Les Lukert Winter Conference

February 3-5, 2023

Holiday Inn Hotel and Convention Center, Kearney, NE
Hosted by the Nebraska Society of Fire Service Instructors

Register/Pay Online Nebraska Society of Fire Service Instructors

Traditionally, Les Lukert Winter Conference courses have been directed at all ranks of firefighters and current or aspiring instructors. The 32nd Annual Les Lukert Winter Conference is no exception. We look forward to your continued attendance and feedback as we plan future conferences! 

If you have questions, please contact us at neinstructors@gmail.com.

Daily Schedule

Friday Feb. 3

Registration open: 0700-0900
Pre-conference classes: 0800-1700
Registration open: 1700-2000
Tactics on Tap: 2000-2200 (Location to be announced)

Saturday Feb. 4

Registration open: 0700-1200
Exhibitors open: 0700-1800
Classes in session: 0800-1200
Lunch: 1200-1300
Classes in session: 1300-1700
NSFSI annual meeting: 1730
Networking/mixer for banquet attendees: 1830
Leadership Banquet: 1900

Sunday Feb. 5

Exhibitors open: 0700-1100 
Classes in session: 0800-1200 


Full Conference: $275
Weekend Conference: $275
Pre-Conference Workshop Only: $90
NSFSI Membership Dues: Included
Guest Banquet Tickets: $35 each

Registration Questions

Call or fax Cheryl at 308-338-4081 or email her at cherylbowers@cccneb.edu


HOT: Medical Response to the Firefighter Mayday

8-hour session, Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. OR Saturday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.; 30 student limit

Instructor: David Mellen, 23-year student of the fire service, instructor at FDIC, Firehouse Expo owner of Valor Fire Training.

Please note: Full PPE required, including SCBA

Class Description

Most RIT classes focus solely on finding and removing downed firefighters but stop there. Current research shows however that most firefighters are rescued by crews already operating inside of the structure and once outside, crews are often overwhelmed while providing medical treatments. By using scenarios developed from actual maydays, this class exposes students to RIT/firefighter survival, stress inoculation, and EMS care to help save their own. Students will learn how to overcome loss of fine motor skills, combat communication issues, and provide EMS care from the moment an injured firefighter is found. From probationary firefighters to Chief Officers, CPR certified to Paramedics, everyone can gain valuable knowledge in this realistic, evidence-based training.

This class is held at KVFD Training Center.

HOT: The Pro-Load: Modernizing Your Engine for Fire Ground Success

4-hour session, Sunday, 8 a.m. - 12 noon; 20 student limit

Instructor: Zach Bruhn, Major with the Oklahoma City Fire Department.

Please note: full PPE required.

Class Description 

This 4-hour hands on class instructs students on the deployment, stretching and loading of one of the most modernized pre-connect hose loads available. The Professional load (Pro load) or Metro load as it is also known, can be utilized for rapid deployment of 1 ¾” and 2 ½” attack lines in both cross and rear hose lay positions. The Professional load can be modified for 2 ½” and 3” supply or trunk line hose lays, which simplifies deployment of both non-plumbed and pre-plumbed hose bed lays. The class will demonstrate the Pro loads capability to rapidly deploy long attack line lays around obstacles, over obstacles, up stairwells, and up ground ladders. Instruction also demonstrates the Pro load’s ability to do so without the need for stopping to pull or lay addition flakes or sections of hose around said obstacles. In addition, the class will also demonstrate the Pro loads aptitude to eliminate the need for estimating the stretch and for creation of interior advancement bends or flakes in attack lines prior to commencing interior operations. The objective is for students to gain the importance of setting up your engine’s attack lines with this progressive hose load which can help crews to eliminate the need for estimating stretches and simplifying hose lays in a multitude of environments. The Pro load is designed to maximize efficiency and remove wasted movements, such as those created by deployment of triple-lay, flat stack and minuteman loads. The Professional load has proven to streamline an engine’s ability to get water to the fire as fast as possible. This class will give the student side by side demonstration and hands on skills practice of the Professional load, giving the student another weapon to utilize for fire ground success.

This class is held at KVFD Training Center.

