Day 2 Morning Course Descriptions


The Customized Toolbox – Vision 20/20’s Fire Safety Materials Generator

When Vision 20/20 held its formative strategic planning meeting in 2008, hundreds of participating supporters established the following goals:  •    Increase the number of working smoke alarms in the U.S. •        Focus on #1 cause of home fires – cooking •             Allow FDs to customize based on local risks and demographics  One key strategy was effective education and outreach to the public to change behaviors related to smoke alarms and cooking safety.  3 years of social marketing research and testing by leading national experts and beta sites led to the creation of Vision 20/20’s Fire Safety Materials Generator.  This first-of-its-kind online resource helps fire departments deliver high-impact messaging on smoke alarms and cooking safety.  Free to all users thanks to funding from AFG, the Materials Generator allows fire departments and their partners to create flyers, door hangers and children’s activity sheets (featuring their logo and contact information – and even photos taken in their own community).  This helps establish a powerful connection between the fire department and the public they serve.  It is especially valuable for fire departments engaged in the proven Community Risk Reduction strategy of targeted home safety visits to install smoke alarms.  This workshop will present key findings from the research about what makes an effective fire safety message.  Using real-world examples from across the U.S. and from Arvada, Colorado, we’ll show how the Materials Generator makes it easy and affordable for fire departments to create customized tools that best reflect their community’s needs and audiences.

Meri-K Appy, Vision 20/20
Meri-K Appy is a leader in fire and life safety education with a proven track record in creating and implementing high-impact injury prevention initiatives. Appy specializes in simplifying injury prevention and disaster preparedness messages, concepts and strategies for greatest impact, especially for audiences at highest risk.    Appy served as Vice President for Public Education at NFPA from 1989 – 2003, as President of the Home Safety Council from 2003- 2010, and as President of Safe Kids USA until December, 2011.  Now head of her own consulting company, Meri-K is working on a number of national fire safety initiatives, including Vision 20/20 and an exciting new school-based program funded by AFG with the National Center for the Review and Prevention of Child Deaths targeting high-risk Grade 2 students and their families with smoke alarm education and installation.

Deanna Harrington, Arvada Fire Protection District
Deanna Harrington has 14 years of fire service experience serving in roles as a volunteer firefighter, career firefighter, EMT, fire inspector, fire investigator, PIO and life safety educator.  Deanna joined the Arvada Fire Protection District in Arvada, Colorado in 2011 and currently she serves as Deputy Fire Marshal where she manages community risk reduction programs. She is an active member of the Fire & Life Safety Educators of Colorado.

YFIRES – The National Youth Firesetting Data System

This course will explore the newly developed National Youth Firesetting Data System called YFIRES (Youth Firesetting Information, Repository, and Evaluation System).  This data system is designed to collect information on youth firesetting cases coming to the attention of any professional discipline working with firesetting behaviors.  It shares data with other participating programs in a confidential manner and serves as a mechanism to manage case data in a secure and paperless way.  A program can consist of an individual agency or an entire state.  Participants will be introduced to this innovation and learn the benefits of using it to manage cases, participate with other programs, and conduct program evaluation.

Karla Klas, University of Michigan Trauma Burn Center
Karla manages U-M Trauma Burn Center’s nationally acclaimed community and family-centered injury prevention programs. A celebrated educator, speaker, and author, Karla’s 24-year background in research, education, critical care nursing, and injury prevention has produced numerous journal articles, textbook chapters, and grant awards. She holds several specialty certifications and is a National Fire Academy graduate. Karla is appointed to multiple national leadership roles and committees devoted to injury reduction, including: ABA Burn Prevention, YFIRES National Youth Firesetting Database, MI Arson Prevention, MI Fire Inspectors Society, National Burn Awareness Task Force, and U-M Injury Center. Her work has received numerous accolades, including MI Fire Inspectors Society Public Educator of the Year, City of Detroit Community Service Award, and ABA Burn Prevention Award. Karla speaks throughout the nation on burn/trauma injuries, prevention, and youth firesetting. In her spare time, she volunteers in burn survivor support programs, mentors at-risk youth, and writes children’s books.

Effective Communication using Technology

This will be a fun, educational, and interactive workshop designed to examine how we communicate and apply that understanding to the current technologies we use to communicate.  We will examine social media, how to analyze effectiveness using web-based platforms and some “Dos and Don’ts” with how to use technology.

Scot Davis, Durango Fire & Rescue
Scot Davis, has his undergraduate degree in Speech Communication and a Masters of Arts in Education.  Scot began incorporating technology into his job descriptions early on and has become a resource for media development, website development, and effective use of technology.  Before being hired by the Durango Fire Protection District, Scot owned his own film and video production company for 15 years.  Scot has grown his position with Durango Fire from 14 hours/week to 40 hours/week in three years.  Scot is the Community Education Coordinator for Durango Fire, one of three Lead PIOs and has just finished the fire academy with a FF1 certification.  Scot will be re-certing as an EMT this Spring.

