Thinking outside the classroom has taken on a whole new meaning! First and foremost, I sincerely hope that you, your families, and your departments are all safe and healthy during this time of uncertainty. I truly believe that we, as a fire service and as a world, will come through this trial stronger and more united. It gives us, as instructors, an opportunity to think differently about the way we do things and make changes that have been needing to come for some time. You have to stay focused on what the “silver lining” may be from these types of events. It is a high potential that we fall into the trench of complacency when our training sessions, drills, and conferences are cancelled. Instructors, the leaders of change in the fire service, cannot let that happen! Even if you are uncomfortable with a flipped classroom, using webinars or online meeting platforms, and recording yourself teaching a skill, we have to ensure training continues. The ISFSI is exploring many options to make this happen, which you will see from us shortly. We have had to cancel and postpone many scheduled training courses and we are optimistic that we will get those courses back on track later this year. In the meantime, we are working diligently to get online resources out to departments with world-class instructors in front of the camera, to assist you in your training needs.
On a different note, this is my last President’s Message that I will write to our membership as your President. I have been blessed, honored, and humbled by the opportunities that the ISFSI has afforded me and the lifelong friendships I have made through the world-wide network of instructors I have met. This has truly been the pinnacle of my fire service career and I appreciate each of you that have had a part in that process. The ISFSI is the only organization that caters specifically to the fire instructor, without regards to rank or paid/volunteer status. It is an organization that relies on its members to make it stronger, because it is YOUR organization. We are not a sponsorship heavy, run by grants, organization. We are a membership organization. What you get out of the ISFSI is directly proportional to what you put into the organization. If I would not have asked for an assignment 14 years ago from then-President Tim Sendelbach, I would have never had the experiences that have richly blessed my life. I have worked under amazing leadership (Tim Sendelbach, Shane Ray, Eddie Buchanan, Doug Cline and Steve Pegram) and with many other amazing Board Members, committee members, and general members of the Society. I have had chances to meet some of the world’s leading instructors and work with the industries best in developing training props, researching new ideas for fire suppression, and teaching about the benefits of “fastest water” being fire sprinklers. I am passing the organization on to another heavy hitter, Pete VanDorpe, who will take the ISFSI to a whole new level.
With all of that being said, I encourage you to GET INVOLVED in the Society. Do it DIFFERENT. Remember that THINKING FIREFIGHTERS make a difference and INSTRUCTORS LEAD CHANGE. I promise you that being involved with the ISFSI will bless your life and the lives of your freighters as you bring back knowledge that you gain from networking with a world full of amazing fire instructors.
Take care, be safe, and keep training.