Training Was Key Topic at OBA Meeting in Ecuador

On October 7, the National Volunteer Fire Council’s (NVFC) Wisconsin Director and past Chairman Philip C. Stittleburg attended the Executive Committee and Board of Directors meetings of the Organización de Bomberos Americanos (OBA) in Guayquil, Ecuador. Sixteen active members were present representing 11 countries from throughout the Americas. Stittleburg serves as the U.S. representative.
Considerable discussion centered on the delivery of training, which currently is being done in most of the countries through in-person classes. However, there is growing interest in e-learning, which is a format likely to see increased use in the coming years. Time constraints is a major challenge in recruiting and retaining volunteers, and adding online learning options provides a more flexible way to educate first responders so they can more easily fit needed training into their schedules.
In a recent NVFC member survey, more online training was the number one request members want the NVFC to offer. The NVFC is adding new courses to its Virtual Classroom, which provides supplemental education on topics important to the emergency services. In January, the NVFC is launching a partnership with Action Training Systems (ATS) to provide a member discount to the full online course catalog of ATS, which provides fire and EMS training teaching to Firefighter I & II, Hazmat, ISO, EMT, and more.
“When you look at the volunteer fire and emergency services across different countries, it is amazing how the trends, challenges, and concerns tend to be the same,” said Stittleburg. “Sharing ideas, successes, and innovations through partnership organizations such as OBA benefits everyone involved. By working together, we can address key issues affecting the global volunteer emergency services.”
Next year will mark OBA's 10th anniversary and the annual meeting will take place in Buenos Aires. Stittleburg has attended OBA meetings since 2008 and the NVFC joined the organization’s board in 2011.