Leadership Lessons from the Band Brothers

4-hour session; Friday, 8 a.m. - 12 noon OR Sunday, 8 a.m. - 12 noon

Instructor: Joseph R. Polenzani, 29-year veteran of the fire service, Battalion Chief.

Class Description 

This inspiring class presents a unique look at the principles of fire service leadership through the experiences of the 101st Airborne Division’s Easy Company during World War II. Using Easy Company commander Major Richard Winters’ 10 Principles of Leadership, the class discusses a multi-faceted approach to leadership, based on character and leading by example. History shows that leadership is not determined by rank, but by attitude and action.

The class begins with an overview of the D-Day invasion and the role of the 101st Airborne Division in the European Campaign. This orientation and the narrative of the class are enhanced by the instructor’s first-hand experiences in Normandy and Belgium as part of a fire service pipes & drums band that participated in the ceremonies surrounding the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day invasion in 2019. Throughout the presentation, video clips and historical photos are used to illustrate situations where Major Winters and the men of Easy Company were faced with leadership dilemmas, and to examine how they succeeded or failed. The values that guided these decisions are then applied to the fire service, using real-world examples of volunteer and career fire officer behavior. Each of Major Winters’ ten principles is explored, and students are given strategies for applying the lessons learned in their own careers. This class is appropriate for both current and aspiring emergency services officers.

It’s Just a Routine House Fire, OR IS IT?

4-hour session; Friday, 1 - 5 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. - 12 noon; OR Saturday, 1 - 5 p.m.

Instructor: Jim Duffy, lecturer with more than 40 years in the fire service, held several positions.

Class Description 

“It’s Just a Routine House Fire” Or Is It? Fighting Today’s Private-Dwelling Fires

Private dwelling fires are the most common structure fire in The United States and North Carolina as well. About 75% of fire deaths occur in residential dwellings, about twenty-five hundred civilians die in home fires every year. In fact, In the U.S. 2,266 died in 2021, including 22 in Nebraska. If your fire department is anything like mine, odds are most of your structure fires are in private dwellings. This is where we can make a difference. Just because it is the most common fire you go to, it doesn’t mean that you let your guard down, a significant number of our firefighter injuries and deaths occur here. It should be no surprise that that our work environment has changed over the years, structural members are being made lighter and cheaper, homes are more energy efficient, and most importantly fuels have higher heat release rates. These are only some of the reasons I am obsessed with private dwelling fires. This highly interactive and challenging class will explore today’s fire behavior, command, size-up, fire-attack, ventilation, and search in private dwelling fires, including older balloon frame up to modern light weight constructed mcmansions. Coordinating all fireground tactics with your staffing. We will also briefly cover current scientific studies and how it may or may not relate to your tactics. Lessons learned here can also be applied to other types of structure fires. Hopefully we will have a little bit of fun at the same time!

Total Size-Up For The First Due Company Officer

4-hour session: Saturday, 8 a.m. - 12 noon, OR Saturday, 1 - 5 p.m.

Instructor: Zach Bruhn, Major with Oklahoma City Fire Department.

Class Description 

This interactive 4-hour class covers all points of a complete Fire Ground Size Up along with an array of strategies and tactics the first due fire officer or firefighter will need to ensure command and control are successfully established on their fire ground. Emphasis is placed on the importance and need for the first due officer to implement the correct tactics to acquire strategic success. Clarification of how the application of the correct tactical objectives during the initial time of arrival impacts the remainder of the response. These first few minutes on the fire ground can be a challenging time for the first due officer or firefighter. Interpreting what is perceived when rolling up on an incident, making decisions, and relaying information to incoming units are necessary skills fire officers need to develop. Attendees learn how to coordinate a safe and effective attack to quickly mitigate the emergency through building their knowledge of building construction, preplanning, fire flow path identification, smoke condition association and I.A.P. development. The focus is on making timely strategic and tactical decisions and engaging in clear and effective communication. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in group based rapid size up scenarios and tactic-based videos throughout the class.

Instructor 1.5

4-hour session: Saturday, 8 a.m. - 12 noon OR Sunday, 8 a.m. - 12 noon

Instructor: Erin McGruder, Instructional Program Manager for Kansas Fire and Rescue Training Institute.

