Day 1 Morning Course Descriptions


Opening Plenary
“Take your blinders off”

You’ve seen it before…electronic distractions in meetings, individual and team obstacles, rambling e-mails, and the lone rangers can all hamper workplace communication. What if you had a way to remove subjective listening, siloed decision-making and visual distractions from your team’s day?

This multi-sensory, experiential, team-building communications workshop addresses four of the most common communication issues in corporate America:

Distractions | Ambiguity | Obstacles | Competition

Learn unique communication perspectives never before taught in the corporate world. Led by the dynamic and legally blind IT professional, Mike Hess, the Art of Blinders workshop focuses on experiencing and understanding the 4 Sightless Principles of Communication Mike uses every day and used to advance his corporate career. Give your team a competitive advantage – enhanced listening, communication and problem-solving skills. They will not soon forget this workshop, unlike the many other communication workshops they have probably attended.

Mike Hess, Founder of Blind Institute of Technology

The Blind Institute of Technology is a Denver based non-profit with a mission “to prepare the visually impaired and the employers who hire them for success in the workplace.”  His journey as a disabled person at the age of seven in a small, Midwestern town in Ohio. As an April Fools baby, he was a natural class clown and wanted to sit in the back of the class cracking jokes as early as first grade. He quickly moved to the front of the class after realizing he was not able to see the chalkboard.
After visiting several optometrists, Mike ended up in a large Cleveland hospital. It was there that he and his mother learned that Mike was losing his sight and would be completely blind by the age of 18. At such a young age, he had no idea what blind even meant. When he asked his mom, she simply stated that he was going to be special. At this point, in many ways, Mike began to fulfill her prophecy.
His journey has been both trying and thrilling. However, his thousand miles are far from over. Thanks to his leadership, Board of Directors, corporate partners, talented blind and visually impaired IT and tech pros, family, friends and volunteers, the current phase of Mike’s journey – the Blind Institute of Technology — is materializing right before his mind’s eye.
Mike has a wife, Natalie, two daughters, Mercedes and Chelsey, and son Maddox (aka ‘Little Man’). Mike believes it’s important to show his children and others that his disability does not affect his life and that he is just as capable as people who have sight. Mike’s family continues to be his driving force whenever it seems like the world is unfair, supporting and inspiring him as he inspires others through all his successes and challenges.
Bio adapted from


Making Carbon Monoxide Safety The Law

I will review the work I have done over the past several years as President of The Lauren Project, including legislative efforts in Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska, and North Dakota.  The program will include different methods of enforcement in each of these states as well as strengths and weaknesses throughout the country when it comes to carbon monoxide safety.  If time permists we may also look at public arenas such as ice rinks, schools, and businesses that may be prone to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Donald Johnson, The Lauren Project
Don Johnson was a Lutheran pastor for 18 years and a financial advisor for 15 years.  His world was torn apart by the death of his daughter, Lauren, due to accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.  He has served as president of The Lauren Project since 2010 and become known nationally as an advocate and spokesman for carbon monoxide safety.

What color was the carpet or what do you mean there was a hanging cow on that call

Have you ever been in a situation and then had another provider tell you something about the scene that you weren’t aware of?  As providers we sometimes let the aspect or acuity of Patient care limit our abilities to be aware of our environment and all the other clues it can impart to us in our assessment.  Humans have the unique ability to adapt and change our situational awareness.  This class will go over some key steps in the process of that change.

Robert Putfark, Arvada Fire Protection District
Robert Putfark, EMS Captain Arvada Fire Protection District Robert Putfark started his foray into EMS in 1994 in rural Colorado as an EMT and paramedic. In October of 1999 he moved to Pridemark Paramedic Services as a paramedic and then on to Clinical Manager.  Robert now holds the position of EMS Captain for Arvada Fire Protection District in Arvada Colorado.

Leveraging Resources for Fire & Life Safety Efforts

We are always looking to get more out of our budgets while our bosses are always asking us to do more with less. Which community agencies and organizations have we overlooked to help us get our fire and life safety message to our target audience? This presentation will share a real world example of how a fire and life safety message was delivered to a target audience using an organization most of us have access to, but perhaps haven’t thought to partner with. This presentation will consider how evaluation is key to choosing each element of a fire and life safety program.

