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Fire Service Membership Council

Fire Service Membership Council Governing Committee will be meeting

Saturday, April 16, 2016, 9:00 a.m. CDT
Sunday, April 17, 2016, 10:00 a.m. (approx.)

The International Code Council Fire Service Membership Council Governing Committee will host its semi-annual business meeting at the Kentucky International Convention Center, 221 S 4th St, Louisville, Room TBA on Saturday April 16, 2016, from 9:00 to 4:00 p.m.

On Sunday, April 17, the meeting will continue immediately following the Joint Membership Council Meeting that starts at 8:00 a.m.

All members of the Fire Service Membership Council are invited to participate.

You can join the meeting via toll-free teleconference by dialing 1-800-910-8278 and entering ID 8432131 #. If you dial in, please mute your phone until you are ready to speak.

The meeting agenda is available at the Fire Service Membership Council website.

Thank you to the Southwestern Division representative Robert Barnett for his service to the ICC and the members of the Southwestern Division!

For more information on Fire Service Membership Council and to enroll in cdpACCESS click here 

Here’s a complete list of representatives on the Governing Committee:

Scott Adams, Chair, Park City Fire Service District, UT
Gary West, Vice Chair, National Association of State Fire Marshals, TN

Robert Barnet, International Association of Fire Fighters (Southwest Division), LA
Fulton Cochran, Henderson Fire Department, NV
Ronny Coleman, Fireforceone, CA
Sean DeCrane, International Association of Fire Fighters, OH
Timothy Diehl, City of Rockville, MD
Jackie Gibbs, International Association of Fire Chiefs (Southeastern Division), GA
Tonya Hoover, National Association of State Fire Marshals, CA
Rick McCullough, International Association of Fire Chiefs (Canadian Division), Canada
George Michehl, International Association of Fire Chiefs (Great Lakes Division), IL
Richard Miller, National Association of State Fire Marshals, MI
Ernie Misewicz, International Association of Fire Chiefs (Western Division), AK
Kelly Nicolello, National Association of State Fire Marshals, AK
Marc Sampson, International Association of Fire Chiefs (Missouri Valley Division), CO
Michael Sinsigalli, International Associateion of Fire Chiefs (New England Division), CT
Jim Yates, International Association of Fire Chiefs (Eastern Division), NJ
Adolf Zubia, Nevada County Consolidated Fire District, NV

Staff Liaison
Robert Neale, Vice President of National Fire Service Activities, Government Relations

Board Liaison
Jim Brown, ICC Board of Directors

Business meeting at SW Conference

DSC_0336Don’t miss out on attending the SW Conference in Oklahoma City April 6-9.  This year’s conference is joining forces with the Oklahoma Fire Chiefs Association.


The education workshop is April 7. The  education is provided by the Southwestern Division and IAFC Academy, FEMA Region VI, and TransCanada.

Oklahoma Training Outline final

During the SW Business Meeting we will be voting on candidates to fill the 2nd Vice President and the Secretary & International Director (3 year term) The business meeting will be held Saturday April 9  Southwestern Chiefs beginning at 10:30 am 



Conference Details:

April 6-9, 2016
Tower Hotel, 3233 NW Expressway, OKC, OK 73112


Early Bird Registration (Before March 31):
$100 per Member
$100 per Spouse
$100 per Guest

Registration after March 31:
$125 per Member
$125 per Spouse
$125 per Guest


Tower Hotel
$87 for Double or Queen // $60 for April 9 (Saturday night only)
Cut-Off Date for Special Rate is March 21, 2016. Mention “OFCA” for Special Rate.

