New York State
Association of Fire Chiefs

Providing Service to Those Who Serve

Schedule of Fire Education Programs

Open to Conference Full Term Registrants only.
Classrooms at The Oncenter are located on the lower level.

9:00 – 10:30 a.m.

“The Engine Officer”
Lieutenant Tim Klett, Fire Department City of New York (FDNY)

This program will cover the many key decisions before, during, and after any fire incident that can ultimately make or break the operation and put lives at risk. The size, placement, and operation of the first line have a direct impact on the success of the operation, and all of these decisions fall on the shoulders of the first due engine officer, making him or her a key player on the fireground.
The Oncenter Rooms 1-2
10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
“Five Points of Command – Case Studies”
Chief/Commissioner Michael Lombardo, Buffalo Fire Department

A cohesive and smart incident action plan (IAP) is critical and key to successfully controlling the chaos we so often respond to. Personnel must understand the components of the IAP and how this plan affects all facets of the operation and all who are operating to attain success. Remember, this plan isn’t just for and about incident commanders, but rather, a framework for all on the fireground to operate with. The IAP, in tandem with well-developed standard operating procedures and riding assignments, will help provide for a safer and more efficient fireground with members focused on success. Whether you are a new firefighter or the chief of department, having, implementing, and understanding the IAP will provide the clarity and coordination for a safe and successful operation. Students will learn the benefits of a solid IAP, coupled with well-developed SOPs and RAs, for different types of buildings, occupancies, and emergencies. This program is for the firefighter, company officer, and chief officer operating in this framework. The perspective of how different members look at this plan may change, but the overall focus is the same – the successful completion of our mission of saving lives and protecting property and doing it as safely as we can.
The Oncenter Rooms 1-2
1:00 – 2:30 p.m.
“Stretching for Success”
Lieutenant Steve Robertson, Columbus (OH) Fire Department

This program will expose participants to aspects of “go” and “no go” situations. During “go” situations, students will be given critical knowledge of what it takes to win the fight, starting with positioning of the apparatus, size up, and line selection. A special emphasis will be placed on the pace of the attack, water flow while advancing, and using the reach of your stream inside the structure. Additionally, overcoming difficult stretches and dealing with knee wall fires will be discussed. The fire service continues to have close calls and LODDs due to rapid fire growth. Within the modern fire environment, we must throw more water than BTUs being produced. Whether it’s interior or a transitional attack, bottom line... water wins!
The Oncenter Rooms 1-2
2:45 – 4:15 p.m.
“The Leadership Journey of a Firefighter”
Assistant Chief of Operations Tony Perez, Tampa (FL) Fire Department

This class will explore the fire service’s past, present, and future topics that are vital for our continued growth to perform at a high level. It will address the gaps that separate the most senior member from the youngest firefighter and encourage discussion on leadership responsibilities that start at the bottom and lead to the top. Can you embrace change and close the gap? Are you someone who responds well to new challenges? This lecture will involve class participation from all, whether paid, volunteer, a firefighter, or a chief officer. The fast-paced presentation will challenge firefighters of all ranks to step outside their comfort zone and embrace change within our profession. Embracing positive change in the fire service is not bad. The purpose and objectives of the program are to help every firefighter exceed their level of expectations within the firehouse and on fireground in order to be successful through their journey in the fire service. 
The Oncenter Rooms 1-2
12:30 – 2:00 p.m.

