New York State
Association of Fire Chiefs

Providing Service to Those Who Serve

Schedule of Fire & EMS Education Programs

Open to Conference Full Term Registrants only (unless noted).
Programs will be held at The Oncenter (lower level).
*Certified EMS providers can earn CMEs for attending denoted programs.

Education Programs – Schedule at a Glance (JPG)
Education Programs – Schedule at a Glance (PDF)


9:00 – 10:30 a.m.

“CSST Piping – The Hidden Danger”
Deputy Chief Timothy Cowan, DeWitt Fire District

Corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST) can be deadly for firefighters. CSST is found in all construction types and new and existing structures. This type of piping is quick and easy to install. The problem is that when CSST is not properly installed, it can be deadly for firefighters. This improper installation is an issue that most firefighters are not even aware exists. This program will take an in-depth look at two case studies in Maryland, where two line of duty deaths occurred. These nearly identical incidents happened when lightning strikes traveled from outside the house and created a hole in the CSST piping, causing a fire inside the concealed spaces of the homes. This interactive program will review some strategies and tactics when dealing with CSST fires. There will be a collaborative discussion on why this issue is crucial for the fire service, to understand the dangers of CSST and what we can do about it.  
The Oncenter Rooms 1-2

10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
“Beyond the Flames: A Successful Journey Through PTSD”
Deputy Chief (Ret.) Robert “Butch” Cobb, Jersey City (NJ) Fire Department

Every day, thousands of first responders silently battle the invisible wounds of trauma and the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). There is hope because the symptoms of PTSD don’t have to last forever. In this program, Butch Cobb will share his experiences and describe the traumatic events that he thought didn’t affect him – until they did. Recognizing the signs of PTSD and getting help for your symptoms is the best thing you can do to get back on track. Cobb will discuss the first steps to getting help, and more.  He’ll relate how PTSD coping strategies that he discovered also created increased resilience and positive changes. Remember, there is hope, because the symptoms of PTSD don’t have to last forever. “I know, I found post traumatic stress success.”
The Oncenter Rooms 1-2

1:00 – 2:30 p.m.

“Can’t We All Just Get Along?”
Training Officer Tom Murphy, Pleasant Valley Fire Department

How do the different generations get along in your firehouse? Is it hurting the daily operation of your department? The fire service is currently undergoing a generational change. Many departments do not know how to handle this change. This program will examine the various generations in today’s fire service, and explain how they can better work together and communicate. The ability of different generations to adapt and work together will be vital for the organization’s continued success.  
The Oncenter Rooms 1-2

2:45 – 4:15 p.m.

“Practical Leadership Behaviors: Lessons Learned on the Line”
Deputy U.S. Fire Administrator (Ret.) Dr. Denis Onieal, United States Fire Administration

There are as many leadership theories as there are authors and books, and sometimes, it is difficult to translate theory into practice. This presentation is not theory, but rather a series of practical leadership techniques designed for the leader or those who aspire to be one. Dennis Onieal will identify the leadership behaviors that he has found useful rising through the ranks in local government up through senior executive service in the federal government.  In a concluding workshop, participants will identify the leadership traits they most admire and abhor, as well as those leadership skills that they most want to develop in themselves.
The Oncenter Rooms 1-2


8:30 – 10:00 a.m.

“Tactical Tips in Truck Work”
Lieutenant Mike Ciampo, Fire Department City of New York (FDNY)

Across the state, fire departments respond daily to fires and emergencies that require some kind of truck company functions to be performed. Whether you have a dedicated truck company or not, you can bet one of the “LOVERS-U” functions (ladders, overhaul, ventilation, forcible entry, rescue, search, and utility control) is performed. Also, often due to limited manpower and resources, firefighters must adapt to the conditions faced and overcome the challenges to handle the situations that arise. In this lecture, students will be shown numerous street-proven tactics and tips that will increase their overall skill level, improve their safety, help enhance tactical performance, and save time and energy while operating at emergencies and fires.  
The Oncenter Rooms 1-2

