet is included in your registration fee and guests are welcome.
Recommended Attire is formal Class A Uniform.
Optional Training Opportunity
Fire Rescue Organizational
Guidance Workshop
Helena, MT
October 13-14, 2017
FROG is a practical application course which focuses on three stratagems necessary in all successful organizations: (a) managing the processes, (b) leading the people, and (c) creating intentional organization culture.
The Montana State Fire Chiefs Association is offering this course at no cost to you. There is no registration fee and we will cover your travel expenses (mileage, hotel room and per diem).

Venue and Accommodations

Radisson Colonial Hotel
2301 Colonial DriveRadisson
Helena, MT 59601
(406) 443-2100

We have secured a block of rooms at the Radisson Colonial Hotel at the rate of $99/night. Please make your reservations by 9/18/2017 to receive the guaranteed rate.

Click here to make your hotel reservations