Introducing a New Program for Fire Service Leaders

There are few places where leadership and team performance are more critical than on the front lines of a fire or emergency scene. In the heat of the moment, fire and emergency services personnel need to know that they can rely on one another to not only help the victims of the emergency situation, but also to ensure that they themselves return home safely at the end of the day.

Imagine being able to build a firehouse culture where roles and relationships are defined and refined, where leadership is intentional and teamwork is inspired. Such a culture would enable chiefs and teams to work together, integrate new staff members easily and effectively, and have the strength and ability to endure through staff turnover.

That’s precisely the goal of the Vail Centre’s new Inside First Certificate for Fire Service Leadership. This yearlong program brings together fire chiefs and officers from across Colorado to delve into leadership from many points of view.

Through guided explorations and dynamic exchange, participants uncover their core values and help define their purpose while learning how to develop trust and create rapport.

Vail Centre Chief“Fire services generally spend a great deal of time training officers on strategic leadership objectives, such as how to command a fire site, but we don’t often spend time on how to build individuals into leaders,” said Loveland Fire Rescue Authority Chief Mark Miller. “The Inside First program is an outside-the-box approach focused on transformational leadership that is tailored to each individual leader’s core strengths, motivations and purpose.”

Enrollment for the program is now open, and the first class is set to begin sometime in February. The program is designed with fire chiefs specifically in mind, but the program will evolve to meet the needs of other fire officers as the program goes on.

“It takes a great deal of training to become a fire chief, but learning how to be a more effective leader isn’t usually part of that curriculum,” said Vail Centre CEO Ross Iverson. “We want Colorado’s fire chiefs to outperform their peers nationally, and we believe that teaching dynamic leadership practices as a key competency for fire chiefs is a perfect place to start in working to achieve such a goal.”

Inner Work Enhanced Through Relationships

Taught in small groups limited to just eight people per cohort, the program provides a safe environment for honest conversation and personal connection. The Inside First program is delivered in three formats over the course of a year:

  • A two-day Personal Discovery Retreat in the Vail area
  • Three quarterly webinars
  • A full-day training (held in conjunction with the Annual Fire Chiefs Meeting)

Character Development Goals and Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, participants will be able to implement leadership best practices to build sustainable cultures. They will be able to integrate the program learning throughout their organization and create leadership performance standards for their fire officers. It is recommended that a chief participate in the Discovery Retreat prior to his or her officers.

The cost of the annual program is $2,750. As a sponsor and partner of the program, the CSD Pool offers scholarships that cover up to 50% of the enrollment costs through the Safety and Loss Prevention Grant program, providing a tremendous opportunity for Pool members to receive this incredibly valuable training at a very affordable cost.

To enroll, visit To apply for reimbursement of the fees, visit

After enrolling, the Vail Centre will organize participants into groups of eight and contact you with more information about your Discovery Retreat kickoff.

Vail Centre LogoAbout the Vail Centre for Leadership (formerly the Vail Leadership Institute)

The Vail Centre for Leadership challenges emerging and experienced executives to focus on character, aligning their vision with their values in order to lead with purpose.

About the Vail Centre

The Vail Centre designs interactive learning experiences that bring together state and local groups, university and educational partners and experts from around the world. Individuals and organizations delve into academic ideas and real world challenges, creating meaningful connections and life-long friendships. Through four learning centres – Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Sustainability, and Longevity – Vail Centre provides programs that build on a continuum of perspectives and create a synergistic approach to solving the complex problems of our world.

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