Fire chiefs gather in East Peoria for state conference

By Joe Bennett

May 8, 2012 Updated May 8, 2012 at 9:44 PM CDT

EAST PEORIA, Ill. -- More than 100 fire chiefs from all over Illinois are meeting in East Peoria to discuss the future of fire fighter safety.

The Illinois Fire Chiefs Association meets each year to share training opportunities.The conference is expected to bring more than $40,000 to the Peoria area.

Chief Bobby Halton is the keynote speaker and Editor in Chief of Fire Engineering Magazine. He is speaking on moving forward with safety through previous experience.

"We need to mentor from the top down so that the officers embrace new concepts," said Halton. "We need to be much more collaborative in how we embrace decisions. Decisions made by one person are often highly flawed or highly suspect."

East Peoria Fire Chief Bill Darin said there is much to take from the conference.

"We have to step back and think about our own safety, the fire fighter's safety before we just go rushing in with no one in the building, because all we're saving is brick and mortar and wood, and that's not worth anyone's life or any loved one's life," said Darin.

The conference continues Wednesday.

The Illinois fire chiefs will attend Tuesday night's baseball game for a barbecue honoring the Peoria Chiefs.

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