“Spartanburg Pruitt Method for Electric Vehicle Fires You Can’t Let Burn”
Solutions Specialist Mark Lawson, Toxic Suppression

This program will describe this two-phase method incorporating standard car fire suppression methods with specifically designed EV fire nozzles and security blankets. The method is used to stabilize the fire situation and protect exposures, and allows for movement of the burning vehicle to a new location away from the exposure/structure. Heavy emphasis is placed on burning the battery pack to release the stored energy in each battery housed in the battery pack. Burning the pack eliminates fire risk past the fireground.
The Oncenter Room 3

“Today’s House Fires are NOT Routine!”
Battalion Chief/Shift Commander (Ret.) Jim Duffy, Wallingford (CT) Fire Department

Private dwelling fires are the most common structure fire in New York and the U.S. as a whole. About 75% of fire deaths occur in residential dwellings, and about 2,400 civilians die in these structures every year. We lost 2,284 in 2022, and 144 in New York alone! In fact, 668 civilian home fire fatalities were reported between January 1 – March 22, 2023, including 48 in New York state. If your fire department is anything like mine, odds are, most of your structure fires are in private dwellings. Just because it’s the most common fire you go to, it doesn’t mean that you let your guard down, because a significant number of firefighter injuries and deaths occur here. It should be no surprise that our work environment has changed. Structural members are being made lighter and cheaper, homes are more energy efficient, and most importantly, fuels have higher heat release rates. This highly interactive class will explore command, fire attack, ventilation, and search in private dwelling fires, coordinating all fireground tactics with your staffing. It will also briefly cover current scientific studies and how they may or may not relate to your tactics. Lessons learned here can also be applied to other types of structure fires. Hopefully, students will have a little bit of fun at the same time!
The Oncenter Room 4

“Leadership and Lessons from a Senior Man”
Firefighter (Ret.) Al Benjamin, Fire Department City of New York (FDNY)/Family Tradition Respect, LLC

The fire service is changing fast, and the idea of a young person with little time on the job becoming the senior firefighter/fire officer is here. This presentation is designed to spark ideas, and share some insights on how to be that successful, respected senior leader in the fire service and in your fire department or fire company.
The Oncenter Room 5

“I’m On Scene, but Where Should I Park? – EMS Staging at Large-Scale Disasters”*
Deputy Chief of Operations Daniel Keegan, EMT-P, Suffolk County EMS

Establishing proper control of large-scale incidents is crucial to managing and transporting patients to the hospital. In this presentation, students will receive an overview of mass casualty incident (MCI) sectors, with the focus being the staging sector. Topics to be discussed include finding a staging location, the roles and responsibilities of the staging officer, as well as the roles of the incoming EMS units. This lecture will speak to EMS leaders, as well as responding EMTs and paramedics, and will prepare everyone to properly handle any large-scale event.
The Oncenter Room 6

10:15 – 11:45 a.m.

“Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) Hazards and Response Tactics”
Battalion Chief Brian Fink and Chief (Ret.) Thomas Richardson, Fire Department City of New York (FDNY)

This course is designed to provide information that will allow chief officers to make informed decisions while operating at a battery energy storage facility emergency. These are low frequency, high consequence events that do not occur often enough to allow officers to sharpen their skill set. Success in managing these incidents relies heavily on training that will enable officers to determine if action is warranted and to what degree.
The Oncenter Rooms 1-2

“Apartment House Fires”
Deputy Assistant Chief (Ret.) John Norman, Fire Department City of New York (FDNY)

This class focuses on some of the deadliest fire in America – fires in apartment houses, or multiple dwellings (MDs). This program includes an introduction to the scope of the problem – death and injury rates in MDs; construction deficiencies related to fire spread; fire attack – hoseline selection, placement, and water supply; search and rescue – vent, enter, and search (VES); and fires in voids, shafts, and cocklofts.
The Oncenter Room 3

