GREAT FALLS – About 60 firefighters from across Montana are in Great Falls for the Montana State Council of Professional Fire Fighters and the Montana State Fireman’s Association annual joint convention.
This is the first time Josh Royan has attended the state convention.
“I have only been on the department for two years and I think it is important for guys to learn from the guys who have done this before,” Royon said.
Royan is using this experience to learn from those before him but he is also learning more about his union.
The Montana State Council of Professional Fire Fighters and the Montana State Fireman’s Association President Joel Fassbinder says one the top topics they will be addressing is what was formally known as presumptive care.
It will now called firefighter health and safety.
“The turn presumptive was confusing to legislators and even to some of our members. I think it was hard to explain to our communities as well,” Fassbinder said.
Firefighter health and safety will address not only the cancer and disease risks that firefighters face daily but it will also address PTSD.
“Letting policy and deciding what we are going to do for the upcoming year. Whether it is legislatively or how we are going to better take care of our members. Also some programs we can offer to help our members out,” Fassbinder said.
They will also be talking about training, working conditions, and how they can improve health and safety for their members.
“It is a great opportunity to be a part of a very democratic process. There is nothing more democratic in nature than a labor union. Everyone gets to vote and how policy is set for the upcoming year,” Fassbinder said.
But it is also a great opportunity for these man and woman to connect while they are all together.
“How often do you get to see these guys from all across the state, you just don’t. So being together to solve some of the problems we have and talk about our future is my favorite part,” Royon said.
The convention wraps up Friday afternoon.
Reporting by Margaret DeMarco for MTN News