Schuyler couple attends National Volunteer Fire Council meeting

October 3, 2018

The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) held its 2018 fall meeting in Bismarck, from Sept. 19-21, and Schuyler’s Joel Cerny and his spouse, Rhonda, were on hand for it.

The NVFC board of directors meet twice a year to conduct Council business, steer the direction of the organization, and address matters of importance to the volunteer fire, EMS, and rescue services.

Sixty-three board members from 37 states attended the meeting, including Cerny and John Bomar, from Madison, representing the Nebraska State Volunteer Firefighters Association.

Committees met on topics ranging from health, safety, and training to legislation to wildland to recruitment and retention and more. The EMS/Rescue Section and NVFC Foundation also met. Joel serves on the Health, Safety and Training Committee; Recruitment and Retention Committee and the Wildland Committee. John serves on the Membership/Awards Committee; Diversity and Inclusion Committee; and the Conference Committee. John was also appointed as the Chairperson of the Conference Committee during the meeting in North Dakota.

In addition to committee actions, the board tackled a variety of issues, including the following:

• Approved the NVFC’s amended 2018 budget and the 2019 budget

• Reviewed the progress of strategic plan items

• Passed an Anti-Harassment and Bullying Statement

• Approved the new mission statement for the diversity and inclusion committee

The board also reviewed the new online NVFC member community, Volunteer Voices, and discussed how it will be implemented. Volunteer Voices will enhance member engagement and allow the volunteer boots on the ground to connect with each other, ask questions, and share resources and best practices.

A line-up of speakers presented to the board on a range of topics.

• The event kicked off with a welcome from North Dakota Lt. Governor Brent Sanford, State Fire Marshal Doug Nelson, and Bismarck Fire Chief Joel Boespflug.

• Steve Vandewalle provided an update on the Department of Homeland Security First Responder Resource Group and how volunteers can be involved.

• A panel discussion on volunteer response to train derailment was presented by Robert Wetzler, former chief of Minot Rural Fire Department; David Lautt, former chief of Harvey Fire Department and NVFC ND director; and Lisa Clute, executive officer of First District Health Unit.

• Ali Rothrock spoke about her experience with harrassment and how she overcame to thrive in the fire service.

• Candace Muggerud, managing partner at KAT Marketing, spoke about the North Dakota Firefighter’s Association recruitment and retention program.

The North Dakota Firefighter’s Association hosted a reception and dinner at Ft. Lincoln State Park on Wednesday evening, and the annual auction to support the NVFC Foundation was held on Thursday evening.

The NVFC is grateful for the hospitality of meeting host North Dakota Firefighter’s Association and appreciates the support of all of the fall meeting sponsors: 3M|Scott Safety, California Casualty, Columbia Southern University, ESIP, Lincoln Financial Group, National Fire Protection Association, Paradigm Liaison Services, The Pennsylvania Fireman, PennWell Fire Group, and Provident Agency.

The NVFC serves as the voice of the volunteer fire, emergency medical, and rescue services on the national level and provides resources, programs, training, and advocacy to help departments and boots-on-the-ground responders thrive. The board of directors is comprised of representatives from 48 state fire service organizations. The next NVFC meeting will be held April 25-27 in Alexandria, Virginia.

Learn more about the NVFC at www.nvfc.org.

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