“Crisis Management – On Our Own – When Bad Things Happen to Good Fire Departments”
Assistant Chief/Executive Vice President Robert Leonard, Syosset Fire Department/DKC Public Relations

Unfortunately, bad things happen to even the best fire departments. We are great at responding to other people’s emergencies, but are we prepared to respond when tragedy strikes our department, or we have become the focus of negative attention? This program will review various crisis situations confronting large and small fire departments every day. Participants will be shown the common threads of response to all fire department crises – a focus on maintaining clear communications with our members and the communities we serve and taking definitive actions to maintain the public’s trust. Attendees will walk away with a better sense of how to prepare their fire department to weather a potential crisis situation.
The Oncenter Room 4

“It’s Not a Costume – No Excuses Firemanship”
Public Safety Director/Chief Paul Hasenmeier, Hernando County (FL) Fire Rescue

Those we serve and those we serve with expect nothing but our best when we cross the doorplate, handle routine responsibilities, and even when heading to a meeting. Don’t think for one minute that putting on turnout gear makes you the all-purpose superhero those we serve expect. There is no magic switch that gets flipped to combine experience, education, and training on a moment’s notice. It takes work on the front end to prepare you for the challenges and assignments you face. All of us can do more to be faster and smarter at our craft. Know your job and do your job. If you set the expectations for yourself high, others will follow.
The Oncenter Room 5

“Silent Echoes: A Comprehensive Exploration of Trauma, Healing, and Resilience in EMS”*
Commissioner Melissa Lawlor, MSN, CNM, FNP-C, EMT, Pleasant Valley Fire District

In this groundbreaking session, immerse yourself in a transformative exploration of EMS mental health. From unraveling the complexities of PTSD and trauma to cultivating resilience and unveiling innovative treatment modalities, this session is a must-attend for EMS professionals committed to their well-being. Don’t miss this dynamic session that offers a holistic and empowering approach to EMS mental health. Your mental well-being is not just a priority; it’s the cornerstone of effective, sustainable emergency response.
The Oncenter Room 6

2:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Keynote Address: "Cornerstones of Leadership: On and Off the Fireground"
Deputy Assistant Chief Frank Leeb, Fire Department City of New York (FDNY)

Taking inspiration from his own leadership philosophy, Chief Leeb will share the principles he learned during his more than 40 years in the fire service. These principles have been the cornerstones of his leadership as he ascended the ranks of the FDNY. These principles have also served as the foundation of his best-selling book Cornerstones of Leadership, Training, Teamwork, and Mentorship – On and Off the Fireground. During this presentation, Chief Leeb will demonstrate how these lessons are transferable to any occupation or industry looking for self-improvement or organizational advancement.
The Oncenter Ballroom
Open to all attendees


8:30 – 10:00 a.m.

“First Due: Residential Concepts for Engine and Truck Companies”
Captain Douglas Mitchell Jr., Fire Department City of New York (FDNY)

This program will examine the mission critical incident actions for engine and truck companies at residential building fires. It will highlight the “must have” roles and responsibilities for each unit, and hone those elements that are imperative to employ an efficient and effective fire attack. Success dictates a deliberate balance of coordination and communication. Initial company-level actions can make or break the operation.
The Oncenter Rooms 1-2

“Working Minds”
Training Chief Rick Best and Assistant Chief Lea Wandling, Eastland Fairfield (OH) Career and Technology Center

Suicide prevention is a personal issue and a family concern, but it is also a public health issue that impacts workplaces. By improving a workplace’s commitment to mental health promotion, they can be a key partner in the effort to prevent suicides. Just as workplaces have realized they can make an impact on reducing heart disease by encouraging exercise, they can also make an impact on reducing suicide by promoting mental health by encouraging early identification and intervention. This program helps workplaces appreciate the critical need for suicide prevention, while creating a forum for dialogue and critical thinking about workplace mental health challenges and by promoting help-seeking and help-giving. Working Minds was designed to be brief and practical, and most importantly, effective.
The Oncenter Room 3

