Speakers & Presentations

Brittany Hollerbach, Ph.D., Associate Scientist & Deputy Director, Center for Fire, Rescue & EMS Health Research / NDRI-USA Inc.

Dr. Brittany Hollerbach is an Associate Scientist & Deputy Director of the Center for Fire, Rescue & EMS Health Research at NDRI-USA, Inc. She received her Ph.D. in Kinesiology from Kansas State University and completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at Skidmore College under the direction of Dr. Denise Smith, where she focused on cardiovascular disease in the fire service.

Dr. Hollerbach has extensive experience working with the fire service on a number of federally funded firefighter studies examining behavioral health issues in the fire service including obesity, nutrition, physical activity, sleep, substance use, and mental health. She recently received FEMA funding as the Principal Investigator (PI) on a project examining firefighter perceptions of protective strategies used to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Dr. Hollerbach has an interest in firefighter health in general and translation and dissemination of firefighter health research specifically, given her background as a former firefighter. She also has experience teaching at the fire academy and is well-connected to the fire service community in Kansas City.

Women's Health in the Fire Service

Firefighting is an inherently stressful and dangerous occupation but much of what we know about the health of firefighters pertains to men. Despite representing a small percentage of the fire service, over 85,100 women are on the front lines protecting communities across the U.S.

This presentation will provide an update from our current research on the health concerns facing women in the fire service. We will explore data on the prevalence of overweight and obesity, injury, discrimination and harassment, substance use, cancer (especially breast cancer), and reproductive health. We will also discuss the impact of important behavioral health factors on health.

The goal is to provide information to chief level officers as well as others in leadership and support roles to cultivate an awareness of the challenges and dangers women in the fire service face that can be used to improve decision making and safeguard against these threats.

Patrick Kenny, Ret. Fire Chief

PATRICK J. KENNY has been a member of the fire service for over 38 years, and before retiring in January 2021, served as the Fire Chief in Hinsdale and Western Springs, Illinois. He has been a Chief Officer for over 25 years and a speaker in multiple countries on Mayday for Mental Health® for more than a decade. He is the international best-selling author of TAKING THE CAPE OFF: How to Lead Through Mental Illness, Unimaginable Grief and Loss and has articles published in the areas of mental health, leadership, fire safety, and fire code challenges. He was awarded the Fire Chief of the Year in 2004 by the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association and in 2021 he was awarded Fire Chief Emeritus status by the Executive Board of the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association. He was awarded the Fire Engineering/International Society of Fire Service Instructors (ISFSI) George D. Post Instructor of the Year Award for 2020-2021.

Stand Up & Be the Best

Chief Pat Kenny will bring attention to two of the most critical issues facing fire service leaders today: firefighter mental health and occupational cancer. Armed with a career of advocacy for firefighter health and wellness and a personal story, Chief Kenny will outline the correlation between cancer and mental illness to confirm mental illness is a physical illness, identify obstacles to mental health awareness in the Fire Service using real-life examples and discuss the need to “Take the Cape Off” to provide self-care.

Jason Jantzi, Sr. Risk Management Consultant - Public Safety, SDAO

Jason is a Senior Risk Management Consultant for the Special Districts Association of Oregon (SDAO) and the key risk management contact for SDAO’s public safety members. Jason came to SDAO from Oregon OSHA where he oversaw a statewide instructional staff as the Public Education Manager. Prior to that, he was a Senior Safety Compliance Officer. During his time at Oregon OSHA, Jason was recognized by the Portland City Commissioners for his participation with the Metro Safety Chiefs and was a founding member of the OSHA Fire Policy Team and Fire Service Advisory Committee.

At SDAO, Jason conducts risk assessments, creates and provides safety and liability training, and assesses compliance within safety and operational programs. In 2016, he created the Special Districts Insurance Services Loss Control Program Toolkit for members in the workers’ compensation program. Jason later put together the Fire District Risk Management Self-Assessment that allows members to perform an evaluation of their district in all aspects from the board of directors to operations to youth programs. Jason is the Chief UAS pilot for SDAO and uses his knowledge to assist members in establishing public entity drone programs.

In 2019, Jason was honored by the Oregon Fire Chief’s Association (OFCA) Health and Safety Section with an honorary director position. As a former firefighter/EMT-Intermediate, Jason has a passion for assisting public safety employees to live full and healthy lives. To further his goals in this area, he became a certified peer counselor through the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, Inc.

Risk Management Hot Topics

In this discussion Jason Jantzi will focus on topics that are on the radar as significant risks for organizations. 

Bob Horton, Fire Chief, Jackson County Fire District No.3 & OFCA Board Representative to WFCA

Bob Horton is the CEO/Fire Chief for Jackson County Fire District 3 in southern Oregon, serving a population of 54,000 residents dispersed over 167 square miles of the beautiful Rogue Valley. Chief Horton was appointed Fire Chief in 2017 and had previously served as the Assistant Fire Chief for Las Vegas Fire & Rescue where he started as a Firefighter in October of 2000. Chief Horton has served in various positions and on numerous committees in his 20+ year public safety career. His leadership and direction have led to advancements in community risk reduction, EMS service delivery, improved operations in the 911 center, as well as numerous employee health and wellness programs.

In addition to his role as Fire Chief, Bob has been elected to serve as a Board Director for the Oregon Fire Chiefs Association and Western Fire Chiefs Association, appointed as the Vice-Chair of the WFCA’s Wildfire Policy Committee.

