2024 AFCA Conference Schedule

May 26-29| Calgary, AB

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Saturday May 25

10:30am – 11:45am
Golf Registration

Check in and enjoy a fun day on the links.

 

The Track Golf Course

12:00
Golf Tee Off – Shotgun Start

The Track Golf Course

333 Boulder Creek, Langdon

Gold Sponsor

 

 

Gold Sponsor

 

Fort Garry Fire Trucks

 

5:30pm
Golf BBQ

The AFCA has a fun BBQ scheduled following the tournament. Please join your AFCA members, trades and sponsors for a delicious BBQ and a great time to reconnect.

Tournament Prizes to be Awarded

 

The Track Golf Course

Sponsored By

 

Associated Fire Safety Group Logo

Associated Fire Safety Group

 

Sunday May 26

8:00am – 5:00pm
Registration

Check in at registration and obtain your event badge and be sure to download the conference App.

 

BMO Front Concourse

AFCA Logo
9:00am – 9:30am
 Opening Keynote

Good Sleep Requires Shiny Shoes–and other candid life & leadership lessons learned the hard way

Over the past 30+ years, Chief Pegg has led and managed some of the largest and most complex fire service organizations in North America and served as the Incident Commander for the largest declared emergency in Toronto’s history.

He is regarded as an extraordinary leader, especially under pressure, and as someone whose ability to convey a sense of calm during crisis is both uncommon and exceptional.

In this candid, raw and inspiring presentation, Chief Pegg will share some of the most important lessons he has learned, both as a leader and an Incident Commander, and will help you to be prepared to lead when it matters.

Palomino A-D, BMO Centre

Matthew Pegg, Fire Chief, Toronto Fire Services, City of Toronto

Sponsored By

AFCA Logo 

 

9:45am – 10:15am
Workshop #1

Peer Support Programs For POC/Volunteer

 

Palomino A-D, BMO Centre

 

Real Success Story: Introduction of a real-world success story from our paid on-call fire services, showcasing the transformative impact of a peer support program on our fire service

Practical Insights and Strategies: actionable insights and practical strategies derived from our journey empowering you to initiate, implement, and sustain effective peer support programs in their own communities.

Inspiration for Positive Change: join a session session for inspiration, information to make a meaningful difference in the lives of your members, fostering a culture of support, understanding, and resilience.

Chief Brian Stauth
Ivana Irwin

Ivana Irwin, SCO, BSc, BScN, RN, DeputyFire Chief-Emergency Management and Training, Fire Services, Leduc County

Sponsored By

 

 

10:20am – 11:00am
Workshop #2

Understanding and Communicating with Municipal Councils

Training in effective strategies for report writing that captures council attention, and understanding the nuances of municipal government structures and their reporting hierarchies.

Palomino A-D, BMO Centre

 

Zack Ziolkowski

Director of Municipal Affairs at Alberta Counsel

Sponsored By

Seeking Sponsorship

11:15 AM – 1:15 PM
Rural Membership Round Table
An open discussion forum covering topics and challenges facing Rural fire services.
                                     
Palomino G and H, BMO Centre

 

Hosted by: Chief, Drayton Bussiere

Alberta Fire Chiefs Association, Director at Large, Rural Membership

Sponsored By

Seeking Sponsorship

11:15 AM – 1:15 PM
Urban Membership Round Table

An open discussion forum covering topics and challenges facing urban fire services.

Palomino A-D, BMO Centre

 

Hosted by: Chief Trevor Brice

Alberta Fire Chiefs Association, Director at Large, Urban Membership

Sponsored By

Seeking Sponsorship

4:30pm – 6:00pm
Opening Ceremonies & Memorial Service

 

Join the AFCA along with Government representatives for the Opening Ceremonies and Memorial Service.

