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S8 Presentations

Ryan Cox

National Anthem

Mary Sarah | Tuesday, February 20, 2024 | 0800 – 0930

Mary Sarah is a captivating country music artist hailing from the heart of Texas. With her soulful voice, heartfelt storytelling, and undeniable charisma, she has made a lasting impression in the country music scene. Born with an innate talent for music, she began her journey at a young age touring nationally. Mary Sarah’s unique blend of traditional country sound coupled with a modern twist sets her apart, seamlessly bridging the gap between generations. That is shown through her “Bridges” record which includes collaborations with industry legends Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and more. Not too long after that release, Mary Sarah went on to place 5th of Season 10 of The Voice. Now, with over a decade of experience, Mary Sarah continues to captivate audiences worldwide with her timeless sound and genuine passion for country music.

Ryan Cox

Keynote Remarks

Dr. Lori Moore-Merrell, US Fire Administration | Tuesday, February 20, 2024 | 0800 – 0930

Dr. Lori Moore-Merrell was appointed by President Joseph Biden as the U.S. Fire Administrator on October 25, 2021. Prior to her appointment, Lori served nearly 3 years as the President and CEO of the International Public Safety Data Institute (IPSDI), which she founded after retiring from a 26-year tenure as a senior executive in the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF). She began her fire service career in 1987 as a fire department paramedic in the City of Memphis Fire Department, Memphis Tennessee. Today, as a Doctor of Public Health and data scientist, Lori is an award-winning international speaker, presenter, and author. She is considered an expert in executive leadership, community risk assessment, emergency response system evaluation, public safety resource deployment, firefighter health and safety, and generational differences in the workplace.

Kymberly Pashkowsky

Senior-based CRR

Kymberly Pashkowsky | Tuesday, February 20, 2024 | 1000 – 1120

With one person overseeing the whole state in Community Risk Reduction, and only half of our fire departments (+600 FDs) participating in our CRR Efforts, we found several areas of need. To get creative in our efforts, we started exploring help from the community. We established our “Life Safety Hero” program to encourage community members to get involved. This has been very successful and empowering for the residents to get involved and know their neighbors. This program developed beyond just installing smoke alarms, and I am excited to share what these amazing Senior “Elderly” residents accomplished.
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Allen Wilson

Ocean Rescue Reduction

Allen Wilson | Tuesday, February 20, 2024 | 1000 – 1120

The Surf City Fire Department (SCFD) utilized a flag system to reduce injuries and deaths on the beach after experiencing a dynamic shift in the safety and well-being of beachgoers, which forced them to think outside the box to alert the public to beach conditions. After an in-depth risk analysis, the department identified several key areas that needed attention. One of these areas was the need for an alerting system to notify beachgoers of the current weather and conditions that directly affect the surf zone and its apparent dangers. Emergencies went from increasing by 367% in one year to decreasing by 41% the next, with no beach incident-related deaths.
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Ben Shearer

CRR All Hazards

Ben Shearer | Tuesday, February 20, 2024 | 1000 – 1120

When the City of Pasco Fire Department picked our three priorities for our CRR programs in 2017, we saw them as three separate issues. One of those priorities was the high number of repeat callers to 911. We had a small part of our community that represented a disproportionate number of our responses. What we did not expect was how many of them were also represented in the other two priorities. Realizing that our audience for one program was probably a candidate for our other priorities, we quit thinking of them as individual programs. With this change in thought process, we are seeing a considerable reduction in our repeat callers. It is not just solving an issue by using all 5 E’s; it is solving all of their disparities by using every E!
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Victoria Reinhartz

