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Greenfield Community College

8:00am to 5:00pm

This five-day course provides students with a solid foundation of the activities, processes, leadership elements, and the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to function within the framework of a Type 3 All Hazard Incident Management  Team (AHIMT) deployed to an incident or planned event.

The course is fast-paced, highly interactive, and challenging as the students, formed into the Command and General Staff positions on an All-Hazards Incident Management Team, navigate through multiple activities and rapidly expanding incident scenarios. The course includes a comprehensive review of the roles and responsibilities of each of the Incident Command System (ICS) Command and General Staff positions, their roles as leaders of their sections or functional areas, leadership and teambuilding, and decision-making under stress.

Time will be spent explaining the Planning Process, each step within the process, the roles and responsibilities of each ICS position within the process, and the deliverables expected from them (based on their ICS position on the team) at the conclusion of each step. Multiple scenarios are used throughout the class to provide the students with opportunities to practice each step of the Planning Cycle, conduct the meetings and briefings, and produce multiple Incident Action Plans (IAPs). Two of the course days include comprehensive incident scenarios that last approximately five hours and that require the team to manage current incident management operations of a rapidly expanding incident, at the same time as planning for, and completing, an IAP for the next Operational Period.

While this course is ideal for members of the same Incident Management Team to attend to build team skills and relationships, individuals will also find the learning valuable and applicable.

The training is free. Registration is required. Complete the form below. 

This course will assist individual responders to perform as viable team members by:

  • Emphasizing the nature and purpose of a Type 3 AHIMT so that others in the community and emergency services are more willing and able to assist or participate in their local Type 3
  • Demonstrating the critical role that leadership and teamwork skills play in the success of a Type 3 AHIMT.
  • Providing a basic framework for building and maintaining critical interpersonal communications and working together as a team member of a Type 3
  • Operationalizing the components of the NIMS and NRF for use in the
  • Offering practical experience of on-scene operations through extensive exercises and simulations that provide multiple opportunities to perform as members of a Type 3 AHIMT during simulated incidents.

The training will be held at Greenfield Community College, Wednesday, November 2 – Sunday, November 6, 2022, 8:00am to 5:00pm.

Please register by completing this form.

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UMass Amherst Police Department and National Fish and Wildlife Headquarters Hadley

9:00 am to 5:00 pm

This search and tracking training is specifically designed for first responders, particularly law enforcement, search and rescue teams, fire and EMS who may be first on scene to locate an evasive or threatening subject, kidnapping, or lost person.

Honed tracking skills are applicable as a primary response skill. It helps to verify witness statements, to establish the last know place of a subject and their purpose or intent and path of egress or exit routing. Enhanced visual tracking can help to reveal physical evidence and to follow a fleeing subject.

This training is free and registration is required. Complete the form below.

First responders are skilled at quickly assessing an incident scene upon arrival. This training will train first responders to truly see all there is to see which will assist with more rapid response, improve evidence gathering, improve scene preservation and enhance the ability to track a perpetrator or lost person.

The training includes both classroom and field work. The classroom portion will introduce students to elements of tracking, including methodology, techniques, procedures and operational applications. The method taught is applicable to searches of any kind, whether outdoors in urban or rural settings, or within buildings and homes. The field work will provide students the opportunity to apply the taught techniques to develop a deeper understanding of training and to train their brains to “see” what they are seeing.

The training also includes methods of providing physical security to scene elements important to tracking, tactical and search operations, and understanding the scene of an improvised explosive device attack for intelligence gathering.

The training is free. Registration is required. 

Training days are Wednesday through Friday, September 21 to 23, 2022. Please note the special hours of training for day 2 noted below.

  • The training will begin with classroom session at UMass Amherst Police Department at 9:00am Wednesday, September 21.
  • The second day of training will begin at 1:00pm (1300 hours) and conclude at 9:00pm. This will allow tracking training in low to no light conditions.
  • The third day of training will run from 9:00am to 5:00pm

As noted above, classroom portion of the training will occur at UMass Amherst Police Department, 585 E Pleasant St, Amherst, MA. The majority of the outdoor tracking training will be held at Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, 69 Moody Bridge Road, Hadley, Ma. The first day of training report to UMass Amherst Police Department and details and times for outdoor portions of the training will be shared during course orientation.

Registration for this training is closed. Thank you for your interest.

Building Healthy Workplaces: How To Promote Mental Health in First Responder Organizations

Building Healthy Workplaces: How to promote mental health in first responder organizations training is a series designed to help first responder leadership promote positive mental wellbeing within their organizations.

This virtual training, delivered in four, 2-hour, live, virtual sessions offers deep discussion and planning leadership can follow to build healthy workplace environments. The session will be held on the following dates and times. Registration is required, please complete the form at the bottom of this page to register. 