“Man vs. Machinery Incidents – Are You Prepared”
Captain Mark Gregory, Fire Department City of New York (FDNY)

Man vs. machinery incidents occur across the country. They may involve a person stuck in some sort of industrial machinery or be as routine as a ring stuck on a victim’s finger. Firefighters must ask themselves, “Are we as a department or institution prepared to handle these incidents?” This program will introduce students to tools and methods that have been proven to be effective in rescuing victims. Case studies will be reviewed, as well as the pros and cons of various tactics. Medical issues will be addressed, and the importance of a strong command structure and inter-agency operations will be stressed.  
The Oncenter Rooms 1-2
“Today’s House Fires Are Not Routine! We Can Make a Difference!”
Retired Battalion Chief/Shift Commander Jim Duffy, Wallingford (CT) Fire Department

 If your fire department is like mine, most of your fires are in private dwellings. Just because it’s the most common fire you go to, it doesn’t mean that you should let your guard down. A significant number of firefighter injuries and deaths occur at these incidents, the most common structure fire in New York state. 75% of fire deaths occur in residential dwellings, and about 2,500 civilians die in these structures annually. From January 1 through February 21, 2022, we lost 468 civilians, including 42 in New York alone. Structural members are made lighter and cheaper, and fuels have higher heat release rates. This highly interactive and challenging class will explore command, fire attack, ventilation, and search in house fires with your staffing. It will also cover current studies and how they relate to tactics. Lessons learned can be applied to other types of fires.
The Oncenter Room 3
“When Ordinary Construction Is Not So Ordinary”
Deputy Chief Timothy Cowan, DeWitt Fire District

Every small town and large city throughout the country has a Main Street USA. Ordinary construction has been in our hometowns for more than a century. Unfortunately, many firefighters have died in the line of duty fighting fires in these buildings. This interactive presentation will give the strategy and tactics necessary to succeed when faced with fires in these buildings. These buildings have often changed occupancy, have had alterations, and have been neglected throughout the years, creating unique challenges. Ordinary construction has many special features and facets that cannot be taken for granted. Often, new construction has been used within these buildings, hiding their features while still looking like ordinary construction. Fires in these buildings require a different approach than the typical residential or commercial fire tactics. This presentation will review the construction features and provide firefighters and fire officers with the tools needed for fireground success. 
The Oncenter Room 4
“It’s Not a Costume – No Excuses Firemanship”
Chief Paul Hasenmeier, Sunset Beach (NC) Fire Department

Certain things that others do make your skin boil on the job. Is it a rookie firefighter that doesn’t think pulling and racking a hoseline again is important? Is it a seasoned firefighter that doesn’t want to participate in physical fitness training? Is it a crew boss that spends more time in the office than on the bay floor? Is it a chief officer that is disconnected from the mission of taking care of people? This presentation will help students improve upon their direction, as well as the direction of their crew and organization through strategic accountability. It will then focus on real fires, real strategy, real tactics, and real tasks to bring it all together to improve firemanship. 
The Oncenter Room 5
2:15 – 3:45 p.m.
“The Way Home”
Captain Michael Dugan, Fire Department City of New York (FDNY)

This program will study post traumatic stress and the impacts it can have on firefighters and fire officers. The class will be given from a personal standpoint, reviewing the effects of stress on my career and home life. It will deal with things that happened in the fire service when there was no counseling available, and reveal how that impacted members, their crews, and their families. It will also examine incidents that occurred where help was available, and show how the outcome can be totally different. This program is intended to give firefighters a view of the way home to your family and your fire family. We will talk about post traumatic stress, and with help, turning that stress into post traumatic growth. This class is personal, it is my story, told through my eyes and the eyes of my family and co-workers.
The Oncenter Rooms 1-2
“Professional Development for the Volunteer Firefighter”
Commissioner Thomas Merrill, Snyder Fire Department

This fast-paced, highly interactive program examines what it means to be a true professional in the volunteer fire service. Sometimes, it’s too easy to get distracted or fall back on excuses when we are not properly engaged in our organizations, or fail to deliver the exceptional level of service that our communities need and expect. We are quick to blame others, our departments, or some other outside force, but we fail to give ourselves a proper size up. This presentation is aimed at the individual firefighter. It concentrates on things that they have direct personal control over to make them a better-trained and more productive firefighter and member in their hometown volunteer fire department.  Regardless of their department’s limitations, issues, or atmosphere, the individual firefighter can certainly exemplify true professionalism in all that they say and do.  
The Oncenter Room 3
“Old Ways, New Thinking – A Contemporary Look at Fireground Operations of Today”
Past Division Chief Jeff Shupe, North Myrtle Beach (SC) Fire Department

