November 9, 2016

Our Instructors

Ron Richards
President / Instructor

A PA State Fire Instructor, Chief Richards has over 45 years of experience in both career and volunteer fire services serving as Fire Chief in three departments.

Chief Richards worked 27 years in various capacities with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, having served as a Fire Chief, Fire Marshal, Fire and Safety Specialist and Fire Instructor. He retired after his final assignment where he was responsible for coordinating and implementing ICS and NIMS to over 14,000 emergency responders.

He serves on the NFPA Technical Committee 1250 “Recommended Practice in Emergency Service Organization Risk Management” and the 1201 Technical Committee “Standard for Providing Emergency Services to the Public”.

He graduated from the State University of NY with a B.S. in Fire Service Administration. He is the founder of and the President of Task Force 1, Inc.

Kristian Short

Kristian Short is a  20 year veteran in the fire service. His career started as a volunteer in northeastern Pennsylvania attaining the rank of Assistant Chief.

Working for the Baltimore City Fire Department, he recently promoted to Lt. and is assigned to an Engine Company. He previously served as as emergency vehicle driver (EVD) there at Truck Company 8 in the South West section of the city and now works at Truck 5.

Along with specializing in truck work, Kristian also has an extensive background in rural fireground operations, engine company operations and several other areas of specialization.

William White

Bill recently retired with 25 years of service from the Pennsylvania State Police.  He most recently held the the rank of Major as the director of the Bureau of Training and Education. He progressed through the ranks and held various positions within his agency.  He was a member of the Special Emergency Response Team for approximately 10 years and served in numerous positions including the Assistant Coordinator and Tactical Section Supervisor.  While on the Special Emergency Response Team, William was certified as an explosive breacher, a less lethal / chemical agents’ instructor, and a clandestine lab response team member among other certifications.  William was also certified as a Bomb Technician and served on the Hazardous Device and Explosive Section for and on the State Police Incident Management Team. He has an undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice from Shippensburg University and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Eastern University.  William is also a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy for Law Enforcement Executives.

Sean O'Brien

Sean is a Captain  having served at FDNY's Ladder 47 in the Bronx after working as a firefighter at Tower Ladder 131 in Brooklyn for several years. His career in the fire service began in Old Bridge, NJ. Sean is trained in SOC Rescue Operations (Trench Rescue, Confined Space, Rigging Operations). The specializes in truck company operations and firefighter safety and survival training.

Jake Rhoades

Jake Rhoades, MS, EFO, CFO, CTO, CEMSO, MIFireE, is a 26-year veteran of the fire service. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma Christian University and a master’s degree in executive Fire Service Leadership.

He is the Fire Chief  Buckeye  (AZ) Fire Department. He previously served as the fire chief at Kingman (AZ) Fire Department and the Edmond (OK) Fire Department.

Jake started his career in 1992 with the Stillwater (OK) Fire Department. He has served as the Deputy Chief of Special Operations and Training for the Rogers (AR.)Fire Department, Assistant Chief for the Jenks (OK) Fire Department.

He serves as an elected Board of Director member for the IAFC Safety, Health, and Survival Section. He also received his Professional Instructor designation from ISFSI. Jake is also on the NFPA Technical Committee for Firefighter Professional Qualifications.

He is also an instructor for Columbia Southern University and is also an adjunct instructor for Oklahoma State University and the National Fire Academy. He teaches in a variety of settings and conferences including FDIC, FRI, and the CPSE Excellence Conference. In addition, he has served as the lead author for the Firefighter I and II handbook by Delmar / Cengage Learning.

Seth Taylor
Seth is a second generation, 25 yeaer firefighter with urban and rural volunteer experience. He is a current member of Lewisville FD dive team and assigned to Truck 7. Over the last 15 years he has designed and constructed a variety of training props used for fire service training recently including the Braskey Force Door. Seth is a NWCG qualified Engine Boss, Sawyer, and Texas Forest Service TIFMAS Sawyer evaluator. He has responded to a variety of state incidents on both all hazards and wildfire responses. Since 2008 he has coordinated the annual “All Saws” Class which teaches chainsaw; radial saw techniques, maintenance, and safety to metro, urban, and rural firefighters in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.
Mark Rossi

Mark works for the Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue.  Mark serves as an Instructor for Engine Company Ops / Survival Class at Orlando Fire Conference, Coral Springs Regional Institute of Public Safety in Coral Springs, FL. He has a Master of Science degree in Business Administration and a MS degree in Fire Science. He holds number certifications and is a published author for Fire Engineering Magazine.

Michael Heeney

Mike works for the City of Austin Fire Department.

He is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and started his fire career in 1998, going on to work with multiple departments starting on the west coast and finally making a permanent home in Austin, TX.

This is a family tradition, as his father spent 30 years with the Philadelphia Fire Department. Michael currently works on a rescue company in central Austin and serves as a rescue specialist on Texas Task Force 1.

Colin Sterr

Colin worked as a firefighter in Tacoma, WA, before coming to New York. In Washington, Colin also worked for Seattle Mountain Rescue, performing wilderness search and rescue in the Seattle area performing many rescues on peaks all around Seattle. He has extensive experience in rope rescue, confined space and trench rescue. He was also a FEMA USAR Task Force rescue specialist. 

Nick Sequenzia

Nick started his fire service career in 2005. Currently is a Lt. with the Frisco Fire Dept (TX). His previous experience includes the Washington D.C. Fire Dept where he was assigned to Engine Co 19. He also holds Haz-Mat Tech, Rope Rescue, and Paramedic Certifications. In Frisco Nick has worked with the Training Division on setting standards for Truck Company operations, department wide training, and is an Instructor for recruit classes. 

Jarod Blake

A veteran of the fire service since 1992, Jarod served at Ladder 112 in Bushwick section of Brooklyn. He worked at the Training Academy, as a Lt. in 15th Division in Brooklyn and as a firefighter at Ladder 19 in the South Bronx. He served as a Captain and was recently promoted to Battalion Chief.

Jarod's previous experience extends from departments in NY, MD, VA and the District of Columbia. He holds a BS in Fire Science Management from University of Maryland, University College.