David Brasells, Instructor 5 Productions
Dave currently serves on the Nashville Fire Department, Truck 21 which is within the Special Operations Division for Technical Rescue. Dave is an IFSAC certified Fire Instructor I, Fire Inspector I, Fire Officer I, Incident Safety Officer, National Fire Academy Adjunct Instructor for Fire Prevention and Public Education, NFPA 1403 Life Fire Instructor, Flashover Instructor & Train-the-Trainer, EMT-Advanced, member of NFD’s USAR Task Force II Team. Dave has focused on High Risk/Low Frequency fire-ground training needs including MAYDAY, Flashover Recognition/Survival, Firefighter Survival, and Firefighter Rescue classes and instruction. Dave is the Executive Producer of the popular YouTube channel Instructor 5 Productions, serves as the Director of the Sam Houston Fire Academy, instructs with Truckie Talk Training LLC, and is the president of the Middle Tennessee Fraternal Order of Leatherhead Society (F.O.O.L.S.).  Dave was a photojournalist and producer in television news for 22 years prior to becoming a care



Understanding FMVSS 213 Labeling & Printed Instructions for CRS

Does FMVSS 213 mandate a minimum age to go forward facing? Is there information on car seat labels that confuse you? The caregiver? This session will review the mandatory statements required on labels and in user guides of car seats – clarifying some of the confusion in verbiage.

Sarah Tilton, Britax CHild Safety
Sarah Tilton is the Child Passenger Safety Advocacy Manager for BRITAX Child Safety, Inc. In her 15+ years she is an active CPS Instructor, the spokesperson for BRITAX within the advocacy community participating in child passenger safety activities at a local, state and national levels. She is also a member and the current Vice-Chair of the National Child Passenger Safety Board representing the At Large population.

Preparedness Campaigns– Leveraging Partners and Technology to Win in Prep

Teamwork is the name of the game – in our increasing more-with-less budgetary times, the idea of partnering, which used to be just a great idea, is now critically important to sustainability.  This presentation will look at how to leverage partners both horizontally and vertically in the community as well as key freeware type technology to bring greater efficiency and effectiveness to preparedness and community risk reduction.  The presentation will hinge around a case study featuring the Prepare Wyoming campaign and its component parts.  Key highlights of the partnership include the forming of a coalition for Prepare Wyoming including a variety of non-profits, state government agencies and national agencies with key roles in preparedness.  It will also highlight the technology used including free Google based collaboration, mapping and sharing tools.  Additionally, it will touch on the strategic planning process behind the program success, evaluation methods and grant funding opportunities leveraged.  Lastly, it will touch on key, duplicate-able cornerstone projects and program success stories learned over the past three years.   Students in this course will leave with sustainable, strategic action items to help create local campaigns for more effective life safety work in their communities.  Students will also leave the course with a better understanding of available partners, win-win opportunities and “projects-in-a-box” that you can bring quickly and easily to your community.

Spencer Pollock, American Red Cross and Laramie County Fire District #1
Spencer serves as the Executive Director for the American Red Cross.  He has served as the chair for the award winning WY Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (WY-VOAD), as a Deputy Regional Disaster Officer and as the Planning Section Chief for a divisional Red Cross Incident Management Team (IMT).  Spencer is also the chair of the WY All Hazards IMT qualification steering committee and a FEMA certified Planning Section Chief Instructor.  Spencer co-authored an advanced preparedness course for families focusing after the first 72 hours and is the founder of the Prepare Wyoming campaign.  Spencer volunteers as an active firefighter/special operations/wildland Lieutenant with Laramie County Fire District 1.   He holds degrees in criminal justice, fire science and a Masters in Public Administration with a focus on emergency services leadership.  He is a graduate of FEMA Master Exercise Practitioner (MEP) program, Advanced Professional Series and Continuity of Operations Practitioner programs.

What Does Defend-In-Place Mean To You? Evacuation Strategies in State Licensed Health Facilities

This class will explore the code assumptions in relation to the various implementations of evacuation strategies in some of the State of Colorado’s licensed health care facilities (Hospitals, Ambulatory Surgical Centers, Nursing Homes, Assisted Living Residences, and Developmentally Disabled Group Homes). Attendees will discuss the different levels of evacuation in these facilities and how the buildings are constructed (or not) to accommodate those different evacuation strategies.

Robert Sontag, Colorado Div of Fire Prevention & Control
Rob Sontag joined the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention & Control in July 2013 when the Fire and Life Safety team he was managing was transferred from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (where he had worked as the Life Safety Code Manager since February of 2008.) Rob has over twenty years of experience working with building systems, fire protection, and firefighting.   Rob holds state and national certifications in Fire Plan Review, Inspection, and Investigation; is FEMA certified in Emergency Management; and serves as national faculty for the Center’s for Medicare and Medicaid in fire and life safety.