Paramedic Pharmacist Partnership

Victoria Reinhartz & Will Mueller | Tuesday, February 20, 2024 | 1120 – 1200

Within Colerain Township Department of Fire and EMS, falls represent 14% of EMS call volume, with 87% of falls being patients aged 65 and older. Contributing risks were identified to be comorbid chronic disease, medication management, and social determinants of health. A Community Paramedicine (CP) program was established to reduce repeat falls, improve linkage to care by identifying social needs and referring to appropriate resources, and reduce repeat medical transports. Previous research demonstrated value in establishing paramedic-pharmacist partnerships as a solution to chronic disease risk reduction. This research project was developed secondary to the changing healthcare landscape, to explore fire-based CP programs and innovative partnerships social determinants of health (SDoH), chronic disease and medication-related risks, and corresponding fall risk. Within this project, the CP program and partners perform an evidence-based Falls Assessment, Medication Review, and SDoH Assessment. Primary outcomes being evaluated include determining impact of a fire-based CP program and fire agency-initiated medication review on fall risk, social determinants of health risk scores, social service resource utilization, and system utilization (911 calls, ER visits, and hospitalizations). Secondarily, correlations between 911 utilization, falls, fall risk, medication-related problems, and social determinants of health will be evaluated.
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Kathy Hook

YFS with Mental Health Partners

Kathy Hook | Tuesday, February 20, 2024 | 1315 – 1405

If the societal issue of youth misuse of fire is to be effectively addressed, fire departments, law enforcement agencies, and mental/behavioral health organizations must work in tandem to increase awareness of the motivations and varying typologies of youth firesetters, and that intervention/treatment needs to match the unique circumstances of each youth. In this session, innovative partnerships with mental/behavioral professionals that have proven to be successful in addressing this issue will be reviewed.
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Bryan Tyson
Dr. Jeffery Gruenglas

Rural RFS Program

Bryan Tyson & Dr. Jeffery Gruenglas | Tuesday, February 20, 2024 | 1315 – 1405

Youth-set fires are a risk in Massachusetts and were identified as a priority risk in the rural county of X. The program’s goal is to identify, prevent, and rehabilitate youths involved in firesetting actions and behaviors and misuse of fire within our county through intervention, education,, and mental health services. Our 30-member multi-disciplinary group is divided into three groups, each with a program manager and led by a steering committee with liaisons from Fire, Justice, Law Enforcement, Mental Health, and the Fire Chief’s Association.
The pilot program enrolled 10 participants over five months. At the 6-month evaluation, six participants participated in a follow up evaluation. All were successfully referred to proper intervention and all but one self-reported positive trends toward appreciation of firesetting risk and low likelihood to repeat firesetting activities. One was hospitalized due to a mental health crisis. The program is continuing to provide quality interventions and monitor outcomes. Implementation of the program has correlated with a year-over-year decrease in youth firesetting in the county as well as a reduction of more than 50% in reported fire incidents in 2023. These outcomes have resulted in reduced monetary loss and value of property, savings in insurance premiums, and increased school attendance and productivity.
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Bryan Tyson

Should I Be Worried About This Kid? Development of an Early Identification Tool for Youth Firesetting

Karla Klas, Ann Adams, & Dr. Anthony Campagna | Tuesday, February 20, 2024 | 1410 – 1500

Early and consistent identification of youth firesetting (YFS) is crucial. Research shows that without appropriate intervention or if only punishment is used, youth who misuse fire are likely to do it again: a risk that greatly impacts community safety and has associated drains on society. Yet most adults who live with and professionally work with youth lack awareness and understanding of YFS. To address this universal knowledge gap and widespread community risk issue, a simple, pragmatic, evidence-informed early identification tool was developed and pilot tested. The “FFIT – Firesetting and Fire Safety Identification Tool” was specifically designed to be understandable and easily utilized by any adult, regardless of their background or previous YFS training. This session will provide an overview of this international research project, including an introduction of the FFIT for immediate use at no cost to all professionals who work with youth.
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Bryan Tyson

Before Operational Stress

Dr. Megan McElerhan | Tuesday, February 20, 2024 | 1530 – 1630

Before Operational Stress is research backed, resiliency-based mental health program for public safety personnel and first responders. It is a proactive approach to support mental health rather than treating the symptoms after an event has occurred.
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Charles Jennings

Home Fire Reduction

Charles Jennings | Wednesday, February 21, 2024 | 0830 – 1000

Fire in the residential built environment continues to cause deaths, injuries, financial loss, and community disruption. While data-driven approaches to community risk reduction, particularly the problem of smoke alarm installation, promotion, and home safety inspections, have been widely promoted, sustained programs are comparatively rare, and long-term evaluations are even more uncommon. This session will present the results and process behind a long-term evaluation of an ongoing fire safety intervention in a metropolitan city and the results of a systematic literature review capturing recent developments.

