Montana Fire Service Leadership Training Series
Ignite Your Recruitment and Retention Through Effective Leadership
The Montana State Fire Chiefs Association in conjunction with the Montana State Volunteer Firefighters Association is pleased to announce our Montana Fire Service Leadership Training Series. These free monthly online training sessions will focus on Leadership, Recruitment and Retention and all fire service professionals are invited and welcome to participate. Please share with your colleagues. Certificates will be provided upon completion of the session.
For questions contact Kim Skufca, MSFCA, 406-625-7059 or Email
This training is made available through funding provided by the FEMA SAFER Grant, awarded to MSFCA in 2020.
Developing A Communications Plan
Liz Loomis, President,
Liz Loomis Public Affairs (LLPA)
Communicating with the public is more than just reporting facts about an accident or fire. If done correctly, it becomes a critical part of ensuring community financial support for fire and life safety services.
This training teaches participants how to develop a basic communications plan, including paid communications, earned media strategy, social media, and public outreach.
Liz Loomis has 25 years of experience in strategic communications, earned and social media, campaigns, and government to achieve the desired outcomes for her clients. She founded Liz Loomis Public Affairs (LLPA) in 1997 to serve local governments by providing vital public services.
As a former city council member, mayor, and state representative, Loomis’s knowledge of voter opinion is actively sought after by organizations dependent on tax revenue. Her firm has helped pass hundreds of ballot measures in the past 20 years. She is a national keynote speaker on improving communications with taxpayers, how to win ballot measures, public relations, and crisis communication issues.
“WHO DO WE WANT?”, “WHERE ARE WE LOOKING?”
Chief Joe Page, Whitefish Fire Department
Every department wants more fully qualified firefighters; however, the reality is that we must develop them. Everyone must do something for the first time.
Join Chief Page to explore “out of the box” recruitment opportunities. (Pervious training hosted 2/16/2022)
Chief Joe Page started his fire service career as a volunteer for the Vista Fire Dept in South Salem, New York, back in 1983. During his 15-year with Vista, Joe advanced through the ranks, being elected Chief in his last 2-years before his job as a printed circuit board designer relocated him to New Hampshire.
Once in NH, Joe volunteered for the Amherst Fire Dept until another job relocation took him back to New York, where he volunteered with the Carmel Fire Dept. Then a few years later, a big move out to Colorado, where Joe volunteered for the Elk Creek Fire Dept in Conifer, CO earning rookie of the year in 2004. Yep, 4th time’s a charm.
In 2004 Joe was fortunate and was hired as the Training/Safety Officer for Elk Creek Fire, eventually serving as Asst Chief and then Interim Fire Chief.
In 2013 Joe accepted an Asst Fire Chief position with the Whitefish MT until 2014 when he was named Fire Chief, a position he holds today.
Joe’s fire service career spans five different departments in four different states, from all volunteers, to mostly volunteers and now a mostly career combination departments, not that he wouldn’t love to have many more volunteers. For the last few years job has also been a contract instructor for IAFC’s Recruitment and Retention Coordinator Certification course.
Chief Joe Page
How To Manage The Impact Of Change
Presenter: Chief Rich Cowger, Fire Chief Columbus Fire Rescue
How do we as a fire service adapt to the changes in the communities and areas we serve. What are the organizational challenges and, in some cases, personal impacts that accompany change in our communities and how do we address them.
Peer Support- Resilience In The Fire Community
Presenters: Becca Rigal Captain Medicine Lake Rural Fire Department
Adam Jordan Engineer/Medic Great Falls Fire Rescue
Because of the exposure to trauma and occupational and relational stressors, firefighters are at higher risk of mental, emotional, and physical dangers than the general population. With this understanding, Adam Jordan and Becca Rigal hope to shed some light on the need for increasing vigilance within the fire service for programs such as Peer Support to ensure the well-being of our members.
Rebecca Rigal was born and raised in Germany. She came to the United States in 1996 and became a U.S. citizen in 2009. One of Rebecca’s highest priorities is mental health, especially the psychological and spiritual care of first responders. Shortly after she joined the Medicine Lake Volunteer Fire Department in 2016, Rebecca was tasked to research policies and procedures to form a Peer Support Team (PST). Since its implementation, PST has assisted its members with stress management, follow-ups, and interventions. As a Captain in the rural fire service, Rebecca carries the responsibility of ensuring her crew’s safety on the scene and strongly believes in addressing the subconscious embers after a bad call.
