Workshops

Although a handful of fire departments in Canada offer seamless, fire-based EMS patient care and transport, the majority of departments are isolated to the provision of pre- and out-of-hospital care through contractual agreements with the province. However, through hard work and political strength, these limitations are shrinking. This workshop will highlight the opportunities and advancements of fire-based EMS in Canada.

Cancer is a leading cause of fire service morbidity and mortality. A study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) demonstrated an excess mortality rate for cancer in fire fighters compared with the general population. The toxic environments in which fire service members live and work have long been suspected to have an adverse effect on fire fighter health. Fire fighters are exposed to many chemicals that are known to cause cancer in humans. This workshop will discuss recent studies regarding fire ground exposures and their effects on fire fighters. Strategies to reduce occupational exposures and their effectiveness will also be discussed.

This workshop will look at medical rehabilitation strategies fire departments in the United States use to maximize return-to-work readiness and facilitate a smooth transition from injury to full duty. Departments of varying size benefit from in-house rehabilitation specialists, such as physical therapists and athletic trainers. In this workshop, you’ll learn about successful programs that facilitate employee trust, enhance the health and fitness of all employees, impact overall injury resilience and are cost-effective. This workshop also provides information on how to reach out to community rehabilitation providers for potential in-house services.

Getting the proper nutrition with whole real foods is a key component to leading a healthy lifestyle. Learning to develop a deeper understanding of the foods and lifestyle choices that work best will help you implement lasting changes to improve your energy, balance and health. In this workshop, you will learn about the importance of eating meals that create sustained energy and help prevent disease, hear about quality nutrition practices that support balance at work and home, and walk away with tips on how to implement healthy eating habits at the firehouse. You will also hear about a new IAFF nutrition campaign that will bring awareness to the importance of nutrition and its role in fire fighter health.

The High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program is a federal program, administered by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, designed to provide resources to federal, state, local, and tribal agencies to coordinate activities to address drug trafficking in specifically designated areas of the country. The goal of the program is to address drug-related issues by supporting and collaborating with law enforcement, treatment and prevention partners. This session will explain the HIDTA data network and why local fire departments must be connected through their CAD data.

The emerging threat of homegrown violent extremists conducting acts of terrorism, specifically small unit active shooter and IED attacks, remains a concern for the fire service. These extremists are finding new ways to attack innocent people during mass gathering events or while conducting normal, everyday affairs. This workshop will address the major themes of the NFPA 3000 standard including preparedness, response, hospitals receiving patients, family reunification and community recovery.

Per/polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), including perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFOA), have been used in many manufacturing processes, including non-stick coatings on cookware, food packaging materials and durable water repellents (DWRs) in consumer clothing (including fire fighter PPE), upholstery and carpets. Firefighting foams for extinguishing flammable liquid fires containing PFOS have been used for fire suppression and fire training. The products of fire suppression may include PFAS. There is a concern that exposure to this family of chemicals may have many health effects, including testicular and kidney cancer. This session will help you better understand this family of chemicals and their impact on fire fighters.

There is no other call more challenging to fire ground operations than a Mayday. The Mayday Project is a groundbreaking study of more than 1,000 Maydays from around the nation. This workshop will provide an overview of the information provided by actual Mayday participants in regard to personal factors, department demographics, incident elements, types and causes of Maydays, actions taken, injuries, rescue operations and medical care. The importance of proper fire ground survival training will also be discussed.

The NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program (FFFIPP) conducts independent investigations of select fire fighter line-of-duty deaths. Its goal is to provide recommendations to prevent future deaths and injuries. The intent of the FFFIPP is to influence fire departments and fire fighters to critically assess and evaluate situations/circumstances similar to those identified by NIOSH investigations and implement the recommendations offered to prevent additional fire fighter fatalities.

Over the last several years, there has been significant activity in the improvement and development of the IAFF/IAFC Fire Service Joint Labor-Management Wellness-Fitness Initiative (WFI). The WFI addresses the needs of the total individual in a program to build and maintain fit uniformed personnel. Fitness – physical, mental and emotional – requires an effective wellness program available to recruits, incumbents and retirees. This workshop will provide an update on the 4th Edition of the Joint Labor-Management Wellness-Fitness Initiative and highlight one local’s success in the implementation of this program.