Conference Agenda:

Tuesday April 5, 2016

1:00 – 5:00 p.m. Executive Boards Arrival
5:00 p.m. OFCA Board of Directors Meeting

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Golf Tournament – Lake Hefner Golf Course
Sponsored by Anheuser-Busch of Oklahoma City 

7:30 a.m. Registration
9:00 a.m. Shotgun Start (Lunch at Clubhouse after play)
1:00 pm


SW Board of Directors meet at OKC Memorial (provided by OKC Fire Chief Keith Bryant)  Followed immediately by meeting with SW Board of Directors


6:00 p.m.   Hospitality – Tower Hotel/16th Floor
Compliments of Pierce/Conrad Fire Equipment

Thursday April 7, 2016

7:30 – 9:00 a.m. Registration
7:30 a.m. Vendors – Salons A, B, C, D corridors, outdoor area
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Education Session (SW Div. /IAFC) – Salon E, F, G, H

  • Pandemic for First Responders – Brad McDannald – FEMA–National Preparedness Division Regional Continuity Manager
  • Pipeline Emergency Preparedness – TransCanada    
10:00 – 10:15 a.m. Break
11:30 – 1:00 p.m. Lunch – On Your Own
7:00 p.m. Networking – TOP GOLF (Registered members and guests only)

Friday April 8, 2016

7:00 a.m. Past President’s Breakfast – Bistro
7:00 – 8:30 a.m. Registration – Salon Foyer
8:30 a.m – 9:30 a.m. Opening Session – Salon E, F, G, H

  • Call to Order (cell phones on silent): Kellie Sawyers, President OFCA & Robert Monsivaiz, President SW-Division/IAFC
  • Posting of Colors – Oklahoma City Fire Department Honor Guard
  • Oklahoma Firefighters Pipe & Drums
  • Pledge of Allegiance
  • Invocation – Chaplain Ted Wilson – OCFD
  • Welcomes: Kellie Sawyers, OFCA President; Robert Monsivaiz, President-SW-Division/IAFC; Keith Bryant, OCFD; & City of Oklahoma City Welcome
  • Introductions: OFCA Executive Board/Staff, SW-Division/IAFC, IAFC Board Members, OFCA Past Presidents/Active Life Members, OSFA Board, ORFA Board, OK State Fire Marshal, OSU-FST, IFSTA-FPP, Insurance Services Offices (ISO)
  • Memorial Service: 2nd & 3rd OFCA Presidents, Oklahoma City Honor Guard
  • Keith Bryan Memorial Scholarship Fundraiser (artwork)
9:30 a.m.
  • Keynote Address: Bill Webb – Executive Director, Congressional Fire Services Institute
  • Appointment of Committees (OFCA & SW-Division/IAFC)
  • Nominating
  • Resolutions
  • Credentials: OFCA First Report of Nominating Committee
  • Announcements/Door Prizes
11-12:30 p.m. Vendors Lunch/Introductions
12-2:30 p.m. Vendor Breakdown
5:30 p.m. Past Presidents Reception – Concierge Room (by invitation only)
6:30 p.m. Associate Members Reception – Ballroom Lobby
7:30 p.m.
  • Banquet
  • J. Ray Pence Award
  • OFCA Leadership Award
  • Grand Door Prizes
  • Entertainment – The Jake Adams Band (Compliments of Pierce/Conrad Fire Equipment)

Saturday April 9, 2016

9:00 a.m. General Session – Salon E, F, G, H

  • Call to Order: Kellie Sawyers, OFCA President & Robert Monsivaiz, SW-Div./IAFC President
  • Invocation: Ted Wilson, – OCFD Chaplain
  • Reports: OSFA – Raanon Adams, President; ORFA – John Soos, President
  • Adjourn General Session

Convene Business Meeting – OFCA

  • Membership Report – 3rd Vice President Sean Douglas
  • Keith Bryan Memorial Scholarship Fund Report
  • Convention Reports: Credentials Committee Report, Resolutions Committee Report (Includes special resolutions), Nominating Committee Report + Balloting, and Selection of 2017 Host City – 1st Vice President Ray Driskell
  • Election Results
  • Old Business
  • New Business
  • Adjourn OFCA Business Meeting
10:15 a.m. Break
10:30 a.m. Convene Business Meeting – SW-Division/IAFC

  • Adoption of Minutes
  • Reading of Communications
  • Report of Secretary/Treasurer
  • Report of Standing Committees
  • Topics and Contributing Papers
  • Report on Attendance
  • Old Business
  • New Business
  • Report on Host City 2017
  • Designation of Host City 2018
  • Election of Officers
  • Adjourn SW-Division/IAFC Business Meeting