Palomino A-D, BMO Centre

 

6:00pm – 9:00pm
Trade Show & Welcome Reception
Join your fellow members and trades for the welcome reception.
Visit the trades module to view the floor plan and book in person meetings and demos with AFCA Trades.
Halls D-E, BMO Centre

 

Sponsored By

 

Monday May 27

7:30am – 12:00pm
Registration

Check in at registration and obtain your event badge and download the conference app.                                          

 

BMO Front Concourse

7:30am – 9:00am
Breakfast & Keynote

Stampede Breakfast and Keynote Speaker – Resilience Through Fire: A Journey of Safety, Responsibility, and Leadership

In this keynote presentation, John Westhaver, a seasoned motivational speaker and resilience expert, shares his poignant journey following a life-altering car crash that left him with life-threatening burns to 75% of his body. His story is not just one of personal survival but a testament to the power of resilience, safety, and responsibility—themes deeply resonant with the firefighting community.

Addressing the Alberta Fire Chiefs Annual Conference and Tradeshow, John will delve into the critical importance of resilience, both in personal adversity and the challenging realm of firefighting. He explores how resilience isn’t just about enduring but also about growing from experiences. By drawing parallels between his recovery process and the challenges faced by firefighters, he underscores the importance of mental and emotional strength, alongside physical bravery.

The presentation will also focus on safety, not just as a protocol, but as a holistic approach that includes mental well-being, especially in high-stress professions like firefighting. John emphasizes the crucial role of personal and professional responsibility, showcasing how responsibility towards oneself and one’s team is paramount in leadership roles.

Through practical tips and strategies, John aims to equip the attendees with tools to build and maintain resilience in their demanding roles. The session will not only inspire but also provide actionable insights into fostering a culture of safety and responsibility within their teams. Attendees will leave with a renewed perspective on facing challenges, both on the front lines and in their personal lives, fortified with strategies to enhance their resilience and well-being.

Palomino-A-D, BMO Centre

John Westhaver
Sponsored By

 

AFCA Logo

8:00am – 9:00am

Trade Members Breakfast Meeting

Join your trade members for breakfast and provide feedback on the AFCA Trade Show.

Halls D-E BMO Centre

Sponsored By

 

Motorola Solutions

10:15am – 10:45am
Coffee Break

Halls D-E, BMO Centre

Sponsored By

12:00pm – 1:00pm
Lunch in the Trade Show  

Join your fellow members and trades for lunch in the trade show.  Schedule your in person demos and earn points on the Leaderboard.

 

Halls D-E, BMO Centre

Sponsored By

 

TC Energy Logo

1:00pm – 4:30pm
Trade Show Draws

AFCA Trades will announce the prize winners through the conference app. 

Halls D-E, BMO Centre

2:00pm – 2:30pm
Coffee Break

Join us in Halls D-E for a coffee and a treat!

Schedule your in person meetings with Trades before the show closes.

Halls D-E, BMO Centre

Sponsored By

Rebel Heart Trucking Logo

4:00pm – 4:30pm
TRADE SHOW CLOSES

Halls D-E, BMO Centre

6:00pm 

Free Evening

This is your chance to extend your networking time or exploring all that Calgary has to offer.

Calgary, AB

7:00pm – 11:00pm
Commercial/Associated/Dynamic Partner Appreciation Night

By invitation only- Please contact Commercial Emergency Equipment, Associated Fire Safety Group, or Dynamic Rescue Systems for details.

Craft Beer Market, 345 10 Ave SW, Calgary, AB

Associated Fire Safety Group, Commercial Emergency Equipment Co., Dynamic Rescue Group. 

Tuesday May 28

7:30am – 11:00am
Registration
Check in and download the conference app to earn points on the Leaderboard.