Jarod is state fire instructor for the Maryland Fire Rescue Institute. He is a previous HOT instructor and speaker at the FDIC.

Garrett Pingol

Garrett Pingol is a second generation fire service veteran working with Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue. During his career he has held the position of firefighter, driver engineer, captain, battalion chief and recently promoted to Deputy Chief (Chief of Operations.

Garrett holds multiple certs in EMS, Marine Firefighting and Technical Rescue. He is a Instructor 3, LFTI instructor and holds a BA from St. Thomas University.

In 2015, during a two year tenure in the training bureau he was named Educator of the Year by the Broward County Fire Chief's Association for his work in both fire and EMS training.

Chris Ford

Chris started his fire service career as a volunteer in Northern Virginia.  He worked in Loudoun County (VA) Fire and Rescue and in the District of Columbia Fire and EMS Department at Truck 13 and Rescue 3.

In 2006 he was hired at FDNY. He worked at Ladder 56 in the Bronx and currently is assigned to a Squad Company.

Chris specialized in truck company operations, technical rescue, hazardous materials, and MAYDAY operations.

Chris Tobola

Chris is a Sr. Captain in the Houston Fire Department. Chris has been assigned to several of Houston’s stations performing multiple roles as an EMT, Driver and Officer. Chris began his career as a volunteer on the Northside of Houston in the suburbs.

He attended fire school and transitioned to the Texas City Fire Department as a FF/Paramedic, before being hired as a firefighter for the Houston Fire Department. Chris continued his education obtaining a Master’s degree in Emergency Management, and a Bachelors in Business Management. Chris holds multiple state and national certifications.

Some of Chris’s certifications are Master Firefighter, Executive Fire Officer, Fire Instructor, Field Examiner, Hazmat Technician & I.C., Safety Officer and Incident Command Technician. He’s also a Fire Academy Instructor for Lone Star College and the Houston Community College.

Chris takes great pride in sharing his knowledge and skills, so others may enjoy a productive and long career in the fire service, whether it be in a career department or volunteer organization.

Tom Webb

Tom is a seasoned veteran of the fire service and currently holds the rank of Deputy Chief of Operations for Burton Fire and Rescue in Beaufort, SC.

Tom serves as a Task Force Leader for the state’s Urban Search and Rescue Team and was one of SCTF 1 founding members as well as Rescue Team Leader for South Carolina Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team. (SC-HART).

Tom holds adjunct teaching status with both the South Carolina Fire Academy and Louisiana State University.

Shane Darwick

Shane Darwick retired as a career Battalion Chief with Montgomery County Fire Rescue Service in Maryland.  He currently serves as an Assistant Chief in Frederick County (MD) Fire and Rescue.

He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Fire Science from Columbia Southern University and is a NFPA Certified Fire Protection Specialist.

Shane serves as an Instructor at Montgomery County Maryland Public Service Training Academy and is a state certified Instructor and Instructor Evaluator.

He is a a Command Competencies evaluator and served on the National Capital Region Incident Management Team.

John Lewis
John's fire service career dates back to 1978 as a volunteer. In 1985 he was hired as a Firefighter / EMT in 1985 with the City of Passaic, NJ, Fire Department where he recently retired as a Ladder Company Lieutenant. He formerly was assigned to the Division of Training and Safety. John has been an instructor at the Bergen County (NJ) Fire Academy for the past 17 years, and is an Adjunct Instructor at Kean University in Union, NJ, and a member of the NJ State Firefighter Health and Safety Advisory Committee. He holds various certification and has developed and a presented educational programs for various fire conferences across the country. Additionally, we has authored several articles for national fire service publications and is the co-author of the Rapid Intervention Awareness Curriculum for the State of New Jersey.
James Gerber

James Gerber was appointed to the FDNY in May of 2001, assigned to Engine 94 / Ladder 48 in the South Bronx, then Engine 23 in midtown, before transferring to the Special Operations Command at Squad Company 18. James trained in SOC Rescue Operations (High-Angle Rescue, Collapse, Trench, Confined Space, Rigging Operations) and also is a Haz-Mat Tech II.

James holds a BS in Engineering and is an RN. He server as a Lieutenant assigned to TL 131 in Red Hook, Brooklyn.   He is now retired. 

William Hines
Billy is a retired Battalion Chief of the New York City Fire Department (FDNY).   His FDNY career spanned over 27 years where he worked in some of the most demanding areas in New York City.  He has responded and operated at a wide range of incidents and emergencies, which included fires, medical emergencies, building collapses, rail incidents, hazardous materials, and terrorist events.  Mr. Hines was assigned to the original FDNY Type II Incident Management Team.  His career in emergency services and emergency management has now expanded to 37 years.  Since retiring from the FDNY, he is currently active in several positions. As an independent safety and training consultant, he develops and conducts incident management and life safety operations training courses for emergency services and agency personnel nationally and internationally.  He is a Senior Instructor for the National Transit Institute (NTI), an educational branch of the Federal Transit Administration which is based out of Rutgers University.  He is also an adjunct instructor for Louisiana State University.  In this role, his responsibilities include preparation and delivery of safety, security awareness, terrorism, emergency preparedness and incident management programs delivered to transit agencies throughout the United States.  Mr. Hines has recently retired from service as an Operations Reservist for FEMA where he responded to and operated at federally declared U.S. disasters/emergencies.
Ryan McCormick

Ryan is a graduate of Kankakee Community College with a degree in Business Management and Paramedic Supervision. He started his career in the volunteer fire service  Pennsylvania and Illinois.  

He then transitioned to Arkansas member of the Little Rock Police Department where he served a patrolman. Later he worked for City of Bryant (AR) Fire Department attaining the rank of Captain. He served in various roles including heading the department’s training division. 

Ryan then accepted a position within the City of Little Rock Fire Department and worked on a busy truck company. 

Recently he assumed the Fire Chief's position at Alexander (AR) Fire Rescue. Ryan also serves as Fire Chief at the Collegeville Volunteer Fire Department. 

Chris Kelly

Chris is a veteran of the fire service since 2002.

