2018 Alaska Fire Conference

Schedule Overview

This year the Alaska Fire Conference is working in partnership with the Alaska State Fire Marshals Bureau of Fire Accreditation, Standards and Training to integrate the registration process with States training program.  This will allow all courses that an attendee takes at conference to be automatically added to their State training records.  The attendee and their department will be able to access these training records once the attendee returns home.  We are excited to offer this for this conference and all conferences in the future. That being said as with anything new it is taking us a little bit to get up and running.

We will be continuing the series of classes that was begun in Sitka that target Women in the Fire Service.  These classes were well received last year and were are looking forward to this years courses.

We are also pleased to welcome this year the Alaska Chapter of APCO/NENA who will be hosting classes for Dispatchers.  Many of the courses will be of interest to all conference attendees.

Below is an overview of the classes being offered at this years conference.  Please check back as we update the course listings and add additional information.   Some of the classes will repeat and a detailed description will be online with registration.  

Classes are subject to move to different days and times as the conference nears.

We look forward to seeing you at the 2018 Alaska Fire Conference.

Live Fire Training

Live Fire Training

Schedule Overview

Members of the AFSC 2017

Sunday - September 23th, 2018

  • Alaska Fire Standards Council (AFSC) Meeting

Truck Operations Class

Monday September 24th, 2018

  • Difficult Conversations - Jodie Hettrick
  • Traffic Incident Management - Roy Johnston
  • Rope Rescue Scenarios for Experienced Technicians - Brian Crisp
  • Grants 101: Whatcha need to know from application to record retention - Brenda Ahlberg
  • Safety and Leadership - Jodie Hettrick
  • FirstNet: Planning for your system - Mike Worrell
  • First Due Tactics - Jon Misewicz
  • Aquired Structures - Jason Buist
  • Capabilities and Limitations of Structural Firefighting Protective Ensemble - Nick Taranik
  • ARFF for Non-ARFF Firefighters- Tommy Carver
  • We Talk the Talk but do we Walk the Walk - Jon Misewicz

ARFF Live Fire Training

Tuesday September 25th, 2018

  • Succession Planning - Norvin Collins
  • Fire Investigation - 
  • "But They're My Friends" Successful Transitions from Co-Worker to Supervisor - Phil Davis
  • Women in the Fire Service 
  • Engine Operations - Mike Weber
  • Truck Operations - Paul Urbano
  • Cancer Prevention for the Fire Service - Forest Kuiper
  • Community Risk Reduction (CCR) - Stephanie Ruscansky
  • Alaska Certifying Officer Workshop - Gordon Descutner
  • Firefighter Health and Safety - Phil Davis

  • Dispatcher Track - Day 1

  1. Active Listening Principles
  2. Crisis Negotiation
  3. Suicidal Callers
  4. Domestic Violence
  5. 911 Ethics and Liabilty
  6. Multi Casualty Incidents
  7. Missing Children and Adults
  8. Stress Management

  • L.N. Curtis and Sons Welcome BBQ

Picture of Billy Greenwood

Wednesday September 26th, 2018

  • Opening Ceremony - Keynote Speaker Billy Greenwood
  • ASFA and AFCA Business Meetings
  • "Surviving the Insult" - Maintaining the Aggressive Interior Attack   - Billy Greenwood
  • The Color Code - Norvin Collins
  • Instructor Workshop - Gordon Descutner
  • Rural Fire Chiefs Program
  • Vendor Show and Sponsored BBQ Dinner at the Show 

Picture of Fire Helmets

Thursday September 27th, 2018

  • Extreme Leadership  - Billy Greenwood
  • The Volunteer & Career Fire Officer in 2018 and Beyond - Chris Naum and Doug Cline
  • Life-Long Learners Will Never Say "Our Training is Boring" - Phil Davis
  • Live Burn - Jason Buist
  • Extrication Training - Basic and Advanced - Josh Thompson
  • Developing the Next Generation of Fire Service Leaders - Doug Cline
  • Building Construction for Todays Fire Service - Chris Naum
  • Responder Mental Health and Safety: Assembling Our Toolkit - Steve Schreck
  • Emergency Management for Fire Chiefs - Casey Cook

  • Dispatcher Track - Day 2

  1. Tactical Dispatch
  2. Customer Service
  3. Multitasking
  4. Team Building
  5. "The Marshmallow Challenge"

  •  Vendor Show and Sponsored BBQ Dinner at the Show 
  • Cameron Carter Run
  • FOOLS Night Out

Photo of the book the challenges of a firefighter marriage

Friday September 28th, 2018

  • The Art of Go/No Go - Mike Galiano
  • Followership "The Importance in a Successful Organization - Doug Cline
  • Reading the Building and Occupancy Risk:  Building FACTS - Chris Naum
  • Introduction to Rope Rescue - Brian Crisp 
  • Attitude 101: Attitude is Everything - Doug Cline
  • You're Not My Real Parent: Addressing the Step-Parent Syndrome Faced by New Chiefs - Christian Hartley
  • The Challenges of a Firefighter Marriage - Mike and Anne Gagliano
  • Closing Banquet - Keynote Speaker Mike Gagliano 

Women of the Alaska Fire Service

Dani Snyder - Lead Instructor


Dani Snyder has been a volunteer firefighter with Sitka Fire Department since 2004. She is also a member of the SFD’s mountain rescue team, and works for the US Forest Service as a landscape architect.   She will be joined by a group of other talented fire service instructors.