  • Thursday, February 2 , 2023 – 10:00am to noon
  • Thursday, February 9, 2023  – 10:00am to noon
  • Thursday, February 16, 2023 – 10:00am to noon
  • Thursday, February 23, 2023 – 10:00am to noon

Attendance at all four sessions is recommended as each session builds on the last. This is an interactive training and access to audio and visual capabilities are required. Complete the form below to register.

Participation in the training is prioritized for first responder leadership in Western Massachusetts. Submitted registration will be reviewed to ensure participants are in a leadership role. Complete the form below to apply. The training is free. Class size is limited, so please submit your interest soon.

The self-paced, online Introduction to Building Healthy Workplaces is a prerequisite for the virtual series. This introduction provides background and overview of common mental health topics and evidence-based information which the virtual session will explore more deeply. The introduction training is free.

The training is free. Registration is required.

Registration is closed for this series.

First Responder Mental Health Resilience Conference October 2022

The Western Region Homeland Security Advisory Council is proud to offer our inaugural First Responder Mental Health Resilience Conference.

Join us for this exciting virtual experience which will provide leading-edge approaches to foster mental health resilience in first responders. Every Thursday in October (6, 13, 20 & 27) 2022 from 10:00am to 2:30pm.

Each day includes a featured subject matter expert speaker and practical and applicable skills workshops specifically tailored for first responders.

Registration is closed.

The conference will held be on Zoom. Most sessions will be recorded and available for future use.

Conference Line Up 

Day 1 – Thursday, October 6, 2022
Day 2 – Thursday, October 13, 2022
Day 3 – Thursday, October 20, 2022
Day 4 – Thursday, October 27, 2022
Information about how to receive Special Credit from OEMS

Click here for more information about our speakers

Click here for conference resources

Day 1 – Thursday, October 6, 2022 10:00am to 2:45pm

10:00am – 10:15am Opening Address: Lt. Col. Tom Grady, Berkshire County Sheriff’s Office, WRHSAC

10:15am – 11:45am Featured Speaker: Dr. Stephen Porges, PhD
First Responder Panel Discussion Team: Sgt. James Sullivan, University of Massachusetts Amherst Police Department; Chief Philip Wonkka, Erving Fire Department; Laurie Lankowski McComb, South County EMS and adjunct faculty of Greenfield Community College Paramedic Department; Nina Barszcz, Dispatch Administrator, Westfield Public Safety
Title: Polyvagal Theory Applied to Mental Health


Join the conversation with Dr. Porges and first responders to understand the Polyvagal Theory and how our nervous systems impact our responses to the environment. By understanding the Polyvagal Theory, we can go from states of shutdown or mobilization to a state of safety and connection. We will discuss psychological stress injury, injury prevention, and the potential for healing and integration. The first hour (10:15-11:15) will consist of a First Responder Panel Discussion, followed by 30 minutes (11:15-11:45) of Q&A with Dr. Porges. First responder disciplines represented on the panel include: Police, Fire, EMS, Dispatch. Fielding participant questions from the Zoom Chat: Lillian Lennox, Moderator

Objectives: 1. Describe how the Polyvagal Theory can demystify several clinical symptoms related to psychiatric diagnoses (e.g., PTSD, autism, depression, and anxiety disorders). 2. Explain how deficits in the regulation of the Social Engagement System relate to the core features of several behavioral and psychiatric disorders. 3. Describe a neural process (neuroception) that evaluates risk in the environment and triggers adaptive neural circuits that promote either social interactions or defensive behaviors.

Session resources: Dr. Stephen Porges, Polyvagal Theory: A Science of Safety. Additional resources available at

Note: This session will not be recorded due to speaker contract limitations. Please attend the live session.

12:00pm – 1:00pm Skills Workshop #1: Deb Dana, LCSW
Title:   Polyvagal Theory in Practice

Guided by Polyvagal Theory, we have a deep appreciation of the ways experience shapes the nervous system and of the pathways that lead to healing. With an updated map of the autonomic circuits that underlie behaviors and beliefs, we have a new understanding of the patterns of fight, flight, and shut down and can reliably move out of adaptive survival responses into the autonomically regulated state of safety that is necessary for wellbeing. In this presentation we’ll explore how to use the body’s regulating circuits to regain a sense of safety and skills to engage the nervous system’s natural pathways to regulation.

Session resources: Deb Dana, A Beginner’s Guide to Polyvagal Theory. Additional resources available at

Note: This session will not be recorded due to speaker contract limitations. Please attend the live session.

1:30pm – 2:30pm Skills Workshop #2: Stephanie D’Angelo
Title:   Be the Calm in the Storm: Polyvagal-Informed Embodied Mindfulness (PIEM)

Real-Time Stress Survival Skills: Aren’t we all just seeking peace in a chaotic world? Be the Calm is a Polyvagal Informed Embodied Mindfulness skills and drills session. It is a 60-minute online workshop to empower individuals with stress survival skills that can be felt in real-time, used anywhere, and anytime. The experiential session cultivates autonomic flexibility increasing the capacity for self-regulation, increased physiological safety and overall well-being. Participants benefit from integration of vagal toning exercises including breathwork, gentle movement, and other somatic practice skills to calm the nervous system and reduce stress.

Objectives: 1. Learn skills that increase vagal tone and help regulate the nervous system.
2. Reduce stress and increase wellbeing through breath and gentle movement.
3. Increase Somatic Intelligence through mindful movement and interoceptive awareness. Integrating polyvagal informed principles, embodied mindfulness, and self-care using trauma-informed best practices in cultivating wellbeing strategies.

Session resources: Stephanie D’Angelo, Polyvagal Informed Embodied Mindfulness: An Online Program. Additional resources available at

Note: This session will be recorded and available following the conference. 

DAY 2 – Thursday October 13, 2022 10:00am to 2:15pm

10:00am-10:15am Opening Address: Chief Jennifer Gundersen, South Hadley Police

10:15am -11:15am Featured Speakers: Joanne Barros, LMHC, DMH and Dr. Victor Petreca, PhD, DNP
Title: Best Practices for Treatment Refusers and Resisters


This presentation covers some of the most common reasons for treatment resistance/refusal and the associated effects. Taking a multi-faceted approach to this topic, the presentation addresses new and innovative ways to address resistance and refusals in order to maximize clinical effectiveness. The goal is for a remediation of symptoms and the ability to improve quality of life outcomes. Expanded awareness and knowledge around clinical needs of the population served, increases buy in and job fulfillment. Satisfaction in the work and a sense of increased impact on positive outcomes also correlate to better work and life quality. A first responder’s mental health and resilience also improve with awareness of conditions, disorders, and situations they encounter.

Objectives: 1. Identify most common causes of resistance/refusals; 2. Associate impact of resistance with corresponding outcomes; 3. Determine effective ways to address resistance/refusals.

Note: This session will be recorded and available following the conference. 

11:30am – 12:30pm Skills Workshop #1: Jeremy Segall, MA, RDT, LCAT
Title: Organizational Well-being: Enhancing Internal & External Resilience that Supports a Culture of Workforce Wellness

This presentation focuses on providing an understanding of resiliency and holistic well-being as it relates to the psychosocial stressors of the workplace. The presentation seeks to explore stress reduction and coping tools for both at work and home. Establishing understanding of response to stressful situations while focusing on eight dimensions of well-being, this presentation also identifies when coping is healthy versus unhealthy, and when additional help is necessary. The presentation includes steps to assess and alleviate your own stress in the moment, as well as ways to support colleagues. Learn why wellness should be a strategic priority and what the benefits are. Discover how you can get involved and begin to transform the psychological safety culture of your workplace by starting from within, and understand how to be an advocate for change to hardwire resiliency across your organization.

Objectives: 1. Apply learning about the current challenges and climate that impacts workforce wellness and how to leverage the 8 dimensions of wellness to foster a supportive approach and work environment; 2. Discuss strategic solutions that institutions can use to create a more resilient culture for individuals, teams, and the overall organization; 3. Understand the crucial link between workforce wellness, quality, patient safety, and sustained well-being both personally and professionally; 4. Deploy the Helping Healers Heal (H3) framework to develop a holistic workforce wellness culture for you and your team.

Note: This session will be recorded and available following the conference. 

1:00pm – 2:00pm Skills Workshop #2: Sam Chase, RISE Kripalu
Title:   Keeping the Body in Mind: Embodied Tools for Resilience

As a first responder, how you train your attention to assess your surroundings has huge consequences in critical moments where milliseconds make a difference. But we don’t often dedicate the same time and training to paying attention to what’s going on inside. Scientists call this interoception – a literal ‘sixth sense’ that attunes us to what’s happening within the body. Recent research connects the skill of interoception to our capacity for resilience, suggesting that our ability tune into what’s inside impacts our ability handle what’s going on around us. In this workshop, we’ll explore several evidence-based exercises for building interoception and sharpening your inner attention. These tools integrate easily into the rhythms of the day, so that the time you invest inside will leave you ready, responsive and resilient in the moments that matter most.

Objectives: 1. Understand the relationship between breath and the body’s relaxation response; 2. Train in the skill of the Complete Break to promote down-regulation; 3. Understand how interoception (internal bodily awareness) builds resilience; 4. Train in the skill of Breath Meditation to promote interoception.

Note: This session will be recorded and available following the conference. 

DAY 3 – Thursday October 20, 2022 10:00am to 2:45pm

10:00am – 10:15am Opening Address: Bruce Arbour, MDiv, HTP; US Navy veteran and former call firefighter; Assistant Chief Chaplain with Mass Corps of Fire Chaplains and member of Western Mass Critical Incident Stress Management Team

10:15am-11:15am Featured Speaker: Rollin McCraty, Ph.D.
Title: Maintaining your Composure in the Midst of Chaos and Confusion

This presentation will discuss a practical framework of resilience and the importance of learning and practicing energy self-regulation techniques. Practices shown to dramatically impact first responders ability to maintain inner poise, composure and clarity, even in rapidly changing, complex and chaotic environments. Dr. McCraty will provide an overview of new research on the physiology of optimal performance and a measurable state called ‘physiological coherence’ and how this optimal state increases cognitive performance, health and well-being. 

Objectives: 1. Learn the fundamentals of resilience and the importance of energy management skills; 2. Gain an understanding of physiology of optimal cognitive and physical functioning; 3. Understand how heart-brain coherence improves a wide range of cognitive functions; 4. Gain an understanding of why smart professionals can sometimes do really dumb things and how to prevent it.

Session resources: Jorina Elbers and Rollin McCraty, HeartMath approach to self-regulation and psychosocial well-being; Rollin McCraty and Mike Atkinson, Resilience Training Program Reduces Physiological and Psychological Stress in Police Officers. Additional resources available at

Note: This session will be recorded and available following the conference. 

11:30am – 12:30pm Skills Workshop #1: Jennifer Hart, Senior Probation Officer, Wellness & Peer Support Coordinator, San Diego County Probation Department
Title:   Creating Calm in Chaos

The work we do is rewarding and meaningful, but it is also physically and emotionally taxing. Daily, we face challenging, dangerous, and draining situations. We are impacted by limited resources, uncertainty, and constant change. If unmanaged, this operational stress can diminish our performance, deplete our energy, and erode our wellbeing. As the demands of our jobs continue to increase, learning to build and sustain resilience is more vital than ever.

In this skills workshop, you will learn practical tools to manage your energy, diminish the harmful impacts of operational stress and increase your personal resilience. HeartMath’s research-based tools are designed to help you reduce energy drains and restore calm so you can maintain balance and composure, even in the face of chaos and adversity.

Objectives: 1. Recognize sources of depletion (energy drain); 2. Explain the importance of resetting after a stressful event; 3. Identify three strategies for building and sustaining resilience.

Session resources: Heartmath, Depletion to Renewal Grid. Additional resources available at

Note: This session will be recorded and available following the conference. 

1:00pm – 2:30pm Skills Workshop #2: Dr. Rita Nakashima Brock, Rel. M., M.A., Ph.D., Senior Vice-President and Director of Shay Moral Injury Center at Volunteers of America; co-facilitators Rev. Madonna J. Arsenault, M.Div., CSD, and Chaplain Yuri Yamamoto

Title:   Recognizing and Addressing Moral Distress and Moral Injury in First Responders

This workshop will provide information about conditions that put first responders at risk of experiencing moral distress that, when unaddressed, can intensify into moral injury. The workshop will cover the relationship between them and how to recognize them, as well as strategies that support recovery from them. It will include a demonstration of an online, small group, peer-facilitated program for first responders offered by Volunteers of America, Resilience Strength Time (VOA|ReST), designed to mitigate moral distress and forestall or lessen the intensity of moral injury.

Objectives: This workshop will enable participants to: 1)Define moral injury in its two forms. 2) Explain the relationships among moral conflict, moral distress, and moral injury. 3) Explain the difference of moral injury from PTSD. 4) Describe two strategies for processing moral distress.

Note: This session will be recorded and available following the conference. 

DAY 4 – Thursday October 27, 2022, 10:00am to 2:15pm

10:00am – 10:15am Opening Address: Chief Michael Wynn, Pittsfield Police Department

10:15am -11:15am Featured Speaker: Tom Greenhalgh, LICSW
Title:   Peer Support and Emerging Sciences: Blending the New with the Traditional for Enhanced Wellness and Resiliency

Peer support has existed for decades. Research over that time has shown it to be very useful in helping with life challenges. Emerging sciences such as neuroplasticity show how the brain can change in ways once not thought possible. In this presentation we will explore some of these emerging sciences and how they relate and can be integrated into peer support, with a goal of enhancing wellness and resiliency.

Objectives: Attendees will be able to: 1. list at least 3 benefits of peer support for dealing with life challenges; 2. list at least 3 emerging sciences that can impact wellness and resiliency.

11:30am – 12:30pm Skills Workshop #1: Tom Greenhalgh, LICSW
Title:  Enhancing My Personal and Professional Skills for Enhanced Wellness and Resiliency

Very often caretakers spend all their time taking care of others, often at the expense of themselves. “I don’t have time for that” is often heard when someone is asked what they do for themselves. Not recharging their personal battery, caretakers often pay a significant price in terms of their own health, wellness and resiliency, but also deliver services to others that may not be at a level they perceive it to be.

Attendees of this workshop will explore a self-reflection and evaluation as to where they may stand in terms of how well they are doing in terms of self-care, suggestions for improvement, and tools they can carry forward to those that they serve.

Objectives: Attendees will be able to: 1. Evaluate themselves in eight domains of Wellness and Resiliency; 2. Develop a self-care/resiliency plan for themselves; 3. List at least 3 items that they can suggest to those that they care for to enhance their tools in these areas.

1:00pm – 2:00pm Skills Workshop #2: Robin Carnes, MBA, WAET, Certified Yoga Therapist, Certified YOQI Qigong Flow Associate Instructor, Certified iRest Meditation Instructor
Title: Healthy Sleep: Your #1 Resilience Skill

At a time when more people than ever suffer with sleep issues, the latest science reveals just how essential quality sleep is for every aspect of our mental and physical health. First Responders face elevated risks for sleep problems due to the nature of the jobs they do in service to their communities.

In this workshop you will: be briefed on the latest findings on the essential functions of sleep, learn the underlying cause of most common sleep dysfunctions, and learn how to address common sleep problems through simple lifestyle changes and mind-body practices.

The heart of the workshop will be experiencing a variety of evidence-based practices to support and enhance your sleep, including a guided iRest meditation designed specifically for sleep. Participants will come away with practical materials and recorded practices to improve this essential function of human life.

Objectives: 1. Recognize the severe mental and physical impact of inadequate sleep; 2. Learn the neurobiological cause of most common types of sleep problems; 3. Understand the mechanism of specific mind-body skills works to improve sleep quality; 4. Know how to practice 3 easy to learn evidence-based skills for improving sleep quality and quantity.

Session resources: iRest Meditation for Deep Rest with Robin Carnes

Note: This session will be recorded and available following the conference. 

2:00-2:15 pm Conference Wrap Up: Lillian Lennox LMHC, C-iRest, E-RYT 500 and Raine Brown, Western Region Homeland Security Advisory Council

Click here for speakers’ bios


Note: This conference may be eligible for Special Credit from OEMS; proper documentation must be submitted. You will need to submit a separate application for each day of the conference that you attend.

1.Use the Special Credit Application (section B only). To access a copy with the justification already in place, click here .

2.Provide the Agenda (or syllabus) and proof of program attendance.

3. Provide justification that the Program satisfies AR 2-212 requirements for EMS continuing education. This paragraph will serve as justification. To access a copy with the justification already in place, click here .

4. Follow instructions to submit documentation.  Do not wait, as you must receive a continuing ed approval number from OEMS, and these applications  can take several weeks to process.


10:30am to 11:30am Consecutive Thursdays in July 2022

Frontline personnel are regularly encountering people who present as hostile or readily escalate to hostile with minimal stimulus.

This training series will provide:

  • De-escalation techniques
  • Strategies to prevent disruption
  • Strategies to manage challenging group dynamics
  • Techniques to support frontline personnel dealing with hostility and aggression and more

Update July 5, 2022 – This training series is full. Thank you for your interest. For questions please contact Raine Brown, Homeland Security Program Manager. 

Update July 1, 2022 – Registration for Workshops 1 & 2 is closed. We still have some seats in Workshop 3.

Please complete the form below.

  1. Workshop #1 – Working with Challenging One-on-one Frontline Interactions
    Thursday, July 14, 2022, 10:30 – 11:30am via Zoom 

 Proposed audience: People on the front lines, at front desks/reception, first on scene, etc. who deal with individuals initially refusing to respect policies or guidelines, expressing some degree of hostility or aggression, demanding immediate responses, etc.

 Objectives: Introduce approaches to de-escalation; identify and practice key de-escalation techniques.

  1. Workshop #2 – Working in Challenging Group/Community Settings
    Thursday, July 21, 2022, 10:30 – 11:30am via Zoom 

Proposed audience: People organizing group meetings or events, people potentially dealing with multiple challenging interactions with irritated/aggressive people simultaneously

Objectives: Introduce techniques for designing and facilitating meetings or events to prevent disruption; discuss approaches to handling challenging group dynamics.


  1. Workshop #3 – Supporting Others Dealing with Challenging Dynamics
    Thursday, July 28, 2022, 10:30 – 11:30am via Zoom

Proposed audience: Both people who want to support peers/colleagues dealing with challenging interactions, and people who can impact workplace structures, processes and culture

Objectives: Introduce techniques for third-party intervention to support peers or colleagues dealing with hostility or aggression; explore ways our businesses/organizations/institutions can support front-line workers dealing with challenges.

These sessions are applicable to first responders, municipal officials, hospital personnel, front-line and essential workers, and supervisors. Please share this training with your colleagues, supervisors, staff and others who may be interested.

Please complete the following form to register. You may register for one, two or all of the sessions. A link to participate will be provided to you in a confirmation email.

Update July 5, 2022 – Registration for this training series is full. Thank you for your interest. Inquiries can be directed to Raine Brown. 


Castle of Knights, 1599 Memorial Drive, Chicopee, May

8:30am to 5:00pm

The Western Region Homeland Security Advisory Council (WRHSAC) and the Western Mass Fire Chiefs Association (WMFCA) are hosting a 3-day Fire Officer Advanced Tactics and Strategies Training Program on Monday through Wednesday, May 16 through 18, 2022 in Chicopee, MA. The program will be facilitated by Nick Martin from Combat Ready Fire Training – an instructor many fire officer may be familiar with from his presentations at the Fire Chiefs of Massachusetts annual conference. The three days of trainings are as follows:

The training is free. Lunch will be provided. You may attend either one or both of Day One and Day Two. Participation in Day One or Day Two is a prerequisite to attend Day Three.

Registration is required. Complete the form below to register. 

Day One

First Alarm Strategy and Tactics

– Monday, May 16, 8:30 am to 5:00pm

This training will focus on the decisions made by fire officers the first hours of firefighting at the most common building types. The facilitator will draw from real world experience to detail fireground proven strategies and tactics for fires in single-family dwellings, multiple-family dwellings, and commercial buildings. Tactical options for the most common fire scenarios will be reviewed. Decision making models for rapidly selecting the most appropriate engine and truck company operations will be presented. The information in this interactive program will be appropriate for both new and veteran fire officers and will facilitate better and more rapid decision making to stop a fire and save lives.

Topics include:

  • Setting up for success
  • Incident size-up
  • Modern fire behavior
  • Risk assessment
  • Strategy determination
  • Engine Company Tactics
  • Ladder Company Tactics
  • Rapid intervention operations
  • Single family dwelling fire tactics
  • Multi-family dwelling fire tactics
  • Commercial fire tactics
  • Defensive fire strategies
  • Post incident analysis and learning

Day Two

Aggressive Command supports Aggressive Firefighting

, Tuesday, May 17

Balanced incident command systems are hard to come by. Cumbersome command practices that allow a building to burn down while command is “setup” are as frustrating and problematic as the lack of any strong direction and organization.

Departments must avoid impractical command practices that slow or hamper putting the fire out but must also avoid a lack of strong command that fails to organize the incident and aggressively deploy crews to solve the problem.  This program discusses best practices incident commanders can use to maximize the capabilities of their firefighting forces.

This topic will be for chief and company officers. A strong understanding of each other’s jobs and a mutual respect are key to any incident’s success. This training will serve as a forum for chiefs and officers to discuss and learn about each other’s roles, the jobs of each within the command system and practices that make each more successful, both as individuals and as a team.

Students will be taught a methodical process that can be used to manage incidents properly and aggressively. The training includes the following components: Aggressive Command Mindset; Pre-Incident Musts for Success; and Strong Command for Strong Firefighting.

Day Three – This session is full. Complete the form below to be added to the waitlist. 

Interactive Command Simulations

Wednesday, May 18

Students will be provided with scenarios to integrate command post and officer operations at a fire incident. Students will be able to incorporate concepts and learning from the previous days training. Simulations will range in complexity from single alarm house fire to multi-alarm fires. 

Registration for this training is closed. Thank you for your interest. 

For All Municipal Departments

This workshop series will assist municipalities in taking immediate actions to address IT and cybersecurity needs and will also help guide the formation, policy, and procedures of possible future regionalized IT and cybersecurity solutions.

You may attend one, some or all of the following virtual workshops. A link to register for each individual session is included in the workshop description below. The workshops will be recorded and available for viewing at a later date – however – attending the live workshops is strongly encouraged for direct engagement with the facilitators and guest speakers.

The workshops will be conducted by Novus Insight, a firm specializing in providing IT and cybersecurity solutions to municipalities.


Workshop 1:  Positioning Technology & Cybersecurity as a Strategic Imperative

Target Audience: Executive Leadership, Selectboard Members

Session 1 – Support and Planning

Tuesday, September 14, 2021. 9am-10:30am.

Registration link:

  • Myth-busting – “Tech is overhead.” No, it’s not.
  • Why secure technology is the foundation of modern government services
  • Solving the budget problem starts with cultivating buy-in
    • How to talk tech without talking tech
    • How to (more) confidently sell stakeholders and constituents on the need for tech & cyber budgeting
  • Creating strategic plans that are supported by technology

Session 2 – Internal Change Management

Thursday, September 30, 2021. 1pm-2:30pm.

Registration link:

  • Breaking old habits – creating a culture to support change
  • Incorporating policy & procedure development and incident response planning into municipal budgets
  • Creating more of a culture of cybersecurity

Workshop 2:  Best Practices in IT/Cybersecurity Policies and Procedures Workshop

Target Audience: Executive Leadership, IT Personnel

Session 1 – Overview of a Cybersecurity Program

Thursday, October 14th, 2021. 9am-10:30am.

Registration link:

  • Understanding the important distinctions and interrelationship between policies, procedures, guidelines, and standards
  • Relevance — How does my cybersecurity program relate to and impact the day-to-day operations of the municipality?
  • Components of a cybersecurity program and the importance of each

Session 2 – Building a Cybersecurity Program

Tuesday, October 26th, 1pm-2:30pm

Registration link:

  • Templates that will get you started
    • Using the templates to drive other components of your overall IT program such as backup and recovery, incident response, and IT asset management
  • The role of executive leadership
  • Regulatory requirements
  • Making the program understandable and relevant to all — employees, board and commission members, external parties, the public


Workshop 3:  Incident Response Planning Workshop

Target Audience: Executive Leadership, IT Personnel, Emergency Operations & Critical Infrastructure (i.e. WPC)

Session 1 – Introduction of the cyber incident response plan template and implementation checklist tool

Wednesday, November 3, 2021. 9am-10:30am.

Registration link:

  • Identifying and understanding the municipality’s key information assets and the risk of them being breached or removed
    • Novus will provide an asset inventory worksheet for collecting and categorizing assets
  • Identifying whether assets are within your control or a third party’s, or if it is a shared responsibility
  • Understanding your in-house capabilities vs. need for external expertise/resources
  • How to assemble an incident response team

Session 2 – Implementing an IRP and addressing tool implementation barriers and /questions

Wednesday, November 17, 2021. 1pm-2:30pm

Registration link:

  • Preparing a tailored Incident Response Plan including:
    • Guidelines for who to inform when data is breached or exposed
    • Establishing the severity of a breach and the level of response required
  • How your IRP should fit within your business continuity and disaster recovery strategies
  • How to test your incident response plan

* Each participant will leave with a set of materials and templates allowing them to custom tailor their plan.

Workshop 4:  Security and Compliance Workshop

Target Audience: Executive Leadership, Any departments dealing with sensitive information (i.e. Police, Fire, HR)

Thursday, December 2, 2021. 9am-11am.

Registration link:

  • Most common sensitive data types in a municipality
    • PII
    • PHI (the 2 things needed with data for it to be considered PHI and regulated by HIPAA)
    • FERPA
    • CJIS
    • PCI
  • Identifying sensitive data in your environment
  • Strategies for protecting sensitive data and end user education
  • When all else fails, there’s insurance. An overview of cyber insurance and what’s included.
  • FOIA, record retention, and e-discovery
  • Baseline standards and best practices for a security and compliance program

Workshop 5:  State IT/Cybersecurity Efforts and Resources Workshop

Target Audience: Executive Leadership, IT Personnel

Thursday, December 16, 2021. 9am-10:30am.

Registration link:

  • Overview of Massachusetts-specific municipal IT and security resources

Presentations by representatives from state agencies, MIIA, and potentially federal resources

Lanesborough and Erving, MA

All the sessions are full. Thank you for your interest in the training. 

Chainsaw safety skills are essential to first responder safety during critical incident response. Chainsaw operations on a normal day can be dangerous. According to the CDC approximately 36,000 people are treated in hospital emergency departments for injuries from using chain saws. When trees are bent over or snapped in half it significantly increases the difficulty of removing them. Following a terrorist incident, first responders may be called on to clear and maintain critical transportation routes which are crucial to delivery of response personnel, equipment and services. The routes are crucial to support supply chain management. When downed trees block transportation routes, first responders are called upon to clear routes with chainsaws.

This training series consists of two training modules: Basic Chainsaw Skills & Safety and Advanced Skills.

In Basic Chainsaw Skills & Safety, students will learn about basic safety equipment and PPE, a saw’s reactive forces, chain tooth parts, and practice felling, notching, hinging and other cutting techniques and calculations. This is a two-day, 16-hour course. Students must attend both complete days. The training is physically demanding, a morning of classroom learning on the first day, followed by field work in the afternoon and full in-field day on Day 2. Students must self assess their ability to meet these demands. This course is a pre-requisite for Advanced Skills training.

In Advanced Skills, students will build on the skills learned in the chainsaw skills & safety class. Additionally, students will learn techniques to relieve pressure commonly found in incident-damaged trees. Topics include hazards, spring poles, hangers and leaners, pulls and splits and others. This is a one-day, 8-hour training. Only students who have completed the Chainsaw Skills & Safety class are eligible. This training is physically demanding, all day in the field. Students must self-assess their ability to meet course demands.

This training is appropriate for Highway, Department of Public Works and Fire Personnel, and other first responders who may be called upon to use chainsaws in the line of duty.

The training is free. Lunch will be provided. Registration is required (see form below). Pandemic safety protocols will be followed.