Reconvene – General Session

  • Presentations
  • Installation of 2016-2017 OFCA Officers: Mike Karlin, Past President
  • Executive Board Comments
  • Announcements
  • Adjourn
  • Door Prizes
12:00 p.m. Adjourn Sine Die
1:00 p.m. Board Meeting – Boardroom

2016 OFCA Women’s Auxiliary Agenda — Tentative

Thursday April 7, 2016

9:00 a.m. General Session with Chief’s Association for Memorial Service
7:00 p.m. TOP GOLF (registered members and guests only)

Friday April 8, 2016

8:00 – 9 a.m. Registration

Saturday April 9, 2016

9:00 a.m. Breakfast / General Session – Rose Rock Room




What’s a volunteer really worth?

Article rewritten with permission by David Taylor, PIO Banks District Volunteer Fire Department

ROCK CAVE (WV) – There is no better longer-running appearance of volunteerism in the history of the United States than the volunteer fire service. Unfortunately, from a national perspective it is undeniable that volunteer fire departments are feeling serious effects of waning memberships. Fewer people today convey the craving to join thus resulting in some fire departments being forced to close their doors for good. Moreover, seasoned highly trained long-time volunteers possessing unparalleled experience are leaving the fire service due to age and medical issues, which is creating a substantial vacuum of specialized skills in many departments.

This same effect is not only occurring nationally, but throughout West Virginia, and at alarming rates in some areas of the state. Most recently, two Marshall County volunteer fire departments closed their doors for good due to increasing insurance costs and a lack of interested volunteers.1

Upshur County is not immune to declining firefighter volunteerism and as a direct result some departments are now missing multiple paged calls for service, which is forcing residents to experience extended response times because of firefighter unavailability. This places our communities and citizens in a condition of grave risk.
Just how valuable are volunteer firefighters to a local community? When today’s financial experts attempt to determine the true economic value of firefighters volunteering for their local community, they usually only look at wage replacement costs, thus failing to incorporate a firefighter’s intrinsic worth.

A wage only replacement approach noticeably fails to determine the genuine value of firefighters based on the underlying perception of their real value, which includes all aspects of their worth in terms of a few tangible and an abundance of intangible aspects. Simply put, the true intrinsic value of volunteer firefighters nationwide and statewide cannot be conclusively calculated, and the very same holds true for Upshur County’s volunteers.
Regarding tangible components, some can be easily identified and calculated. According to current data maintained by the National Volunteer Fire Council, nationwide, volunteer firefighters save citizens approximately $139.8 billion dollars2 annually in taxes and another $450 billion dollars3 in lower insurance premiums, which combined equates to a $589 billion dollar impact on the U.S. economy.

According to the West Virginia State Fireman’s Association, throughout West Virginia, there are 419 volunteer fire departments serving nearly 80% of the state’s population. The Association further states that over 100 municipalities are protected by paid police departments while at the same time being served by volunteer firefighters, entirely, for fire rescue services. Today, over 90% of all firefighters throughout this state are non-paid professional volunteers and these numbers are dwindling rather quickly.

With the diminishing number of volunteer firefighters adversely impacting local communities throughout West Virginia, and also Upshur County, it has become paramount for local elected leaders to now assume the responsibility of placing a real dollar value on professional fire protection services. Officials need to earnestly consider placing firefighters on par with paid law enforcement officers and strategically planning how to fill the void of volunteer firefighters in the future. Elected leaders must realize that firefighting today is a highly trained discipline, just like law enforcement, and is of utmost importance to citizens. Presently, firefighting and fire department operations are heavily regulated by federal and state law and constantly changing industry standards, more so than many businesses. It is no longer a social club or a hobby as many continue to believe and nor will a few free-will BBQ chicken fundraising dinners generate sufficient revenue to operate year-round. With aggressive recruiting efforts constantly failing, and the declining number of volunteer firefighters throughout our county increasing, volunteers will likely need to be replaced, either entirely or in part, with career firefighters to keep communities properly and adequately protected in the near future.

