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!


Featured Presentations

Eddie_BuchannanLeadership in the Fire Science Movement
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.)

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 HeitmanScott Geiselhart, Firefighter, Frazee, MN Volunteer 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

Steve Heitman, Chief, Mercer Island, WA Fire Department

Rail Safety
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 accross 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.

Convention Venue

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