Hello from your IFMA Board!
On behalf of your board of directors I would like to extend a big thank you to all the chapter presidents and others who were able to join us in San Antonio. The chapter meetings are always invigorating and often send me home with new ideas that help to make my community better – and my job a little easier. And, for those of you who could hang around a few days after the meeting I trust you found the training and other offerings as fantastic as I did. If your chapter didn’t send anyone this year, I hope you can send someone next year – we would very much like to have 100% attendance at the chapter president’s meeting.
This year we changed things up a bit for those in attendance. Kevin Sehlmeyer (Michigan State Fire Marshal and IFMA Board of Directors) provided some excellent information about a grass roots effort that has really taken off in his state that provides real-time information on fire fatalities and a different way to gather data on those fatalities that will lead to reducing that State’s fire fatality rate. If any of you happen to run into Kevin take a minute to ask him about the program – he is happy to share it with you.
We were also able to announce that IFMA is supporting a fantastic opportunity for enhancing Community Risk Reduction in your own community. The NFPA is partnering with a data gathering firm – My Sidewalk, to accomplish Community Risk Assessments in fifty different communities across the nation. This is a unique opportunity to see how data management can provide a boost to learning what could happen where you work and live – and perhaps more importantly, what your citizens care most about. Stay tuned for more information as the program continues to develop.
Lastly, the chapter presidents had the opportunity to spend time together coming up with things that affect our organization and how specifically IFMA can help. Over the course of the afternoon three main topics came to the surface: Legislation, Retention and Training. Many of our chapters are facing situations that other chapters in other states already have experienced. These topics include organic oil extraction (principally cannabis), proliferation of food trucks and alternative food delivery methods and even power storage systems. States and jurisdictions have adopted legislation governing these topics and it would be beneficial if somehow IFMA had a library of effective “best available technology” legislation or even articles on these subjects.
Training and Staff retention are always near the top of the list. Most of the chapters agreed that they would like to see more training opportunities – using a variety of in person and cloud based technologies that were easy to do and relatively low cost. It also seems increasingly difficult to attract people into our line of work and provide them opportunities to grow and make a career of it. No easy solutions here but the thought is to provide access to best practices or effective career development tools. Great input and specific things for your board to work on.
Thanks again for what you do every day to make our communities safe. And thank you for your support and help with our organization.