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Duck Fire Department

You look inside any firehouse and there are probably a handful of great instructors (formal and informal) that the department turns to for skills and drills. They teach all the important technical skills for the part of the job we end up doing the least….responding to calls. But how many firefighters can you identify to teach the “soft skills”? Those important skills of how to communicate effectively, deal with personnel issues or politics, being able to provide  the tools to navigate unforeseen obstacles around the fire house or needed for career advancement. As a Chief I recognize the importance of firefighters needing a higher level of awareness than just putting out fires. This program offers expertise and an objective approach to leadership development at all levels. Students will gain more from outside instruction where they can discuss freely real life experiences to improve themselves and their departments.


  • Donna Black, Fire Chief, Duck Fire Department, EFO, CFO, 2nd Vice-President IAFC

Black Mountain Fire Department

Within a few short weeks of arriving as the Fire Chief at Black Mountain Fire Department in North Carolina, I began meeting with the staff to find out areas they felt the department could reach another level, as we moved forward. The concise answer from Firefighters to Fire Officers was professional development and leadership practices. My research lead me to reaching out to retired Fire Chief Dan Jones to explore some options to give our staff a foundation to build off of. We brought Chief Jones a partner in the “Brave fire Leader” program in for a one day class covering multiple topics to lay the ground work. I noticed our staff came away inspired and energized as the “light” came on seeing professional development and personal growth at work. Our department was engaged and thriving for more after getting a one day synopsis of what the “Brave Fire Leader” program could offer in more detail. We have since had ranks from Firefighter to Fire Chief enroll in the 10 and 20 week cohort programs offered. The dialog and feedback it has created amongst staff, wanting to put the practices in use they have taken away from the program has been instrumental in our professional development of employees.


  • Scottie Harris, Fire Chief, Black Mountain Fire Department

North Carolina League of Municipalities

In Process


  • TJ Deluca, North Carolina League of Municipalities

Burlington Fire Department

The Brave Fire Leader Academy was a perfect solution for our department to provide professional development opportunity to our officers without the challenge of getting them in the same room at the same time for traditional learning.  The self-paced, online academy fit our need well and was beneficial to both new and senior officers alike.  Kelly and Dan do a great job of providing the information and resources during the modules and engaging the officers in person during monthly web meetings to answer questions and reinforce the lessons. The BFL Academy is highly recommended for any department struggling to find a solution to deliver consistent development to your departments officers, or developing officers, without the logistics of pulling them all together for multiple days of training.


  • Matt Lawrence, Deputy Fire Chief, Burlington Fire Department

Brave Fire Leader Academy - Online Cohort

I had enrolled in what was supposed to be the IAFC Southwestern Association of Fire Chiefs Leadership Academy scheduled for April, 2020 in Albuquerque, NM. COVID-19 came to town and derailed everyone’s plans during this time. Kelly and Dan went to work to put this conference style program into a virtual format that we all could still participate in. I must say this was one of the most valuable learning experiences I have had thus far in my career.

As a new Fire Chief, I found the content to be relevant and timely to both today’s fire service, as well as, to my new department. The ability to meet with my cohort weekly and discuss real-world topics and challenges bolstered the learning process for me. The mixture of personnel in my cohort also added value to the learning as we were a very diverse group from different ranks and geographical locations. Additionally, the virtual platform allows great flexibility in attendance and completion of the assignments.

If you are looking for expertly guided learning from top-shelf subject matter experts, you cannot go wrong investing in this opportunity.

  • Derek Briggs, Fire Chief, Forney Fire Rescue

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