Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Former U.S. Fire Administrator Gives Insight Springfield Symposium

Chief Cochran to teach on leadership, diversity and emerging fire service trends at the Springfield Regional Police and Fire

The Springfield Fire Department on Friday welcomed to town Chief Kelvin Cochran, a former U.S. Fire Administrator, to train firefighting recruits on how to implement "servant leadership" within their departments. KSMU's Rebekah Clark reports.

After coordinating, overseeing and directing national efforts to prevent fires in Washington D.C., Chief Cochran took over the City of Atlanta Fire Rescue Department as its fire chief. Cochran ventured up north this weekend to lead a discussion on "Leadership, Diversity and Managing Emerging Fire Service Trends" at the day-long symposium.
Springfield Fire Chief David Hall stepped out of the symposium to talk to KSMU by cell phone.

"One of the main things he's really been focusing on is looking at it as your individual contribution to the fire department, and how is it that we as followers can transform it. It's that concept of, it's not somebody else's responsibility, it's not the leaders' job, in that you're looking to somebody else in order to transform the fire service. We each have personal responsibility," says Hall.

The event is the second of its kind to take place at the Springfield Regional Police and Fire Training Center, which opened last summer on west Battlefiel d Road.

"We can go out to a conference and you'll spend several thousand dollars to send one person to be able to hear some of these national speakers. With the facility we now have, we're now able to go out and bring those speakers in here. So instead of having one or two people attend the conference and hear some of these concepts or ideas, instead we'll end up with 20 or 30 of our personnel being able to hear it here locally, so it's very cost effective for us to be able to do this kind of thing."
Around 80 fire fighters were at Friday's event, Hall says. Some have come from all across the state, including Oklahoma and Arkansas.

He says concepts covered in the symposium include how to come out of hard economic times and how to incorporate a more inclusive, culturally-driven work environment. Hall says he hopes this will help local fire fighters transition from a traditional, historic perspective of government to a viewpoint of a management system that focuses on diversity and openness.

For KSMU News, I'm Rebekah Clark.