Saturday is a day full of open-style lectures. We’ve brought in an assortment of fire service leaders to provide high quality talks for our students to attend. You are free to join or leave the sessions as desired and find the topics that interest you the most. Each breakout session is just under 2 hours in length.


David Woodward, Lake Ozark Fire

The fire service is rapidly changing and evolving, leaving many departments wondering how to keep up. Evolving from a primarily skill-driven profession, firefighting now requires expert problem solving skills, advanced critical thinking, superior fire ground judgements, and an excellent skill set. These abilities are no longer solely the responsibility of command staff, but are the expectation of every firefighter. The challenge is how to effectively and efficiently create and implement a training program that facilitates the development of these abilities. Join one of Missouri’s best fire service instructors for a dynamic class that will empower you to help facilitate growth and change in yourself and others. This class will examine how to effectively evaluate your training system, identify teaching strategies that actively engage participants, explore ways to incorporate evidence-based practices/tactics into training and so much more.


Jonathan Hall, Saint Paul Fire

It is critical to fireground success that the Engine Company achieves rapid water application to the seat of the fire. Studies have shown that on average it takes between 100 and 200 seconds from door entry to the development of flashover conditions inside residential dwellings. Engine Companies must be proficient at rapidly selecting, deploying, advancing, and flowing handlines to combat the potential extreme fire conditions found in the modern fire environment. Course topics will include size up, fire behavior, handline and nozzle selection, efficient handline deployment, proper handline placement, effective utilization of personnel, and aggressive water application.


Donald Colarusso, Neptune Fire

This is the lecture portion of the greater Hands-On Class by the same title. The Basic End User class introduces students to firefighter escape systems. This program will provide students with the basic skills in the proper deployment and use of an escape system that includes an Anchor Hook, 50-feet of rope and descending device attached to a harness. This class begins with a classroom session, proper fit and wear of the harness and system and then to skill stations. Students will then perform nine bailout jumps at varied levels of difficulty on a safety back-up belay. This is the basic end user training program recommended by most manufacturers and fire departments.


Daniel Nelms, Nashville Fire

At every fire we go to, there is one thing that must be done. We must stretch a line. No matter the building construction or the occupancy type, this action must be taken. In this course we will take a no-nonsense approach to Engine Company Operations. We will look at the First Due Strategy and Tactics of the Engine Companies. We will discuss the framework to maximize the effective and efficient methods of first due fire attack. We will discuss the Engine Companies three most common used tools; 1 ¾”, 2 ½”, and the Deck gun. This class will cover fire attack in both residential and commercial buildings, as well as fires in high-rises. We will look at alternative methods to over come stretching short, and more importantly the steps to take to keep that from happening. This class will take a look at the comprehensive, yet simple, approach to Engine Company Operations.


Josh Pearcy, Oklahoma City Fire

This class will teach the attendees to utilize scene size-up techniques to make safe and effective decisions. Stresses the importance of pre-planning, training, and gathering efficient on scene information. For many departments water related calls can quickly become a low-occurrence/high risk situation. Course covers a set of skills that all first responders should be able to perform quickly and correctly when lives depend on it.


William Knight, DeKalb County Fire

Whether you’re on an engine, truck, or battalion car; whether you’re assigned fire attack, search, or ventilation; whether you’re riding the tailboard or the command board: Imperfect Pitch is the building construction class you’ve always wanted. This is an interactive lecture on roof construction and how it affects firefighting operations. We’ll get into the good, the bad, and the ugly of what keeps the rain out, dispelling myths and misinformation concerning certain roof types and construction materials. While there is a heavy emphasis on topside work in this class, we will talk about how everyone on scene relies and acts upon an understanding of what’s overhead. Attendees will take home new approaches to discovering and dealing with the odd and unexpected, based upon real-world examples. In addition to regular fireground diagnostics, students will learn a few guerilla tactics for discovering more about the buildings in their area.