Apparatus are used to perform more tasks today than in the past. Scene blocking, traffic control, lighting, SCBA refilling, disaster response and EMS response are examples that can affect how an apparatus is engineered. Interior cab design, such as seat size and the clean cab concept, may also change the interior design and the materials used within the cabs. Exterior storage for SCBA and PPE may alter cab design. Aerial ladder ascent safety devices are now a topic of concern after multiple fire fighter falls. As always, safety must be a primary consideration in the design of apparatus. Additionally, this workshop will discuss concerns from apparatus accidents regarding safety.

This panel will address audience questions on building or improving behavioral health programs. Come prepared to ask your questions about how to take care of the behavioral health needs of your members. Topic include mental health screenings during annual medical examinations, how to vet mental health clinicians and obtaining buy-in and funding for behavioral health programs. Content will also include key IAFF behavioral health resources.

This workshop will present a compilation of lessons learned from active shooter and other hostile events. The overall theme of the session is that departments must prepare for the next event, not the most recent one.

The so-called Eagles coalition is a de facto alliance of the large metropolitan cities’ jurisdictional EMS medical directors from across the U.S., Europe and other nations. Overseeing the medical aspects of day-to-day 9-1-1 emergency responses and other critical emergencies/disasters in these most populous cities, the group is collectively responsible for more than 120 million residents within those municipalities who continuously share experiences, data and suggestions with each other on a daily basis. As such, this session with representative fire-based Eagles will feature numerous sample bullet presentations and Q&A lightning rounds regarding some of most innovative research and clinical care advances, such as those recently featured in the 2019 Gathering of Eagles conference held in Dallas, Texas.

Communications on the fire ground is one of the most important functions of our occupation. A secure, resilient and reliable platform to provide mission critical voice and data communications to fire fighters is paramount. In 2012, Congress acted on the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission to pass the Middle-Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act. Congress authorized the Federal Communications Commission to allocate additional spectrum for public safety use and established the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet). FIRSTNET BUILT WITH AT&T will buildout and manage the National Public Safety Broadband Network called FirstNet, but this leaves the fate of T-band in an undetermined gray area as competing bills run their course. This workshop will aid in the understanding of the evolving communications ecosystem, the legislation surrounding FIRSTNET and the impacts on operable and interoperable emergency communications for the public safety community.

As fire departments continue to express interest in providing community paramedic and mobile integrated health services, and as grant opportunities become more competitive, there is a need to ensure value-added service remains sustainable while protecting the well-being of responders. This workshop is designed to address how affiliate leadership can participate in advancing the scope of practice and offering value to the community while ensuring responders are given due consideration in the changes.

The High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program is a federal program, administered by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, designed to provide resources to federal, state, local, and tribal agencies to coordinate activities to address drug trafficking in specifically designated areas of the country. The goal of the program is to address drug-related issues by supporting and collaborating with law enforcement, treatment and prevention partners. This session will explain the HIDTA data network and why local fire departments must be connected through their CAD data.

Per/polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), including perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFOA), have been used in many manufacturing processes, including non-stick coatings on cookware, food packaging materials and durable water repellents (DWRs) in consumer clothing (including fire fighter PPE), upholstery and carpets. Firefighting foams for extinguishing flammable liquid fires containing PFOS have been used for fire suppression and fire training. The products of fire suppression may include PFAS. There is a concern that exposure to this family of chemicals may have many health effects, including testicular and kidney cancer. This session will help you better understand this family of chemicals and their impact on fire fighters.

Using data to assess how well your department matches resources to risks provides awareness of the adequacy of daily deployment and much more. To tell the story, the data must be organized and visualized in a way that makes sense to decision-makers and the public. This workshop will show local leaders how to gather necessary data, assess their community risk, interpret a workload capacity and explain how the results can inform fire service administration. You’ll also see the resources the IAFF provides for fire department operational insights. New fire department performance metrics will also be introduced.

