Steps To Start A Collaborative

Identify personnel to lead the Collaborative. Leaders occur at every rank and they are willing to do the work with support from their administration. These leaders already exist in your region, state or province. Chances are you already know who they are. What is truly needed is for Chief Officers to identify these informal/formal leaders and give them an opportunity to create and support a collaborative.

In most cases Firefighters have been trained to seek all answers from our Fire Chiefs and if they don’t have the answers they stop trying. In the case of Firefighter Suicide’s and Firefighter Cancer, these are topics that the entire Fire Service is still becoming more aware of and we should not expect Fire Chiefs to have these answers. We must move beyond working with just the Fire Service and begin to develop relationships and partnerships beyond our Fire Departments. There are already numerous resources available. It just takes a few willing personnel who are dedicated and willing to lead by bringing them all together to collaborate.

Everything starts locally. Hold a regional meeting and invite your neighboring Fire Departments and safety and health advocates to attend. Present a topic on a safety and health issue affecting your department or region. Listen and learn from each other. Chances are what is affecting your neighboring department is also affecting yours. Continue holding regional meetings quarterly to further build these relationships.

Work with your neighboring Fire Departments, local law enforcement, State Fire Marshalls Office, Safety Division, State Fire Training Centers. Connect with a university, college or research institute. Develop relationships with your insurance providers, unions, volunteer organizations and Fire Chief Associations.

Connect with local, State and National safety and health organizations and leaders.

Take advantage of all Social Media outlets, create a state newsletter, and maximize the opportunity to share what is occurring in your region as it relates to Firefighter Safety and Health.

Start a FFSHC Region

  1. Florida regions must be established and approved by Chris Bator, Program Manager. Other states who desire a to create a State collaborative can also contact Chris Bator who can assist in providing all necessary information and guidance.
  2. Inquire with other fire departments, private industry, health affiliates in your area to solicit their active participation in your regional collaborative. The key to the FFSHC is resource sharing among all agencies.
  3. There are no membership fees. It is not the intent of our Collaborative to operate for the benefit of private interests, to sponsor or endorse ANY specific agency, vendor, manufacturer or product. Nor is it our intent to support or endorse any political candidate or campaign for elected public office.

Other State Collaboratives

Georgia Safety & Health Collaborative
Marc Maikoski, Alpharetta Fire Rescue Dept

Wisconsin Safety & Health Collaborative
Mike Degarmo, Racine Fire Dept

California Safety & Health Collaborative
Jeff Hughes –

Minnesota Safety & Health Collaborative
Chris Adams –
Kelly Piller –

Idaho First Responder Collaborative
Chris Verkerk –

Washington State Safety and Health Collaborative
Miyoko Saskura –

Texas FACE Team
Craig Balter –

FFSHC Region Map

Northwest Region Coordinator
If you are interested in being a coordinator for this region, please contact us at

Northeast Region Coordinator
Lt Sheryl Rodgers, Jacksonville Fire

Central Region Coordinator
Lt. Bert Vergara, Osceola County Fire Rescue

West Central Region Coordinator
Chief John Klinefelter, Clearwater Fire Rescue

Southwest Region Coordinator
Engineer David Perez, North Collier Fire and Rescue

Southeast Region Coordinator
Chief Humberto Quintela, Miami Dade Fire Rescue