“Prioritizing Your Department’s Training Program”
Chief Justin Bailey, Oliver Spring (TN) Fire Department

Making training a priority in fire departments can be a struggle. This can lead to catastrophic results, such as an increase in risk for injury and/or death and failing to meet the expectations of the communities served. This course will help firefighters determine the need for training for themselves and their departments, and how to make it the leading priority. Topics to be discussed include organizational training needs and expectations; the selection of a training officer; training program delivery; and personal responsibility in maintaining a healthy training environment. Attendees will leave the class with knowledge on how and why to make training a priority in their departments, as well as their personal lives.
The Oncenter Room 4

“Management Mayday – Why, When, and How to Call One”
Commissioner Jared Renshaw, Western Berks (PA) Fire Department

“Mayday, mayday, mayday!!” – the radio transmission no incident commander wants to hear, and one that no firefighter wants to make. A mayday scenario is one that is usually reserved for the fireground, or another type of incident scene, when a firefighter or firefighters are in trouble and immediate help is needed. This same concept can be applied to a chief officer who is not on the fireground, but is facing an administrative or operational crisis that puts their position as chief in jeopardy. This interactive presentation will address some of the common, and not so common, challenges and issues that a chief officer will likely face during their career. It will also cover the well-known “LUNAR” acronym, which is typically reserved for the firefighter in distress to relay pertinent information to the incident commander, but when modified accordingly can aid the chief officer by giving them the tools to rescue themselves and salvage their careers.   
The Oncenter Room 5

“Emergency Medical Vehicle Operations Participant Level Overview”*
Education Specialist Tim Boel, VFIS

The operator of emergency vehicles in today’s society carries a heavy responsibility. The penalty for not adequately training your operators also carries legal consequences. Emergency vehicle operators and the entities they represent have been held both criminally and civilly responsible for their actions. This program was developed to teach the emergency vehicle operator proper driving technique, and the mental as well as the physical aspects of the driving task. The program points out the long-term impact of an accident involving an emergency vehicle on the operator, the emergency service organization, and the community in which they serve.
The Oncenter Room 6

10:15 – 11:45 a.m.

“Lead from the Front – The Power of Positivity”
Deputy District Chief (Ret.) Steve Chikerotis, Chicago (IL) Fire Department

Steve Chikerotis, a 45-year fire service veteran, will deliver this colorful presentation covering topics such as leadership development, critical incident decision-making, fireground tactics, the power of positivity, conquering PTSD, the power of mentors, achieving your goals, and motivating your team. He will share case studies and powerful lessons learned from his personal experiences, including his 36-year career with the Chicago Fire Department. The goal of this presentation is to inspire attendees to take control of their lives, conquer their goals, and become better leaders.
The Oncenter Rooms 1-2

“Tower Ladders – Tactics and Tips”
Lieutenant Mike Ciampo, Fire Department City of New York (FDNY)

Tower ladders are unique pieces of apparatus that can offer firefighters a whole other skill set if they’re properly trained in their use. This lecture will cover the many aspects of tower ladder usage on the fireground and emergency scene. These include apparatus set-up and placement, ventilation and hydraulic operations, positioning at private dwellings and commercial buildings, miscellaneous rescue operations, and use of portables ladders from the bucket. The program will also provide firefighters with street-proven tactical tips on the many facets of tower ladder operations.  
The Oncenter Room 3

“The Importance of Sleep and Self-Care for First Responders”
Captain Mary Jo Stuparich, Baldwin Fire Department

This program will review the importance of maintaining healthy sleep habits and the negative effects that first responders can feel from neglecting proper sleep routines. It will also explore self-care methods to maintain a healthy body and mind.
The Oncenter Room 4

“Small Boats for Rescue”
Retired Detective/Ex-Captain David Norman, NYPD Emergency Service Unit/Inwood Fire Department