Women in the Alaska Fire Service

 After a successful session in Sitka in 2017, the Women of the Alaska Fire Service training day is back, for another chance to train together with women firefighters from around the state. This year’s session will be focusing on firefighter survival, and will provide training for all skill levels. The class will start with a few hours in the classroom, and then move to the training grounds for the majority of the day. Full PPE (with airpack, if you are airpack certified) is preferred, but not required. Come enjoy sharpening your skills with your fire sisters! Please contact Dani Snyder (danielle.j.snyder@gmail.com) with any questions.  

Guest Speaker Profiles

Photo of Chris Naum

Chief Christopher J. Naum, SFPE

We welcome Chief Naum back to Alaska.  Chief Naum will be presenting two classes on his own and co-presenting a third.  His two individual class are:

Building Construction for Today’s Fire Service:  

Today’s buildings and occupancies present increasing challenges that have redefined strategic and tactical fireground operations and impact these operations on a wide variety of levels that often include adverse compartment fire conditions, structural compromise, collapse and predicable building performance.  Operational insights on building construction for today’s fire service, the primary objective of this program is to increase awareness and understandings and promote new skill sets in the fundamentals of building construction, architecture, engineering and design that directly impact firefighting operations at structure fires.  Five fundamental areas integrating building and construction methodologies, will be threaded throughout the program related to Construction Systems, Occupancy Risks, Collapse & Compromise Characteristics, Methods & Materials and Fire Dynamics related to building anatomy, vintage and intrinsic building and occupancy characteristics and Tactical Edge considerations mixing comprehensive case studies, history repeating events, emerging fire suppression theory will be presented. 


Reading the Building and Occupancy Risk: Building FACTS :


Today’s buildings and occupancies continue to present unique challenges to command and operating companies during combat structural fire engagement. Building and occupancy profiling, identifying occupancy risk versus occupancy type, construction methods, features, systems and components require new skill sets in reading the building and implementing predictive occupancy profiling for today’s professional volunteer firefighters, company and command officers for effective and efficient fireground operations. Incorporating the Buildingsonfire FACTS concept for First-Arriving Construction, Tactics and Safety, this program provides an overview of the methodology and process to increase operational effectiveness and ensure critical building factors are identified, assessment and monitored throughout the incident. 


Photo of Doug Cline

Chief Douglas Cline

Chief Cline is the Assistant Chief at Horry County Fire Rescue in South Carolina.  He is Past President of the International Society of Fire Service Instructors (ISFSI) and has presented at conferences across the nation including FDIC and FRI.  Chief Cline will be presenting two classes and co-presenting a third.


Developing the Next Generation of Fire Service Leaders

Professional development is the planned, progressive and lifelong process of education, training, self-development and experience that one gains during their development. In the fire service, professional development is a critical element of being a leader and a professional. When we step up to accept the responsibility of leadership, we also accept an obligation to continue our training, education, learning, personal experience and growth as we strive to improve our effectiveness. Professional development is an excellent tool for meeting that obligation. As fire service organizations, we must strive to provide continuing guidance to our most valuable resource, our personnel, through a carefully crafted professional development plan that meets the specific needs of the organization. This program will help students with a guide to developing themselves as well as the ability to develop an organizational professional development model for their department.


Followership  “The Importance in a Successful Organization” 

The link between leadership, management and the organization is widely understood and accepted in the corporate world. This concept is no different in the fire service past or present. Improving leadership improves management, which in turn enhances performance. The fire service has strived for over a century to continue this quest. The flip side of leadership is followership, something that we have nearly lost the art of. Everyone seems to have all the answers without truly understanding the complexities of what is faced by the leadership. 

If the flip side of leadership is followership, then it stands to reason that if leadership is important to the performance of an organization and the personnel whom make up the organization, then followership must have a critical role as well. In most cases followership takes a backseat to leadership even though it is a critical component to success. 

You will not want to miss this intriguing presentation that explores the complexities of combining great leadership with the necessary qualities of followership in a dynamic reality fire service world presentation. Find out what your leadership is lacking by not being a quality follower.