Tommy Goran, Columbia Fire

You don’t need a bugle to be a leader! TACTical Leadership is a character-based style of leadership for both the formal and informal leaders of the fire service. You will learn methods to deliver your expectations with TACT and learn the power of influence amongst your peers! Though technical skills and their fundamentals play a huge role in your fire service success, there is a much deeper underlying skill which is shown through your character. We will discuss the characteristics that will make you a better all-around firefighter and influential member of your fire department!


Michael Heeney, Austin Fire

Be an asset not an anchor. This lecture will take a comprehensive look at two separate issues. First we will look at time management at the station, finding ways set aside the needed time for training to continually better yourself and your crew. Improving on skills and knowledge gives you the opportunity to be more effective than you were the day before. Then we will breakdown the emergency scene- learning techniques to “size up” all aspects key to the fire-ground, so it becomes second nature. From sizing up a structure, to an intuitive understanding of task level assignments, including search and forcible entry. This will allow for forward thinking and greater success on the emergency scene. A thorough understanding of all tasks makes for a better firefighter and crew.


Isaac Frazier, Wichita Fire

Simply put, Trapped & Dying is an interactive discussion like no other. In other words, there is someone heavily trapped in a vehicle or a bystander on scene of a working fire has told you that there’s a victim inside. Let’s take it a step further imagine that at your company’s arrival pass devices are sounding and a mayday has been transmitted. These situations happen across the country more than you think. The preparation for these events starts WAY before the call. We commonly touch on the roles of the first-due engine or truck company. We work heavily on the basics of forcible entry, fire attack, ground ladders and developing a search plan. But what happens when you are confronted with a trapped fireman or civilian? In a high stress environment, what are the steps to be successful when lives hang in the balance? When it comes down to the actual skills performed on the fireground, it really doesn’t matter if you are responding on a big city rescue or a volunteer pumper; a solid plan, strong mindset, and these steps will prep you for the worst. Use my passion and experience to prepare you for the next “big one”. Do you have what it takes when seconds count?


Tim Goscha, Wichita Fire

Plug Ugly is a tactical urban water supply class. In this lecture you will gain knowledge that will ensure your water supply operations are efficient and tactically sound. During any well involved fire, none of our fire ground priorities can be fully completed without a well-executed sustained water supply. This lecture will show how to get the most out of your crew while having limited resources. We will cover advantages and disadvantages of specific hose appliances and supply lines. Ultimately, we are trying to quickly and efficiently accomplish water supply so that resources can be redeployed to ensure fire ground priorities are being met.


Arthur Ashley, Lexington Fire

This class is for the member that wants to arrive on scene and operate with the truck company in an aggressive, yet smart manner. Making the most of your basic training by adding street smart skills with some tips and tricks. The overall job of the truck is rescue and ways to get to those that are in most peril by searching and getting to them. Basics will be covered along with some advanced skills to add to the that Truckie’s Toolbox. You will rule the scene as a dominate, yet respected truck company.


Kevin Lewis, Cobb County Fire

Yes, VES can be a challenge but if not you, then who? The Fire Department mission is life safety and we must prepare ourselves for such an incident. Limited staffing, building construction, coupled with recent scientific data are all forcing us to reevaluate methods we have used for decades. Vent Enter Search is no different. To be the best Fire Service Professionals we can, we must fully understand fire dynamics as they relate to VES. This will allow us to operate as safely as possible while providing the maximum level of proficiency upholding our primary mission. Life Safety. The course will cover VES history, VES size up, evaluating risk/need for VES, specific step by step how to techniques, and when and where aspects of VES.


Trey Nelms, Nashville Fire

The Fire Officer is one of the most influential positions on the job. There are ups and downs that have a variety of affects on our crews, our families, and those we serve. How do you prepare for the rollercoaster of goods and bads, because they can happen to you. This class will focus on real life situations where choices and actions brought a variety of emotional results. Come get a dose of reality and learn from 30 years of successes and failures.