Day 1 Morning Course Descriptions


Soul on Fire- Beauty From Ashes
My life dramatically changed in one horrific instant at the young  age of 10.  Our family home exploded from a gas leak and was destroyed.   I was severely burned to 70% of my face and body, mostly 3rd degree burns.   With a new life of extreme pain and severely scared reflection, how did I pick up the broken pieces of my life?
Soul on Fire…Beauty from Ashes is intended to share the wisdom I’ve gained through a lifetime of physical, emotional and spiritual healing.
The purpose of “Soul on Fire…Beauty from Ashes” is to inspire others to see the beauty and gifts that they possess.  Through the insight and spiritual growth gained on my own painful journey, teaching others how to find life’s blessings even in the midst of pain.

Danette Haag


Community Interventions for Fielding Firesetters- Evidence-Based Strategies

Whether you are a professional in fire service, mental health, or community safety; this presentation is for you! Come learn about a 20 year community intervention program from Indiana that has managed hundreds of youth firesetters by providing intervention activities run by fire fighters, community safety offices, and mental health professionals. Participants will leave with strategies, materials, and tested resources.

Michael Slavkin, Ph.D., NCC, LMHC is the director of the Master of Science in Counseling program and assistant professor at Marian University. He earned his doctorate in counseling and educational psychology from Indiana University–Bloomington, as well as a master’s degree in counselor education and research from Saint Louis University. He is a licensed mental health counselor in the State of Indiana, a licensed practicing counselor in the State of Missouri, and a nationally certified school counselor through the National Board of Certified Counselors. Dr. Slavkin’s principal counseling experience is with youth with diagnoses that include behavioral and learning disabilities. He also is a certified practitioner of individuals with developmental disabilities and mental health issues through the National Association of Developmental Disabilities Services (NADD).

Nymbl- The Future of Fall Prevention

The pandemic put fire and life safety programming on hold around the world. Educators were unable to provide in-person fall prevention programs or interventions. To compensate, we used “Nymbl,” an app-based fall prevention program proven to prevent falls and strengthen balance and cognitive skills in just 15 minutes a day. Attendees will learn how one educator introduced this to her community, the science behind the program, and the data that supports the use of this app for older adult community members.

Amber Jones has spent just under 16 years working with Arvada Fire. Her career with Arvada started in   the 911 dispatch center as a Communications Specialist and shift lead. In 2015 she transitioned to the Community Risk Reduction division and works as a CRR Specialist. Amber can mostly be found helping older adults stay independent and conducting home safety visits. She has a long history with Arvada Fire as her father and grandfather were volunteers and raised her around the fire stations. After high school graduation, Amber received her EMT-B certification and from Red Rocks Community College and began volunteering with Wheat Ridge Fire Department where she received her Fire Fighter I & II and Haz-Mat Operations certifications. Amber was raised in Arvada and is still living in the community with her husband and son. 

Dr. Nathan Estrada is the Clinical Vice President for Nymbl Science. He is an experienced Physical Therapist with a demonstrated history of working in the hospital & health care industry. Nathan has his BS in Biology from Abilene Chrsitian Universtiy, MBA from LSE Shreveport and Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Colorado Denver. He has been with Nymbl Science since 2018. 

This Ain’t Your Grandparents Risk Reduction

Creating a Community Risk Assessment (CRA) from start to finish can be daunting. From data gathering to implementation this class will help you work through each stage. In this class you will start a CRA for your department breaking the process down to easy bites. Whether you are just starting or well on your way with CRR come and have an open conversation. The goal is to encourage and aid your department to continue moving forward with Community Risk Reduction.

Colleen Potton has been serving her community in the fire service since 2000, starting as a firefighter. Since 2008 Colleen has worked as a Community Risk Reduction Specialist with South Metro Fire Rescue. Colleen works closely with high-risk populations to work through specific issues pertaining to emergencies with targeted programming. Colleen strives to identify risks and populations vulnerable to those risks to create programming that reduces that vulnerability. In 2020, Colleen was honored to receive the Educator of the Year Award from the Colorado Community Risk Reduction Network. Colleen received her Bachelor of Science in Middle Grades Education with a specialty in Mathematics and Science from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Colleen is presently working towards her Master’s in Educational Leadership. 

Kim Sphuler is with South Metro Fire Rescue.  She is a Colorado native and obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Communications in 2002.  She has obtained and maintains her FF1, FFII, Driver Operator Pumper, Incident Safety Officer, Public Information Officer, Fire Instructor, Proctor, Child Safety Seat Technician, Fire Inspector I/ II, and Fire and Life Safety Educator. She has been a firefighter for 11 years, a Fire Inspector for 2 years, and in Community Risk Reduction for 4 years. She has also worked on a wildland team and was on the initial response for the Black Forest Fire in 2013. She is currently earning her Masters of Arts in Emergency and Disaster Management. She loves empowering others through education and sharing her passion for the fire service.”


Leveraging Web-based Technology in Supporting Fire and Life Safety System Performance

This program addresses the workload and staffing of today’s modern fire prevention bureau which directly affects the number and quality of programs and enforcement activities that can be supported. A thorough understanding of the processes and supporting analytics underscores the importance of addressing system deficiencies in a timely manner and allows the bureau to investigate the benefits of integrating technology into their current solution to meet desired goals and objectives. Implementation strategies are discussed to underscore the importance of developing a comprehensive plan that engages the various entities to support the goals of sustainability and best practices in prevention, community risk reduction and life safety.


