FDSOA Apparatus Symposium: Looking Ahead

Richard Marinucci

The 27th annual Fire Department Safety Officers Association (FDSOA) Apparatus Symposium is being held this month in Buena Vista, Florida.

This event offers a unique opportunity for manufacturers and end users to meet in a relatively intimate setting to discuss specifics of apparatus and its components. The format allows for candid discussion into details that help both fire service personnel and manufacturers. This uniqueness not only helps all attendees but can benefit others in their departments and organizations when they bring back critical information on apparatus specifics and prudent spending practices.

The FDSOA has enjoyed a meaningful partnership with the Fire Apparatus Manufacturers’ Association (FAMA) and believes that this relationship has done much to advance the fire service through improvements in apparatus. This year, the FDSOA has added an additional partner, Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment. This publication is committed to providing information to the fire service relative to apparatus and equipment and is the only such magazine with this specific mission. This is a direct connect to the information provided at the Apparatus Symposium.

The Symposium continues to improve, and the FDSOA continues to build partnerships like those with Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment and FAMA so that this event remains the “go-to” place for those looking to learn as much as possible regarding apparatus. It also serves to connect those who have a passion for the industry. The purpose is to improve quality and reliability while remaining cognizant of purchasing and fleet maintenance costs.

What You’ll Experience

Attendees will hear from experts covering a variety of topics including new developments in the industry. Presentation topics include specification writing, the political aspects of apparatus purchasing and maintenance, and vehicle accident loss experiences. This year’s Symposium also looks at issues designed to improve safety, such as accident avoidance through virtual mirrors and radar detection, roadway safety, and safe aerial operations. There are also sessions on specific components and maintenance issues-topics of interest to all in attendance.

Of equal importance are the “unofficial” meetings that take place outside the classroom. It is here that many attendees build relationships and get deeper into the “weeds” with discussion about their specific interests. Manufacturers’ representatives can pick the brains of fire service professionals passionate about their trade, and fire department professionals can glean specific information that leads to savings for their communities and improved reliability and safety. There is no downside to this arrangement, as all can benefit when they choose to engage in the process.

Future Plans

The FDSOA is pleased with its arrangements with Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment and FAMA. Plans are already underway for the 28th annual Apparatus Symposium. A planning session will be held at the Sympoisum to get immediate feedback from attendees, which will be used during the planning process. One big change is that the Symposium will move from Florida for the first time since its inception. Although the FDSOA has enjoyed its time in Florida, it has decided to move the Symposium to Scottsdale, Arizona, in 2016. The plan from that point is to move the event back to the East Coast in 2017 to a location yet to be determined. By rotating the locations, the FDSOA believes it will expose more fire departments and firefighters to the Symposium and its benefits. If you have any responsibility regarding apparatus-whether purchasing or maintaining-plan on attending January 17-19, 2016, in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The fire service is getting more complicated and complex every year in all parts of the delivery model. This certainly includes fire apparatus. To paraphrase, “This is not your father’s fire apparatus.” If you are interested in getting the best for your organization, then you need to do your homework to learn as much as possible. Obviously, you can do your research without traveling to the Symposium, but you miss a great opportunity to interact with people who have a deep passion for this element of the fire service. The Symposium provides a great opportunity to increase your knowledge so you can spend your money wisely while getting the most effective, efficient, and reliable apparatus that your organization deserves.

The FDSOA wishes to express its most sincere thanks to Fire Apparatus and Emergency Equipment and FAMA. Without the cooperation and expertise of these two organizations, this Symposium would not be possible, and members of the fire service would not have this valuable resource. For 27 years, the FDSOA has offered a unique experience for those interested in the intricacies of fire apparatus, and the need continues. Look for an even bigger and better Apparatus Symposium next year in Scottsdale. We hope to see you there.

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.

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