Chris currently is a Senior Captain in the Houston Fire Department. He is a paramedic and a founding member of the Houston Police Department’s Tactical Medic Team, working in the ambulance routing telemetry unit, and participating in multiple research and protocol revision projects.

Chris specializes in both truck and engine company operations for Task Force, Inc. 

Jason Gregory

Jason started in the fire service as a firefighter in Escambia County, Florida in 1995 before joining the US Navy in 1997 and then the Air National Guard in 2005.

In 2009 he deployed to Baghdad, Iraq as a firefighter and filled the position of crew chief/station captain. He work with the Little Rock Fire Department was recently promoted to Captain. 

He is certified as FF1&2, Hazmat Technician, Rescue Technician 1&2, Officer 1 and Instructor 1.

Jason is also a member of the Air Force Reserve where he works as a Crash Firefighter and also a member of the Arkansas Task Force One US&R Team.

Jason Blake

Jason is a Battalion Chief in Montgomery County (MD). He has served as In-Service Training Coordinator at the Montgomery County Fire Rescue Service Fire &; Rescue Training Academy. His passion is engine company operations.

He started is fire service career in the Syracuse, New York area at Moyer's Corners Volunteer Fire Department. He has been an H.O.T. Instructor and Speaker at FDIC, Firehouse Expo and other fire service seminars.

Daniel "Boone" Gardiner
Daniel B.C. Gardiner retired as the Chief of Department of Fairfield (CT) Fire-Rescue.He served in all ranks within the department for over 30 years. He is a past President of the Fire Department Safety Officers Association as well as a past President of the ISFSI. For over 20-years he served on the NFPA committee on Professional Qualifications for Fire Officers (NFPA 1021). He currently serves on two NFPA technical committees: Standard for Providing Fire and Emergency Services to the Public (NFPA 1201), and Recommended Practice in Fire and Emergency Services Organization Risk Management (NFPA 1250). Chief Gardiner is a Nationally Certified Fire Officer II and Fire Instructor II. He is a member of the Certified Fire Protection Specialist Board of Directors. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Fire Science Technology and has two Master’s Degrees, one in Fire Science and one in Public Administration; all from the University of New Haven, Ct.
Tim Vandermeer

Tim works for the City of Austin (TX) Fire Department currently services as a Captain.  

He specializes in special operations including rope rescue, water rescue and hazardous materials. Before coming to the Austin, he served with the Sam Bass (TX) Fire Department.

Tom Winship

Tom has been in the fire service since 1987. He has served in a range of capacities including, firefighter, company officer, chief officer, and administrator. Tom has experience in volunteer, combination, and career departments of all sizes and his career has taken him to rural, suburban, and urban environments.

Since 2003, Tom has been a member of the Fire Department of New York, where he was a Lieutenant assigned to the Rescue Battalion, within the Special Operations Command. Prior to his promotion Tom was a firefighter in Ladder 55 in the Bronx, and Squad 288 in Queens.

Before moving his career to the FDNY, Tom was a firefighter in Fairfax County, VA and the District of Columbia. Since 1992 he has also been an active volunteer firefighter in Prince George’s County, MD.

In addition to his duties as a Company Officer, Tom serves as a member of the FDNY Incident Management Team, the FDNY Special Operations Task Force (a Type 1 US&R TF) and NY Task Force 1 (A FEMA sponsored Type 1 US&R TF).

In this capacity, Tom has taken part in Local, Regional, and National disaster responses. He is a NWCG Qualified Type II Planning Section Chief and has previously been a member of a US Forest Service Incident Management Team for several seasons.

Tom holds a BA in History, a BS in Fire Science/Management, and a Master’s of Public Administration. He is in the process of obtaining his certification as a Master Exercise Practitioner

Walt Lewis

Walter Lewis works with Orlando (FL) Fire Department. He was recently promoted to Assistant Fire Chief.  He served as a district chief,  Lieutenant/Paramedic on Engine 11 and other positions with OFD including the Training Division and as a member of specialty teams.

During his time in the OFD Training Division, he was as an on-scene instructor at a live-fire exercise in Osceola County, Fl where a flashover took the lives of two personnel.

From this, state legislation was written requiring all instructors using live fire to complete a 40-hour program to become a Live Fire Training Instructor- a program District Chief Lewis was an integral member of helping develop.

He is also a Technical Search Specialist on Florida USAR Task Force 4.

Sarah Radinsky

Sarah started her fire service career as a volunteer in northeastern PA prior to volunteering with the Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department during college.

After obtaining her degree in Emergency Medical Services-Paramedic, Sarah was hired as a Paramedic in 2004 by the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department (PGFD). Assigned to some of the busiest ALS units in the county, Sarah trained new ALS providers from within the department, as well as students from colleges such as University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC).

Sarah gained experience as a field provider thanks to high call volume and her participation in a variety of mass-casualty and high-profile incidents; one of which earned her the Bronze Medal of Valor. Her experience expanded when her role changed from a field medic to an EMS Supervisor (Lieutenant) and Quality Assurance Officer.  Sarah retired from PGFD. 

Jason Walters

Jason work with Hilton Head Island Fire Rescue Department in Hilton Head, SC serving as a Battalion Chief.

He is a heavy rescue tech, hazmat tech and a dive tech. A  SCFA instructor and  Group Manager with SC-TF1, Jason started his fire service career as a volunteer in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Mike Prete

Mike retired as an Assistant Fire Chief at Montgomery County (MD) Fire and Rescue Services.

With nearly 35 years of experience, he served as the Executive Chief. In addition to his role directly relating to fire and rescue operations, he managed daily operational and administrative issues including budget, daily oversight and scheduling for 1100 full time personnel.

With national and state instructor certifications, he served as an adjunct instructor for the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute, NIMS Instructor for MEMA, Anne Arundel Community College adjunct instructor, Practical Incident Control Training lead instructor and holds various certifications in public safety.

Adam Kosheba

Adam currently services as the Director of Public Safety at Paxton Township in Dauphin County, PA. He served as a Fire Chief in southeastern PA, was previously employed by the Montgomery County  (MD) Fire & Rescue Service and served with a large State Police agency on the East Coast where he commanded the largest Troop in his agency. 

