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Mark VonAppen

A member of the fire service since 1998, is assigned to the suppression division where he holds the rank of captain. He is a committee member for California State Fire Training and has contributed to the development of Firefighter Survival and Rapid Intervention curriculums. Mark has been published in Fire Engineering Magazine, Fire Service Warrior, and is the creator of the fire service leadership blog FULLY INVOLVED. He is an instructor for the Santa Clara County Joint Fire Academy, a recruit Instructor for Palo Alto Fire, an academy instructor at Evergreen Community College, and a member of the “Nobody Gets Left Behind” training group

Short Class Description:

Fully Involved Leadership


FULLY INVOLVED is geared toward professionals who wish to expand their abilities in leadership. This presentation is aimed at anyone who wishes to lead at any level. FULLY INVOLVED is rooted in improving team performance and has applications in both the public and private sectors. FULLY INVOLVED has worked for over 40 years in professional football, the fire service, and applies to the business world as well. Thousands of fire service professionals have attended the FULLY INVOLVED Leadership Seminars and are now among the involved. "Getting team members to pull towards a common goal is a key component in successful operations. FULLY INVOLVED gives students the tools to create a pact that is applicable to all levels of the organization." 2. Target audience: This presentation is aimed at those who wish to lead at any level, from firefighter to chief officer. Leadership pacts and building trust are key components of the presentation. 3. Learning objectives: At the completion of this presentation, the student will better understand leadership principles as outlined in the Fully Involved Standard of performance and have improved leadership skills; Do your job, treat people right, give all-out effort, and have an all-in attitude.


Dena Ali

DENA ALI is a captain with the Raleigh (NC) Fire Department. Ali has a degree from North Carolina State University and an MPA from the University of North Carolina—Pembroke, where her research focused on firefighter suicide.  Dena is an advocate of awareness, education, and understanding of mental health disorders and suicide. She speaks locally and nationally on these topics and is a QPR Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Instructor. She has written several articles on topics such as suicide prevention, peer support, wellness, and post-traumatic stress. Dena is the founder and director of North Carolina Peer Support where she helped to develop their statewide curriculum. She is also a founding member of the Carolina Brotherhood, a group of cyclists/firefighters in North Carolina who honor the fallen and their families annually.

Short Class Description:

Understanding and Preventing First Responder Suicide - Dena Ali, Raleigh, NC

Students will learn methods to prevent suicide by learning its traceable causes. Rather than focusing on individual risk factors, this course is designed to explain how creating an environment to encourage help-seeking behavior can alter an individual's trajectory from reaching suicide. Individual, company level & departmental methods for prevention will be explained. Suicide tragically results when the decedent incorrectly concludes their death could be a service to others. While there are numerous causes of suicide, there are a few common risk factors that can be identified early to help with intervention. Social isolation and withdrawing from others is one of the greatest risk factors. One long-standing model that explains suicidal behavior will be discussed in detail. Dr. Joiner's model, The Interpersonal Theory of Suicide, demonstrates that suicide occurs when 3 factors intersect: a thwarted sense of belonging, the perception that he/she is a burden, and capacity to engage in lethal action. If we remove one of these factors, the risk for suicide is reduced. By creating a culture of acceptance and understanding through positive social support, we can make strides at preventing suicide. Additionally, I discuss the varied causes that lead to fire service suicide which can be work-related, personal, or a combination. Resources like peer support and treatment to prevent maladaptive coping will be explained.

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Scott Hewlett

Scott Hewlett has been a Firefighter with Brampton Fire and Emergency Services for 22 years and worked 6 years of those as a part-time Primary Care Paramedic in Peel Region, and a year with the New Zealand Fire Service as part of the International Firefighter Fellowship Program.

Scott currently instructs within his Department in Live Fire and RIT and has spent time as a Fire-Fit Team Member, EMR instructor, and Training Officer.  

Short Class Description:
Stigma Loss Stopped


As a BFES Peer Support Team Member for 13 years and 11 years as Co-Coordinator, he has helped to greatly improve awareness regarding mental health and self-care by presenting to a wide variety of audiences inter-departmentally on numerous topics, leading Post-Incident Discussions, delivering The Working Mind Primary, Leadership, and Family Programs, and creating and administrating the BFES PST Facebook Page.  The importance of Mental Health as a First Responder cannot be understated.  This talk will focus on the lessons learned through his work in Peer Support, initiatives such as Check-In Calls and the Stigma Loss Stopped Campaign, and how to create a genuine and effective relationship between a PST and the fire service personnel it serves.  Scott has been hosting the firefighting focused podcast Multiple Calls since February of 2018.



