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Downloads and Attendee Survey

Symposium Resources

Final Schedule

Download the final schedule 


Download the presentations

Attendee Survey

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(to be launched after the Symposium)

Speakers and Sessions

Attendees can earn 8 hours of EMS credits.

Dr. Stefanos Kales

May 8, 8:30a 

Dr. Kales delivers this year's Opening Keynote. Participants will learn how to use healthy eating, healthy weight, good fitness, adequate sleep and resiliency as  "countermeasures" against fire service occupational hazards. Accordingly, first responders may apply these healthy lifestyle to decrease their risks of cancer, heart disease and behavioral health issues during their careers and into retirement.

Opening Keynote: Survival Mediterranean Style: Lifestyle Countermeasures for Fire Fighters
Denis Lenehan

May 8, 1:45pm - 2:30pm

FF/EMT Denis Lenehan, Senior Principal Consultant for FirstNet, will discuss the challenges public safety faces in communicating on cellular connections within an incident. Denis will highlight the work the Federal government has done to ensure that public safety has connectivity and is able to seamlessly connect with Federal, State, local and supporting agencies in an emergency.

Cellular Network Connectivity within an Emergency or Disaster
Lori Moore-Merrell, DrPH, MPH

May 9, 9:30am - 10:00am

join Dr. Lori Moore-Merrell for a briefing on the International Public Safety Data Institute’s National Fire Operations Reporting System (NFORS) and its new exposure app.

Dr. Gavin Horn 

May 8, 10:30am - Noon

The risks we face as firefighters are constantly evolving as we respond to fires that progress more rapidly and produce more toxic smoke than ever before. In addition to the hazards from rapid fire progression, building collapse and PPE limitations, there are other insidious threats that we face that may not be as evident while implementation tactics or even developing policies. Cancer is a primary chronic health concern associated with firefighting. Sudden cardiac events are the leading cause of line-of-duty deaths in the Fire Service and a primary acute health concern. In an on-going series of projects between IFSI Research, UL FSRI and NIOSH, we have developed a deeper understanding of the exposure risks associated with firefighting activities. This presentation will review the critical results from those efforts with a focus on the impact of fireground decisions on firefighters operating in different roles.   

Fireground Exposure Risks … What Steps Can We Take?
Dr. Michael Hamrock & Dr. Vlad Ivkovic

May 8, 3:00pm - 4:30pm

Behavioral health and resilience are increasingly recognized as pillars of
firefighters’ occupational health and operational performance. Research tell us that firefighters are up to five times more likely than civilians to suffer from PTSD and have high incidences of related health issues such as suicide, sleep disorders, substance abuse, and family problems. We will discuss the latest findings on firefighters’ health and resilience, limitations in behavioral health assessments, novel approaches to physiological and behavioral health assessments in operational settings, how individualized behavioral and physical health assessment, prevention, and intervention strategies are progressing, and how collaborative initiatives between fire departments, labor organizations, and academic and clinical institutions are improving identification and treatment of at-risk firefighters.

Protecting Firefighters’ Behavioral Health and Resilience - Current Limitations and Novel Approaches
Chloe Schweinshaut

May 9, 10:30am - Noon

Firefighters have different dietary requirements than the rest of the world.  Due to the extreme nature of their job, their shift-work schedule as well as the exposure to various toxins, their nutrient needs have to be specifically tailored to their lifestyle.  During this session, Chloe will talk about which foods should and shouldn't be included in a firefighter's diet, as well as clear up a lot of nutrition myths and misconceptions out there.  She will also talk about ways to remove harmful toxins after fires and what some of the best cancer-fighting foods are.  Bring your questions.

Nutrition for Fire Fighters 
Danny Todd 

May 8, 1:00pm - 1:45pm

The IAFF deploys resources to help members recover from devastating natural disasters, which have occurred frequently across the United States in recent years. These resources help members personally affected by these disasters, as they work to get their entire community back on its feet. This talk will focus on the many types of resources and aid the IAFF can bring to help members recover and to provide attendees with information should they ever need to access these services.

IAFF Disaster Response and Relief
Wendy Currie, LICSW & Patricia Diaferio, LICSW

May 9, 8:30am - 9:30am

Join Wendy Currie and Patricia Diaferio of the McLean Hospital LEADER program for a talk about the stress of shift work and fire fighting on the family, including the high divorce rate, and problems with children and other relationships. They will also be addressing the important of addressing these issues early. Finally, they will also be discussing challenges families face in dealing with the need of fire fighters and all first responders. The LEADER (Law Enforcement, Active Duty, Emergency Responder) program at McLean Hospital provides specialized mental health and addiction services designed specifically for men and women in uniform.

Shift Work, Fire Fighting, and Family: Coping with Stress at Home
Jon Klassen, Evan Hannah

May 9, 1:15pm - 2:45pm

Deputy Chief (Retired) Jon Klassen and Captain (Ret) Evan Hannah of the Clark County (NV) Fire Department will share the lessons learned from the Route 91 Harvest Festival active shooter incident. The session is the operational counterpart to our 2018 closing keynote, which focused on the stress the incident placed on responders. This year’s session will focus on the response operations to the largest shooting in US history. Critical lessons, such as the importance of fire and law enforcement coordination and planning will be discussed in the context of this horrific event.

Closing Keynote: The Operational Lessons of the Route 91 Incident
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