Photo of Chris Naum and Doug Cline

Chief Naum & Chief Cline

Chief Naum and Chief Cline will be co-presenting the following class.

The Volunteer and Career Fire Officer in 2018 and Beyond 


A thought provoking presentation and interactive discussion on the increasing demands for today’s emerging, practicing or future Volunteer Fire Company and Command Officers and the challenge on how to meet tomorrow’s demands today through self-determination and personal accountability. A look at the emerging fireground in 2018 and beyond will be examined and how that translates to the increased needs for advanced training, skill sets and operational models to address operational risks, escalating knowledge, skill sets, proficiencies, discipline, fortitude and resiliency. 



Photo of Billy Greenwood

Chief Billy Greenwood

Chief Billy Greenwood is a 26 year student of the fire service, holding positions in volunteer, paid on call and career fire departments. He is currently the Assistant Fire Chief of Training with the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport and also Career Lieutenant with the City of Keene, NH. Fire Department. Billy is a Senior Staff Instructor with the New Hampshire Fire Academy, FDIC International presenter for the past 7 years, ISFSI - International Society of Fire Service Instructors Member and National Presenter. He is also the owner FETC Services.  FETC Services provides advanced level firefighting and leadership seminars throughout the United States. He has been published in Fire Engineering and Fire Rescue Magazines and also hosts a radio show called, Tap the Box on Fire Engineering Talk Radio.

Chief Greenwood will be our Keynote Speaker at the opening ceremony and will be presenting his highly regarded Extreme Leadership program and  "Surviving the Insult" - Maintaining the Aggressive Interior Attack.  


"Surviving the Insult" - Maintaining the Aggressive Interior Attack  (5 Year FDIC Program)

Making educated decisions in today's hostile fire environment is critical for firefighter health and safety. In this class, we will discuss UL and NIST's recent fire dynamics studies, take in depth look at thermal imager interpretation for greater decision making capabilities and take a strong look at how our PPE actually provides protection from thermal insult. Through a working relationship with PPE manufacturers, we will look at damaged turnout gear that has suffered thermal insult (burns). This class will provide the attendee with a better understanding of modern fire dynamics, flow path considerations for tactical decision making, and provide information on why today's firefighters are experiencing bad things during rapid fire growth. Learn about the different generations of SCBA protection that may make a difference in you coming home at the end of a fire! Using our proven (5) step situational awareness model called "Interior Benchmarking" we will show your firefighters how to better benchmark the interior conditions as they operate inside the building with 5 (easy to remember) benchmarks: What do I see? What do I hear? What do I feel? Where exactly am I? and How long did it take to get here? The interior benchmarking model provides the user with information to be compared throughout the fight and thus make educated decisions on "Go and No Go" tactics.  Bad things happen to good firefighters everyday, because most aren't prepared for the environment they are expected to work in.  


"Extreme Leadership" - The Next Generation of Leading, Coaching and Mentoring  (Current FDIC Program)

Do you want to build high performance teams within your organization? Well then you need to attend Extreme Leadership!  You see the fire service has 4 distinct personalities working in the firehouse.  Leading this dynamic group of men and women regardless can be challenging for even the best officers. Extreme Leadership will provide new tools for your leadership toolbox. We will look at the science of leadership through our three pillars of leadership. Those include (IQ) Intellectual Intelligence; (EQ) Emotional Intelligence; and (IP) Interpersonal Dynamics.  Our program provide measurability in the leadership arena by mapping every attendee in the audience and then changing the conversation to the needs of the attendee!  This isn't a Sunday Sermon. Learn better ways to gain greater respect, more productivity and higher motivation by really understanding who you are charged to lead. Implementing our Personality Based Effective Communications model will set you up for success. The fire service is traditionally been based from an "Old Power" one size fits all paramilitary leadership. For the Millennials coming in; who haven't been subjected to a military lifestyle, they often find old power as toxic. So if you are struggling to engage the next generation of firefighters, this program will provide you with a New Power Mindset to gain the leadership edge by building better relationships, more confidence and trust within each other.  Learn how to read, map and identify the four different personalities within your organization. Learn what makes them motivated or tick. Have you ever asked yourself "What the hell was that guy thinking?"  If you have, then how well do you really know your personnel?  After understanding the benefits of interpersonal dynamics, we will show you how overlay it on the fireground and within your firehouse.  Good officers will extinguish more fires within the walls of their firehouse than they ever will on the fire ground.  But most haven't been prepared to lead in the people business. Learn how to identify compensating behaviors and have the ability to determine the underlying root cause so you can tap into the real problem on the individuals personality level.  Understanding how to engage people for positive or healthy change. This takes behavioral modification, disciplinary actions or training people to a new level.  If you want to be a rock star leader then you need to be equipped to take the stage.    