Palomino Foyer, BMO Centre

7:30am – 9:00am
7:45am – 8:15am
Breakfast and Office of the Fire Commissioner Update

Assistant Commissioner Phil Rowe speaking from 7:45 AM to 8:15 AM

Palomino A-D, BMO Centre

Phil Rowe

Assistant Fire Commissioner, Municipal Affairs

8:30am – 11:00am
AFCA Business Session

Board of Director updates and Annual General Meeting 

Palomino A-D, BMO Centre

10:30am – 10:45am
Coffee Break

Palomino Foyer, BMO Centre

Sponsored By

 

11:00am – 12:00pm
Concurrent Conference Stream # 1

Alberta Fire Services Core Competency Framework 

Have you completed your Community Risk Assessment? Is it time to review and update your current Risk Assessment? As part of the Risk Management Framework, regular reviews are critical to change management, ensuring continuous improvement.

The Tool is continuously updated to stay current with legislation and industry best practices. User feedback drives innovation within the Tool.

Live demonstration utilizing the tool and how it can work for council presentations.

     

    Palomino A-D, BMO Centre

    Steve Munshaw

    Fire Chief, Taber, Alberta

    Jason Linton

    Fire Chief, Cypress County, Alberta

    Sponsored By

    Seeking Sponsorship

    11:00am – 12:00pm
    Concurrent Conference Stream #2

    Building a Trust-Centric Fire Service: Cultivating Fairness, Accountability, and Learning

    In today’s dynamic fire services environment, implementing a culture centered around fairness, learning, and accountability is crucial for the consistent and fair management of workplace events. This approach is key in creating an environment where supervisors are equipped with the right tools to address a range of incidents, from station-based interpersonal challenges to post-event analysis.

    The presentation will explain how this culture assists leaders in maintaining transparency and openness when dealing with incidents or issues, and consistency in having difficult conversations, all while gaining the trust of their crews. In this session, we will delve into three core principles:

    • Cultivating an environment that encourages transparent communication and reporting.
    • Differentiating between human error, at-risk behavior, and reckless behavior.
    • Ensuring fair and equitable accountability in response to incidents.

    Strathcona County will share how they have applied these tools to their department.

     

    Arabian A-C, BMO Centre

    Dana Terry

    Deputy Chief of Operations, Strathcona County Emergency Services

    Kelly Lehr

    Deputy Chief Operations Support, Strathcona County Emergency Services

    Sponsored By

     

    Ambipar Response Logo

    11:00am – 12:00pm
    Concurrent Conference Stream#3

    So, You Want to Be a Chief

    Have you transitioned into becoming the new fire chief or are you aspiring to become the chief of your department?

    You’ve probably discovered that the lofty position comes with its unique challenges. Whether you spent many years serving on the same department or have moved to a new department, some guidance through the turbulence of transition is always helpful.

    When entering your new role, you may or may not know much about the people, the jurisdiction, the partners, key stakeholders or your new responsibilities; and you won’t learn any more about all those things unless you do a lot of research and even then, you may only scratch the surface. “There are some things that just are not in the text books”.

    “So You Want To Be The Fire Chief” is an un-scripted, un-edited, frank and open discussion with a panel of well seasoned fire chiefs, who will provide discussion and maybe answers to your burning questions.

    Join Chiefs Rob Evans, David Mohl, Mac de Beaudrap, Everett Cooke, and Kevin Swanson for a fireside chat.

     

    Palomino G-H, BMO Centre

    Everett Cooke

    Director, Emergency Services/Fire Chief, City of St. Albert

    Mac de Beaudrap

    ECFO, Protective Services Director/Fire Chief, Town of Hinton

    Rob Evans

    ECFO, Fire Chief, EMR, EMD, EFD, Redwood Meadows Emergency Services

    David Mohl

    Fire Chief, Hanna Fire Department

    Kevin Swanson

    Fire Chief, Brooks Fire Department

    Sponsored By

     

    12:00PM – 1:00PM
    Lunch and Keynote Presentation

    Join the AFCA in the Palomino Room A-D for lunch and the Keynote with Megan McElhearn and Kelly Schwartz.