Adam attained a graduate degree in the Administration of Justice with a concentration in Leadership & Administration. He graduated from the Federal Bureau of Investigations National Academy for Law Enforcement Executives.

As a law enforcement officer, Adam has extensive experience in criminal and fire investigations with certifications as a National Pro-Board Fire Investigator and a post-blast investigator. Adam has been assigned key roles in large scale police incidents including the Nickel Mines Amish School Shooting and the manhunt for the killer of a PA State Trooper in 2014.



Arthur Ashley

Arthur works as a Captain for the City of Lexington, Kentucky currently assigned to Ladder Company 1 in downtown Lexington.

A Kentucky Level II Instructor, Kentucky State Fire School instructor and an adjunct instructor with Lexington Fire Training Academy, he holds many certifications in many areas of fire, rescue and hazmat.

Arthur instructs throughout the state of Kentucky and around the country specializing in hands-on training, leadership and crew management.

He is co-creator and administrator of Truckie-Talk, a social media based training page focused on sharing training tips and highlighting the rich tradition of the fire service.

Don Headrick

Don served an Assistant Chief with the Greenville (SC) Fire Department. Don began his fire service career with Greenville in 1978 and progressed through the ranks as firefighter, company officer, Batt. Chief and Asst. Chief.

He was department training officer for 5 years. He has been a certified fire service instructor since 1987, served on various technical development committees for fire/rescue programs and is Senior Advisor for South Carolinas US&R Team-SC-TF1.

John McLoughlin

John is a Battalion Chief  in Marion County, FL.  He previously John worked at Fort Lauderdale (FL) Fire - Rescue as a Battalion Chief. Earlier he served as the Chief of Training. 

He holds a Bachelor's Degree from Saint Thomas University and a Masters Degree from the University of Miami. He has been a Fire Service Instructor for 15 years, teaching firefighting, Special Operations, and EMS.

John has traveled extensively throughout the United States and abroad has served as a private contractor for the Department of Defense.

He has served as a Rescue Specialist on USAR Florida Task Force 2. 

Matt Tobia

Matt is the Fire Chief is Harrisonburg Fire Department in Virginia. He has been with the department since early 2019, when he became Deputy Fire Chief of Support Services.

Earlier he worked as an Assistant Chief in Loudoun County, Virginia where he is largely responsible for support services and volunteer administration. He rose through the ranks in the Anne Arundel County Fire Department, located in suburban Baltimore, Maryland. His final assignment was as a Battalion Chief.

Chief Tobia holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Emergency Health Services Management from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. 

Scott Kleinschmidt

Scott Kleinschmidt works for the City of Wichita Fire Department as a Battalion Chief. He previously was assigned as the Captain of the city's Rescue Company and before that served several years as a Lieutenant on a busy Truck company.

He is a Rescue Technician/Manager with KSTF-5 regional USAR team and has served on the city/county TRT. He is a department instructor/coordinator in Truck Company operations and coauthored the departments current SOP’s for Truck Company Operations. He is an adjunct instructor to the departments training division providing recruit instruction and hands on training to suppression companies throughout the city.

He provides lecture and hands on training in Truck Company, Rescue Company, and reduced staffed fire ground operations at the local, state, and national level.

Scott is a FDIC presenter/lead HOT instructor and contributing author to Fire Engineering magazine.

Kevin Whalen

In August 1993 Kevin was appointed to the NYPD serving in the 63 precinct in Flatbush Brooklyn as a Police Officer. In October 1998 he was promoted to Sergeant working in the 42 and 43 precincts in the South Bronx. Kevin was appointed to the FDNY in November 1999.  

As a Firefighter assignments include Hook and Ladder 147 in Flatbush Brooklyn,  Tower Ladder 31 in the South Bronx and Engine 264 in Far Rockaway Queens. Kevin is a Qualified Ladder Company Chauffeur and New York State Instructor.

He served as a Fire Investigator Level 1  assigned as a Fire Marshal in City Wide South Command. This command investigates all fires in Brooklyn, Staten Island and Manhattan South of 110th Street to determined Origin and Cause.  He eventually to the field and was assigned to Ladder 147. In the Spring of 2023 he retired with  30 years of service to the City of New York.

Ray Gretz

Ray was recently retired from District of Columbia Fire and EMS Department.

Having served in various chief officer capacities, he has extensive experience in command, engine and truck company operations.

He completed the EFO program at the National Fire Academy and attained of his master's degree in Homeland Security from Naval Postgraduate School.

Pat Pauly

Pat retired from the the Pennsylvania State Fire Academy where he worked since 1988.

He is a nationally certified Firefighter III, Fire Officer II, Fire Instructor II, and EMT. He has served as a chief officer in the Lewistown (PA) FD.

He served the Fire Chief at the West Granville Fire Company in Lewistown, PA.

Jonathan Hart

Jon has been involved in the fire service since 1981, when he joined the Gettysburg (PA) Volunteer Fire Department as a junior member. Jon went on to join the Chillum-Adelphi Volunteer Fire Department in Prince Georges County, Maryland, where he ascended to the rank of Volunteer Chief, a position he held from 2000 – 2004. Jon worked for the Baltimore County Fire Department (MD) from 1987 to 2012.

He retired as a Division Chief in Operations, where he commanded a shift of 240 career personnel from 25 fire stations. The Baltimore County Fire Service is a combination system which includes 33 volunteer stations in addition to the career stations.

Jon has a bachelor degree in political science and a master degree in policy sciences, both from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

He is a graduate of the NFA’s Executive Fire Officer Program. He is certified as a Level II Instructor and Fire Officer IV. 

Buster Cooper

Buster retired as a Captain with the Conway (AR) Fire Department.

He is a state certified Firefighter I & II, Officer I, and Instructor I.

Buster is an adjunct instructor for the Arkansas Fire Academy and lead instructor for their Firefighter Standards Forcible Entry, Ventilation and Firefighter Survival hands-on programs.