Photo of Norvin Collins

Chief Norvin Collins, MS, EFO

Chief Collins is no stranger to Alaska having taught courses across the State.  Chief Collins is Fire Chief of  Sauvie Island Fire District in Oregon and   

Secretary/Treasurer, IAFC-VCOS.  Chief Collins will be presenting two programs at this years conference.

Succession Planning

Every organization has a leader, or leaders, who has worked hard to create the environment the membership enjoys.  What happens when it becomes time for that leader to move on or retire?  Without a solid succession plan, leadership within the organization will become a vacuum.  Join Chief Collins as he guides you through the art of identifying future leaders, developing those individuals, and understanding the process of releasing the reins at a rate the emerging leader can handle for maximum success.  This isn’t an overnight process; it takes strategy, commitment, and time.  Knowing when to hold back and when to release is an art, not a science. 

In this expanded offering, you will gain knowledge in the following areas: • Basic strategic planning as it pertains to succession planning • Key features of succession planning • Building blocks for successful delegation • Mentorship • Understanding, overcoming, and working with fear • Change management • Building an exit strategy There is no one failsafe development strategy that works for all people; therefore, existing leaders must be willing to allow for failure within a safe environment.  Through humor, partnership, and understanding, expand your barn knowledge to develop your team into a sustaining force that meets each obstacle that confronts them, whether you remain the leader or have moved on to other pastures.

Color Code

This workshop teaches how to increase interpersonal skills using the very powerful Color Code theory, developed by Taylor Hartman, PhD and apply them to the fire service.  The Color Code Personality Assessment is unique for several reasons.  First, it goes deeper than mere personality – it identifies Core Motive – WHY you do what you do.  Secondly, the Color Code is easy to use and implement.  Most other popular tests and assessments strictly identify behavior, and leave it at that.  The Color Code enables you to really understand WHY you think and behave as you do.  Once you understand motive and the inner processes that precede behavior, you can become masterful at managing yourself better and at working with others more effectively at the same time.   

My workshops are known for their blend of unparalleled insights (there are usually many “ah-ha!” moments experienced by participants) and high levels of engagement.  People are more likely to learn - and apply what they learn - if the atmosphere is fun, hands-on, interesting and engaging.  In addition to the insights gained from this theory, an overlay of the experiences within the fire service gives attendees a true applicability on scene as well as within the fire house, head quarters, or the community.   

What others most commonly say when asked why they choose Color Code over other programs is that the Color Code approach is so much simpler and easier to understand and apply. It's straightforward. It makes sense. It's practical, and it sticks.

Photo of Mike and Anne Gagliano

Captain Mike Gagliano and Anne Gagliano

Captain Gagliano, Seattle Fire Department, will be doing one presentation and will be on Keynote Speaker for our closing Banquet.  In addition Mike and Anne will be doing their program "The Challenges of a Firefighter Marriage".  This is a must attend class for everyone in the fire service and their spouse.  Spouses can attend free.


The Art of Go/No Go! 

This is class utilizes video, simulations and real-world experience to create a framework for the toughest decision you’ll ever make as company officer: Do we Go interior or not: Go/No-Go…

Utilizing a simple framework that allows you build on your experiences, and those of others, you can develop an intuitive approach that grows with you throughout your career. This is not a magic class, and no one becomes a great decision maker by attending a few classes and watching a few videos. The goal is to create a framework of 4 varying profiles: Rescue, Fire, Building and Tactical. These profiles allow you to keep focused on your decisions and give you the ability to draw on what you’ve learned and react to changes in the dynamic fire environment. 

Each member participates on their own notebook and begins the process of reacting to what they see, learning from what they hear from other students and leaving with a model that is easy to replicate in their own firehouse and department. 


The Challenges of a Firefighter Marriage (With Anne Gagliano)

Marriage can either be a passionate, intimate love affair that lasts a lifetime or a toxic, contentious experience that ends in utter heartbreak. The divorce rate is on the rise for all professions, but for the firefighter, the rate is through the roof. In this class, real life husband and wife team Mike and Anne Gagliano take an honest, hard-hitting look at what is happening to firefighter marriages and why. They examine what makes this profession different than any other and how those differences impact marriage. With their 30 plus years of experience, they will share what they have learned that has helped their marriage stand the test of time and defy the odds.

Photo of Phil Davis

Chief Phil Davis

We are fortunate to have Chief Davis return to Alaska.  Chief Davis will be presenting three courses at this years conference.


But They're My Friends!  Successful Transition form Co-Worker to Supervisor.

This thought-provoking and interactive workshop faces the real-life situation of "today I'm a peer; tomorrow I'm the boss".

There are pitfalls and successes to be told about this transition. We will look at the job performance and the attitude it takes to be successful and will look at the expectations of the supervisor, the subordinates and the organization. 