Motivational Interviewing

Motivational Interviewing is a collaborative conversation style for strengthening  a person’s own motivation and commitment to change. This workshop can be designed based on the needs of the participants. Techniques will be taught how to listen actively, express empathy, explore ambivalence, and the basic conversation skills to motivate a client to change behaviors. Motivational Interviewing is highly sought after in many fields and participants will walk away feeling confident about using the skills they learned in the presentation to apply to real life work and experience. This presentation will require some time for participants to practice the skills in order to truly feel comfortable using them in addition to instruction.

Amy Kuhn, 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Diversion Program
I received my Bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2010 and have worked in the legal field since. I  worked at a community corrections facility for just less than two years and have been with the DA’s Diversion Program going on six years. I have been extensively trained in Motivational Interviewing for about five years and have been teaching for about two years. I believe in the skills and have found great success in communicating with clients to encourage change in their lives for the better.



Mental Health and Firesetting:  Crying for Help and Crying Wolf

This workshop will address common mental health issues that are associated with firesetting behavior including ADHD / Impulse Control, Mood, Trauma, and Conduct Disorders.  We will utilize case studies, small group discussions, and video to highlight the importance of collaboration between fire service, mental health, and juvenile justice.  We are often joining families in the midst of crisis, so we will consider the challenge of balancing taking care of children, families, ourselves, and the community.

Brad Jackson, PhD, Children’s Hospital Colorado
Diane Reichmuth, PsyD, Children’s Hospital Colorado
Brad Jackson and Diane Reichmuth are psychologists at Children’s Hospital Colorado.  They work with children, youth and families facing burn injuries and medical trauma.  They are therapists with the youth fire safety program at the hospital serving children and youth at high risk for firesetting behavior.  They love working with groups and families to find inner strengths, resilience, and hope.  Brad would rather be a pirate and Diane would rather be a ninja.

Vision 20/20 Resources for You to Use Every Day

The Vision 20/20 project has developed a wealth of tools and resources to help the fire prevention practitioner. These range from the online Fire Safety Materials Generator, where you can produce your own customized fire safety materials, to reports and studies that help you develop and justify your programs. This material has been developed by practitioners for their peers to use every day.  This presentation will cover the free resources available, including: -The Fire Safety Materials Generator, which is an online tool where you can create customized fire safety materials such as door hangers, flyers and social media messages using vetted fire safety messages alongside your logo and contact information. -The Home Safety Visit Apps. This app, for both Apple and Android platforms, provides you with videos in seven different languages that you can use in the home to demonstrate topics such as the speed of fire, cooking and heating safety and smoke alarms. -Community Risk Reduction planning guides that take you through the process of evaluating the risk in your community and putting together a CRR program tailored to its needs. -A video library that AHJs can use in their community and on their website to help promote the concepts of home safety visits and CRR -An Advocacy Toolkit that contains tips, ideas, tools and resources that you can use to develop and promote the importance of CRR, both within your department and within the community.

Ed Comeau, Vision 20/20 Project
Ed Comeau is the owner of, a digital content and technical writing firm that focuses on fire safety that comes from a 30-plus career as a fire fighter for the Amherst Fire Department, a fire protection engineer in the Phoenix Fire Department’s Special Operations and Training Division and heading up the National Fire Protection Association’s Fire Investigations Division.  He has been a part of the Vision 20/20 project since its inception and has helped to promote the use of programs such as Community Risk Reduction. He has personally been involved in several of these and helped to implement the use of simple online data collection tools using resources such as iPads and Google Forms and has been in the field working on projects such as doing a statewide study of the hurdles to implementing fire prevention in rural Kentucky.

To Tether or Not to Tether

During this session we will review the benefits of tether use, both rear and forward facing. We will discuss vehicle features and directives that may prohibit use of the tether rear and forward facing including Vehicle Occupant Detection Systems and clarify sometimes “deductive reasoning” is necessary.

Sarah Tilton, Britax Child Safety, Inc
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.

A Tale of Two Cities and their Citizen Fire Academy’s

Come and listen to two suburban fire departments and learn about the benefits of their Citizen’s Fire Academy’s and how they engage in their community. One has been running an academy for 15 years and the other one is fairly new and in the 4th year. gain valuable resources and tools to start your program in your community.

Sherrie Leeka, Westminster Fire Department
Sherrie Leeka has been in the fire service for 18 years, during those 18 years I’ve been a fire inspector, firefighter and public education officer. She was awarded NFPA’s Educator of the year for 2016 for the programming she provides to her community.

Sabrina Iacovetta, Thornton Fire Department
Sabrina Iacovetta has been part of the fire service for 16 years, during those 16 years, she has been an office manager and a public education officer.   She has also been with the city government for 28 years and knows the ins and outs of city politics and processes.