Class Description 

Instructor 1.5 is a discussion-based class helpful to firefighters, officer candidates, and officers trying to navigate the murky waters between job performance requirements and the real world. This session is designed to explore modern training topics including but not limited to adult learning, psychomotor skill coaching, and training culture.

Lesson Planning for Dummies

4-hour session: Saturday, 1 - 5 p.m.

Instructor: Erin McGruder, Instructional Program Manager for Kansas Fire and Rescue Training Institute.

Class Description 

Are you a willing Instructor II, or have you been voluntold to write classes for your department? Bring your tough project to Lesson Planning for Dummies for help tackling your objectives, resource gathering, activity brainstorming, and more. Join this hands-on session to tackle your writers block, receive suggestions, or crowd source answers for others. Bring your laptop, power adapter, pencils, paper, and resources lists/photos to get all the help we can offer!

Tailboard Leadership: Leading From Bottom to Top

4-hour session: Saturday, 8 a.m. - 12 noon OR sunday, 8 a.m. - 12 noon

Instructor: L Jay Geist, 13-year veteran of the fire service, lecturer at the Mid America F.O.O.L.S. Conference. (Fraternal Order of Leatherheads Society)

Class Description 

This lecture allows people to truly understand informal leadership from firefighters to leadership people are looking for in Company Officers and Chiefs. It’s a lecture that allows everyone to be involved and makes people think within their current rank regarding leadership.

Historical Perspective of Fire Behavior and Tactics

4-hour session: Saturday, 8 a.m. - 12 noon

Instructor: Michael J Lopina, 33-year veteran student of the fire service.

Class Description 

This presentation is designed to show the relevance and benefits of certain "old school" tactics while also recognizing the need to evolve and adapt those tactics to the modern fire environment. Also discussed is the need to recognize changes in building construction such as renovations, larger homes and materials as it relates to how we fight fires.

A Firefighter’s Blueprint

4-hour session: Saturday, 1 - 5 p.m.

Instructor: Kim Fitzsimmons, 41-year veteran of the fire service. Retired Training Battalion Chief.

Class Description

A loot at tragic fires that have shaped the fire service and have given us a blueprint. This class will explain the “Why’s” behind life safety concerns, firefighter safety, and our tactics and strategy. Through the use of pictures, video, audio, and eyewitness accounts the attendees will gain a greater understanding of how to look at a historical fire as a blueprint and use the knowledge to better themselves and continue to affect change in the fire service.

I am in Charge, Now What? Rules of Engagement for Fire Officers!

4-hour session: Saturday, 1 - 5 p.m. OR Sunday, 8 a.m. - 12 noon

Instructor: Tim Whitman, 30-year veteran of fire and emergency services, fire Chief of Edwardsville Fire Department in Kansas City.

Class Description

This presentation will identify how the practice of leadership is not easy, nor can it be frowned upon as it has its place in each organization, when leadership is not exuded, the climate, productivity and charisma of an organization remains consistent to what has become the norm. Just as the practice of leadership is not easy, finding the most appropriate way to influence personnel is just as complicated, as there are the set leadership characteristics of those in power, and the characteristics and traits of those within the organization. Some situations require a mixture of uses, blending of traits, or all out full approach of one dominate style, no one style is the cookie cutter approach that fixes all. The default state of those in charge, those who are assigned below and how to motivate, communicate, influence, and change deeply held beliefs all are factors when exercising leadership within the fire service, which does not include the own self deployed minefield the leader has to face.

There are common leadership traits practiced by those who have successfully charted change, influence, and cohesion within their organizations. These traits can help us as leaders establish our best practices, identify what will establish credibility with our subordinates and prevent leadership failures due to bad practices. Successful leadership traits have been shared from the military to the private sector from many former military commanders and upon the philosophy of organizational leadership.

These traits that are discussed deal with ethics and moral issues of the leader, caring and developing subordinates, approach, and tact during communications. This is important for the leader to engage and maintain the workforce to facilitate the necessary steps required for the agency.

Leadership to simplify many definitions; is the process of influence, in which a person enlists assistance and support of others for the accomplishment of a common task or goal. Leadership does not necessarily have to originate from the hierarchical top position, although most assume that is how change within an organization occurs. Company officers, senior firefighters and even the younger firefighters all have an opportunity to practice leadership.

There are common leadership traits practiced by those who have successfully charted change, influence, and cohesion within their organizations. The fire service can learn from these common traits and establish our own traits engrained with the rich culture of the fire service. These traits can help us as leaders establish our best practices, identify what will establish credibility with our subordinates and prevent leadership failures due to bad practices. Successful leadership traits have been shared from the military to the private sector from many former military commanders and philosophy of organizational leadership.

When It Goes Beyond a Routine Fire, Incident or Local Disaster

4-hour session: Saturday, 1 - 5 p.m. OR Sunday, 8 a.m. - 12 noon

Instructors: Dave Reisen and Roger Conrad, Nebraska State Training Officer for NEMA and certified Instructors for ICS through the Emergency Management Institute.

Class Description

This Class covers what is expected and how to react when it goes beyond the routine incident to who, what, why and how to get resources that are beyond the routine fire/ mutual aid resources. Events that can be covered and where State Assistance has been requested are Wildfires, Tornadoes, Hazmat Response, Search and Rescue (Ground and Water and Air). Students will get more information on the forms used for checking in/out, vehicle inspection, timecards 201, 211, 214, 215, 219 T-cards resource orders. If we have time Salamander equipment. TTX will let the students get hands on experience with using and filling out the forms when it’s no longer just a local Fire/Incident or Disaster. This Class is a in a Nutshell class of all of your ICS classes. And will also have some information on Recent Incidents that have occurred in Nebraska.

Training Facilities and Props

4-hour session: Sunday, 8 a.m. - 12 noon

Instructor: Todd “Walt” Walton, 27 years with Kearney Volunteer Fire Department.

Class Description

This class will discuss items to consider when planning or building a training facility based upon the Kearney Volunteer Fire Departments Training Complex. It will also show different training props that can be constructed and used by fire departments. These props will vary from the simple low-cost props to more expensive in-depth props. Student participation is encouraged.

Mobile Homes: Small House-Big Challenge

4-hour session: Saturday, 8 a.m. - 12 noon

Instructor: Joseph R. Polenzani, 29-year veteran of the fire service, Battalion Chief.

Class Description

Manufactured housing accounts for about 10% of the new homes built each year. Learn what makes trailers different from “regular” wood-frame structures and how to safely operate within this challenging environment. Tactics for suppression and ventilation, as well as strategies for operating in high-density mobile home communities are also presented.

Conference Information

Leadership Banquet

The 7th Annual Bill and Cindy Meehan Leadership Banquet will take place on Saturday, February 4, in the Ballroom. The networking/mixer begins at 1830 hours and the banquet begins at 1900 hours. A keynote address will be delivered following the meal. Tickets may be purchased in advance or in limited quantities at the conference registration desk. 

Keynote Speaker: Jim Duffy

Biography: Jim Duffy has more than 40 years in the fire service and recently retired as battalion chief/shift commander in the Wallingford (CT) Fire Department after 28 years. He is an ex-captain from the Mineola, Long Island (NY) Fire Department, adjunct instructor for Middlesex County Regional Fire School. Jim co-hosts Fireground Strategies on Fire Engineering Talk Radio with Anthony Avillo. He has been published in firefighter trade magazines in Canada and the United States, including Fire Engineering and NYSFCA Size-up. Jim is a co-author for the bestselling Tactical Perspective video series from Fire Engineering, Lead on the Search video. Jim lectures on a variety of firefighting subjects throughout the country and is a regular presenter at FDIC. He is a member of ISFSI, IAFC and NYSAFC.

Lodging and Meals

A block of rooms at $119.95 (plus applicable taxes) has been reserved at the Holiday Inn under “Fire Service Instructors.” You must call the hotel for reservations to receive the discounted rate prior to January 1, 2023. 

Registration fees include continental breakfasts, lunch and one banquet ticket for Saturday evening. Additional banquet tickets may be purchased at registration or the registration desk. If you have special dietary needs, contact the Holiday Inn staff as early as possible.