With all the influences of the Internet and the UL and NIST studies, it’s no wonder there is confusion about what we should do and how we should operate at fires and emergencies in today’s fire service environment. Whatever happened to the basics? This program will start with a discussion on fire service culture and then move into engine operations and fire attack procedures. Students will look at philosophies of attack, company concept, and other topics. The program will address the fire service mission and basics, as well as proven procedures that work for all fire departments, regardless of size or structure. Students will also go over truck operations and review how important they are to the success of fire attack operations – coordinated fire attack! Above all else, firefighting is a team operation that should follow company concept.  
The Oncenter Room 4
“Training the Fire Company”
Deputy Chief Daniel McMaster, Alexandria (VA) Fire Department

Safe and effective firefighting operations come from well-trained and properly prepared fire companies. The relationship between the instructor and student is one of the most important a firefighter will experience over the course of a fire service career. Instructor/student interaction can be valuable and rewarding, or it can be non-productive and potentially harmful. This class will examine the various types of learning that take place in the fire service, the role that instructors play in various training settings, and the different styles and approaches that instructors can use to maximize learning. 
The Oncenter Room 5
8:30 – 10:00 a.m.

“Firefighting Operations in Mid-Rise Office Buildings”
Deputy Assistant Chief (Ret.) John Norman, Fire Department City of New York (FDNY)

Firefighters in many suburban areas are starting to encounter a new type of structure in their response areas – the mid-rise office building – often being erected seemingly overnight in newly created “office parks” in what was last week a cornfield. This class will describe the features of these structures, the difficulties that these features create, and the tactics needed to deal safely with a working fire in one of these occupancies. Topics covered will include defining a “mid-rise,” common deficiencies, differences between residential and office occupancies, hoseline selection, stretching, and placement, stair types, identification, and uses, and strategic considerations.
The Oncenter Rooms 1-2
“The Engaged Safety Officer”
District Chief Walter Lewis, Orlando (FL) Fire Department

The role of the safety officer is one that is viewed and managed in a variety of ways, depending upon the person, organization, and culture. However, the ability of the safety officer to enhance command operations, minimize risk to personnel, and provide an overall level of assurance of capability and functionality is often unrecognized. This program will touch on the basics, but also advocate for enhancing what a safety officer does to encourage a safer fireground operation.
The Oncenter Room 3
“Diamonds in the Rough: Using Digital Media for Recruiting”
Chief Kevin Sylvester, Ossining Police Department

Fire departments have historically celebrated those families with a lineage of service. Today, though, we cannot rely on the children of firefighters to fill our ranks, and so, leaders have to utilize different strategies to identify those candidates who would add value to their team. Those diamonds in the rough, the candidates who might not otherwise consider a career in the fire service, need to be identified, educated, and encouraged to join. Now, more than ever, a strong digital communication plan is crucial to engaging young people and piquing their interest in becoming the bravest. This presentation will focus on tips for gaining a following and strategies for using digital media to recruit the best available candidates for your department.
The Oncenter Room 4
“Basement Fires – Residential vs. Commercial”
Lieutenant Michael Scotto, Fire Department City of New York (FDNY)

This class will focus on strategy and tactics for basement fires. The similarities between residential and commercial basement fires will be examined, as well as the operational differences. This includes, but is not limited to, line sizes, ladder positioning, and construction concerns.
The Oncenter Room 5
10:15 – 11:45 a.m.
“The Art of Go/No Go!”
Captain Mike Gagliano, Seattle (WA) Fire Department