There is no other call more challenging to fire ground operations than a Mayday. The Mayday Project is a groundbreaking study of more than 1,000 Maydays from around the nation. This workshop will provide an overview of the information provided by actual Mayday participants in regard to personal factors, department demographics, incident elements, types and causes of Maydays, actions taken, injuries, rescue operations and medical care. The importance of proper fire ground survival training will also be discussed.

The Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) Center at Texas State University was created in 2002 to address the need for active shooter response training for first responders. Since 2002, ALERRT at Texas State has trained more than 130,000 law enforcement and fire officials nationwide in dynamic, force-on-force scenario-based training. This session will provide insights into the program and how local fire departments can participate in the joint training.

While the number of fire fighter on-duty fatalities have declined, the number of cardiac related on-duty fatalities remains unchanged. In fact, cardiovascular disease is the single most frequent cause of duty-related fatalities among fire fighters. This workshop will review actions affiliate leaders can take to (1) ensure healthcare providers understand the importance of elevated risk factors in the context of firefighting, (2) ensure the primary care physician understands the importance of elevated risk factors in the context of firefighting and (3) ensure their members who are cleared for duty understand that several risk factors for cardiovascular disease receive proper follow up.

This workshop presents preliminary results of the telehealth clinic for Texas fire fighters initiated by the Warriors Research Institute of Baylor Scott & White Health. The clinic aims to improve the behavioral health of fire fighters by providing evidence-based, culturally aware treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance use disorders, depression and other conditions via live online video sessions. Content discussed includes barriers mitigated by telehealth availability, outcomes from the telehealth clinic, personal testimonials from telehealth users, how to connect fire fighters to the telehealth clinic and future implications of this research for telehealth use in the U.S. fire service.

Today’s structure fires burn faster, hotter and with more toxic byproducts. Because of these changes, traditional firefighting methods may no longer be the safest and most effective. Over the past several years, the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) have been working together with the fire service to examine the changes in the fire environment over time, including ventilation limited fires, flow control and the effectiveness in suppression tactics. This workshop will discuss what has been learned about the modern fire environment and make recommendations on adapting firefighting tactics to counter these changes.

The IAFF Peer Support Training program continues to transform the behavioral health conversation in the fire service. In addition to learning how to receive peer support training through your local or department, this workshop will introduce a 10-step program development model and explore the critical building blocks to develop a successful peer support program. Topics include how to obtain program buy-in, select your peer team members, use mental health clinicians in your community, conduct program outreach, evaluate your impact to stakeholders and more. Members will leave equipped with practical strategies and IAFF resources to build or enhance an existing peer support program. Strategies will focus on building a team both from the local and state level.

As the EMS industry continues to change, there are a number of opportunities and threats that affiliates should be prepared to manage. This workshop will discuss these threats, as well as opportunities to ensure affiliates are armed with information to protect themselves.

As Canada and many U.S. states have legalized marijuana for medicinal or recreational use or both, many affiliates and departments are faced with questions about the drug’s effects on health, safety and job security. This workshop will present examples of department policy in states with legalized marijuana. The session will also identify related issues, including legal implication for fire fighters using the drug.

Many law enforcement officers use body cameras to record their interactions with the public. These devices can be beneficial, but also raise privacy issues regarding recording of fire fighters and paramedics involved in medical care on scene. This session will address the pros and cons and legal implications of police-worn body cameras and touch on fire fighter helmet cameras worn on scene.

Once the fire is out, what are the next steps your department should be taking to ensure members are properly decontaminating and protecting themselves from toxic exposures? Post fire decontamination efforts are essential to limit chemical exposures at the scene and limit chemicals being brought back to the station. This workshop will cover NFPA 1500 guidelines, proper PPE decontamination methods, the latest research to understand how to limit your exposure to carcinogens and how to put together an effective cancer prevention SOP/SOG.

Firefighting has many occupational hazards. However, for women, the risks related to exposures, shift work and physiologic strain has the potential to negatively impact maternal and child health, in addition to the overall health of female fire fighters. This workshop is not just for women, but also for local leaders to understand the occupational health concerns of the female firefighting population.