He has been lead instructor for CFD Fire College and Pulaski County Fire College Forcible Entry, Firefighter Safety & Survival and Ventilation programs and a prior Rescue 3 International Swift Water Instructor.

He has been a FDIC classroom instructor.

Steve Schellenberg

A third generation firefighter with the Washington DC FD, Steve served for over 28 years before retiring as a Battalion Fire Chief from the 6th Battalion.

With 15 years of Engine Company experience at the ranks of private, technician and Lieutenant, five years of Truck Company experience at the ranks of Lieutenant and Captain and a year of experience in the Rescue Squad at the rank of Sergeant.

He is a level II Instructor having served as an adjunct instructor to the Training Division. Steve chaired the Department’s Truck Company SOP’s committee and co-authored the PPV procedures for DCFD.


Pete Lund
Pete died in the line of duty on Tuesday, June 14, 2005. He was working inside the burning attic of a house with the Woodmere Volunteer Fire Company on Long Island, NY. Minutes after putting the fire out and stepping outside for air, he collapsed, the victim of a heart attack. One of the "original" Task Force 1, Inc., instructors, Pete began his career in FDNY in 1973. He served as a firefighter in Rescue 2, a LT at Rescue 3 from 1984 to 1995 and LT at Rescue 2 from 1995 to 2003. He also served on NYTF-1, FEMA, USAR from 1994 to 2003.
Mick Mayers

Mick retired as the Deputy Chief of Operations with the Hilton Head Island (SC) Fire and Rescue Department and a Deputy Director of the South Carolina Emergency Response Task Force’s Urban Search and Rescue Program (SC-TF1). He began his emergency service career in Bridgeport, PA in 1980.

He is a graduate of the National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer Program and holds a degree in Fire Science Technology from Savannah Technical Institute.

In addition to instructor certifications in emergency management and technical rescue, he maintains professional certifications as a chief fire officer, hazardous materials technician, and paramedic.

He is a co-founder of the State Urban Search and Rescue Alliance, a consortium of US&R teams from over 40 states and served as the first Board Vice-Chairman. 

He served as the Chairman of NFPA 1006, Professional Qualifications for Rescue Technicians and is a Principal Member of the NFPA Professional Qualifications Technical Correlating Committee.  He is an author and consultant, as well as hosting his popular blog at

Chuck Wehrli

Chuck Wehrli is a fourth generation firefighter. He starting out as a volunteer in 1971, fulltime starting in 1977 and retiring in 2006 from the Naperville (IL) Fire Department.

During his career he has been the Supervisor for Fire Investigation, Engine and Truck Officer, Alternate Shift Commander and Technical Rescue Team Coordinator. He is a National Fire Academy Instructor and specializes in Tactics and Strategy, ICS, NIMS, Leadership, Structural Collapse and Trench Collapse.

He is a former FEMA US&R Safety Officer for MOTF-1 and was deployed to “Ground Zero” on Sept 11, 2001. He also is a founding member of State Urban Search and Rescue Alliances and serves as one of the Board of Directors.

He is also a member of the NFPA 1006 committee on Technical Rescue.

Dan Sheridan

Dan is a veteran of the Fire Department of New York currently working as a Battalion Chief.

A National Instructor II and member of the FDNY IMT, he has written numerous articles for Fire Engineering as well as a monthly column for the Fire Engineering web site.

He authored the chapter in the new Fire Engineering Essentials Book on Forcible Entry.

He travels throughout Latin America lecturing and teaching firefighting essentials. He is also a FDIC HOT instructor/lecturer.

Andrew Starnes

Andy is a second generation firefighter, he recently retired as a Battalion Chief with the Charlotte (NC) Fire Department.

He is passionate about teaching, encouraging and supporting up and coming firefighters with biblically principled messages on where to draw our strength from and why living a God centered life is extremely rewarding.

Andy believes to be a great firefighter & leader, we need to be more than one dimensional. Firefighting tactics are important and great, but not enough to be a great servant leader.

Andy is a Level II instructor with an associate degree of Applied Science in Fire Protection Technology. He is very knowledgeable on modern fire behavior and also serves as a member of Kill the Flashover Project and the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb.

Andy and his wife Sarah reside in Charlotte, NC with their daughter Emma.

Chris Bedard

Chris retired as a Lt. from FDNY.  He  worked in FDNY's Engine 88 in the Bronx for his first six years.

After six years on the engine, he worked at Ladder 38, also in the Bronx, for 7 years.

He served as a Lieutenant for the 4 years in Brooklyn at Ladder 107 in East New York.

Lt. Bedard was involved in the PSS (bail out) system that the FDNY uses to this day with Captain Hayes of Ladder 38 and also Captain Tommy Dolan of Ladder 175 in Brooklyn. 

Scott Flowers

Scott served at the Safety and Security Director at Crossroads Fellowship Church in Raleigh, NC. He served with multiple law enforcement agencies including 16 years with the Chapel Hill Police Department where he also served as a Police Academy Instructor. He is an active shooter experienced instructor.

Luke Manion

Luke Manion began his career with the Houston Fire Department in 2001. He spent the first 8 years of his career assigned to Station 18, serving much of that time on Tower 18. In 2009, he tested for and earned a spot on HFD’s Technical Rescue Team. He was then assigned Rescue 42, where he currently serves on the B-Shift.

Luke received much of his training in Technical Rescue Operations (USAR, High-Angle, Collapse, Trench, Confined Space, Rigging, Heavy-Vehicle Extrication, Machinery Entrapment, Helicopter and Swiftwater Rescue) through various agencies.

He is certified as a Texas Commission on Fire Protection Instructor I, Structural Collapse Technician (Level II) and IAFF Fireground Survival Instructor. Luke specializes in teaching Technical Rescue Operations, Truck Company Operations, Large-Area Search, Fireground Survival and Rapid Intervention Team Operations.

In addition, he serves as an officer in the Houston Professional Firefighters Association, Local 341.