    Identifying and Addressing Operational Stress in First Responders and Their Families

    Traumatic events (i.e., operational stressors; Carleton et al., 2018). The impact of these stressors extends to the families of fire personnel, with spouses often bearing the brunt of supporting the fire member and the family (Casas & Benuto, 2021). In recent years, various initiatives targeting operational and organizational interventions have emerged to reduce the frequency and severity of OSIs among first responders (FR), including fire, paramedics and EMTs, and police (Di Nota et al., 2021; Bahji et al., 2023). Many of these interventions, however, are lacking in evidence to support the validity and feasibility in producing measurable change in participants.

    In response to this, two intervention programs – the Before Operational Stress (BOS) program (McElheran, 2018) and the Re: Building Families (RBF) program (Schwartz et al., 2022) – have been developed and tested to demonstrate their effectiveness in reducing the cognitive and behavioural impacts of OSIs.

    This keynote address will summarize the development, content, and evidence supporting both programs and discuss the importance of psychoeducation and support for both fire members and their spouses/partners. In particular, the discussion will highlight the impact of operational stress on fire members and the benefits of introducing evidence-informed prevention and early intervention efforts for fire families at the individual and departmental levels.

    Palomino A-D, BMO Centre

    Megan McElhearn

    CEO and Chief Clinical Psychologist of Wayfound

    Kelly Schwartz

    Associate Professor, University of Calgary

    Sponsored By

     

    1:15pm – 2:30pm
    Concurrent Conference Stream #1

    Coffee Cup Leadership-It’s All About Emotional Intelligence

    With the growing demands placed on today’s fire chiefs, there is little time to focus on relationships when administrative duties continue to rise. Successful fire service leaders are aware that healthy and trusting relationships make the fire department successful. Today it is more critical than ever that fire service leaders embrace the ability to use soft skills and engage emotional intelligence (EI) as a critical part of their leadership toolbox.

    Based upon his book, Coffee Cup Leadership, Les will help readers understand that their growth is a work in progress and as leaders grow in the EI realm, the team will always benefit. In these sessions, participants will be introduced to four domains of emotional intelligence; Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness and Relationship Management competencies and how they positively impact the fire service leaders’ ability to deal with issues while at the same time having open and honest conversations with team members. 

    Palomino A-D, BMO Centre

    Les Karpluk

    Fire Chief Parks Canada, Waskesiu Fire Department,  BappBUS:ES, ECFO

    Sponsored By

     

    1:15pm – 2:30pm
    Concurrent Conference Stream #2

    Quiet Leadership

    This presentation will focus on the quieter side of leadership in the fire service.

    Diversity in the fire service extends to the types of leaders we seek and develop. As the demographic of the fire service evolves, so too must our vision of what leaders and leadership looks like. 

    We don’t necessarily think that introverts can be strong leaders, especially in the fire service. This session will explore the qualities and strengths of the introverted leader. It will demonstrate how the future of the fire service depends on developing this type of leadership in coexistence with traditional styles.

     

    Arabian A-C, BMO Centre

    Keri Martens

    Deputy Fire Chief, Banff Fire Rescue

    Laurie VandeSchoot

    Deputy Fire Chief, Retired

    Sponsored By

    Seeking Sponsorship

    1:15pm – 2:30pm
    Concurrent Conference Stream#3

    First Responder Care For a Neurodiverse Community


    This session is an opportunity for first responders to fill their toolbox with skills that will help them to better understand and engage with people with diverse neurological needs. While there is a focus on autism spectrum disorder and sensory sensitivities, the skills presented will enhance the participant’s ability to connect with people from many different demographics in a wide range of circumstances, including during emergency responses.