This program is very participatory and engaging for the audience. We all want to be successful and this program will guide the way.

What You and Your Dentist Have in Common 


Is training in your department like going to the dentist? You know it's necessary but you definitely don't look forward to it. In this workshop we will look at your role in making your department's training more (interesting- energetic- effective- cost efficient- safe- engaging- fun- confident- future oriented…) If you have accepted that your department is an "All-Risk" department, are you fully prepared for any and all emergencies that will be handed to you? Are you putting your people in harm's way by sending them to an incident they aren't prepared for? If your folks look at training like going to the dentist, then now is the time to make training a more pleasant experience. 

Firefighter Safety - In conjunction with Masimo

This course will discuss firefighter safety with an emphasis on CO.  It will combine discussion and hands on activities. With topics to include:

o Pulse oximetry

o Hazards of CO

o CO monitoring of both EMS patients and firefighters during rehab

o Perfusion Index

o Establishing baselines and defining abnormal readings

o Overall firefighter safety

Chief Jodie Hettrick


Jodie Hettrick currently serves as the Fire Chief for Anchorage Fire Department. She began her fire service career in 1987 as a firefighter with Central Mat-Su Fire department, in Wasilla Alaska. She has worked with urban, suburban, rural and industrial departments throughout Alaska in a variety of ranks. Prior to working at Anchorage Fire Department Jodie had the honor of serving the State of Alaska as the Fire Training Administrator for the Division of Fire and Life Safety. 


Safety and Training Leadership 

How can cooperation between the Safety Office and Training Office improve safety and survivability on the emergency response scene? This course will discuss the benefits of cooperation between Training and Safety, the benefit of utilizing standards to develop training objectives and the Rules of Engagement for Safe Fire Service Training.

Difficult Conversations

How do we talk to our peers and subordinates about difficult topics? Using video scenarios and role playing this workshop will give attendees pointers on how to conduct a successful conversation for topics such as hygiene issues, work place absences, and signs of depression. The course objectives include identifying types of difficult conversations, determining who is responsible for addressing the issue and strategies to conduct the conversation gracefully.  

Photo of Jon Misewicz

Jon Misewicz


As an 18 year student of the fire service, Jon Misewicz is a Fire Training Specialist with the Anchorage (AK) Fire Department. Jon has previously served with the City of Memphis (TN) Division of Fire Services, Fairbanks (AK) Fire Department, and the North Star Volunteer Fire Department. As well as instructing in numerous local, state, and national venues. He holds several pieces of paper suitable for framing and has a passion for converting the knowledge gained in formal education into usable and effective fireground skills. 


We Talk the Talk...  

Henry Ford said, "Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right". The mind is a powerful influence and success and failure are often determined here. When was the last time you took a critical look at your mindset and thought processes? Have you ever thought deeply about the maxims we hold so true in the fire service? Those catchy sayings we have tattooed on ourselves, stuck to our vehicles, or embroidered on our jackets? We often joke about the fire service being "150 years of tradition, unimpeded by progress" and in many ways that saying is true.  Without critical thought human nature will naturally lead us to a phenomenon known as the normalization of deviance. This phenomenon KILLS! Its not intentional but it is human nature and virtually unavoidable if we are not proactive. So lets take a journey to critically examine some of our convictions, both from the fire service as well as everyday life. Through this critical eye lets explore the concept of normalization of deviance. Lets conclude by ensuring our attitudes are not doing a disservice to ourselves, our families, our profession, or the citizens we serve.  


First Due Tactics...

The success or failure of any operation is very often determined by the first arriving company(ies) and how they set up operations. This class discusses those tactical considerations that may have profound effects on the operation. Additionally we'll discuss tactics that just make life easy for us especially when the operation takes a turn for the worse.

Photo of Christian Hartley

Chief Christian Hartley

Chief  Hartley, a second-generation emergency responder who has served in the public safety sector for 19 years, has served as Fire Chief for Houston Fire Department (of Alaska) since 2016. He has served as an instructor for fire, BLS, and hazardous materials courses at the local and state levels as well as in private sector. With experience in both private and public emergency response agencies, Chief Hartley has served under a very diverse range of leadership styles.

"You’re Not My Real Parent" – Steps to Handling Stepparent Syndrome in Your Fire House

With every new fire chief appointment is a natural resistance to change by the fire house's family. This class contrasts the resistance to a new fire chief with the perspective of a rebellious teenager who is resisting a new stepparent and the desire to honor their "real" parent that got them to this point.

This interactive classroom discussion focuses on leadership for new chiefs, especially those who are new to the specific department or are facing resistance to their leadership style. Attendees will leave with knowledge and hopefully a new perspective on how to convert rebellion from the troops into positive agency development. This is taken from my experiences with past changes in leadership and how that change was perceived from various ranks, including my own transition.