This program will provide an overview of small crafts that are typically used by fire, police, and rescue units during the performance of their duties. It will cover practicality of certain boats, design and problems associated with each, as well as towing, launching, equipment, and maintenance that goes along with daily operations. In addition, the presentation will address righting of small boats, PPE, and 4x4 and night operations. This program is for all persons involved in the use of small boats for rescue or law enforcement.
The Oncenter Room 5

“EMS and the Art of Normal Physiological Birth”*
Commissioner Melissa Lawlor, MSN, CNM, FNP-C, EMT, Pleasant Valley Fire District

In this dynamic session tailored for EMS providers, the comprehensive exploration of normal physiological birth unfolds, equipping participants with essential knowledge and hands-on skills. From dispelling myths surrounding natural birth to safe delivery techniques, attendees will delve into the intricacies of normal birth presentations, obstetrical emergencies, and postpartum care protocols. The session blends theory, simulation, and real-life case studies, ensuring EMS responders leave with heightened confidence in recognizing, responding to, and effectively managing normal physiological births. The emphasis on neonatal respiratory support, provider emotional well-being, and evidence-based approaches further enriches this informative course, providing EMS professionals with a robust toolkit for optimizing outcomes in the realm of natural childbirth.
The Oncenter Room 6

1:30 – 3:00 p.m.

“Transparency, Integrity, Consistency: The TIC for Leadership”
District Chief Moses Jefferies IV, Nashville (TN) Fire Department

The transition to company officer can be challenging. Reassignment to a different response zone or shift can set back years of relational chemistry and trust due to unfamiliarity. The challenges that need to be overcome in order to build a high-functioning, cohesive unit can’t be overstated when the incoming officer is “the newbie” in the unit. With the understanding that trust is built more on action than words, new officers have their work cut out for them. Actions in the station speak volumes about the character of the company officer, and to lead a crew successfully on the fireground, there must be trust. In this session, Moses Jefferies will share the personal story of his leadership journey as a young company and chief officer, relative to his peers of the same rank, and the challenges associated with leading senior members of the organization. Attendees will gain insights that will influence their development as leaders in their department at their current rank and moving forward. Additionally, attendees will be encouraged to use the core objectives of this class to intentionally build a foundation of trustworthiness, both personally and professionally, in their organizations and beyond.
The Oncenter Rooms 1-2

“The Floor Above”
Lieutenant Michael Scotto, Fire Department City of New York (FDNY)

The fire floor is a dynamic environment. The floor above can be even more challenging. Just getting above can be a difficult operation. Knowledge of building construction is an absolute. It helps us determine the avenues of fire extension. When we combine the construction type and the occupancy, the floor above can be extremely difficult to search. Laddering, hoseline size, communication, leadership, VEIS, fire behavior, and training on the floor above take on a more critical role. Remember, we are above the fire! Egress may become more difficult if members above are not on the same page as units on the fire floor. Our stress levels increase if escaping is challenging, which increases air consumption. The floor above is not just another assignment.
The Oncenter Room 3

“On-Scene Size Up – Not Just for the Chief”
Deputy Chief (Ret.) Robert “Butch” Cobb, Jersey City (NJ) Fire Department

You arrive on the scene and are given an assignment. What’s your action plan? Your action plan must be determined in seconds, using a quick size up combined with experience and training. This scenario-based program will look at different types of residential properties and examine the on-scene size up factors for first arriving companies. Scenarios will be presented, and students will contribute to the initial actions based on their size up. Everything from pre-incident information to what you see pulling up to the scene will be discussed. A rapid fire department response, aggressive fire attack, and smart, practical search tactics provide the last line of defense against civilian fire deaths and excessive property damage. What will your plan be?
The Oncenter Room 4

“Conducting Aggressive Searches in Today’s Fire Environment”
Lieutenant John Lewis, Passaic (NJ) Fire Department and Chief Robert Moran, Brewster (MA) Fire Department

