Apparatus Symposium

FROM THE FDSOA Richard Marinucci
 

For fire departments to respond to emergencies, they must have reliable vehicles designed for the service they are going to deliver.

These can be engines whose primary responsibility is to deliver water, trucks for truck company functions, ambulances for emergency medical services, and specialty vehicles for the ever-increasing variety of calls. The cost of any vehicle is great, and every organization needs to get the best that it can within budget. The apparatus are also getting more complex, and understanding all the aspects requires great research and continual education to stay on top of things.

This is where the Fire Department Safety Officers Association (FDSOA) annual Apparatus Symposium can offer a great resource to departments looking to purchase apparatus and develop their maintenance programs. This year’s symposium is special in that it is the 30th anniversary of the event. It was originally organized to provide a unique venue where manufacturers, mechanics, fleet managers, and apparatus committees could gather and discuss the wide variety of issues related to trucks. Over the past 30 years, the FDSOA has not wavered from this goal. This is not an event designed to “kick tires” but to have more in-depth discussions surrounding the ins and outs of apparatus. This is a gathering of experts in the field and those who want to learn more so they deliver the best in their communities.

Certainly, there is much to be learned through research, but the opportunity to interact in person provides an added level of education. Besides the official programs, there is ample time to network and discuss informally the various issues of interest. The FDSOA partners with the Fire Apparatus Manufacturers’ Association (FAMA) and Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment to deliver this training and educational opportunity. It will be held in Scottsdale, Arizona, beginning with preconference sessions on Sunday, January 14, 2018. The official conference begins the next day with the keynote presentation and general session. There is a variety of workshops to address as many topics as possible.

The symposium ends on Wednesday with a joint keynote that serves as the closing of the conference and opening of the FDSOA Annual Safety Forum.

The 30th Annual Apparatus Symposium is a proven event that provides specific information to the fire service, including material for fleet managers, apparatus committees, mechanics, and anyone else involved in apparatus who wants to gain insight from experts in the field. This will help in getting reliable vehicles that best serve the community. Another benefit is the opportunity to learn ways to save money through increased knowledge. There will be opportunities to talk to many people who will share information on potential cost savings that will not affect reliability. Organizations and individuals will benefit by learning more about their trade. Visit www.fdsoa.org for more information. You can also contact the FDSOA if you have any other questions. We hope to see you in Scottsdale, Arizona.

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 and has taught extensively.

Previous articleSCBA “Out of Cab”!
Next articleDarley Builds an AutoCAFS Pumper-Tanker for the Orangeville (IL) Fire Protection District

Apparatus Symposium

Richard Marinucci

Virtually every fire truck manufacturer and all of their suppliers are selling their products nationally and probably internationally.

This is not to imply that some don’t rely more on their regional areas, but the point is that there are few, if any, in this industry that are not doing their best to expand their market across the country and around the world. This global approach has its benefits to fire departments in that they can look to purchase vehicles and components from anywhere and from anyone. This exposes fire departments to more information and requires them to do more research when looking for the best fit for their organization.

One such opportunity to get “upfront and personal” with those inside the industry is the 28th Annual Apparatus Symposium, presented by the Fire Department Safety Officers Association (FDSOA), to be held January 17-19, 2016. For much of its history, this conference has been held in Florida. For the first time in a long time, it is moving closer to the West Coast and will be held in Scottsdale, Arizona. For those who have attended in the past, this is an opportunity to see another part of the country while getting the same quality content from the Symposium. For those who are west of the Mississippi, the conference is even closer and more convenient. If you haven’t attended, this is a chance to see what you are missing when researching your next major apparatus purchase.

There are those who believe they can do all their research locally and do not need to expend funds traveling to learn about their next apparatus purchase or improve their maintenance program. Still others are unable to convince those who control the budget of the value of in-person research. But for those who attend, there is no doubt that with participation comes the opportunity to find ways to maximize the benefits of new apparatus while minimizing the cost. Past attendees can attest to specific cases where lessons learned in this environment have saved much more money than the cost of attending the Symposium.

When looking for new apparatus, it is important to know what you absolutely need to have and which items are up to your discretion. Knowing as much about this as possible allows you to make the right choices and ultimately purchase a vehicle that meets your needs, proves to be reliable, and is completed at the best price possible. There is no doubt that apparatus is a huge investment; mistakes can be costly not only to the budget but also in terms of functionality and reliability. Often it is the little things you learn that can really prove to be beneficial when acquiring apparatus.

You must approach fleet management in its entirety, from acquisition to the retirement of the vehicle. This would include the overall maintenance of the vehicle during its expected lifetime. This Symposium will cover many of the critical aspects of apparatus maintenance, again offering insight that will save money and improve reliability. The value of attending is not only in the excellent presentations that are a part of the program but also in the networking opportunities that link like-minded individuals who are extremely dedicated to their work.

There are other apparatus considerations-including record keeping, liability, safety, and risk management. All of these topics will be covered during the Symposium. Like so much of the fire service, apparatus and everything related to it including the components have become more complex. The importance of staying up on the latest information and innovations, including the standards that provide direction and regulation, cannot be overstated. Those who wish to excel and offer the most appropriate and reliable apparatus for their organization need to take the time to learn as much as they can.

The 28th Annual Apparatus Symposium is a very unique national conference. It is small enough to offer opportunities to get into much more detail about all the aspects of fire service vehicles and big enough to attract true industry experts. You and your organization should look at what this Symposium has to offer and make plans to send members who are involved in any aspects of fleet management. For more information, visit the FDSOA Web site at www.fdsoa.org. Those who attend will not be disappointed.

RICHARD MARINUCCI is the executive director of the Fire Department Safety Officers Association (FDSOA) and chief of the Northville Township (MI) Fire Department. 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 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 and has taught extensively.