The toughest and most critical decisions you make in your career typically revolve around committing to an interior attack or choosing another route. Seasoned officers know the difference between “We can get it” and “It’s lost.” You should, too. Utilizing a simple framework that allows you to build on your experiences, and those of others, you can develop an intuitive approach that grows with you throughout your career. This is not a magic class, and no one becomes a great decision-maker by attending a few classes and watching a few videos. The goal is to create a framework of three varying profiles: rescue, building, and fire. These profiles allow you to keep focused on your decisions and give you the ability to draw on what you’ve learned and react to changes in the dynamic fire environment.
The Oncenter Rooms 1-2
“A New Chief’s Guide to Surviving Local Politics”
Commissioner Jared Renshaw, Western Berks (PA) Fire Department

Newly promoted chief officers are often well-versed in the strategies, tactics, and operations of their departments. With their new positions comes the added responsibility of becoming the “face” of their agency with every encounter they have. The focus of this program 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 the agency to be successful. This interactive presentation will address 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.
The Oncenter Room 3
“Cancer: Combining Research with Fireground Experience for Best Practices”
Deputy Assistant Chief Frank Leeb, Fire Department City of New York (FDNY)

Cancer is increasingly recognized as one of the most dangerous threats to firefighters. Several studies have shown that firefighters are at an increased risk for many different types of cancer as compared with the general population. The toxins and carcinogens firefighters are exposed to on scene and through residual effects of firefighting are better understood now more than ever before and require immediate changes in the fire service to reverse the upward trend. By combining research with fireground experience, this class will offer real-world, practical, and common-sense best practices that can be immediately implemented to best protect yourself, your family, and your department from dangerous exposures and cross-contamination of fireground contaminants. Know your risk and the steps you and your department should be taking now to minimize this risk.
The Oncenter Room 4
“Fireground Strategies: When Buildings Change the Rules of the Game”
Deputy Chief (Ret.) Anthony Avillo, North Hudson (NJ) Regional Fire & Rescue

This program will focus on those issues that firefighters must be aware of to operate more safely in the buildings we are entering. How different types of construction and occupancies change the rules of the game, and how personnel on scene must adjust the strategy and tactics to meet that challenge, will be discussed. Renovations, lightweight and large area structures, and vacant buildings and the structural carcass dangers will also be covered. Strategies regarding these buildings and their idiosyncrasies will be a further focus point, offering solutions to address the concerns discussed.
The Oncenter Room 5
12:00 – 1:30 p.m.
“Lessons Learned in Leadership: From the Firehouse to the Fire Floor ”
Captain Douglas Mitchell, Fire Department City of New York (FDNY)

We routinely fight fires in rapidly deteriorating IDLH environments with limited information. The cadence to which the team performs is primarily due to the leaders’ expectations set forth preemptively. Leaders must be “in the fight” and motivated both by improving the well-being of the team and successfully carrying out the organization’s mission to save lives and property. This program will delve into leadership challenges in every fire company and department. From mindset to motivation, from tactics and training, it will include a spirited discussion of lessons learned from successes and failures in the firehouse and on the fireground.
The Oncenter Rooms 1-2
“What? Wait…What the Heck Just Happened?”
Chief/Director Mark Strzyzynski, Henrietta Fire District/NYSAFC

This extremely interactive, rapid-fire, class-driven discussion will address real-world, non-fireground problems or “opportunities” modern fire service leaders may face. Participants will critique actual responses to improve their non-fireground critical decision-making process. This class will be moderated by some of New York state’s most adaptive and entertaining retired fire chiefs.
The Oncenter Room 3
“298 Beacon Street: The Story of Lieutenant Ed Walsh and Firefighter Mike Kennedy”
Lieutenant Sandy Lasa, Boston (MA) Fire Department