Registration and Cost

Classes are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. Class sizes are limited, so ensure your registration by registering as soon as possible. Courses without sufficient registration numbers as of January 27, 2023 may be cancelled.

Register online. Phone registrations will be accepted for large groups only by calling Cheryl at 308-338-4081. Registration fees must accompany your registration form. Payment and registration must be received prior to class. Substitutions/walk-ins may be accepted pending availability.

Students will be provided with proof of registration. This proof of registration must be always worn/carried during the Les Lukert Winter Conference.

Cancellation/Fee Refund Policy

Students registered in courses cancelled due to low student numbers will be offered an alternate open class or a full refund. Student requested cancellations should be made in writing and sent to neinstructors@gmail.com or NSFSI, P.O. Box 80405, Lincoln, NE 68501. A $35 administration fee will be retained for those received by January 27, 2023. No refunds will be made after this date.

NSFSI Annual Meeting

The Nebraska Society of Fire Service Instructors will hold its annual meeting during the Les Lukert Winter Conference. If you have items for the agenda, please contact us at neinstructors@gmail.com. Everyone is welcome, but only NSFSI members may vote. Saturday, February 4, 2023, 1730 hours, location TBA. 

Considerations for Dress

To ensure your comfort, please dress in layers as personal preferences and room temperatures vary.

Message Center

The message center is located in the registration area as well as the conference operations center. The Holiday Inn’s phone number is 308-237-5971; we will make every effort to contact you if needed.

NSFSI Membership

The Nebraska Society of Fire service Instructors (NSFSI) is an organization dedicated to furthering the training and education of emergency response personnel.

Our membership includes those responsible for emergency response education, whether from state, volunteer, career or private organizations. The membership year is from January 1 through December 31. Membership dues shall be paid annually to remain a current member.

NSFSI offers two kinds of membership, active and sustaining. An active member is actively involved in the education and training of emergency personnel and subscribes to the practices and code of ethics of the Nebraska Society of Fire Service Instructors. Sustaining members can be any person, firm or corporation wishing to assist in attaining the objectives of the society.

Your one-year NSFSI membership dues are included with
all conference registrations.

If you're not attending the conference but would like to pay your dues or become a member, you may follow the necessary steps by going to nsfsi.com/membership.

New members should complete the membership application and written recommendation and submit it to neinstructors@gmail.com OR mail to NSFSI, P.O. Box 80405, Lincoln, NE. 68501.

If you are a current NSFSI member, please remember that you MUST be in good standing to vote at the annual meeting in February. You may renew your membership with your conference registration or at the conference. If you did not receive a membership number when you renewed your membership, contact neinstructors@gmail.com as soon as possible.

Directions to the Kearney Fire Department Training Center

Thanks again to Kearney Fire Department for hosting parts of the Les Lukert Winter Conference at their outstanding training facility. The address is 4300 Piper Avenue, Kearney NE 68847. To get there from the Holiday Inn, go north on Hwy 44/N. 2nd Ave. to Hwy 30/25th Street. Go east 4 miles to Airport Road. Approximately 1/2 mile north, turn west on Aeronica Road.

Cell/Phone/Pager Policy

We ask that cell phones and pagers be placed in vibrate mode during classes as a courtesy to others.

Lester L. Lukert

June 18, 1931 — October 10, 1988

Les Lukert was the past president and a longtime member of the Nebraska Society of Fire Service Instructors. Les was an individual dedicated to the training and education of firefighters. He broadened their knowledge and skills and demonstrated to them the importance of preparing today for tomorrows emergencies.

Les was elected to the Seward Volunteer Fire Department on January 6, 1954. He was appointed fire chief in the early 1960s. When he began teaching for the Nebraska State Fire Marshal Training Division in 1967, he relocated to Oshkosh and transferred to the Reserves with SVFD. He returned to active status with Seward in November 1974 and retired to the Reserves again in 1982. He was also a member of the Oshkosh Volunteer Fire Department. As it says on the NSFSI Memorial Plaque: “Let those who pass after him be recognized for their contributions to the educational process and the ultimate goal for all firefighters – To Save Lives.”