December 3rd, 2021 | 8:00 am – 4:00 pm Pacific

8 Hours | 6 CEs

We are pleased to announce some exciting presentations for our virtual conference on December 3rd, 2021. There will be 6 continuing education units (CEUs) awarded for the conference. The Fire Service Psychology Association is a nonprofit organization developed to bridge the gap between professional psychology and the fire service. We believe through effective firefighter-specific training and intervention; we can develop and maintain psychological health for years to come. Founded in 2017, our organization is located in Southern California although we offer services to fire agencies across the country. Our mission is to provide the best standard of psychological care for fire service personnel and their families.


The registration fee includes 6 hours
of live online instruction, and e-copies
of all session materials.

(CEUs included, Licensed
Psychologist, Physician, Mental
Health Provider, Fire Service
(No CEUs included,
FireFighter, Paramedic,
Volunteer Fire Fighter, Mental
Health Intern/Student)

Session Overview

All sessions will be held live via Zoom

Session one: Threat Assessment: An Overview of Violence in the Fire Service Workplace 

Presented by: Hector Alvarez 

8:15 - 9:45 am | 1.5 hours | 1.5 CEUs

The presentation is intended to provide an introduction and overview of the discipline of Behavioral Threat Assessment with a specific emphasis on how the Fire Services Community can leverage a multi-process to help prevent violence. Incidents of targeted violence from across the country have highlighted the importance of organizations having a structured process for identifying, assessing, and managing concerning and threatening behaviors. The source of the concerns may include workplace conflicts, negative interactions with members of the public, domestic violence spillover, and even violent extremism. Leveraging the resources and skills of a multi-disciplinary team, while incorporating evidence-based tools, has been shown to assist in the early identification of concerning behavior, allowing for a range of intervention and mitigation strategies to be developed. This presentation will provide an introduction to the process, and a possible roadmap for getting started.

Upon completion of this session, participants will be able to: 

  • Describe Behavioral Threat Assessment 
  • Describe current research and resources 
  • Describe targeted violence risk factors and warning behaviors 
  • Describe current practices in assessment, intervention, and management

Session two: Operational Readiness: Human Factors in the Firefighting Environment

Presented by: Robert Avsec

10:00 - 11:30 am | 1.5 hours | 1.5 CEUs

During this session, the importance of maintaining the mental readiness of firefighters as an element of a fire department's operational readiness will be discussed. The presentation material will cover Crew Resource Management, the similarities stressors shared by members of the military and firefighters, and the role of the fire department company officer (first-line supervisor) in reducing sources of stress for their firefighters--both in the fire station and during emergency events, and concludes with tools that are available for the company officer to monitor the mental readiness of their personnel and identify situations where the services of a professional psychologist may be helpful.

Upon completion of this session, participants will be able to: 

  • Describe the origins of Crew Resource Management and why it has become part of a fire department's management of emergency events
  • Describe the similar professional and personal stressors that are shared by military personnel and firefighters.
  • Discuss the role the company officer should have in reducing stressors for their firefighters, both in the fire station and on the emergency scene
  • Describe the tools and resources that are available to the company officer to objectively assess the impact of stressors on their firefighter and assist them in determining when the services of a professional psychologist may be needed.

Session three: The Psychology of Vaccination Resistance: Autonomy, Public Health, and Medical Ethics

Presented by: Charles G. Allen, Ph.D.and Chris Shimer

12:30 - 2:00 pm | 1.5 hours | 1.5 CEUs

This presentation will focus on the responsibility the fire service has to its community and the expectation that its members be vaccinated. The question as to whether the coronavirus vaccine should be mandated for fire service personnel has caused significant conflict within the profession and will be discussed throughout the presentation.

Upon completion of this session, participants will be able to: 

  • Describe the possible religious and health exemptions for the vaccine
  • Describe the expectations a community has for its fire department
  • Describe reasons why the fire service has resisted the coronavirus vaccine
  • Describe the psychological impact on a firefighter as it relates to biomedical ethics

Session four: Application of psychology in the Singapore Civil Defence Force – Sustaining emergency responders’ morale amidst COVID-19 

Presented by: Swee Giang Khoo & Han Wei Poh with contributions by Shi Min Toh, Jasmine Tan, Michele Tan

2:15 - 3:45 pm | 1.5 hours | 1.5 CEUs

The presentation will provide a quick overview of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) and the impetus for the setup of the Emergency Behavioural Science and Care Unit (EBSC) – a psychological unit within the organization. It covers the scope of work that psychologists in SCDF perform, which includes providing support to SCDF at the organizational, operational and officer levels. This includes the 3-pronged psychological support model which describes the measures in place to support the organization’s operations, as well as the 4-P psychological resilience framework that focuses on developing progams to support officers. SCDF’s measures in sustaining and maintaining officers’ morale during the COVID-19 pandemic will also be discussed.  

