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TCFAAA Annual Chiefs Forum

TCFAAA Chiefs Forum 2019 – Roanoke, Texas

The Texas Citizens Fire Academy Alumni Association held their 15th Annual Chiefs Forum March 30, 2019. Roanoke’s CFA hosted the event at their city’s beautiful, new city hall. They provided breakfast and goodies to participants and attendees. After a welcoming and prayer by Mayor Gierisch, Chief Addington, and Roanoke CFA’s president, there was a very quick business meeting. President Kim Brown then began the chief’s forum.  Below are a few highlights from my notes.

Many of the topics this year focused on caring for firefighters, including protecting them on major accident scenes, from cancer, from PTSD and other mental health and wellbeing stresses from a career in firefighting.

Irving’s Chief Conley spoke about their “blocker” program that recently has received a lot of attention from around north America. They use old apparatus (that normally would have been sold for several thousand dollars) to block major accident scenes on their highways, protecting not only firefighters but all responders, including police and tow truck operators. The program has already proven its value. Other departments are looking into similar options. As far as documented causes of firefighter deaths, it’s probably one of the easiest to prevent.

Cancer prevention and screening continues to be a hot topic, and many of the chiefs agreed there’s no single solution, but there are many different things that they are doing to address cancer. This includes alternating different screening tools like Ivygene, dogs, and Lifescan. Euless has installed detox saunas in their stations. Richardson has tried to encourage cancer prevention engagement through a bottom-up approach. Some departments are using or considering an alternate set of gear for less toxic activities, to minimize exposure. Recognition by workers compensation insurance of more than just 3 particular cancers continues to be frustrating.

When asked what keeps the chiefs up at night some of the answers included complacency, less experience, doing more with less, not enough training, changing and new construction, especially involving mixed use structures, keeping up with all of the medical training, firefighters health and wellbeing(suicide, PTSD), and of course funding.

Recruiting and diversity continues to be a challenge for local departments.

Thank you to Roanoke for hosting the event, and especially all of the chiefs that shared part of their weekend with us.

TCFAAA Chiefs Forum 2019 – Roanoke, Texas

Chiefs who participated in the forum include:

Asst. Chief Smith, McKinney

Chief Poovey, Richardson

Chief Brown, Grapevine

Chief Witten, Westlake

Chief Palla, Hurst

Chief Fay, Bedford

Chief Addington, Roanoke

Asst. Chief Biggerstaff, Plano

Chief Ross, Mansfield

Chief Conley, Irving,

Asst. Chief Miller, Garland

Chief Rhodes, Euless