Step Right Up. It’s Showtime

Fire tradeshows are in full swing and it's a good idea for every firefighter and fire officer to attend at least one trade show a year to learn more about products and innovations as well as take advantage of unparalleled training.

It’s called the FlipTip and the name goes a long way to saying revealing what the nozzle does. With a twist of a quarter-turn detent locking collar, the front end of the combination, selectable or automatic nozzle flips down revealing a smooth bore nozzle back near the pistol grip.

Gone is the argument and debate over whether to have the combination/fog nozzles on the preconnects or smooth bore. You can have both. It’s pretty cool to see. I’d recommend you go look at one yourself and you’ll see the innovation first hand.

Vendors are always more than happy to take your information and send materials, and even organize demonstrations of virtually any product. That’s what my department did. After a few of us saw the FlipTip at a small regional show, we asked for a demonstration and the sales rep was more than happy to come out on a Monday evening and show us his stuff. A neighboring department came down too and we made it a pumping drill and flowed water while we tested the nozzles. We learned a lot and it’s helping us make the decision on what kinds of nozzles we’ll be using in the future.

Apparatus today are very sophisticated and filled with electronics to make operations safer and more efficient. E-ONE for instance, is now demonstrating and showing a very high tech collision avoidance system. It incorporates a camera/sensor system in the front bumper which detects objects in the apparatus’ path and adjusts speed and braking accordingly to avoid rear-end collisions. It’s a page from luxury car makers that E-ONE is introducing to the fire market. And, keeping on that page, E-ONE is also incorporating extensive air bag systems in apparatus, including front, side and even knee protection, all to keep firefighters safe. It’s great to see companies stepping up and doing the right thing to keep us safe.

Speaking of looking into the future, who among us would ever have thought aerial drones would become part of the fire service’s arsenal of tools? It wasn’t that long ago that drones were science fiction material. Well, maybe I’m showing my age a bit. There was a time when a 750-gpm pump was plenty and a 500-gallon tank was standard.  But I digress.

Of all manufacturers, W.S. Darley & Company, the people known for making pumps and fire apparatus and the catalog approach to selling fire equipment, is now showing off the Darley Drone at shows.  It’s a device designed and built in house and is now for sale to the fire service. Who would have thought?

The idea is to afford firefighters a bird’s eye view of fire scene and to provide surveillance information on wildland fires.

Innovation is all about keeping firefighters safe and allowing them to their jobs better and more efficiently.

Trade shows and those who attend them defy the cliché that suggest the fire service represents 200 years of tradition unencumbered by progress.

Strolling through any trade show will prove just how wrong that statement is. I encourage all firefighters interested in learning more about innovation, technology and progress to attend trade shows.

Two that are coming up soon include the New England Association of Fire Chiefs has its 91st annual Conference and Exposition coming up on June 21 through June 23 in Springfield, Mass. More information can be found by clicking here.

And Firehouse Expo, the largest fire service trade show and training conference on the East Coast, will be held from July 23 to July 27.  Go to for more information.

I encourage everyone even remotely connected to the fire service to make time to go to at least one trade show annually. It’s a great way to learn about the newest innovations and to receive training like none you’ve experienced previously.More than 275 exhibitors will be on hand to show you the latest stuff they have and you too can have your colleague asking you what you saw at the show.

Just step right up and do it. You’ll be glad you did.