Spokane Fire Department Chief Brian Schaeffer will join 20 other chiefs from around the country in a year-long development program for fire department leaders.
Schaeffer was accepted into the International Association of Fire Chiefs’ sixth Fire Service Executive Development Institute, which begins in December.
Schaeffer said the was “humbled” to be chosen, and looked forward to learning from his peers across the U.S.
The program includes several in-person meetings between the participants, as well as ongoing contact throughout the year.
“It introduces us to different programs, perspectives,” Schaeffer said.
He said he’s also looking forward to sharing Spokane’s successes with others.
“One of the primary reasons we were selected is because of the culture that we have here in terms of progressive programs,” he said.
He mentioned alternative response units, smaller vehicles that respond to medical calls, which had a rocky start in Spokane before receiving funding for 24/7 service through a grant. The department also helped create Ride to Care, an effort to transport people to urgent care instead of the emergency room when it’s medically appropriate.
Schaeffer said his efforts to create a more inclusive workforce will also give him something to talk about with other fire chiefs.
“I think there’s a lot of organizations that would like to be able to develop a workforce similar to what we have here and the culture of what I’m trying to build here,” he said.
Other chiefs and assistant chiefs selected are from Oakland, Portland and Tucson.
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