Photo of Casey Cook

Casey Cook

Casey has served in emergency services for 24 years, as a medic, firefighter, flight medic and emergency manager in volunteer and paid positions. His last position within the Fire Department was as Interim Chief of the Houston Fire Department. Casey is the Emergency Manager for the Matanuska Susitna Borough for the past 7 years. During this time he has managed 2 Federal Disaster Declarations and multiple State and local disaster events. As the Emergency Manager he oversees the day to day planning, preparedness, training, response and recovery to disasters within the MSB, as well as the Emergency Operations Center, emergency telecommunications, medical countermeasures, NIMS compliance, E911 and LEPC committees and all the subsets those contain. 

Emergency Management for the Fire Chief


A presentation and discussion on the field of emergency management and what that means for the fire chief if/and when they are serving in that role, new to the EM profession or have questions about their roles when dealing with Emergency Managers in the State of Alaska. Will also include, but not be limited to discussion on available grants, exercises, roles of the Fire Chief during a disaster and how to interact with next generation Firefighter/Emergency Management degree holders.

Gordon Descutner & Lisa Shield


Gordon Descutner serves as the Fire Training Administrator for the State Fire Marshal’s Bureau of Fire Accreditation, Standards and Training (BFAST).  He has over 24 years of emergency response experience with 19 years of service specific to fire and emergency services training program management.  Gordon’s currently serves as the North American Fire Training Director representative for Alaska and has served as the Executive Director for the Alaska Fire Standards Council, Fire Chief for the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel Fire Department, and as the Chief Training Officer/ EMT II with the Girdwood Fire Department. He has a degree in Fire Service Administration and is a graduate of the National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer program. Currently, Gordon is responsible for administration of the BFAST, manages fire service testing and certification for Alaska, and serves on the NFPA Professional Qualifications Technical Correlating Committee.

Lisa Shield serves as the Administrative Assistant for the State Fire Marshal’s Bureau of Fire Accreditation, Standards and Training (BFAST), where she manages the fire certification test banks, the bureau training calendar, and issues fire service certifications. Before working for the BFAST, Lisa worked for the Alaska Fire Standards Council, the Office of Rural Fire Protection, and the Unalaska Department of Public Safety and has over 10 years of experience in public safety. In addition, she is a certified State of Alaska Fire Service Instructor, Basic Firefighter, and a Youth Firesetting Prevention and Intervention Specialist. 


Certifying Officer Workshop

This interactive workshop will address updates to the Alaska Fire Standards Council Certification Policy Manual and review criteria for qualification as a Certifying Officer. The information provided includes an overview of the Certifying Officer responsibilities, refresher training for current Certifying Officers, and initial training for qualified candidates. It also covers valuable information about the certification testing process for Training Officer and other individuals who are responsible for fire training programs. This 4-hour workshop is authorized through the Alaska Fire Standards Council and can be applied towards Fire Service Instructor renewal hours.

Fire Service Instructor Seminar

This seminar will provide fire service instructors with information about training program management, guidelines to work as a state fire service instructor, and how to conduct fire training that is in accordance with state/national job performance requirements. This interactive workshop is suitable for fire service instructors that function at all levels and fire personnel that are interested in becoming a fire service instructor. This 4-hour seminar is authorized through the Alaska Fire Standards Council and can be applied towards Fire Service Instructor certification renewal hours.

Photo of Nik Taranik

Nik Taranik and Team

Nik Taranik is a PPE Specialist with Curtis Tools for Heroes/ECMS and NFPA 1851 Instructor. Extensive Fire Service background with both volunteer and full-time fire service. Graduate Rio Hondo College, CA Fire Science. Retired Fire Officer. 35+ years experience with Fire Fighter safety equipment and procedures.

Jeff Sedivec is End Use Marketing Manager for Tencate, former President of California State Firefighters Association. Retired Firefighter/Paramedic, Santa Ana, CA.

Travis Davis is Field Associate at W. L. Gore and Associates. 


Capabilities and Limitations of Structural Firefighting Protective Ensemble

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) statute requires that every Fire Department select and use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that will protect their firefighters from identified hazards. Furthermore, the statute requires that every fire department communicate the capabilities and limitations of their PPE to their personnel. With the multitude of PPE options available to the fire service, it is imperative that every Fire Department understand the unique characteristics and performance capabilities, as well as how to properly clean, care, and maintain gear in order to provide the proper level of safety protection to their members based upon their agency’s SOP’s and unique risk and hazards assessment required by OSHA Regulations (Standard 29 CFR) 1910.132, NFPA 1500, and NFPA 1851. This course will cover how to properly select, clean and maintain Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for your department and personnel. Attendees will receive a Certificate of Completion following the class.  

