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Congressional Fire Service Institute Holds Educational Symposium in DC

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By Alison G. S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest

The American government is a system that is largely impacted by interest groups that push their policy initiatives to members of Congress. Interest groups are one of the many ways that members of Congress learn about the various policies impacting communities throughout the country. They heavily rely on interest groups to explain where the issues are so they can create policies to make a difference.

The Congressional Fire Service Institute is one of these interest groups that has gone a long way in a short time to promote various issues associated with the fire service. Created in 1989, the Congressional Fire Service Institute has worked to educate members of Congress about fire service issues.

This special-interest group is very involved with the Congressional Fire Services Caucus in the United States House of Representatives and has been influential in bringing forth policies to Congress that would make a lasting impression on fire services throughout the country. Their work has largely supported American fire departments.

Congressional Fire Service Institute Holds National Symposium and Dinner in DC

On April 18-19, 2018, the Congressional Fire Service Institute held its 30th Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Symposium and Dinner in Washington, D.C. The symposium included a variety of seminars for educational purposes.

These educational seminars are integral to helping those in fire and emergency services expand their knowledge about a variety of rescue and public safety issues, while contemplating new perspectives to managing such incidents. Without educational symposiums like this one, it is difficult for the profession to continue to grow and prosper.

Several Firefighters and Organizations Honored during DC Dinner

On April 19, CFSI held a dinner to honor several firefighters and organizations for their work in the fire profession. The keynote speaker of the dinner was the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Kirstjen M. Nielsen.

Her discussions helped to bridge the federal level to the local level of government, solidifying the notion that those in emergency services are on the same team at every level of government. The dinner also honored many important firefighters and organizations for their work in the fire service. The awards included:

  • Steve Austin, International Association of Arson Investigators -- recipient of the Mason Lankford Fire Service Leadership Award
  • Anthony R. "Tony" O'Neil, National Board on Fire Service Professional Qualifications -- recipient of the Mason Lankford Fire Service Leadership Award
  • The International Society of Fire Service Instructors and the UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute -- recipients of the CFSI/NFFF Senator Paul S. Sarbanes Fire Service Safety Leadership Award
  • City of Alpena (MI) Fire Department and the Illinois Fire Service Institute at the Illini Emergency Medical Services, University of Illinois -- recipients of the CFSI Masimo Excellence in Fire Service-Based EMS Award
  • Mike Weller, National Fire Academy -- recipient of the CFSI/IFSTA at OSU Dr. Anne W. Phillips Award for Leadership in Fire Safety Education

Ultimately, it is important for people in any interest group to hold award dinners like this one, because it honors their work on a national level. Symposiums and dinners do so much to continue the conversation about the importance of the fire service and the various policy initiatives that need Congressional support.

Allison G. S. Knox Passionate about the issues affecting ambulances and disaster management, Allison focuses on Emergency Management and Emergency Medical Services policy. Allison has taught at the undergraduate level since 2010. Prior to teaching, she worked in a level-one trauma center emergency department and for a member of congress in Washington, D.C. She holds four Master’s degrees in Emergency Management, National Security Studies, International Relations, History, a Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. She is also trained in Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue, is an Emergency Medical Technician, Lifeguard and a Lifeguard Instructor. She serves on the Board of Trustees for Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society, Vice Chair of the Tactical Emergency Medical Support Committee with the International Public Safety Association, the Advocacy Committee with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians and also serves as the Advocacy Coordinator of Virginia for the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians.