This week, Chadron will host firefighters and emergency personnel from across Nebraska during the Nebraska State Volunteer Firefighters Association NSVFA annual conference.
Things get underway Thursday, Oct. 14, at noon with the NSVFA executive board meeting and Nebraska State Fire School committee meetings at the Chadron Fire Hall.
Nebraska has one of biggest fire schools in the country, Scott Schremmer said, and every May fire school is hosted in Grand Island. “We usually have between 1,000 and 1,500 participants. The Nebraska State Volunteer Firefighters Association supports that, uses the money and funding to their budget to help supplement the fire school. We just happen to have the head of the fire school committee on the Chadron Volunteer Fire Department, and that’s Mr. Pat Gould.”
During the meetings, Schremmer noted, there will also be an EMS class led by Robbie Rhembrandt at the training building. Chadron Fire Chief Branden Martens said the class provides continuing education hours for EMS first responders. “This is an offering to subsidize coming out for the meetings, and the guys can also catch some training and make it a double whammy.”
Thursday will end at the training building with the official welcome dinner and hospitality event.
People are also reading…
Schremmer emphasized anyone who comes to the events must pay a registration fee, and at some department cards are also required. “These are our state business for the entire year. We’ll have our state attorney here. Our state legislators will be here, and all our executive board members. This is where we talk about legislation through the year to help our volunteers through the entire state.”
With meetings happening at two locations, active senior members of the Chadron Volunteer Fire Department will be running courtesy cars provided by local dealerships for easy transportation between the fire hall and training center. They will also be driving folks around to see the community.
Friday’s agenda will include meetings for fire chiefs, fire delegates and EMS delegates, as well as interactive training, opening ceremonies, a general session, the NSVFA president’s dinner and a memorial service.
“The big thing for the community is going to be the parade,” Martens said. The parade starts on Saturday, Oct. 16 at 2 p.m. It will begin at First and Main and travel south to Sixth. Of course, the Chadron fire department will have their trucks in the line. Martens said other communities might bring their trucks as well, but they won’t stay for long so their home departments don’t have depleted resources.
Last time Chadron hosted the NSVFA annual conference was in 2010, Schremmer noted, and that conference had about 180 attending. At the 2000 conference in Chadron, there were more than 200. Numbers for this year’s conference may not be known until this weekend, as registration is open until Saturday.
Chadron has hosted the conference every 10 years since 1980, Schremmer said, though 2020’s was online and the live conference got bumped back a year due to the pandemic.
One of the main reasons for the conference is to draw people to the community, “to fill up the motels and give the business people some payback for helping us out all the time. This actually takes a lot of help from our local agencies. Hemingford and Crawford are both helping us with some of the events.”
“We’d really just like to thank the community for continuing to support us,” Martens said, “throughout every year, not just this one.” There are so many people and businesses who donate to help firefighters when they’re on scene, he continued, and this is an opportunity to give back by bringing people from all over the state. While the meeting isn’t open to everyone, people are encouraged to come to the parade and check out the trucks.
“There’s history in these walls and in this city of the continued service we provide and every other town provides, and that camaraderie,” Martens said.
Schremmmer said there was a lot of excitement at the 2018 conference about being able to come back to Chadron, as people enjoy the city and the area.