Community paramedic and mobile-integrated health programs are more than just meeting the needs of the citizens; they are also strengthening bonds with community partners and potentially new political allies. This workshop will instruct affiliates on how to meet people and build relationships with others in the healthcare and social-needs network.

Exercise is a tool that can be used to rehabilitate and manage existing physical, psychological and behavioral conditions; prevent the occurrence of future problems; and improve personal health and performance. In other words, it can be used to enhance the quality of every fire fighter’s life, regardless of age, experience or health status. Exercise really is the best medicine. This workshop will highlight the wide-ranging benefits of exercise for chronic conditions such as cancer, diabetes and behavioral health, and provide several small steps to take to build an effective Peer Fitness Trainer (PFT) program to leverage the benefits of exercise.

Today’s structure fires burn faster, hotter and with more toxic byproducts. Because of these changes, traditional firefighting methods may no longer be the safest and most effective. Over the past several years, the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) have been working together with the fire service to examine the changes in the fire environment over time, including ventilation limited fires, flow control and the effectiveness in suppression tactics. This workshop will discuss what has been learned about the modern fire environment and make recommendations on adapting firefighting tactics to counter these changes.

The problem that fire and EMS departments have historically faced in treating patients in hemorrhagic shock is that bleeding cannot always be controlled and there is limited ability to provide blood replacement in the field. The San Antonio Fire Department looked to the military for a solution, and that solution is whole blood deployed on ground units made possible by new military technologies. This workshop will discuss the steps San Antonio took to meet the needs of its community.

The IAFF uses guidance from a range of medical professional organizations as a starting basis for making screening recommendations for diseases for which fire fighters are at risk. Using experts on fire fighter health and screening, those recommendations are optimized specifically for fire fighters. This session will discuss recommendations for cancer, heart disease, behavioral health and others. Screening that may leave you with more questions than answers will also be discussed.

The potential for explosions and hazardous exposures exists on the fire ground and throughout the fire service. The health hazards are well known for some exposures and poorly understood for others. The toxic environments in which fire fighters live and work have long been suspected to have an adverse effect on fire fighter health. Fire departments should ensure gas monitoring equipment is adequately maintained and fire fighters are routinely trained on proper use. Wearing full PPE, including respiratory protection, during suspicious odor investigations and overhaul is essential. This workshop will train you in the proper use of your multi-gas meter, discuss how meter readings impact your health and lessen the risk of occupational exposure, injury and disease.

This presentation will review what is known, and more importantly what isn’t known, about fire fighter suicide. Participants will learn about suicide prevention and suicide postvention (defined as an organized response in the aftermath of a suicide to facilitate the healing of individuals from the grief and distress of suicide loss) mitigate other negative effects of exposure to suicide and prevent suicide among people at high risk after exposure to suicide. Content will include effective suicide prevention strategies, evidence-based treatments for suicide, resources for suicide loss and new IAFF efforts to understand and address suicide.

Current events and hyperbole on the impact of urban interface fires can leave many questions and concerns unanswered. Wildland urban interface (WUI) fires are occurring more often and are larger and more destructive than in past decades. Every year, greater numbers of structural fire fighters are called to respond. But unlike the environment that structural fire fighters are accustomed to, the urban interface environment has very little research or information on how to protect fire fighters from the harmful smoke and particulate. This workshop will provide an update on the latest research and future projects. This session will focus on the facts of recent urban interface events and the ongoing efforts of the IAFF to ensure the health and safety of our members responding to these incidents.

Findings from the Fire Protection Research Foundation study on “How Clean Is Clean” and NIOSH’s recent research will be presented, along with the impact on fire service care of turnout garments. Information will be provided to distinguish the effectiveness of different practices for advanced cleaning and sanitization of outershell fabrics and the respective impacts of selected process variables, such as temperature. The implementation of cleaning verification procedures within NFPA 1851 will be discussed and supplemented with an overview of how to judge the results for cleaning efficiency.

As the all-hazards response environment continues to change, departments must find ways to innovate, add value and often adapt the services provided to continue to meet community needs. This workshop is designed to assist affiliate leaders in developing data-driven solutions and evidence-based proposals for adding value to the services they provide in their respective communities.

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