    Palomino G-H, BMO Centre

    Rob Evans

    ECFO, Fire Chief, EMR, EMD, EFRD, Redwood Meadows Emergency Services

    Jennifer Evans

    Captain, Redwood Meadows Emergency Services

    Sponsored By

    Seeking Sponsorship

    2:30pm – 2:45pm
    Coffee Break 

    Palomino Foyer, BMO Centre

    Sponsored By

     

    2:45pm – 4:00pm
    Concurrent Stream #1

    Unified Command – Solving the Riddle with Results & Relationships

    Unified Command is one of the most misunderstood and poorly executed tools that the incident command system uses, yet it has the power to be a force multiplier.  Through a mix of presentations, case studies, personal experiences and discussion we will explore the ins and outs of Unified Command.  We will take a look at the integration of different agencies and levels of government and see how, when done well, Unified Command leverages all partners to ensure a great response and how everyone’s priorities and objectives are part of the solution.  We will look at potential problems and how to avoid having two command posts operating in the same location while pretending to be Unified Command.

    Alan’s extensive experience in this space as a member of many Unified Command partnerships will bring real world experience to the discussion of  what has worked and how to build one each response to improve the outcomes both in the moment and over the long term.  His focus on results, relationships, and leadership will give you tools to make Unified Command work for you and your organization.

     

    Palomino A-D, BMO Centre

    Alan Stebbing

    Regional Field Officer, Alberta Emergency Management Agency

    Seeking Sponsorship

    2:45pm – 4:00pm
    Concurrent Stream #2

    Exposure Reduction: Beyond the Call

    Firefighter wellness and cancer risk is top of mind for fire service members and leaders today. Many organizations have procedures in place to reduce risk and exposure at the end of a call, but what happens beyond the call? The fire station is where crews spend the most time, with the least equipment protecting them. Contamination spread into this environment poses a significant risk to the health and wellness of Firefighters.

     Utilizing concepts and experience from the food service industry on managing cross-contamination, and through years of trial, AEGIS (ee-jis) was developed. This comprehensive exposure reduction model provides a framework and guiding concepts that can be adopted and applied by organizations based on their size, needs, facilities and capabilities.

    The focus of this session is to review the structure and concepts of AEGIS and to share the experiences of implementing not only an exposure reduction program but an exposure reduction culture within an organization.

    The presentation will review the initial steps of evaluating your organizations environment and needs, establishing achievable and realistic targets for your individual department/stations, the key program components including establishing facility zones and colour coding, considerations when renovating or constructing new stations and keys for successful adoption by the membership. Attendees will come away with the tools to further enhance their departments exposure reduction program and create a healthier environment for their Firefighters.

    Arabian A-C, BMO Centre

    Gary Robertson

    Fire Chief, Kananaskis Emergency Services

    Sponsored By

    Seeking Sponsorship

    2:45pm – 4:00pm
    Concurrent Stream #3
    Leadership Lessons from Ted Lasso for Fire Chiefs

    In this engaging 1 1/4-hour presentation, we embark on a journey to discover the transformative leadership lessons inspired by the beloved character Ted Lasso. Ted Lasso, known for his boundless optimism, unwavering empathy, and unique approach to leadership, has captured hearts worldwide.

    Join us as we explore how his leadership philosophy can empower fire service chiefs to excel in their roles and elevate their teams.

    Palomino G-H, BMO Centre

    Arjuna George

    Silver Arrow Consulting

    Sponsored By

    Seeking Sponsorship

    6:00pm – 6:30pm
    AFCA Annual Banquet Reception

    Join your AFCA members for refreshments and networking before the annual banquet.

     

    Spectrum 4 & 5 and Foyer, Hotel Arts

    Sponsored By

     

    6:30pm – 10:00pm
    AFCA Annual Banquet & Entertainment with the Silly Wabbits

    Join us at the AFCA Annual Banquet for an evening of member recognition and comradery.

    Silly Wrabbit has been making people bob their heads to our tunes and shake their heads to our jokes for over 20 years. From 70s boogie woogie and 80s one hit wonders, to 90s hip hop and big radio hits from the 2000s.