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Ryan Cox

Lift Assist Referrals

Ryan Cox | Wednesday, February 21, 2024 | 0830 – 1000

A partnership with 211 Helpline Center and multiple other agencies increased help to those calling 911 for lift assistance. This program has evolved into a system to get the correct assistance through partnerships to the people that we serve while managing the increasing number of calls. This program has helped decrease multiple-use individuals that totally rely on the 911 system. Getting the correct assistance and also informing the public about other forms of available assistance has helped to manage the increasing needs of our aging population.
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Jessica Xenakis

Safety Squad

Jessica Xenakis | Wednesday, February 21, 2024 | 0830 – 1000

The Virginia Beach Fire Department’s Safety Squad program is a comprehensive, skills-based approach to teaching fire safety and injury prevention to elementary students in grades K-5. The program is built upon the foundation of age-appropriate curriculum resources developed and tested by leading national organizations and fire safety experts. Evaluation tools such as a pre-test and post-test, as well as a feedback survey exclusively designed for teachers and school administrators, allow for efficient and concise program assessment. Safety Squad is exemplary in demonstrating the ways educators can utilize strategic partnerships, volunteers, and resources on a limited budget to deliver the most innovative, high quality fire safety and injury prevention lessons in their communities.
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Jessica Xenakis

Youth Firesettings – An Ongoing Community Risk

Mike Weller, Don Porth, Karla Klas, Ann Adams & Kathi Osmonson | Wednesday, February 21, 2024 | 1030 – 1145

A focus on youth firesetting is critical in developing your CRR strategic plan. With the current demand for training, program development, implementation, and evaluation, this session will present an overview discussion. Topics will include training availability, current trends, the importance of data, and how the Youth Firesetting Information Repository & Evaluation System (YFIRES) can help, community partnerships, and intervention strategies leading to positive outcomes for youth, their families, and the community.
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MIH reduces 911 calls

Jesse Blaire | Wednesday, February 21, 2024 | 1315 – 1455

In 2020, Ocala Fire Rescue (OFR) partnered with AdventHealth Ocala to establish a Community Paramedicine (CP) program to address the medical needs of low-income, uninsured community members. The program offered off-site follow-up services to chronically ill, uninsured patients, improving patient outcomes and reducing healthcare costs. The program’s success led to the launch of the Ocala Recovery Project (ORP), which aims to reduce opiate overdose death and dependency. This presentation discusses the challenges faced and victories gained as OFR navigated the Mobile Integrated Healthcare (MIH) arena to create a robust and sustainable healthcare network, positively impacting services provided today.
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Aaron Kozlowski

Community Mental Health

Aaron Kozlowski | Wednesday, February 21, 2024 | 1315 – 1455

Mental health has become a focus across the United States. From the 988 program to the smallest community, mental health awareness is on the rise. The Joliet Fire Department identified mental health as a community risk because 10-15% of the EMS calls involve mental health. The Joliet Community Mental Health Program has evolved from a peer support team for firefighters to a program that offers mental health to every citizen of Joliet at no cost to the resident. By breaking down the barriers of access, cost, and transportation, the JFD created a reproducible program that any community could adopt. In the past year, mental health responses are down, and suicides in Joliet are down 47% compared to last year. The JFD believes no citizen should feel like they are on their own.
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Responder Mental Health – State-level Program

Patti Graham | Wednesday, February 21, 2024 | 1315 – 1455

As long as fire and disasters have existed, there have been “helping responders” experiencing vicarious trauma. Florida State University conducted a national study of firefighters in 2015 and identified a high risk for suicide. As the state tackles this and related issues, a firefighter behavior health project has taken form to reach out to first responders and their families, including retirees, to provide effective support and interventions with their team and trained mental health clinicians.
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Responder Mental Health – Three Tiers

