Marshalltown Fire Chief David Rierson is already a leader in the community.
In September, he also became the chief of an entire region of fire chiefs when he was sworn in as president of the Missouri Valley district of the International Association of Fire Chiefs. He previously served as Second Vice President and Vice President before being elevated to his current position, and will serve as President for one year.
“It’s exciting,” said Rierson. “I seem to learn new things every day by researching topics and how we can do things better. “
The IAFC is an international organization that provides training and advice in firefighting, and the group is also lobbying Congress for fire service legislation. The Missouri Valley Division includes eight states: Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Wyoming, and Colorado.
Rierson has been a member of the association since 2007. He began serving on the Missouri Valley board of directors approximately three years ago after completing his term as president of the Iowa Association of Professional Fire Chiefs.
His responsibilities include leading monthly meetings, developing policy, discussing educational opportunities, and attending conferences in each of the eight states in his division as a representative of the association.
In his first few months as division president, Rierson already worked hard. One of her first jobs was to send out a survey to all members of the association to see how she could better serve her members.
“I wanted to know if we were giving members of the organization what they thought they should get for their members’ money,” he said. “After receiving our responses, the board started to make a difference. “
The changes included redesigning the association’s website, creating a quarterly newsletter, and providing more training opportunities for small fire departments.
“That’s the benefit of going through the chairs,” Rierson said. “You have the opportunity to participate a little. Then when you become president, you get a good idea of what’s going on. “
Even though Rierson’s division includes eight different states, many of the issues with the Marshalltown Fire Department (MFD) are the same as those plaguing the services from Missouri to Colorado.
“It’s fair to varying degrees,” Rierson said.
The staffing, funding, health and welfare of firefighters are among the biggest issues facing ministries in the region. Nationally, fire chiefs are trying to find solutions to the wildfires that persist year after year, mainly on the west coast.
When it comes to providing leadership to fire departments of all types in his division, Rierson has found it best to stay general and allow ideas from a variety of perspectives.
“What might be good for someone in Iowa may not be good for someone in Colorado,” he said. “It can also be intimidating sometimes because you have a lot to do and a lot of people are counting on you to get it right. I rely heavily on the presidents of state organizations. I’m still reaching out to find out what’s going on.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
To learn more about the International Association of Fire Chiefs, visit www.iafc.org and to stay up to date with the Missouri Valley Division, visit mvdiafc.org.