(HELENA) About 100 fire chiefs, from large and small departments around Montana, are meeting in Helena this week for a conference.
The Montana State Fire Chiefs Convention is held every other year, in cities around the state. Organizers say it provides a valuable opportunity for chiefs to share information and work on problems many departments are facing.
“It really is to build a network of friends you can call when you have a bad day, be it incident-wise,” said Rich Cowger, chief of Columbus Fire Rescue and president of the Montana State Fire Chiefs Association.
The convention will include a number of educational presentations, on subjects like fire science and firefighting tactics. The chiefs will also take a look back at this year’s devastating wildfire season, in which millions of acres burned and two firefighters were killed.
Safety will be a major topic of discussion.
“We always try and focus on firefighter safety; that’s one of our primary things,” Cowger said. “One of the things that we’re talking about that’s unique at this conference is not only physical health and safety, but also mental health and safety for our folks – dealing with some of the stuff they see on a day-to-day basis.”
The convention started Wednesday afternoon and will continue through Friday.