Jason Corthell | Wednesday, February 21, 2024 | 1315 – 1455

For far too long, first responders have been asked to serve their citizens first, while their feelings of angst, burnout, and depression were on display within our ranks. Providing solutions to the current mental health crisis our responders are plagued by is paramount in order to fortify any element within community risk reduction The Cypress Creek Fire Department wanted to do things right and carefully crafted a mental wellness program with three tiers: peer support groups, chaplaincy, and formal professional counseling. Cypress Creek FD has seen an increase in participation, employee satisfaction, reduced stress, and better social and interpersonal relationships, especially with coworkers and at home. Our first responders who engage with our mental wellness programs are less likely to relapse or require hospitalization.
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Tom Jenkins

UL FSRI NERIS Data Systems – A New Beginning

Tom Jenkins | Wednesday, February 21, 2024 | 1510 – 1555

Find out about the latest in fire data modernization and innovation from the US Fire Administration with the effort to develop and launch the National Emergency Response Information System (NERIS), which will soon replace the legacy NFIRS. The goal of NERIS is to empower the local fire and emergency services community by equipping them with near real-time information and analytic tools that support data informed decision-making for enhanced preparedness and response to incidents involving all hazards. In this session you will have the opportunity to learn about NERIS, ask questions, and participate in a dialogue focused on the future of incident data and analytics for the local fire service.
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Tom Jenkins

Building Champions – A Journey to Peoria

Stephen Hrustich, Nathan Rice & Shawn Sollberger | Wednesday, February 21, 2024 | 1600 – 1655

This moderated session will serve to showcase one fire department’s journey into the Community Risk Reduction (CRR) realm, highlighting Peoria’s fire departments role as champions in engaging their organization and community to strategically reduce risk.. CRR can often be an unnerving process to start, with many organizations finding a lack of knowledge and a path to follow. Join the discussion of this moderated discussion as we examine the key elements of this process through the eyes of 3 key stakeholders committed to creating a safe, healthy and resilient Peoria.

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Tom Jenkins

Data Driven Solutions for Improving Your Community Risk Reduction Efforts

Mike Cox | Thursday, February 22, 2024 | 0830 – 1000

Fire and emergency medical services (EMS) face complex and dynamic challenges in protecting and serving their communities. To address these challenges, fire and EMS agencies need to adopt a data-driven and strategic approach to community risk reduction (CRR).  In this 90-minute presentation and workshop, you will learn various Fire and EMS Solutions that are currently being used across the nation. These include Target Hazard Analysis Solution, the Fire Preplan Solution, the Fire Accreditation Solution, and get a sneak preview of the new Community Risk Reduction Solution. You will also learn how Esri’s Living Atlas, the world’s largest collection of geographic data, can be leveraged for risk analysis and decision making. Regardless of your level of proficiency, come gain insight into ways you can incorporate these examples and solutions into your processes.

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Tom Jenkins

Older Adult Falls Prevention: The Research Behind the Messaging

Dr. Nathan Estrada, Kelly Ransdell & Meri-K Appy | Thursday, February 22, 2024 | 0830 – 1000

Effective strategies to close the engagement gap between the 1 in 3 older adults that are falling every year and 1 in 2000 who attend a balance class.  Understand how the science of fall prevention has drastically changed in the past 20 years, and we need to change with it.  Learn what has the greatest impact today. As CRR practitioners, you are likely well aware of the critical problem of older adult falls in your community. The challenge is what to do about it.  This breakout session dives into the science of falls prevention and highlights proven tools and methods to motivate positive change.

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Tonya Hoover

Closing Remarks

Igniting Your Passion – A Fireside Chat with Deputy US Fire Administrator Tonya Hoover

Tonya Hoover, Deputy US Fire Administrator | Thursday, February 22, 2024 | 1045 – 1130

Tonya Hoover is Deputy Fire Administrator at the United States Fire Administration (USFA). As the senior career federal fire official, she is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the USFA. This includes the annual training of over 100,000 first responders at and through the National Fire Academy (NFA); the National Fire Incident Reporting System, which documents and analyzes 27 million fire department emergency responses a year; the USFA’s fire prevention, public information and public education programs; and the 27 campus buildings and the grounds of the historic National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg, Maryland. She was named to this position in February 2020.

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