Wauseon Fire Chief Rick Sluder attended the Congressional Fire Service Institute (CFSI) in Washington D.C., on April 24-25 to educate members of Congress about fire and life safety issues.
While in Washington, Sluder had the opportunity to meet with legislative directors and chiefs of staff from several of the congressional offices representing the State of Ohio. The meetings included representatives of Senator Rob Portman and Congressmen Robert Latta, Anthony Gonzalez, Warren Davidson, Troy Balderson, and Steve Stivers.
Additionally, Sluder networked with fire service leaders from throughout the United States with a goal of maintaining department funding and improving services across the broad spectrum of public safety.
He was among a group of four fire service leaders from Ohio providing representation for the needs of the state’s first responders in regard to nationwide issues, particularly funding, that affects the quality of service provided to citizens.
”Congressional members are more aware of their concerns due to the CFSI,” he said.
Established in 1989 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy institute, CFSI is designed to educate members of Congress about the needs and challenges of the nation’s fire and emergency services to help them understand how the federal government can support the needs of local first responders.
Sluder said members of Congress often turn to CFSI for information on a broad range of fire and emergency services issues that confront firefighters and emergency services personnel. He said the issues address their health and safety, and the training and equipment needed to perform their duties.
Fire service leaders also share information with members of Congress about the important work of public safety educators and the contributions being made by the public safety industry to reduce the threat of fires and other dangers in Ohio communities, he said.
“The cornerstone of our mission is education,” Sluder said. “Each year, we conduct educational programs that help members of Congress understand the challenges facing the fire service. The CFSI conducts Capitol Hill briefings that cover pending fire service legislation. We publish white papers and position papers on current public safety issues considered by our lawmakers. And each day, we respond to congressional inquiries on a broad range of public safety issues.”
He said, as firefighters, their job is to protect the citizens of their communities against the threat of fire and other dangers.
”Our job at CFSI is to educate members of Congress about the work that is performed at the local street level, and how the federal government can support the fire service in making our communities safer,” Sluder said.
The cost of his trip was covered by the Ohio Society of Fire Service Instructors.