Jill Cotton is a Web-Technology/Third-Party Reporting Specialist and Communications Director at (IROL), one of the leading Prevention and Community Risk Reduction (CRR) solutions in the fire industry. Holding a Bachelor’s in Communications from Marquette University and a Master’s in Education from Aurora University, Jill has been involved in the fire and life safety industry for over twenty years and has extensive experience presenting, educating, and implementing web-based technology solutions in communities across the country. Over the past eleven years, Jill has spoken at numerous conferences and organizations such as NFPA, Michigan Fire Chiefs, Illinois Fire Inspectors, Texas State Fire Marshals, Building Professional Institute Conference, Campus Fire Safety Conference, New York Building Officials, and many more. She has also contributed written articles to many fire and life safety trade publications such as NAFED, FPC, Security and Integration, and Inspector 911. Known for her advocacy in CRR and participation in the service industry, Jill has received recognitions as an Emerging Leader by Vision 20/20 and was nominated as Board President of the Aurora Regional Fire Museum where she has served for seven years. Jill resides in Illinois with her two children and husband. She continues to coach competitive cheer, enjoys anything outdoor related, and is often involved in, or volunteering for, community events.

Cultivating a CRR Mindset
This workshop is for anyone sharing the vision of a safe, healthy, prepared, resilient community and workforce. Attendees will receive tools and strategies to inspire a culture of community risk reduction.
Topics include: training all personnel, agency integration of CRR, stakeholder collaboration and strategic implementation of CRR initiatives.

Deanna Harrington has 19 years of fire service experience and currently serves as the CRR Chief at the Arvada Fire Protection District in Colorado. She is an active member of the Colorado Risk Reduction Network, is an instructor at the National Fire Academy, has engaged in several projects through Vision 20/20, and is a steering committee member for CRR Week. Deanna earned a masters level education from the University of Colorado at Boulder in Kinesiology with an emphasis in injury prevention. While a graduate student, she worked with Denver metro area firefighters to reduce the incidence of on-the-job injury and cardiac related events. Having experienced firsthand the loss associated with a fire, she strives to reduce the risk of such a tragic event occurring for others.

Michelle Kircher has 8.5 years of experience as an educator in the fire service. For the past 6.5 years she has worked as a Community Risk Reduction Specialist and Public Information Officer for Arvada Fire Protection District. Prior to working in the fire service, she worked for non-profit organizations focused on youth development. Michelle is one of the Colorado trainers for the Fire and Life Safety Educator 1 & 2 certifications for the state and a co-chair for the annual Colorado Risk Reduction Network Conference of the Rockies. She is also an Executive Committee member of the national Vision 20/20 Strategy 1 initiative which leads the grassroots CRR Week effort. She has a degree in International Studies from the University of Oregon.

Becoming an Advcoate for CRR: Applying of the Tenents of CRR to Daily Decision-Making
Many volunteer and combination fire departments are reluctant to incorporate Community Risk Reduction (CRR) into their operational mindset and culture for a number of reasons. To aid both formal and informal leaders of volunteer or combination fire departments who want to improve their organization’s service capability by overcoming these hurdles, this presentation will develop an understanding of the importance of creating and supporting a culture of CRR in their departments; discuss innovative ideas on how to start to cultivate a CRR-based culture; and furnish them the tools and knowledge necessary to support the incorporation of civilian and non-traditional volunteers into their CRR program and process. As state-level advocates for CRR, the presenters will share the knowledge and experience they’ve gained while working with and supporting local fire departments in developing these types of efforts. They will also share the stories of how they have worked to successfully create a culture of CRR in their own organization and in other organizations throughout their state by applying the tenets of CRR in everyday decision-making. In gaining the skills, knowledge, and tools offered in this presentation, participants will return to their department eager and prepared to integrate CRR into their operational mindset and culture.

Chris Brunette has spent the last 20 years serving in various roles and capacities with a number of fire agencies, both as a volunteer and career firefighter and continues to volunteer for his local volunteer fire protection district today. Chris joined the State of Colorado in January 2009 and his team was transferred to the newly formed Division of Fire Prevention & Control (DFPC) in the Fire & Life Safety Section in 2013. With DFPC, he has filled various roles from Fire Inspections Unit Chief to Fire Plan Review Unit Chief, to now leading as the Section Chief. Chris holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership, is a credentialed and certified Fire Marshal, is an Executive Committee member and one of the founders of CRR Week, and is currently serving as the Strategy 1 (Advocacy) Leader for Vision 20/20. In addition, he is the Vice Chair for the ICC IBC-Egress Committee and is a principal member of the NFPA Building Fire and Life Safety Directors and Hot Work Operations Committees.

Chuck Altvater is a 21-year veteran of the U.S. Army where he served as an Intelligence Analyst, Senior Noncommissioned Officer, and deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Chuck began serving as a volunteer Firefighter while still in the Army and has nearly 15 years of experience in the Fire Service as a Volunteer Firefighter, a paid full-time Firefighter/EMT in Savannah, Georgia, and over six years as a Fire and Life Safety Inspector and Unit Chief with the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control.  Chuck has a Bachelor of Science Degree, Multiple ICC, and NFPA certifications and serves on one ICC committee.

He currently leads the Professional Development Unit within the Division of Fire Prevention and Control, providing continuing education and training opportunities for certified Fire and Building Code Inspectors in Colorado, in addition to leading the state-wide Community Risk Reduction program, Fire Safe Colorado. Chuck resides in Aurora, Colorado with his wife, Michelle, and together they have three adult children and three grandchildren.