Upon completion of this session, participants will be able to: 

  • Describe the purpose for the setup of a psychological unit in the Singapore Civil Defence Force
  • Describe the programs in place to provide support to SCDF at the organizational, operational, and officer levels. 
  • Describe the 3-pronged psychological support model for supporting operations
  • Describe the 4-P psychological resilience framework for supporting officers
  • Describe the measures in place to sustain and manage emergency responders’ morale during the COVID-19 pandemic

Meet our Presenters

Hector R. Alvarez, MSPsy/CTM

Mr. Alvarez is a nationally recognized expert in workplace violence prevention, intervention and response with over 25 years of experience. He holds a BS in Criminal Justice, a MS in Forensic Psychology and is a Certified Threat Manager™ by the Association of Threat Assessment Professional. His professional career includes serving as a Security Director of one our nation's most sensitive critical infrastructures, working as a city police officer, a professional security consultant and having provided litigation support for several mass workplace shootings. Mr. Alvarez understands the challenges individuals and organizations face when addressing threats of workplace violence because he has responded to them. He has personally assessed and/or responded to thousands of potentially violent situations, developed numerous violence prevention programs, and trained tens of thousands of employees and managers in the areas of crisis intervention, active shooter response, violence prevention, domestic terrorism, and emergency management.

Han Wei Poh

Han Wei is a uniformed officer currently working in the psychological unit of Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), the Emergency Behavioural Sciences and Care Unit. SCDF is a uniformed organisation under the purview of Ministry of Home Affairs that provides fire-fighting, rescue and emergency medical services.

Swee Giang Khoo, Ms

Swee is a psychologist from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), a uniformed organisation under the purview of Ministry of Home Affairs that provides fire-fighting, rescue and emergency medical services. SCDF has established a cordial network of working collaborations with fire service agencies in various countries, especially in the Asia Pacific. The psychological unit of SCDF, the Emergency Behavioural Sciences and Care Unit, also has close working relationship with psychologists from the Hong Kong Fire Service Department.

Robert Avsec

Battalion Chief (Ret.) Robert Avsec served with the Chesterfield (Virginia) Fire & EMS Department for 26 years. He was an instructor for fire, EMS, and hazardous materials courses at the local, state, and federal levels, which included more than 10 years with the National Fire Academy. Chief Avsec earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati and his master’s degree in executive fire service leadership from Grand Canyon University. He is a 2001 graduate of the National Fire Academy's EFO Program. In his "second career," Chief Avsec is a freelance writer and regularly creates content for and, as well as private clients. Avsec authors his own fire service focused blog, Talking "Shop" 4 Fire & EMS. He makes his home outside of Charleston, West Virginia.

Chris Shimer, MS

Chris Shimer spent nearly 30 years with the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services, retiring as the Deputy Chief of Training and EMS. He has remained active in the fire service since his retirement, working as a contractor supporting a fire service agency. Chris is a contributor to and is a Director At-Large of the International Association of Fire Chiefs EMS Section.

Charles Allen, PhD

Dr. Chuck is a Licensed Psychologist; his interest in Mental Health began as a U.S. Marine in Vietnam. He has been a First Responder since the age of 14. His father owned the ambulance service in his hometown; then in 1967 he worked for an ambulance service in Lincoln Nebraska. He started his MH career in 1972 for a Suicide Hotline at the University of Nebraska. He retired from the Denver VA Medical Center in 2006; he was the Director of the PTSD Clinical Team. He also conducted a group therapy for Navy Corpsman and Combat Medics for over 10 years. For more, please visit:

Live Event Policy

  • Event Communications

    The Zoom login information will be sent 1-week, 1-day, and 1-hour before the start of the event. When registering, use an email that is active and that you check regularly. We are not responsible for communications not being received; if you do not add to your email safe sender list, our emails are likely to end up in your spam or junk folders.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We will refund any registrations canceled up to November 30th at 6:00 PM EST, less $5 to cover the costs of processing.

  • Event Conduct

    Please conduct yourself in a professional manner throughout the event. Our goal is to make this as interactive an experience as possible for all who attend. We reserve the right to remove any participants who are disruptive or who act unprofessionally.