Last year, NFPA’s leadership team decided to establish a first-of-its-kind program that brings together forward-thinkers from the fire service to proactively address emerging issues and dig deeper on new technology. In October, the collective wisdom of different facets of the fire service came together during NFPA’s inaugural Responder Forum in Indianapolis.
As we set out to define the goals of the Responder Forum, we turned to our stakeholders for insight and created an Emergency Responder Advisory Committee (ERAC) made up of representatives from the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), Metro Chiefs, United States Fire Administration/National Fire Academy (USFA), and the NFPA Fire Service Section (FSS).
We then invited thirteen fire organizations to nominate a total of 39 delegates. Participating organizations include the six ERAC organizations, plus the International Society of Fire Service Instructors (ISFSI), The International Association of Women in Fire and Emergency Services (IWomen), National Association of Hispanic Firefighters (NAHF), National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM), International Association of Black Professional Firefighters (IABPF), North American Fire Training Directors (NAFTD), and the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI). By all accounts, the initial Responder Forum was a successful initiative.
We recently invited a new class of 36 innovators to join the Responder Forum. They will join the 2015 scholarship recipients in Charlotte this November for a deeper dive on timely first responder topics - bringing the number of fire leaders, line firefighters, trainers, fire marshals, investigators, and inspectors to more than 70 this year. This group reflects the diversity of the fire service – career, volunteer, urban, rural area, major cities, small towns, male, female, and different cultural groups. Together, with NFPA staff and subject matter experts, the delegates will learn as much as possible about data, smart firefighting techniques, and the new behavioral insights needed to address today’s challenges.
The Responder Forum in many ways belies its name. Rather than react to day-to-day operational and tactical issues (a difficult job in and of itself), members of the Responder Forum strive to get ahead of real-world problems by developing strategies that are proactive, purposeful and progressive.