Richard Kolomay

Rick Kolomay is a second generation firefighter starting his career in 1979 spanning 37 years as a career firefighter. Working 23 years with the Schaumburg (IL) FD as a firefighter, firefighter/paramedic, lieutenant, captain, and acting battalion chief assigned to engine and truck companies, however, a majority of his career was on a heavy rescue responsible for firefighting, Special Operations (High-Angle Rescue, Collapse, Trench, Confined Space, Rigging Operations) and Haz-Mat Technician incidents locally, within MABAS Division 1, and Statewide response.

In 2008, he was promoted to deputy chief with the Carol Stream FD (just south of Schaumburg) and in 2010 became fire chief.

He was also the Task Force Leader for MABAS Division 12 and had responded on disaster task force incidents. Throughout his career, Rick has instructed for community colleges, the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association, the Illinois Society of Fire Instructors, the Illinois Fire Service Institute, Firehouse Expo/World, FDIC, and County Fire Tactics / HROC.

In 2003 Rick co-authored a best-selling book, Firefighter Rescue & Survival (PennWell Publishing). He was a IDPH Paramedic, received an Associate’s Degree in Applied Sciences, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Fire Administration.

He presently instructs and consults in the areas of leadership, fireground strategy & tactics, and consults in line officer and chief officer development. 

Gary Carter

Gary Carter has nearly  30 years of law enforcement experience having worked for a large State Police Agency on the East Coast. He served as a Troop commander  and held various positions within the State Police.

He has experience in Patrol Operations and extensive experience in Criminal Investigations and is a Firearms Instructor and a Crisis Intervention Team Instructor.

Gary has supervised numerous Criminal Investigation Units and Specialty Positions to include criminal investigators, forensic services, fire marshals, polygraph operators, criminal investigative intelligence officers and vice/ narcotics officers. 

He also served as a member of the Special Emergency Response Team for approximately 12 years. Gary served in numerous positions including Team Leader and Coordinator for the Eastern Tactical Team. Gary also held many certifications while on the team to include firearms instructor, less lethal/ chemical agent instructor and clan lab response team member.

He held the position of Section Commander for the Bureau of Emergency and Special Operations at which time he was the commander of the Special Emergency Response Tactical Teams and Negotiation Units, Hazardous Device and Explosives Section and the State Narcotics and Explosive Detection Canine Teams.

Gary has an undergraduate degree from Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College).

Jason Joannides

Jason Joannides is a veteran of the fire service and currently holds the rank of Captain of Training with the Lexington County (SC) Fire Service. He previously worked with Columbia and Irmo Fire Departments.

His primary responsibilities include the acquired building program, Ladder Academy, command simulations, shift training officer duties, and research and development.

Jason has taught at numerous conferences to include: SAFRE, MAFFC, and FDIC.

Jason is married to his beautiful wife, Candice with two children Rhett and Julia Grace.

Mike Torres

Michael Torres is a 24 year veteran of the fire service. Mike is the Captain of Training at Black Forest Fire Rescue and BC responsibilities, Mike was a firefighter paramedic with the Chicago Fire Department (Truck 20 ) America's Truck . He also serves as a candidate instructor at the Quinn Fire Academy. Mike was a Captain and training officer for the Hometown, Illinois Fire Protection District.

Mike's life is dedicated to the preservation of tradition and continued development of the fire service. He serves as an instructor throughout Illinois. Serving for the Elgin Community College, Take The Door Training, Engine House Training, FDIC Hot Instructor, Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI) and Prairie State College fire science program.

Mike is a member of Illinois Task Force 1, Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team. In his free time, Mike volunteers for local charities and donates instruction time with the south side F.O.O.L.S. A fraternal organization dedicated to the fire service.

Mo Davis

Maurice "Mo" Davis is a veteran with the city of Houston Fire Department, currently assigned as a District Chief.

Previously he served as a Senior Captain on a heavy rescue, one of three rescue trucks for the city of Houston. He also spent much of his career as a senior captain on L-46 one of the top five busiest trucks in Houston and served as a Captain on E-46 the leader in the city in working fires and responses. Mo served as a training officer for the Houston Fire Department, he also served as a district training officer to new hires.

While he specializes in technical rescue, his passion is sharing leadership, strategy and tactics information with new and upcoming officers.

He had served an adjunct professor at San Jacinto Jr. College in the fire protection division. Currently holds a MS degree from University of Houston.

Nathan Bates

Nathan started his fire career in 2009 with the League City Volunteer Fire Department (TX) where he still volunteer.

In 2011 Nathan hired on with the Houston Fire Department and is currently an Engineer/Operator.

Before going into the fire service Nathan worked in private industry responding to toxicological emergencies (chemical plant fires/explosions, train derailments, and oil spills in populated areas) across North America.

Jeff Eckert

Jeff is a native of Philadelphia. He works for the Philadelphia Fire Department and is a member of Pennsylvania's Urban Search and Rescue Team, PA Task Force 1. He currently is assigned to Squad 72.

Jeff teaches a wide array of programs topics include vehicle and machinery rescue, RIT, Truck and Engine Company Operations.

Eric Dreiman

A veteran of the Indianapolis Fire Department, Eric recently returned to the field as a Battalion Chief after a long tenure serving as  the Division Chief for Training. Eric served on various busy companies throughout the city over his long career. 

A passionate instructor, he has impacted thousands of student across the country teach at FDIC, Firehouse Expo and Work and other training events. 

His interests lie within  truck and engine company operations, RIT and firefighter survival.

Gabriel Salas

Since 2003, Gabriel Salas serves proudly as a Fire Fighter and EMT for the Philadelphia Fire Department.

Gabe has a passion for special operations. Currently assigned to Squad 72, he has extensive experience in rope, confined space, water, and collapse rescue.

In addition, Gabe served as a Hazmat Technician and part of FEMA PA-TF1.  

Marc Davidson

Marc has worked served at the Fairfax County (VA) Fire and Rescue Service in 1995. He has held various positions currently serving as the Officer Development Training Coordinator.  A Marine Corps veteran, Marc has a passion for Truck Company operations and leadership training.  He recently returned to the field as an Captain on an engine company.

He has had several articles published and has presented nationally at FDIC, FRI and Firehouse Expo.


