The Wisconsin Society of Fire Service Instructors (WSFSI) was formed in 1962 to serve the needs of fire instructors in our State. The WSFSI assists local instructors through the exchange of ideas, dissemination of information, and the presentation of seminars and conferences. All of this is geared toward helping fire instructors in their personal development and assisting them in bringing quality education and programs to their own agencies.
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Change is a Constant
by WSFSI President Jim Flanagan
When one is faced with a change in the way something has been done, we sometimes are reluctant to look at as an opportunity, rather than a hurdle that must cleared. The Board of Directors for the Society took the bold step in saying we need to look at change and how we can best shape it, rather than being shaped by it.
At the 2014 Annual Conference the membership present directed the Board to form a Strategic Planning committee to address the Society’s need to do a self assessment. The committee having been formed, they set out to begin the project. It was quickly determined that a need for a professional facilitator was required. Moira Kelly of Kelly Consulting, LLC was selected based upon her experience, understanding and appreciation of the fire service.
The committee developed a list of interviewees from throughout the State and many from the various statewide organizations associated with the Fire Service. At the Society’s July Board meeting the summary of the interviews was presented to the Board. While not being totally unexpected, the results did confirm that a need existed to address vital issues which have been overlooked.
The Board at that meeting committed to the development of a strategic plan. A development committee was formed with stakeholders from within the Society as well as from without. Each committee member was asked to commit to four 6 hour meetings over 3 months. Our facilitator kept the group focused and on track in completing the project in time for the 2015 Annual conference. Those present at the Conference got the first look at the final work product and agreed that it does fairly represent the challenge of the changes that must be addressed.
If you have been following us on Facebook you will know that the final document is posted on the Society’s website, www.wsfsi.org/ under the Repository tab, Society Documents. The document is laid out in a spreadsheet format and faithfully summarizes the many issues and actions that lay before us. I would encourage everyone to take the time to read, review and comment on the document as they see fit. But, I would also have you take note of the many initiatives and time frames we have set out. Although there may be currently a person assigned to each, the work in achieving them is not a one person activity. If the WSFSI is to achieve these objectives we will require the commitment and assistance of our members. If your review, you find an area that you feel your skills and abilities can bring these to completion, please reach out, make contact and help us make our “2020 Vision” happen.I do need to thank the following individuals who gave freely of their time, knowledge and belief in the Wisconsin Society of Fire Service Instructors, and the role we play in educating and preparing firefighters to perform to a high level in the service to their communities. Peter Silva, Jr., Education Director-Fire Service Education & Training, WTCS; Chief Todd Blaser, Manitowoc FD; Chief John Breuer, Allenton FD; Dr, Thomas Schlei, WCTC; James Austad, FVTC; Kevin Gerarden, Executive Secretary WSFSI; Ron Naab, Allenton FD. A special thanks to Moira Kelly, for her energy and desire to see us succeed in shaping our future and commitment to outstanding education in the Fire Service.