MISSOULA – They’re scrambling to deal with reduced budgets, new threats to firefighters’ health and safety and the growing risk of wildfire.
But for the top fire chiefs in Montana are networking this week in Missoula is a way to find solutions to those challenges.
“The mark of a good leader is to have the courage to lead, to have passion, to make sound decisions and looking out for the best interests of others,” said Missoula Rural Fire District Assistant Chief Brent Christopherson. “We believe that this conference will help you do just that.”
The Montana State Fire Chiefs’ Association opened its three-day convention — which includes chiefs from the largest departments to volunteer, rural fire agencies — with a welcome from Missoula’s top firefighters.
There are also 30 different vendors at the event, presenting the latest in high tech firefighting gear, a trend getting more attention as departments look to improve response and efficiency.
There will be discussions delving into issues like writing grants to firefighters getting cancer, impacts from drug issues and helping with responding to active shooters and even suicide prevention.
The convention runs through Saturday at Holiday Inn in downtown Missoula.