     

    Spectrum 4 & 5, Hotel Arts

     

    Sponsored By

     

     

    Wednesday May 29

    7:30am – 9:00am
    Breakfast & Keynote

    Thriving Not Surviving – Building Sustainable Habits for Professional and Personal Wellness 

    More than ever, mental health and wellness are important for a healthy workplace culture and environment. I am amazed how many people put all of their effort into the success of their career and life from a knowledge and ability point of view, and just expect their wellness to always be there for them. But you know what they say: “When you have your health you have a thousand wishes – when you don’t you only have one.”

    In this engagement, participants explore how to cultivate personal and professional habits for sustainable wellness. We dive deep into personal and professional wellness strategies, recognizing and avoiding burnout, and how to develop a strategy for wellness that will lead to a healthy, productive, and successful team.

                                                                      Spectrum 4 & 5, Hotel Arts

     

    Steven Langer

    Well by Design

    Sponsored By

    Seeking Sponsorship

    9:15am – 10:30am
    Concurrent Conference Stream #1

    Building the Mental Health and Wellness Supports Within Your Own Department 

    Resilient Minds for Firefighters is a mental health and wellness program, built by Firefighters, For Firefighters.  Our purpose is to help train your existing firefighters on not only to look out for each other’s mental health and wellness but to become leaders in this program so that your organization can provide ongoing support and resiliency for years to come.

    Our mission during this presentation is to give the Chiefs a sample of what Resilient Minds for Firefighters is all about during these information sessions.  Building up self-sufficiency through ongoing training and support is a core belief of this program. After the training, not only will your Firefighters be able to better support each other, but also for the citizens and people that we encounter and serve every day.

    With the support of the Canadian Mental Health Association, this program provides a doorway to opening more conversations about understanding what mental health support really is, and how it can be achieved. 

    With our world constantly changing, in ways seemingly inexplicable to understand, we should always be striving to be a little more resilient.

    Spectrum 4 & 5, Hotel Arts

    Clint Snidar

    Resilient Minds for Firefighters

    Sponsored By

     

    9:15am – 10:30am
    Concurrent Conference Stream#2

    Accreditation & Certification and Training in Alberta

    This session will dive into:

    What is the difference and relationships between – accreditation, certification, evaluation and training

    Things to consider when developing training in your department – operational vs certification

    Processes for training to evaluation to certification to accreditation

    Upcoming standard updates and timelines
    Validation Committees and Evaluator Orientations

                                                                                                              Spectrum 3, Hotel Arts

    Your-Logo
    Myles Tabin

    Manager, Accreditation and Certification, Municipal Affairs

    10:30am – 10:45am
    Coffee Break

    Meet your AFCA members for a coffee before we close the day with the Fire Side Panel.

    Foyer of Spectrum 4 & 5, Hotel Arts

    Sponsored By

     

    10:45am – 12:00pm
    Closing  Session – Fire Side Panel

    Future Challenges to Leadership in the Fire Service

    The Fireside session aims to provide fire chiefs from urban, rural, union, and volunteer fire departments with a comprehensive overview of Labour Relations, focusing Human Rights,- Accommodation and Discrimination, Collective Agreement Administration and Rights Arbitration, Progressive Discipline up to and including termination. The session aims to equip leaders with knowledge, strategies, and legal insights to navigate the complex landscape of managing fire service personnel effectively. In this informal panel discussion featuring legal experts John Saunders and Jessica Toldo from Hicks Morley Hamilton Stewart Storie LLP, will also speak on suggestions for managing in the volunteer/composite fire service, responding to bullying and human rights allegations. The session will encourage an interactive format, allowing Chiefs to pose questions to foster a collaborative environment, encouraging the sharing of best practices and experiences among fire service leaders.

    Spectrum 4 & 5, Hotel Arts

    John W. Saunders

    Partner – Hicks & Morley Law Office

    Jessica Toldo

    Labour & Employment Lawyer

    Sponsored By

     

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