ST. CLOUD -- About 460 fire chiefs from across Minnesota are in St. Cloud this week getting training.

The chiefs are hearing about a number of topics including issues facing chiefs, E-M-S classes, classes on influencing change and lessons learned among their peers.

George Esbensen is the President of the Minnesota State Fire Chiefs Association. He says training is so important because firefighters do so much more than fight fires in today's world.  Esbensen says they often are first responders to car crashes, water rescues, farm accidents, and industrial accidents.

Esbensen says another challenge facing fire departments is recruiting new firefighters to their departments. He says fewer young people are choosing to join volunteer departments because of time restraints and societal changes.

The conference runs through Saturday at the River's Edge Convention Center.