3 West Virginia State Fireman’s Association: A Presentation to Government Organization Subcommittee A

The WV State Fireman’s Association notes that it is a volunteer fire department, which is the sole source of fire rescue protection for many of the state’s largest employers, such as Toyota, Hino Motors, Pilgrim’s Pride, DuPont Washington Works (DuPont’s second-largest manufacturing facility in the world), Allegheny Power Mt. Storm, The Greenbrier, thirteen Wal-Marts around the state, Century Aluminum, Constellium Rolled Products, many of the State’s coal mines, Charles Town Race Track, Mountaineer Casino, numerous colleges such as WV State, Bethany, Concord, WVU-P, West Liberty, etc., correctional complexes at Mount Olive, Huttonsville, Pruntytown, Anthony, and Lakin, just to name a few. Since the creation of the very first fire department in Upshur County, firefighters volunteering their time to unselfishly serve their community have continually increased their net worth over all, to include the quintessential quality of intrinsic value. Every firefighter knows there is something powerful about their drive for meaning while serving in the fire service. Every firefighter will unequivocally state the exact moment they realized the true meaning of their work, as it instantly became an explosion of inspiration to do even more.
Placing an exact dollar amount on Upshur County volunteer firefighters time and service to the community they serve is understandably much more complex, if not totally unascertainable, especially when attempting to calculate within their intrinsic worth to the community.

Firefighters throughout Upshur County provide countless intangibles, which the precise worth just cannot be totaled. Volunteers constantly demonstrate the amount of support their fire department has throughout the region they serve while providing collateral support to the organization. Habitually they find themselves on a moment’s notice, at all hours of the day, working in ultra-hazardous conditions and environments. This work requires specialized skill sets while lives are dangling in their hands.
Continuing the calculations of the tangible components’ values of Upshur’s firefighters, the average mean wage of career firefighters in West Virginia, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor’s most current Division of Occupational Employment Statistics report, is $14.03 per hour.4 However, for volunteer firefighters this wage is higher at $15.02 when assessed by the West Virginia assigned-risk Volunteer Fire Department Workers Compensation Premium Subsidy Program, according to the National Council on Compensation Insurance, Inc.5


Calculating volunteer firefighter coverage hours to have just one firefighter on duty at each of the seven volunteer fire departments throughout the County, having 24/7/365 coverage making the NCCI wage, would cost Upshur taxpayers $918,503.04 per annum. Additionally, when applying the National Fire Protection Association recommended minimum staffing for one engine, which requires four firefighters, this results in an increased cost to taxpayers of $3,674,012.16 yearly. Moreover, when calculating employee benefits in the firefighter’s total compensation package using a standard burden rate of 33%, this creates an increase of over $1.2 million dollars and therefore brings an annual tangible cost to Upshur’s taxpayers to $4,886,436.17.

These costs thus demonstrate substantial financial savings for Upshur County citizens, year after year, because volunteer firefighters and unselfishly give of their time, energy, and specialized talents and skills to serve their community. Most notably however, firefighters perform these services free of charge to the community, but at the expense of their family, especially on holidays and special occasions.
In 2014, the amount of funding (excluding department fundraising, individual donations and grants) received by all volunteer fire departments throughout Upshur raised by the county’s fire service fee was approximately $182,000.00. Another $327,709.69 was received from the state of West Virginia through the Insurance Surtax on property and casualty premiums. Combined, this collective amount of $509,709.69 received is painfully pale in comparison to the $4.88 million dollars, which would be the amount needed to staff all volunteer departments complying with NFPA standards for 24/7/365 coverage with paid staff if there were no more volunteer firefighters.
In 2015, collectively these same departments received $487,293.17 from the county fire service fee and state Insurance Surtax, which was down $22,416.52 from 2014.
Not calculated here, which increases base tangible costs considerably, are the costs involved to purchase new firetrucks and emergency equipment, to purchase fuel, and cover costs associated with liability insurance, workers compensation insurance, utilities and firefighter training, etc.
For example, in calendar year 2014, the Banks District Volunteer Fire Department’s liability insurance and workers compensation insurance premiums together totaled $27,678, and the $26,000 received from Upshur’s fire service fee was inadequate to cover just these two expenses.7