Bob is a scholar-practitioner conducting applied research at the intersection of behavioral economics, public policy, and community risk management. His focus is on the use of evidence to evaluate program effectiveness and to examine policy-relevant questions. Bob has an MPP from Oregon State University, an MPA from the University of Oklahoma, and an Executive Certificate in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School. Bob is a conference speaker on topics related to executive decision-making and is the host of the popular podcast Assuming Command, where he interviews thought leaders, innovators, and influencers in public service.

Jeff Buchanan, Fire Chief, Las Vegas Fire & Rescue

Jeff Buchanan is the Fire Chief for Las Vegas Fire and Rescue and has oversight over the operation of the fire department and manages a yearly budget of over 145 million dollars. Prior to his arrival to LVFR, Jeff was with Clark County Fire Department

Since 2014 as a Deputy Chief. Previously, Jeff was with the City of North Las Vegas for 13 years where he last served as both the fire chief and interim city manager. Jeff is a CFO (Chief Fire Officer), an EFO (Executive Fire Officer), and is an adjunct instructor at the

College of Southern Nevada, University of Nevada Las Vegas, and the National Fire Academy. Jeff is a published author and holds a Master of Business Administration, a Master of Public Administration, and a professional doctorate in Public Policy.

A Fire Chief's Guide to Effective Negotiations

Fire service executives are faced with many challenging situations in the course of their duties. Whether it be resolving disputes between divisions, navigating bargaining and contracts, or collaborating with partners; executives find themselves in situations that may benefit from effective negotiation skills. Negotiation is both a science and an art. The science of negotiations enables us to be deliberate about our actions through an understanding of human interactions to include decision biases, emotion, and trust. The art of negotiation is its execution and our interaction with the people involved. With an understanding of our own biases, emotions, and assumptions, we can be better prepared to enter a negotiating environment. Armed with an understanding of decision-making biases, knowledge of the elements of effective persuasion, and skills in effective negotiation, the executive is set up for tackling the challenges faced in the day-to-day execution of being a chief officer in the fire service.

Eriks Gabliks, Superintendent of the National Fire Academy (NFA)

Eriks Gabliks is the superintendent of the National Fire Academy (NFA). He was named to this position in November 2020. As superintendent, Mr. Gabliks provides leadership for the NFA, which focuses on enhancing the ability of fire and emergency services and allied professionals to deal more effectively with fire and other emergencies.

Mr. Gabliks’ interest in the fire service began in 1982 when he joined his neighborhood volunteer fire company in Adelphia, New Jersey. Over the years, he would serve with four volunteer, combination and career fire agencies, including Howell Township Fire Company #1 (New Jersey), the Howell Township Fire Bureau (New Jersey), Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue (Oregon), and the City of Dallas Fire and EMS Department (Oregon), in positions ranging from entry-level firefighter to deputy fire chief.

In 1991, he joined the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST). During his tenure at DPSST, he served in various roles including training coordinator, fire program manager, assistant director, division director and deputy director. Mr. Gabliks served as the director of DPSST from 2010 to 2020, overseeing a staff of more than 450 employees. He is the first employee in DPSST’s history to have ascended to this position from the internal ranks.

Les Stephens, Fire Chief, San Marcos Fire Department

Les Stephens, a 31+ year veteran of the fire service, is the chief of the San Marcos (TX) Fire Department, where he has proudly served for over twelve years. Previously, he worked for the Garland (TX) Fire Department for 18 years, rising through the ranks to battalion chief, before leaving to become the chief in San Marcos.

He holds numerous certifications including master firefighter, paramedic, fire officer IV, and fire instructor III. Stephens served as Garland’s training officer for two years and he was also an instructor with Collin College’s fire science program, Dallas Fire-Rescue’s recruit academy, Texas A&M’s Municipal Fire School, and Fire Engineering’s Fire Department Instructor’s Conference. Stephens is also credentialed as a Chief Fire Officer through the Center for Public Safety Excellence and a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s prestigious Executive Fire Officer program. He is credentialed as a Certified Public Manager and has an Associate Degree in Fire Protection from Tarrant County College and a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree from Texas State University.

In 2021, he served as President of the Texas Fire Chiefs Association and currently serves as an advisor for the Fire Science Program at Austin Community College. In 2019, Stephens was appointed by Texas Governor, Greg Abbott to serve on the One-Call Board of Texas.

Your Fire Service Career Path: Planning Ahead

This very interactive class gives participants an opportunity to gain valuable insight about their career development plans, goals, and aspirations. It offers an opportunity to ask questions and gain valuable insight about preparing to apply for a chief officer's position. It explores the steps in the hiring process from reading and understanding the job posting, do's and don'ts of resume and cover letter preparation, to negotiating employment terms and conditions. It offers insight that is relevant to members from all types of departments from small volunteer to fully-career metro organizations. The participants are encouraged to participate and contribute to the discussion as many of them have already moved from line officer to chief officer positions.  

The Story of West: Multiple Firefighter Deaths

The Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office in cooperation with the Texas Fire Chief’s Association (TFCA) was charged with investigating 10 firefighter line-of-duty-deaths in connection with the West (TX) Fertilizer Plant explosion of April 17, 2013. The Task Force interviewed (along with partner ATF agents) surviving emergency responders, reviewed other incident materials (i.e., radio communications, etc.), and established a time line of events for the incident. Additionally the Task Force reviewed fire and emergency strategic (scene) operations and composed the most significant lessons learned and best practices with the intent to focus on points that could have the greatest impact on preventing similar and future firefighter fatalities. This presentation is an interactive and detailed summary of that report presented by two of the task force members.


25030 SW Parkway Ave

Suite 330

Wilsonville, OR 97070

(888) 846-5741 / ofca@ofca.org

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