for NCAFC Eastern Director
My name is Jennifer Smith. I am a Battalion Chief with New Hanover County and have been with them for just over 20 years. I am running for the North Carolina Association of Fire Chiefs Eastern Director.
First, thank you to the nominating committee for considering me for this role. During my tenure on the Chief’s Board, I hope to bring a diverse and fresh perspective to assist in accomplishing the current mission, strategic vision, and goals of the organization. As the Eastern Director, I will be the connection between the Eastern Carolina Firefighters Association and the North Carolina Association of Fire Chiefs bringing forward the issues that are important to the fire departments in the eastern part of the state.
I am committed to understanding the issues that are important to the eastern departments throughout my tenure. I will be a leader that addresses these emerging issues providing guidance, resources, and training to departments with the end goal of finding opportunities for the Chiefs Association to support the chiefs of the departments. This includes addressing current issues such as recruitment and retention of volunteers, firefighter health and safety, citizen disaster preparedness, training and education as well as supporting and creating legislation that supports these areas.
I was fortunate to participate in the development of the IAFC/North Carolina Association of Fire Chiefs course “Bridging the Multigenerational Divide in Your Department” that was designed to educate about biases ultimately helping volunteer and combination departments in identifying new talent. Resources such as this and the PSAs completed by Volunteer Workforce Solutions are excellent examples how we can continue to find innovative ways to support volunteer recruitment and retention efforts throughout the state. I will continue to support and assist in the development of resources and training to promote volunteer recruitment and retention as departments struggle to maintain their volunteer ranks.
Firefighter health and safety must remain a priority for both the North Carolina Association of Fire Chiefs and Eastern Carolina Firefighters Association. I will continue to support and work to identify ways to combat firefighter cancer. I will also advocate for the much needed mental health resources, training, and guidance to support chief officers as they cope with mental health issues within their department.
Due to the eastern fire departments recent experience with disasters, I feel that disaster preparedness is an important issue. I will promote the need for the Chiefs Association to increase its role in providing chief officers with the tools to prepare both their citizen and department for disasters. I will also advocate to enhance systems that serve to help departments support each during disasters.
Training and education of chief officers must remain at the forefront of the North Carolina Association of Fire Chiefs as these officer are challenged by emerging concerns and new possibilities. I will support the current training already established and advocate for additional training opportunities that would appeal to both career, combination, and volunteer departments. The Fire Chiefs Association must discover how to capitalize on virtual training opportunities in order to quickly address emerging concerns and connect to the fire department chief officers. They also must harness this technology to offer their traditional opportunities to the combination and volunteer departments that might not be able to attend the traditional training. The Fire Chiefs Association also provides a forum for chiefs to network in order to find solutions and best practices for their department. I will continue to support and expand those opportunities for chiefs to stay connected and seek out guidance and resources from each other. Thank you for your time.
Thank you for considering me for NCAFC Eastern Director seat. One of the things I would like to accomplish as being a Director for the NCAFC and also the ECFA is to ensure we have future leaders for the fire service. Hopefully by being the Eastern Director I can encourage more officers to mentor other firefighters to improve and take on leadership roles, along with becoming more active with all the associations.
Another area that I would to accomplish with the ECFA and NCAFC is to ensure fire departments keep moving forward with new technology, along with. Safety and everyone going home is an area that’s very important in that all firefighters work to improve.
Between the two associations we need to work together to maintain and improve the number of volunteers, so departments can provide the best service to their citizens and visitors in their respected communities.
I started out in my local volunteer department and was a member until I moved to eastern part of the state. I worked for a large municipal fire department, and I’m the Fire Chief for Whiteville Fire Department.
It will be an Honor and pleasure to be the Eastern Director for the NCAFC and working with other members across the state.