6 Fire service fees are assessed pursuant to the Upshur County Fire Service Fee Ordinance, which was adopted 01 JULY 2000, by the Upshur County Commission. This ordinance was last amended 06 SEPTEMBER 2001. Despite inflation, the amount of service fees assessed have remained unchanged since 2000.
7 Banks District Volunteer Fire Department 2014 Income/Expense statement

Today the average cost to outfit a single firefighter hovers around $11,300, which is comprised of the following:

  • turnout jacket $1500;
  • turnout pants $1300;
  • gloves $65;
  • Nomex hood $35;
  • helmet $265;
  • boots $365;
  • SCBA (Air) $5,200;
  • flashlight $50;
  • pager $500;
  • fire radio $1,850.

Further, when applying NFPA standards, turnout jackets and pants are replaced every 10 years and SCBA bottles are changed every 15 years, which creates substantial monetary burdens on financially strapped departments.

In the mid-90s, new fire engines sold for approximately $200,000. Moving forward to 2015, new fire engine costs ranges from $450,000-600,000. Jumping forward to 2035, what will the price of a fire engine be given current trends of inflation? Approximately $1 million dollars, some economists predict.
Upshur County is not much different than many other rural communities throughout the state, as nearly all of Upshur’s firefighters are volunteers. Throughout the county, other than seven career firefighters employed by the city of Buckhannon, every other firefighter is a professional volunteer who receives no financial compensation whatsoever for the services they perform or for training or attending business meeting nights.
Because of what is frequently viewed on TV or read in the news, and understandably so, everyone today seems worried about credit card fraud, identity theft, or having their Facebook account or computer files compromised; however, in reality most are more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle crash, have a medical emergency or suffer a loss of property by fire. Essentially, virtually everyone will need to call upon the services of their local fire department at some point in their lives a time or two, or three, and here in Upshur, it will be the faithful arms of a local volunteer firefighter reaching out to handle the call, that is, until their numbers become so diminished that they become fully extinguished.

The volunteer fire department, an institution dating back to Ben Franklin, is slowly going the way of the horse-drawn pumper. If anyone is seriously interested in reversing the trend of Upshur County’s diminishing volunteer firefighters and want to help their community, you are strongly encouraged to contact your area volunteer fire department. There are nearly 5 million tangible and countless intangible reasons why you should.

Article rewritten with permission by David Taylor, PIO Banks District Volunteer Fire Department

For further press inquiries, contact David D. Taylor, JD, at 304.924.6864

The firefighter badge of courage

Ever wonder where The Maltese Cross originated? It dates back to the holy crusades.

This is emblem had its beginning during the Crusades and was the symbol of the knights of that period. The knights were designing a shield that wouldn’t be too cumbersome while riding horses into battle. The cross design was adopted and put into use by the early Knights of Malta. The Knights of Malta became a charitable, non-military organization during the 11th and 12th centuries, providing aid to the sick and poor and helping to set up numerous hospitals. They would later take up arms and join with the Knights of the Crusades in an effort to win back the Holy Land. 1

We know it today as the emblem of the international fire service. It’s the symbol that is easily recognized visually by all people. However the symbol carried a flamboyancy all its own when worn by its original designer the Knights of the Crusade. They dressed in regal fashion to show their colors in a uniform manner. Large crimson-colored capes were worn over the suits of armor. Not only were the capes symbolic, but they also helped provide a defense against one of the newest weapons of war–fire. As invading forces attacked a castle, the defenders would throw containers of flammable liquids. Once the armies were soaked, a torch would be hurled at the attackers, igniting them in flames.

As their fellow warriors helplessly fight the flames, the Malta would rush to them, remove their capes and extinguish the flames.

As a ceremonial honor, the cross worn by these brave men was decorated and held inscriptions from their admirers.
It came to be known as first badge of courage and the most honorable medal that could adorn a uniformed crusader.

Proudly we wear our Maltese Cross symbol and realize how much of a tradition of pride and sacrifice this badge holds.


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