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Quarterly Training & Business Meeting

We held our annual Quarterly Training and Business Meeting on October 25, 2023 at Trident Technical College in North Charleston. Thanks to our guest speakers, Dr. McDonald, Rebecca Harned, and Chief Tom Jenkins for joining us, and to all the fire service professionals who took the time out of their day to learn with us.

Pictures from Quarterly

Igniting Firefighter Recruitment & Retention Efforts

Incident Data Innovation with NERIS

Description: Are you tired of seeing the flame of passion dim among your team? Are you actively seeking innovative strategies to attract new members and to keep your current firefighters engaged to their noble mission? Join us for an exhilarating discussion on “Igniting Firefighter Recruitment & Retention,” designed to equip you with the knowledge to boost recruitment and retention efforts for creating a dynamic team of public servants.
Description: Find out about the latest in fire data modernization and innovation from the US Fire Administration with the recently announced effort to develop and launch the National Emergency Response Information System (NERIS), which will eventually 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.


Dr. Candice McDonald

Speaker Bio: Dr. Candice McDonald has served for over two decades in public service as a firefighter, EMS chief, public educator, instructor, and inspector. She is the past president of the Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firemen’s Association, a member of the Winona Fire Department, and serves on the FDIC/Fire Engineering Advisory Board. She currently works for the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) as the deputy CEO and is an adjunct professor for Eastern Gateway Community College and the University of Arkansas. Before joining the NVFC, she spent over twenty years in government. She worked for NASA in the Office of Protective Services as a special agent. Before working at NASA, she was the program coordinator for the Research Center for Educational Technology at Kent State University.  Before joining the Kent State family, she worked for the State of Ohio in marketing. Before entering government service, she spent ten years working as a mental health case manager and drug and alcohol counselor. She holds a doctor of business administration with a specialty in homeland security, a master’s in organizational leadership, a bachelor’s in organizational management, and an associate’s in health and human services. McDonald also has a certification in project management from Kent State University and NASA Lean Six Sigma Green Belt.

Rebecca Harned

Speaker Bio: Rebecca Harned possesses 20 years working with the fire and emergency services community at the intersection of emerging technology, data science, preparedness, and response policy. In support of the US Fire Administration (USFA), Rebecca serves as the lead Subject Matter Expert on data modernization and the development of the National Emergency Response Information System. She also serves as the Chief Programs Officer for the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) where she oversees programmatic strategy across a diverse portfolio of programs charged with advancing fire service leadership globally.

Ms. Harned previously served for over 10 years at the National Alliance for Public Safety GIS (NAPSG) Foundation, where she was as the Principal Investigator over numerous projects at the forefront of science, technology, & policy for preparedness and resilience. In this capacity she led the 5-year Innovative Mutual Aid Policy and Technology program, resulting in real-time data exchange among Federal agencies, National fire organizations, and local mutual aid organizations. While at NAPSG, she also oversaw the implementation of Regional Flood Preparedness Pilots and co-authored the National Guidance on Risk, Resilience, and Vulnerability Indices – all co-sponsored by DHS Science & Technology (DHS S&T) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Rebecca also served for over 3 years as the Senior Advisor to the National Integration Center at FEMA where she co-led the implementation of Presidential Policy Directive 8: National Preparedness across the Federal interagency and Whole Community. Prior to her work at NAPSG and FEMA, she managed the Communications Interoperability program and supported the Safe Energy & Transportation programs for the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) and has held numerous positions domestically and internationally in the converging fields of sustainability, preparedness, and disaster management.

She resides in New Hampshire with her family where she serves as an Adjunct Professor at Colby-Sawyer College. Additionally, Ms. Harned holds a master’s degree from the United Nations-mandated University for Peace, a bachelor’s degree from Colby-Sawyer College, and a Certificate in Executive Leadership from the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS).

Chief Tom Jenkins

Speaker Bio: Tom Jenkins serves as a Senior Advisor / Research Manager for the NERIS project.  Prior to his service to NERIS, he was the Fire Chief for the City of Rogers (AR).  In that capacity he led over 160 career firefighters and successfully attained accreditation from the Center for Public Safety Excellence and Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services. 

Chief Jenkins was asked to serve by Governors Beebe and Hutchison to serve on several state commissions and groups, including the Trauma Advisory Council, Firefighter Cancer Benefit Review Panel and the Safe Schools Commission. He has served as a professor for Drury University, Northwest Arkansas Community College, Tulsa Community College, and Oklahoma State University. In 2015, Chief Jenkins was elected to serve on the Board of Directors for the International Association of Fire Chiefs as the Second Vice President. In 2017 and 2018, he served as President and Chairman of the Board for the IAFC.

In addition to public service, Tom is recognizable face at nearly all fire and emergency medical conferences where he speaks and presents regularly. Chief Jenkins completed his Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Oklahoma and obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Fire Protection and Safety Engineering from Oklahoma State University. He has completed the Executive Fire Officer Program at the National Fire Academy and is a designated Chief Fire Officer and Chief Emergency Medical Services Officer from the Commission on Public Credentialing. He currently serves on multiple boards and committees, including the: NFPA Standard on Organization and Deployment of Career Fire Departments Standard 1710, International Fire Service Training Association Board of Directors, PulsePoint Advisory Board, and National Fallen Firefighters Foundation Advisory Board.