By Richard Marinucci
As everyone knows, experience is a great teacher. As we go through life, we have an opportunity to learn from virtually everything that passes by us-the good and the bad.
In the fire and emergency services, not everyone can experience everything they need to know before they retire or move on to other assignments. Yet, there is an expectation from bosses, supervisors, and the citizens being served by those organizations (i.e., taxpayers) that individuals within the organization will make good decisions and choices. Therefore, it is wise and prudent for individuals to learn as much as they can from other people’s experiences and try not to learn the hard way.
That is where the 29th Annual Fire Department Safety Officers Association (FDSOA) Apparatus Specification and Maintenance Symposium comes into play. This is a one-of-a-kind event that will be held in Orlando, Florida, from January 15-18, 2017. It brings together experts in the field of fire service vehicles. There are opportunities to get the latest information on emerging issues and topics. There will be people there to discuss all aspects of apparatus-from purchasing to maintenance. As fire apparatus are significant investments, knowledge is essential so departments make the right decisions and minimize errors.
One area to be covered is the Boston (MA) Fire Department’s (BFD) experiences following a fatal crash in 2009. Ralph Craven, of Mercury Associates (who was retained by Boston to perform the assessment) and a representative from the BFD will relay the lessons learned, conclusions, and recommendations. This is a great chance to hear about the positives that resulted from a tragedy with hopes of never having a repeat-not only in the BFD but in every other organization that can learn from the challenges the BFD faced.
Neil Rossman, a Massachusetts attorney, will make another presentation. Some people may remember Rossman as an attorney who represented a Brookline, Massachusetts, firefighter who was thrown from an apparatus while responding to a call. He was successful in his lawsuit and with it brought many changes to apparatus to make them safer. Rossman subsequently served on the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1500, Standard on Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health Program, committee, where he continued to work on safety issues and apparatus affecting firefighters and fire departments. He will discuss the progress that has been made and the areas that still need improvement.
These are two of the programs that will help you to gain from the experiences of others. This year’s program promises to be outstanding, with a variety of subjects to be covered. Those who attend will have many opportunities to network to add to what they learn during general sessions and workshops. Invest in yourself and your organization so that you can continue to improve on your capabilities. If you are in any way involved with the apparatus in your organization, you should make plans now to attend the 29th Annual Apparatus Specification and Maintenance Symposium. Visit www.fdsoa.org for more information.
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.