Sr. Captain Bryan Crisp

Capt. Crisp began his Fire Service career in 1994 in Hanover County, Virginia and is now the Senior Captain, Training and Safety Officer for the Nikiski Fire Department where he has worked since 2002. He has 24 years of experience in fire and emergency services. From 1996-2002, he was a member of the U.S. Coast Guard working at various assignments as well as a civilian employee with Coast Guard Fire. He has been involved with all aspects of Technical Rescue throughout his career to include High and low angle rope rescue, confined space rescue, trench rescue, structural collapse rescue, heavy vehicle rescue, machinery rescue, surface water rescue, swiftwater rescue, ice rescue and dive rescue. He currently serves as an agency instructor for Rescue 3 International for Technical Rope Rescue. He was appointment to the Alaska Fire Standards Council in 2011 and continues to serve as a member of the council and is the lead committee member for NFPA 1006 Standard for Technical Rescue Personnel Professional Qualifications.  He is a member of several professional associations to include the International Society of Fire Service Instructors, International Association of Arson Investigators, Alaska Association of Fire and Arson Investigators, Fire Department Safety Officers Association and the National Fire Protection Association. He is also the Program Director/Adjunct Instructor for UAA/KPC Firefighter program. 

Rope Rescue Scenarios for Experienced Technicians

Audience/Prerequisites: Qualified and/or experienced rope rescue technicians only. Must provide copy of training certificate.

Personal Equipment: Please bring all personal equipment (Helmet, Gloves, Harness and proper clothing). All other equipment will be supplied.

Class Description: This class is designed to provide advanced rope rescue training for the serious professional. Qualified rope rescue technicians will be challenged by various rope rescue scenarios that will test your rigging skills and expand your problem-solving capabilities.  This hands-on intensive scenario driven class will challenge your decision-making abilities and improve your capability to conduct sophisticated team rescues.

Introduction to Rope Rescue


Audience/Prerequisites: Beginners

Personal Equipment: Please bring all personal equipment (Helmet, Gloves, Harness and proper clothing). All other equipment will be supplied.

Class Description: This class is designed to introduce rope rescue techniques to beginners.  Topics to be discussed is Equipment selection, inspection and maintenance, knots, anchors, patient packaging, mechanical advantage systems, belay techniques,  and raising and lowering systems. If time permits students may participate in rappelling.

Brenda Ahlberg

Ms. Ahlberg has been in public relations and public administration for 30 years. Since 2009 Brenda continues to serve the public as the liaison between the Kenai Peninsula Borough and unincorporated communities, municipalities, Tribal entities, state/federal agencies or private industries as it relates to government affairs and public projects. She is responsible for grant compliance of publically funded projects, with an emphasis in hazard mitigation and post-disaster project development. Brenda’s grant administration and management experience is extensive from application research to record retention, including obligations throughout the awarded performance period that often requires her representation on behalf of the borough mayor and his administration.  


Brenda’s diverse experience in public relations confirmed her full time position and certification in 2010 as the lead public information officer (PIO) for the borough’s Incident Management Team (IMT) and as an alternate PIO2 on the Alaska Interagency Coordination IMT, responding to local and national wildland fires or disasters under the auspices of presidential declarations. 


As an emergency management instructor, Brenda teaches National Incident Management System courses, i.e. Advanced Public Information Officer, Incident Command System 100/200/300/400/402 and as well as hosts grant management or media relations forums. As a planner/evaluator for statewide or local exercises, she is passionate about providing regular training opportunities to ensure that qualified individuals are effectively tested to respond appropriately. 


Grant 101 - Whatcha Need to Know from Application to Record Retention

Ms. Ahlberg introduces the grant management process; topics include: initial project scoping, application research, project responsibilities, regulations, close out and record retention practices. She references best practices using the Kenai Peninsula Borough framework as examples for understanding and group discussion. 


Outcomes: • Demonstrate the importance of project scoping prior to the application process • Emphasize the importance of relationships, internally and externally, that may affect project outcomes • Describe grant award and negotiation process • Introduce examples of local, state and federal program regulations • Create an effective application using the project budget (class exercise for discussion purposes) 


Target Audience: This presentation is intended for individuals that are new to grant management. Other individuals, including elected or administrative officials, would benefit from a general understanding of their position as it relates to supporting the project manager’s role and responsibilities throughout the grant performance period.  



Stephanie Ruscansky, CFPS

Stephanie Ruscansky works as a Community Hazard Mitigation Manager for ISO, Insurance Services Office.  She has been with ISO since 2004, and she oversees Public Protection (PPC) field operations for the Western Region, as well as the CRS Program for the National Flood Insurance Program for the Western Region.   Stephanie holds a B.A. in Fire Science and Public Safety and an M.S. in Public Safety Management.  She also holds the Certified Fire Protection Specialist Designation from NFPA. 