In late March 2014, a box was struck for a reported building fire. What seemed like a routine fire in a four-story brownstone turned into a deadly inferno that trapped Lieutenant Ed Walsh and Firefighter Mike Kennedy in the basement. Companies tried in vain to get to them while battling a fire that was fed by 60-plus mph winds. This program will include a discussion of what happened, as well as what the Boston Fire Department learned and has done in order to prevent another similar tragedy. Also, the findings of the Boston Fire Department Board of Inquiry and NIOSH report will be addressed.
The Oncenter Room 4
“Hazard Identification and Elimination”
Lieutenant John Lewis, Passaic (NJ) Fire Department and Chief Robert Moran, Brewster (MA) Fire Department

According to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standards, the position of fire department safety officer (ISO) shall be filled at every incident we respond to. By definition, the ISO is tasked to identify and eliminate hazards at emergency incidents. The definition of a hazard is “an unwanted release or contact with an energy source.” This program will examine the types of hazards and forms of energy firefighters may come across at an emergency scene, the importance of situational awareness and hazard recognition, and the critical role risk management and safety-related standard operating guidelines have on building a culture of safety within your organization.
The Oncenter Room 5
9:30 – 11:00 a.m.

“Tactical Tips Using Tower Ladders”
Lieutenant Mike Ciampo, Fire Department City of New York (FDNY)

Tower ladders have been a mainstay in the fire service since their introduction so many years ago. They provide a stable and safe work platform for firefighters and have numerous uses at scenes other than fires for departments across the state. Optimizing your tower ladder’s abilities from set-up, positioning, peaked roof cutting operations, flowing water, unusual rescue operations, forcible entry challenges, and using the tower as a standpipe will be discussed in this lecture.
The Oncenter Rooms 1-2
“Earning Trust Through Progressive Leadership and Training”
Lieutenant John Lewis, Passaic (NJ) Fire Department and Chief Robert Moran, Brewster (MA) Fire Department

Gaining the trust that grants company officers the ability to develop their subordinates into cohesive, well-trained, and communicative teams with high levels of morale, respect, and loyalty is an essential element of the daily responsibilities of the position. To gain this trust and lead their crews to high levels of operational and organizational excellence, officers must build robust relationships centered on technical knowledge and proficiency, exceptional training, and motivating leadership. During this session, John Lewis and Robert Moran will use their experience as company and chief officers to introduce attendees to several valuable methods, actions, and behaviors that will enrich their capacity to become successful, trusted, and respected fire officers within their respective organizations.
The Oncenter Room 3
“Command and Control – The Incident Commander’s Role”
Chief Thomas Richardson, Fire Department City of New York (FDNY)/Deer Park Fire Department

Contrary to popular belief, command and control does not extinguish fires or bring emergencies under control. A very bold statement. However, command and control serves an important function at all fires and emergencies. This class will engage the participants in a discussion on just what the incident commander’s role is and how experience plays a significant part in the process. The important aspect of mutual trust between incident commanders and their company officers and firefighters will be thoroughly discussed, and how trust is a key ingredient to success will be addressed. Outcome is not the most important part of the command process. The process is what is most important to understand. Chief Richardson will challenge you to engage in a spirited discussion and help bring your perspective to the class.
The Oncenter Room 4
“Incident Command – Mayday Operations”
Division Chief Michael Tuberdyke, Buffalo Fire Department

“MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY…” a desperate call for help from one of your own and a phrase no incident commander ever wants to hear. It sends a chill down the back of even the most veteran fireground commander. What really happens when a mayday is called? Specific orders must be given, and decisive actions need to be taken. As the incident commander, are you prepared to give those orders and meet the challenges now facing you? What about the officers and firefighters under your command – how prepared are they to receive your orders and execute them effectively? Managing the fireground is a series of complex decisions based on many factors. The addition of a “mayday” will change the dynamics of the operation and affect your initial operational goals. Ultimately, of course, every commander strives for a successful conclusion to this very stressful incident. However, sadly, that is not always the case. As we all know, history has a terrible way of repeating itself when lessons are ignored and questions go unanswered. This program will address the challenges of a mayday operation from a command perspective and look to provide answers to the questions that lay before us.
The Oncenter Room 5