Becoming A Person Of Influence
Yanick will define leadership, talk about some of the myths of leadership, the 5 levels of leadership, different ways to lead, and two laws from John Maxwell’s book “The 21 Irrefutable laws of leadership.”
Leading Fire Protection Today and Beyond… Who’s our Team?
Instructor: Chief Shane Ray, President, National Fire Sprinkler Association
Leading in Turbulent Times
Instructor: Chief John M. Buckman, III, State Fire Training Director – Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office
The training will discuss the strategy needed to stay ahead of the challenges we are facing. The world has changed. Our volunteer and career wants, desires, and concerns have changed. What are you doing to help calm their concerns?
Chief Buckman served 35 years as fire chief for the German Township (Indiana) Volunteer Fire Department, and 15 years as director of the fire and public safety academy for the Indiana State Fire Marshal Office. He is the Director of Government and Regional Outreach for IamResponding.com. Buckman is a past president of the International Association of Fire Chiefs and a co-founder of the IAFC Volunteer and Combination Officers Section. In 1996, Fire Chief Magazine named Buckman Volunteer Fire Chief of the Year. Buckman is an accomplished photographer, a co-author of the Lesson Learned from Fire-Rescue Leaders, and the editor of the Chief Officers Desk Reference. Buckman is the owner of Wildfire Productions.
The Essentials of the Leadership Journey
This training highlighted the essentials of leadership that we discover along our journeys as chief officers, officers and leaders. The backbone of the training was the eleven-part Leadership Journey course that is taught in Northern Colorado and Southern Wyoming based on the Band of Brothers series.
Instructor: Division Chief Greg Ward is the Operations Chief of the Loveland Fire Rescue Authority (LFRA) in Loveland Colorado. Greg has served the Loveland community for the past twenty-six years and has a total of thirty-four years in the fire service, serving with the Berthoud Fire District, United Stated Air Force Academy Fire Department and Black Forest Fire Rescue District prior to LFRA. Greg serves as the president of the Colorado Governor’s Fire Training and Certification Board, the coordinator for the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control’s Fire Officer II program and a member of the Aims Community College Fire Science Advisory Board. He is proud to be a third-generation firefighter and chief officer.
Selecting a new Fire Chief is a difficult challenge – whether it is in the volunteer fire service or the career service. Firefighters say they want leadership and are quick to judge leaders through the prism of their own experiences, whether positive or negative. During this presentation, we explored different methods for selecting a new Fire Chief (including doing away with elections) as well as how career departments might consider including personnel in the selection process.
Instructor Matthew Tobia is the Fire Chief with the City of Harrisonburg (VA) Fire Department and is a 33-year student of emergency services. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland and is a graduate of the Executive Fire Officer program at the National Fire Academy. Matt has served as a member of the Editorial Board for Fire-Rescue Magazine and has authored over 120 articles. He is also the former chair of the IAFC’s Safety, Health and Survival Section, holds the Chief Fire Officer credential, and is a member of the Institute of Fire Engineers. Prior to Harrisonburg, Chief Tobia spent 23 years with the Anne Arundel County (MD) Fire Department and four years with Loudoun County (VA) Fire Rescue. Matt began volunteering in south-central Pennsylvania in 1987 and is active with the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) and the Mid Atlantic Burn Camp for Children.
Establishing Expectations: How to Improve Member Involvement and Performance
Troy Petersen, FSTS N. Central Regional Training Manager
Terry Larson, FSTS S. Central Regional Training Manager
Using evidence-based best practices and legitimate job expectations, participants learned how to set expectations to improve member performance and retention through effective leadership.
Fire Chiefs 101 – Partnerships and Resources
Chief Mike DeGrosky, MT DNRC
Dick Swingley, State Fire Marshal, MT DOJ
Delila Bruno, Division Administrator, MT DES
Jack Ganieany, Response, Mitigation & Recovery Bureau Chief, MT DES
The Truth behind Recruiting and Retaining Volunteer Firefighters
Instructor: Jason Caughey, Fire Chief, Laramie County Fire District #2, Cheyenne, Wyoming
This training session focused on identifying why members leave organizations and how to attract new members.