Pete Mazza

Pete started his fire service career in 2006 with the City of Welland - Fire and Emergency Services as a front line firefighter.  He currently holds the position of Director of Training, which was achieved by progressing through the ranks of the fire department. 

He has instructed hundreds of firefighters in Ontario and expects only the best from the firefighters that surround him.  Pete is committed to teaching and passing on his knowledge and experience to current and future generations of firefighters.  

Pete is graduate of Ryerson University – Public Administration and Governance certificate program; obtained a diploma as a Company Officer from the Ontario Fire College; and has completed the Teaching and Training Adults program from Niagara College.  Pete is also a certified NFPA 1021 Fire Officer III, NFPA 1041 Fire Instructor II and NFPA 1521 Incident Safety Officer.    

Short Class Description:
Getting the Most out of Training


Getting the Most out of Training is a high energy and captivating presentation designed to teach firefighters and officers how to overcome the many challenges when introducing modern firefighting tactics and concepts to their chief officers, peers and subordinates.  This presentation identifies the diversity in the fire service and how firefighter opinions, traits and personalities may impact the acceptance of newly acquired firefighting knowledge and skills.



Bill Hunter

Bill Hunter is the Fire Chief for the Perth East and West Perth Fire Departments, the Perth County Fire Coordinator and is a member of the OAFC Provincial Advisory Committee representing Area 3A.


Chief Hunter was a member of the Southwold Township Fire Department, in Elgin County, for 14 years rising to the rank of Deputy Chief. He joined the Perth East Fire Department in 2011 as Chief and added the West Perth position in 2014.


Chief Hunter has completed numerous fire service programs including the Ontario Fire College Company Officer, and Fire Prevention Officer, Diploma programs. He is a certified Incident Safety Officer, Fire Investigator and Fire Officer IV.


The Perth East Fire Department is quite proud of their Farm Fire Safety program, which debuted in 2015, and has since been adopted by fire departments and agencies worldwide including the NFPA.


Personally, Chief Hunter has two grown children and lives in Milverton with his wife Della and their pug, Dozer.

Short Class Description:
Build A Farm Fire Safe Community


Chief Hunter will discuss how you can “Build a Farm Fire Safe Community”. Farm-related fires are devastating. In terms of not only dollar loss, but also the ripple effect fire has on the farming community. Everyone from the family…to the feed and equipment suppliers…to the consumer…and even the responding fire departments; they are all affected in some way. The key to avoiding these tragedies is prevention. This presentation effectively illustrates preventative actions that can reduce the risk.



Tanya Bettridge

Tanya Bettridge is the Captain of Public Education for Mississauga Fire & Emergency Services and the current Director of Communications for the Ontario Fire & Life Safety Educators (OFLSE). Having been with the fire service since 2005, she has obtained NFPA 1035 Level II, a contributor to Firefighting in Canada Magazine and has been a keynote speaker on various topics across North America. Tanya strives to push the envelope of Pub Ed in an effort to connect with today’s audiences. At home, Tanya is a busy mom managing a household of three kids, two dogs, and one immortal cat.

Short Class Description:
Dead to Deadpool 2.0

Why are we still talking to our audience like we did in the 50s? Dead to Deadpool 2.0 is a fast-paced, action-packed session that will help you get behind the wheel of the most effective vehicles in connecting with today’s audiences. Long gone are the “It’s the law” days and “Do this, do that” authority statements. Today’s audiences are no longer motivated by authority and law, but they can be compelled to change their behaviour. Dead to Deadpool 2.0 leads attendees through the basics of what drives human behaviour, what compels them to change their thought processes and actions and finishes with the acquisition of tools and skillsets that can be used for years to come in your own fire department.  

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Karen Simpson

Prior to becoming a lawyer, Karen served the citizens of Chatham-Kent for 10 years as a career firefighter. Now practicing personal injury law at Lerners LLP in London, she is particularly interested in educating first responders about the importance of being properly insured.

Short Class Description:


Nobody likes to think about possibly being hurt or unable to work. But if that were to happen, how would you and your family be impacted? Are you prepared?


Karen Simpson’s #411forthe911 focuses on some of the steps first responders should consider taking to enhance their personal insurance coverages, including motor vehicle insurance, and disability insurance, in order to better protect themselves and their families in the event they are injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident, particularly during the course of their employment. WSIB benefits are not necessarily the only option in these scenarios. Karen discusses real scenarios to simplify what is otherwise a complicated area of law.



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