Multiple sessions of Basic Chainsaw Skills & Safety will be held as follows:

  • Saturday and Sunday, August 14 and 15, 2021, Lanesborough, MA
  • Thursday and Friday, September 9 and 10, 2021, Lanesborough, MA
  • Monday and Tuesday, October 4 and 5, 2021, Erving, MA and
  • Monday and Tuesday, October 25 and 26, Erving, MA


All the sessions are full. Thank you for your interest in the training. 

Two sessions of the Advanced Skills training will be held as follows:

  • Thursday, September 23, 2021, Lanesborough, MA and
  • Tuesday, November 16, 2021, Erving, MA

 You must have successfully completed Chainsaw Skills and Safety in order to register for this class. The option to register for the Advanced class will be included in your email confirmation when you sign up for the Basic Skills class.

All questions can be directed to Raine Brown, Homeland Security Program Manager,, 413.774.3167 x138



Williamstown June 19 and Southampton June 25

9 am to 4 pm

Is your department ready for an equine or large animal emergency?

If you witness a horse emergency such as a trailer accident, a horse down in a stall, trapped in a ditch, or in a fire in a stable, would you know how to respond?

Whether you are a public safety official, a first responder, or technical rescue responder, this course is essential to prepare you for an equine emergency.  In this one day course, you’ll learn proper handling techniques and get practical hands-on experience through conducting rescue scenarios using a training mannequin, Lucky the horse.  By the end of the course, you will be able to move large animals safely and quickly in cases of disaster or injury, while preventing potential injuries to the humans involved.  The course offers classroom instruction and hands-on scenarios using our specialized equipment as well as equipment that may be readily available to first responder departments.

The training is taught by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA). The training is free and lunch will be provided.

WRHSAC is offering two sessions of the training:

  • Saturday, June 19th in Williamstown, MA 9am – 4pm (registration for this session is closed) or
  • Friday, June 25th in Southampton, MA 9am – 4pm

COVID-19 protocols will be followed. Please wear a mask.

About the MSPCA’s Equine Safety & Rescue Training Program

As the national authority on equine emergency response and rescue, we travel thousands of miles annually to train first responders, veterinarians, humane organizations, and public safety officials in rescue and transportation.

With our innovative rescue equipment, including the Original Rescue Glide® and our horse mannequin Lucky, we conduct hands-on workshops for professionals throughout North America. With the wealth of experience that comes from performing hundreds of real-life rescues, MSPCA staff is able to re-create scenarios that may occur when handling horses and other large animals.

The MSPCA’s expertise in the field of equine rescue has been crucial in the start-up of over two dozen equine ambulance programs throughout the country. As a non-profit agency that is dedicated to the protection of horses everywhere, the MSPCA lends its knowledge and experience to humane organizations, state animal response teams, and others who wish to create similar ambulance programs to serve their communities. WRHSAC is pleased to host MSPCA in delivery this quality training and thanks the State of Massachusetts Animal Response Team (SMART) for their assistance in coordinating the training and locations.

The training is free.

Registration is required.

The training is full and registration is closed. Thank you for your interest.


COVID Vaccine Information Sessions

The Western Region Homeland Security Advisory Council (WRHSAC) and the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG) sponsored a COVID vaccine information session. The session provided potential Massachusetts Phase One vaccine recipients and providers with information regarding the vaccine/s function, efficacy, developmental history, ongoing research, possible side effects, and more. The session discussed common misconceptions of the vaccines and provided ample time for questions and answers to improve vaccine comprehension and confidence. It helped local police, fire, and public health to be better educated about the vaccine and help them be messengers to the public and their constituencies.

The session was developed and will be facilitated by Dr. Michele Keane-Moore, Senior Lecturer of The Department of Physical and Biological Sciences at Western New England University. Dr. Keane-Moore currently teaches, and has previously conducted research, in immunology and infectious disease. Dr. Keane-Moore also was a reviewer with the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research and is familiar with the regulatory process being used to evaluate these vaccine candidates. She has also served on Baystate Medical Center’s Institutional Review Board that oversees clinical research for over fifteen years. Dr. Keane-Moore received her doctorate in immunology and infectious disease from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The intended audience was people identified as vaccine recipients in Massachusetts’ Phase One vaccine distribution timeline. This Phase One timeline includes the following groups, in order:

  • Clinical and non-clinical healthcare workers doing direct and COVID-facing care
  • Long term care facilities, rest homes and assisted living facilities
  • Police, Fire and Emergency Medical Services
  • Congregate care settings (including corrections and shelters)
  • Home-based healthcare workers
  • Healthcare workers doing non-COVID-facing care

Multiple virtual offerings were held. One session was recorded and is available below.


One more live, virtual session will be held on Wednesday, December 30, 2:00pm t0 3:00pm (EST)

Click here to register for Wednesday, Dec 30 at 2:00pm