Anthony Rowett

Anthony is a Captain with the City of Mobile AL) Fire Department. Hailing from New Jersey, Anthony has spent his career honing his engine company skills.

Sharing his experience across the country, he is dedicated to sound, effective engine company operations.

Matt Kings

Matt began his work as a firefighter in Escambia County, FL in 2004. He then joined the U.S. Navy and was deployed in 2009 and 2010 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

In 2012 he was hired at Bryant, AR Fire Department  and worked there for a brief amount of time before accepting a position with Little Rock Fire Department in 2013.

Within Little Fire Department, he has been assigned to engine companies in the downtown and midtown area of the city.

He currently serves a chauffeur on a tiller ladder.


Joe Petties

Joe is a firefighter with the Mobile (AL) Fire Rescue Department.  He also serves as a Captain with the Fairhope Volunteer Fire Department. A dedicated firefighter, student and instructor, his passion is engine company operations. 

He holds several state level certifications and instructs on a statewide and national basis.

Larry Hemphill

Larry retired after a 25 plus year career with the Salina (KS) Fire Department as a Division Chief.

He has extensive teaching experience with a passion for special operations and truck work.

Jack Dewan, Jr.

Jack has had an interesting fire service career. He worked as an EVO Baltimore City Fire Department assigned to a tiller ladder. Prior to that worked in NYC at the Fire Department City of New York as a  Supervising Fire Dispatcher.

Jack hails from the New England are with strong family ties to the Boston Fire Department. Prior to venturing south he work for the Dudley, MA. Fire Department as a Fire Lieutenant/Paramedic and at Patriot EMS in Lawrence, MA as 911 EMT & Dispatcher and  at Vital Response EMS as  Captain, ALS Coordinator and  Communications Manager.

As an instructor, Jack has a strong passion for truck work.


Chris Chindlund

Chris is a second generation fireman. After nearly 15 years serving full time with the City of Branson, MO, he accepted a position with Logan-Rogersville Fire were he currently is a Captain.

He has spent the majority of his career operating on a truck company.  Chris has also served as a Rescue Specialist with MO-TF1, one of 28 FEMA USAR task forces in the nation, since 2016.  A life-long student of the craft, Chris is always striving to improve his knowledge, skills and abilities for THEM.

Jon Shackelford

Jon is a second-generation Firefighter with the Honey Creek Fire Department in Terre Haute Indiana. Jon is currently a Battalion Chief and Training Officer. He started his career in 1997 as a volunteer with HCFD and moved to the career 1999 the same year he became an Indiana instructor 1.

In 2005 he became an Indiana instructor III/III and in 2007 . when Indiana started a district training program, he started as an adjunct Instructor. He specializes in live fire attack, RIT operations, forcible entry and vehicle extraction.

Jon has 3 daughters and enjoy the outdoors on his time off.

Tony Sneidar

Tony served with the City of Philadelphia Fire Department for twenty eight years and eight years before that in U.S. military. He retired in March 2020 at the rank of Assistant Chief. 

With a passion for the job, worked at many of the city's busiest companies. His command experience is certainly one of his strongest assets.  Tony has been active in many fraternal organizations over his career and continues to do so. He is actively involved in the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation.

He currently is the Fire Chief at the Salina (KS) Fire Department.


Chuck McCarthy

Chuck has has nearly 30 years on with the Philadelphia Fire Dept.  The last 17 years have been spent in Special Operations at Rescue 1. The previous 12 years were spent at busy engine companies, all of which were double houses  including 7 years at Engine 2 which averaged over 3000 runs and 150-200 building fires a year. 

He specialized in Engine Company and Ladder Company Operations, High Angle Rope, Structural Collapse, Vehicle and Machinery Rescue, Swiftwater, Confined Space and  RIT and  Firefighter Survival.

A Hazmat Tech, he has been an instructor at Philadelphia  Special Operations School for 10 years and as an  adjunct Instructor at the Philadelphia Fire Academy.He 

He is a  member of PATF-1  having served as a Rescue Specialist, Heavy rigging Specialist and Rescue Squad Officer. 

Josh Hubbard

Josh admits was mechanically inclined as a kid! His skills levels are a reflection from being raised on a farm, being a mechanic, driving and operating heavy equipment, and being a part of many light and heavy-duty wrecker business. 

His unique qualifications and experience makes Josh an awesome addition to our instructor cadre.

Integrating a wrecker into the rescue tool cache is often overlooked and misunderstood at best.  Involved with thousands heavy truck wrecks, rescues and recoveries he as seen first had how rescue operations and wreckers can compliment each other.

Josh's experience and training include:  WreckMaster, 8/9 Rotator and Air Cushion 2020, TIM,  American Towing and Recovery Institute Advanced Heavy-Duty Towing and Recovery Operations,  OSHA Level 2 Rigger, OSHA Crane Inspector2, OSHA Crane Operator, and NRC Rotator Operator  Heavy Duty Recovery Class. 

He currently managing all three locations of a large wrecker service in Indiana.  He also serves on the Board of Director of the Honey Creek Fire District neat Terre Haute, Indiana. He also serves as a vehicle rescue instructor in Indiana.


Billy Srna

Billy recently retired as a Captain after a long career with Salina (KS) Fire Rescue.  A chemist by trade, Bill was a HAZMAT "guru" recognized throughout the region and state.  Billy's passion's beside HAZMAT, included engine and truck work, a disciplines of extrication and other special op practice.  


Justin Latifi

Justin is a 20 year veteran of the fire service. From Colorado Springs, Justin trekked to Texas where worked with the Windcrest and  Seguin Fire Departments prior to accepting a position with the Houston Fire Department in 2014. Justin has a wide breath of experience with a passion for sharing it with others. 

He served as an Engine Operator at HFD and did a sint as an command technician. He recently was promoted to Captain now assigned to an Engine Company.


Billy Fregia

Billy hails from Texas!  He works at  the Baytown Fire Departments since June 2017 were here serves as a firefighter / Paramedic Field Training Officer. He previously work at Cy-Fair Fire Department EMS Division, Cy-Fair Texas as a Field Paramedic and  Galveston Area Ambulance Authority, Galveston, TX as a  Paramedic and Team Captain.