Conducting a primary search is undeniably one of the most hazardous tasks on the fireground. It is an inescapable principal mission through which firefighters safely accomplish the number one fireground priority of rescuing trapped occupants. To enhance our understanding of how we can complete safe and aggressive primary searches, this program will review several critical operational elements, including the importance of conducting a scene size up, how knowledge of building design and construction can assist searching firefighters, the significance of situational awareness, balancing firefighter safety with aggressive search tactics, and how training and experience will influence an individual firefighter’s ability to complete this dangerous assignment. Other topics include accountability, search strategies and tactics, occupant indicators, and effective use of VEIS. Remember, it’s all about them!
The Oncenter Room 5

“Mechanical Circulatory Support”*
EMS Coordinator Mike McEvoy, Ph.D., RN, CCRN, NRP, Saratoga County

Life support equipment, such as left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) and total artificial hearts (TAHs), are increasingly used to support patients with end-stage heart failure. This session reviews commonly encountered devices with an eye toward recognizing and troubleshooting equipment, as well as physiological derangements often associated with long-term use. Readily available field guides to assist providers when they encounter a mechanical circulatory support device will also be presented.
The Oncenter Room 6


9:30 – 11:00 a.m.

“What? Wait… What the Heck Just Happened?”
Chief Stefano Napolitano, Rochester Fire Department and Chief Mark Strzyzynski, Henrietta Fire District

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 fire chiefs.
The Oncenter Rooms 1-2

“Finding Your Voice – Learning How to Share Leadership Messages to Your Team”
Chief Thomas LaBelle, Prince William County (VA) Fire & Rescue System

Officers at all levels, from chief of department to the newest minted officer, need to be able to lead in their own way. Each organization has policies and rules that need to be enforced and being a leader means being able to convey that message in your own voice. Knowing what matters to you, your crews, and the community can help you to convey where and why the organization is going a certain way. Learning your own leadership style and motivations can assist in finding “your voice” to lead your organization from wherever you’re at.
The Oncenter Room 3

“Whys, Wise, and Wisdom”
Lieutenant Paul Haynes, Syracuse Fire Department

This program will explore the “whys” we hear about in the fire service. The goal is to pass on information to firefighters striving to be valued advocates for the fire service, instructors, mentors, and officers. Following through on those “whys” leads us to “wise” – ensuring that we have a better understanding of our judgment and decision-making process. The final step is “wisdom” – productively using knowledge and experience, and understanding whether it is for retention, mentoring, and leading in the firehouse or on the fireground. This discussion will ensure we bring our information-sharing full circle, without taking away the members’ desire to increase their own knowledge, to be challenged, and to research so they continue to learn and share.
The Oncenter Room 4

“Taking Action Against Cancer in the Fire Service”
Vice President of Education Russell Osgood, Firefighter Cancer Support Network

This presentation will provide a clear understanding of the scope of cancer in the fire service. Using current research, students will gain a clear understanding of the data that undoubtedly demonstrates the link to firefighter cancer. Students will learn how cardiac and cancer risks go hand and hand, what occupational exposures are, and how to minimize the risks from a scientific approach. Examining modifiable risk factors, students will learn the importance of following recommended guidelines to reduce risk and prevent exposure before, during, and after the fire. Lastly, knowing that even when firefighters follow all the necessary steps, some will get cancer. Firefighters will gain important tools to assist in early cancer detection and the support of members diagnosed using services provided to firefighters and their families by the FCSN.
The Oncenter Room 5

“‘A’” Isn’t for ALS-BLS Airway Management”*
Paramedic/Educator Shane O’Donnell, NRP, FP-C, C-NPT, Mercy Flight Central

Airway management is often associated with intubation and other advanced securement techniques. This often takes away from the critical interventions that actually make a difference, ensuring oxygenation and ventilation. This program will review the common techniques, pitfalls, and tools for BLS airway management in order to reduce morbidity and mortality in many groups of patients.
The Oncenter Room 6