The expenses associated with fire apparatus are second only to those for personnel in most departments.
I say most because fire apparatus expenses would be the biggest cost in many volunteer departments.
Besides the cost, reliability and functionality are extremely important. Organizations, regardless of size or type, cannot deliver quality service if they don’t arrive in the moments that matter with the proper resources for the emergency. This would include personnel, equipment, and apparatus. Obviously, the apparatus must get personnel to the scene safely, but the work is not done once the operation starts. Fire trucks are essential to successful operations and the safety of firefighters.
I would hope that what I stated above is obvious and you are wondering why it needs to be stated. It reinforces the importance of apparatus and, therefore, stresses the value of gaining the most information as possible regarding vehicles—from purchasing to maintenance and everything in between. Making good decisions requires information and knowledge. Gathering the information for vehicles involves various sources, and one of those should be the Fire Department Safety Officers Association (FDSOA) Annual Apparatus Symposium. Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment and the Fire Apparatus Manufacturers’ Association (FAMA) are partners in the symposium.
This conference is unique in that it brings together subject matter experts from the industry, including fire department personnel, apparatus manufacturers, and suppliers (and others with an interest) to discuss the latest trends and various needs in the apparatus world. It is a chance for detailed discussion along with topical workshops that provide the valuable information to help those with responsibilities for fire trucks to make good choices.
Fleet management includes specifications to maintenance and everything in between. It also involves leadership and knowledge of current standards and regulations. A quick look at the agenda for the FDSOA Apparatus Symposium will show you that all aspects are covered. Besides the scheduled workshops, there is ample opportunity to network and share experiences with a wide variety of experts and interested parties. There are sessions on specification writing and newer topics such as “clean cab designs.” Those who participate will get ideas to save money and produce more reliable and functional apparatus. There is no other single place to discuss fire trucks in detail with so many interested parties. Whether you are in the market, developing specifications, looking for ideas for your apparatus committee, or hoping to improve your routine preventive maintenance or other truck repairs, there are sessions to help you.
The 31st annual FDSOA Apparatus Symposium will be held in Orlando, Florida, January 20-23, 2019, at the Wyndham Hotel. There are preconference sessions on Sunday, and the conference will conclude with nationally known body language expert Janine Driver on Wednesday. If you have any responsibility in the procurement or maintenance of your department’s fleet, you should attend.
RICHARD MARINUCCI is the executive director of the Fire Department Safety Officers Association (FDSOA). He retired as chief of the Farmington Hills (MI) Fire Department in 2008, a position he had held since 1984. He is a Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment and Fire Engineering Editorial Advisory Board member, a past president of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), and past chairman of the Commission on Chief Fire Officer Designation. In 1999, he served as acting chief operating officer of the U.S. Fire Administration for seven months. He has a master’s degree and three bachelor’s degrees in fire science and administration.