Billy's uncanny ability to take the most complex or event the most boring subject and make it interesting and engaging is a gift.  Highly mechanically inclined his is a "saw guru" and  has a passion for hydraulics, water movement and  pump operations.

Billy is a great addition to our Task Force 1, Inc. instructor cadre.


Kendall Johnsonn

A native of  Lindsborg, KS,  Kendall has been at the Salina (KS) Fire and Rescue since 2002. Prior to joining Salina, he work at the Dodge City Fire Department. Kendall is passionate about special operations and all aspects of technical rescue. 

Chuck Story

Chuck is a 30 plus year veteran of the fire service. During his career, he attended various colleges and universities focusing on fire science and industrial safety both in Pennsylvania and Maryland.

He holds the rank of Fire Chief for the past 27 years leading a progressive volunteer fire department in Pennsylvania. His forward thinking comes from many years of experience serving with one of the largest combination systems in the country. He has the uncanny ability to adapt strategies and tactics to rural areas using proven techniques from the suburban areas.  Additionally services as a career Operations Chief with a fire department in Luzerne County, PA

He holds several pro-board certifications and as many specialty rescue certifications and has assisted with the creation of various additions of nationally known training manuals in the areas of vehicle extrication, heavy rescue, bus extrication an officer candidate courses.

Jake Kocher

Jacob (Jake) is a Captain in the Special Operations Division of the Indianapolis Fire Department. Jake has been with IFD for 18 yrs. He has been assigned to several of Indianapolis’s busiest stations working as a firefighter, engineer, and officer.

Jake was in training before his current assignment instructing recruit classes in various firefighting skills. He is currently the extrication coordinator in
charge of all extrication operations at IFD.

Jake also instructs several other disciplines at IFD including rope rescue, swift water rescue, confined space, trench, and structural collapse. He has a A.A.S. in Fire Science and holds multiple state and national certifications.

Some of Jake’s certifications are Fire Instructor I/II, ISO, Fire Officer I/II/II. He also has state technician level certs in Hazmat, Swift Water, Rope Rescue, Confined Space, Trench, Structural Collapse, and Vehicle/Machinery.

Kevin Lewis

Hailing from Illinois, Kevin Lewis is a 20+ year veteran of the fire service. After serving his country as a member of the Marine Corps, he started his fire service career serving on the west coast but eventually settling in Texas.

He currently works for Dallas Fire - Rescue, assigned to a tillered ladder company. His passion in the fire service is truck work and loves to share his knowledge and experience with others. 

Tim O'Connor

Tim hails from the state of Delaware.

He has served with several departments within Delaware and has held various leadership positions within them.

Tim gained his Associate of Fire Science from Southern Columbia University and hold many national certifications. He is very passionate about sharing his experiences with others.   He specialized in engine, truck and vehicle rescue programs.



Devin Craig

Devin is a second generation firefighter with over 20 year of experience.  He has served as a company officer for nearly 15 years, currently as a Captain with Montgomery County (ESD2), Montgomery Fire Department in Texas.

He hold a plethora of certifications. He earned his fire service degree from Southern  Columbia University.

His wife and two children are his focus when he's not teaching or on the job.

Larry Di Camillo

From the greater Houston area, Larry is a fire service veteran with over 30 year of experience. 

He worked 27 years with Houston Fire Department is several capacities, however, his passion was being a truck company chauffeur. Meanwhile, he serves the Fire Chief at the Stafford Fire Department the suburbs of Houston. 

He holds a myriad of certifications and has received several service awards over his long career.



Richard Walters

With a fire service career spans over 30 years, Richard currently serves as a Lieutenant for the City of Butler Bureau of Fire in Western Pennsylvania. 

Additionally, he is a Captain at the Slippery Rock Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company and a Lieutenant for Team 300 Water Rescue Team serving Butler County, PA. 

He oversees training for the City of Butler and Slippery Rock Volunteer Fire and Rescue.

Richard is a water rescue technician instructor for Team 300.

He recently earned his Bachelor of Science in Fire Administration. 



Bo Vest

Bo is a seasoned fire service veteran hailing from Arkansas. He currently is a Captain with the Little Rock Fire Department, serving on an an engine company. Bo's passion is engine work! 

Dennis Reilly

Dennis Reilly is a forty-eight-year fire service veteran and is a retired Fire Chief and is the Owner of The First Line Fire Service Training Company LLC.

Dennis has served as the Fire Chief in Pittsburg, Kansas and Sunrise Beach, Missouri, an Assistant in North Carolina & California and retired as a Battalion Chief in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

During his time in New Jersey, Dennis became one of the original members of the New Jersey Urban Search & Rescue Task Force 1.  As part of Task Force 1 the Chief made several deployments including to New York City as part of the response to the Terrorist Attacks of 9/11.

Chief Reilly holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Penn State University.  is a CFO and an accomplished author and lecturer

He is active in numerous professional development activities within the fire service and has spoken at various events to include the Command Officers Boot Camp, the Orlando Fire Conference, the Atlanta Metro Fire Conference, the Louisiana Instructors & Firefighter Training (L.I.F.T.) conference, and the Culture & Craft Seminar.

Outside of his fire service career, Dennis is a US Army veteran having served in Iraq during the Operation Desert Storm.

From 2007 – 2010 the Chief worked as an independent contractor providing protective services to several different government clients in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Chief Reilly has been married to his wife Ann for over 37 years. They have two adult children, and three grandchildren.

Chadd Mazzera

Chad hails from San Francisco.

Venturing to the mid-west for college, it's where was first exposed to the fire service which launched career.

After completing college he returned to the west coast landing a position with the Fresno Fire Department in 2015. He worked on an engine company and ladder company while there.  

He then seized an opportunity to work for the Oakland Fire Department. With family roots now in the mid-west, Chad uprooted to take position with the Ferguson (MO) Fire Department.  

While his passion is truck work, his commitment to strong engine work is impeccable.  Chad and his wife and two children reside in a rural area of Missouri.