By Richard Marinucci
Information and knowledge regarding apparatus specification and maintenance lead to better decision making when acquiring new apparatus and keeping them on the road.
This translates into better use of resources and better vehicle reliability. Attending conferences, workshops, seminars, and symposia is a great way to increase knowledge. Of course, there are many options as there are seemingly countless opportunities from the big shows like FDIC International to regional and state programs to more niche conferences held nationally. To paraphrase Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca, “Of all the conferences, in all the world, why this one?” To understand why, you have to look at the format and content of the 29th Annual Apparatus Specification and Maintenance Symposium presented by the Fire Department Safety Officers Association (FDSOA).
The symposium offers an intimate setting where everyone interested in apparatus can meet and discuss the industry. This includes manufacturers, suppliers, fleet managers, mechanics, and purchasers. There are formal sessions including keynote addresses and workshops that cover a variety of topics. These will include information on aerial platform design; storage and equipment mounting; and specific information on batteries, tires, camera systems, idle reduction, scene lighting, and line power generation. All of these are important to departments looking to get the most “bang for the buck” and also to help make the best choices to improve performance and service to the community.
The training sessions are but one part of the symposium. Networking opportunities abound as attendees are able to meet and talk fire trucks with people who are passionate about this side of the fire service industry. The size of the conference is such that many interactions are possible throughout the event. There are displays by the vendors and informal meetings that allow attendees to discuss specific issues directly related to their organizations and job responsibilities. You will meet people who will not only offer you help and guidance at the symposium but will also become valuable resources after you return to your home department. You can renew old friendships, make new ones, and continue those relationships for the rest of your career and beyond. You will find so many people who genuinely care about fire trucks, their operation, and their reliability.
Every organization will say it wants to be the best and excel. Members understand that there is an expectation that the service being provided will be outstanding and that the people responding along with the equipment they bring will be prepared. The apparatus must be functional and reliable. The truly great departments know they must be up on the latest developments in the industry. The apparatus portion of this is a key component and is part of the level of success that will be determined. Apparatus, like so much of today’s world, is getting more complex and technological. If you are not keeping up, you are falling behind. There are many ways to stay current, and attendance at shows is one of them. The FDSOA Apparatus Specification and Maintenance Symposium is a great way to learn more details.
There is no disputing that purchasing and maintaining fire apparatus are significant investments for every department and every community. Well-run organizations learn as much as they can so the funds can be expended wisely and so the vehicles purchased are reliable and functional. The ongoing maintenance is vital to keeping vehicles in service. A small investment in attending the 29th Annual Apparatus Specification and Maintenance Symposium, presented by the FDSOA in partnership with the Fire Apparatus Manufacturers’ Association, will pay dividends. Go to www.fdsoa.org for more information. We look forward to seeing you in Orlando in 2017.
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.