Holliston Fire Chief Presents at National Conference

Estes Park, CO – More than one hundred attendees gathered at the Ridgeline Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado from April 26-28 for the 26th Annual Colorado Risk Reduction Network Conference of the Rockies. This conference is known to feature speakers from across the US with a wide range of knowledge and information; designed to bring topics which empower Community Risk Reduction (CRR) professionals and similarly minded emergency responders and private industry leaders to become better risk reduction resources in the field.

One of the speakers at this year’s conference was Michael Cassidy, the Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director for the Town of Holliston, Massachusetts. Cassidy co-presented with Cindy Ouellette, who recently retired from the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services, where she served as Coordinator of the Fire Data and Public Education Unit. Long-time members of the Massachusetts Public Fire and Life Safety Education Task Force, Cassidy and Ouellette delivered a one-hour presentation entitled The Massachusetts Miracle during a Wednesday morning breakout session.

The presentation detailed how a task force of public fire and life safety educators in Massachusetts worked with state legislators to create the S.A.F.E (Student Awareness of Fire Education) grant program, providing resources for fire departments to teach fire safety education in schools. Since the S.A.F.E. program began in 1996, child fire deaths decreased significantly in the state; and, for the first time on record in 2020, dropped to zero child fire deaths in a calendar year. The presenters explained how the one thing that was happening in Massachusetts to improve fire safety for children, which was not happening for all other age groups, was consistent, comprehensive, statewide, school-based fire safety education. The presentation shared the problems the task force encountered, highlighted a few ‘lessons learned,’ and discussed ways in which attendees could implement a similar comprehensive approach in their own state.

State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey (Center) being honored in Sept 2021 by the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) with the President’s Award for outstanding efforts and leadership during the past year, recognizing MA having gone two and a half years without a child fire death

Along with Jennifer Mieth, another member of the MA Task Force, Cassidy and Ouellette previously presented Proving Fire Education Works at the North Carolina Fire & Life Safety Education Conference in Chapel Hill in 2011. Cassidy and Ouellette had also presented Proving Fire Education Can Successfully Raise a Fire-Safe Generation at the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Conference & Expo in Las Vegas in 2014, and Why Evaluation Matters: Determining the Effectiveness of Fire and Life Safety Education at the Colorado Risk Reduction Network Conference of the Rockies in Colorado Springs in 2016. More recently, Cassidy had also presented Leveraging Teachable Moments: Mentoring in Public Safety Organizations at the Colorado Risk Reduction Network Conference of the Rockies in Estes Park in 2019. Several members of the Colorado Risk Reduction Network have also presented at the annual Massachusetts Fire & Life Safety Education Conference in recent years.

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1 Comment

  1. Steve Bradford on May 6, 2022 at 8:25 am

    Thank you for representing our town, Chief. Bravo Zulu.

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