Meeting ISO Requirements /Community Risk Reduction  

Insurance Services Office (ISO) issues ratings to communities throughout the country based on the effectiveness of their fire protection services and equipment. The ISO rating is a numerical grading system and is one of the primary elements used by the insurance industry to develop premium rates for residential and commercial businesses.  This presentation is designed to provide attendees with information needed to aid in the preparation of an ISO survey, based on the revised Fire Suppression Rating Schedule, and focusing on facilities, equipment, training, fire prevention, public safety education and fire investigation activities.

Battalion Chief Forrest Kuiper


Battalion Chief Forrest Kuiper has been working in the fire service since 1997 when he started working at UAF as a student firefighter. He became an auxiliary firefighter in 2000, then worked as a safety officer at UAF Codes and Safety until 2003. In the spring of 2003, Chief Kuiper began his full-time career position as a Captain with University Fire Department. After 14 rewarding years serving as Captain, beginning the fall of 2017 he currently serves as Battalion Chief of C Platoon while maintaining his State of Alaska EMT III certification as well.

Chief Kuiper earned an associate degree in Fire Science; associate degree in Hazardous Materials; a baccalaureate degree in Emergency Management; and a masters degree in Public Administration, all from the University of Alaska. He is a graduate of the National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer Program.

Special Luncheon Program - Cancer Prevention for the Fire Service

In this open discussion format, we ​will talk about cancer prevention changes being made in the fire service, specifically what has and hasn't worked in the interior of Alaska.  There have been some measurable successes but have found some obstacles that are requiring innovative thinking.  Everyone in attendance should hopefully be able to take home some ideas to improve their safety culture, regardless of their department size and budgets.    

Captain Paul Urbano

We are looking forward to another great presentation from Anchorage Fire Captain Paul Urbano.  Paul is not a stranger to the Alaska Fire Conference and his courses are always well received.

Truck Company Operations: Rescue, Rescue, Rescue

This year’s Truck Company Operations Class will focus on rescuing victims from various perspectives such as up a staircase, down a staircase, down a ground ladder, down an aerial ladder, from a window, etc. This class will cover rescue size-up, searching for victims, and rescuing victims. This will be in intensive hands-on class.  

Lieutenant Jason Buist


Jason Buist is a Lieutenant with Fort Wainwright Fire Department in Fairbanks. With 23 years on the job, he is a regular face at Fire Conference either passing on knowledge or getting it from others.  Lt. Buist is part of the team which produced the State Credentialed Live Fire Instructor class.  The goal being to have live fire training be a part of every State Fire Conference.

Live Fire Training and Acquired Structures

This year again Lt. Buist and his cadre of fire service instructors will be doing a live fire training course that will include discussions on how to prep an acquired structure for training.

Additional instructors:  AFD Training Chief Alex Boyd, Nikiski Training Officer Brian Crisp, AFD Captain Jason Dolph, CES Deputy Chief Dan Grimes, Greely Fire Department Captain Casey Linton, University Fire Department Ben Fleagle.

Photo of Steve Schreck

Steve Schreck

Steve Schreck

As a 35 year veteran of emergency services Steve has dedicated himself to assisting fellow responders with having healthier and happier lives. Steve was a cofounder of Alaska Firefighter Peer Support, currently serving as a peer supporter. Is a Group Leader for Soldiers Heart is currently working with a team of therapist and equine therapy trainers to create an equine assisted PTSD therapy program for Alaska First Responders called Responders Promise. He is a member of the Alaska CISM Team, traveling around the state for Critical Incident Stress Debriefings and is the National Volunteer Fire Council, Alaska Health Wellness Advocate. Steve is Nationally Certified Instructor for QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) Suicide Intervention and prevention.

Recently retired from Alaska Division of Fire and Life Safety after 18 years as the Coordinator for the Alaska Office of Rural Fire Protection. Steve has over thirty five years experience as a volunteer and paid member in emergency services as Firefighter, EMT, Driver/ Operator, Company Officer, USCG Licensed Captain, Dive Rescue Specialist and a former member of the U.S. Federal Disaster Response Team. Steve is an Honorary Life Member of the Alaska Fire Chief Association and the Alaska State Firefighters Association.

Presentation:  Responder Mental Health and Safety: Assembling Our Toolkit

Tools for helping ourselves and others deal with the stress of being first responders. In this interactive presentation we’ll look at responder stress, the signs and symptoms and then explore solutions and resources available to Alaska First Responders and Dispatchers. It’s time to bring post traumatic stress out from behind closed doors and look at options to deal with this stress in ourselves, our co-workers and our families. Making us more aware and better prepared so that we not only make sure everyone goes home but that all go home healthier and happier. Participants will be certified in QPR Gatekeeper (Question, Persuade, Refer) Suicide Prevention and intervention.