There’s arguably no better place to be than San Diego in February, so why not head there for Firehouse World which is scheduled for Feb. 19-23 at the San Diego Convention Center.
Registration has just opened and this year marks the 10th anniversary of the show, convening in the Southern California city by the sea. Many of the classes, especially those involving hands-on-training (HOT) have limited enrollments and fill quickly.
“We have added a number of timely topics this year,” said Harvey Eisner, Editor-in-Chief of Firehouse magazine and Firehouse Event Conference Director, who has responsibilities for selecting and organizing classes.
Eisner said there are more than 10 new topical classes covering events that have been in the news from natural disasters to financial catastrophes and issues that many of the nation’s fire departments are facing daily.
Ed Nichols, vice president of events for Cygnus’ Public Safety and Security Group, said, “The entire team is energized and working incredibly hard to deliver a new experience at this year’s Firehouse World consistent with the innovative thinking that the fire-service expects from the Firehouse brand.”
Among those new things is Firehouse’s co-hosting of a fundraising event onboard the USS Midway, docked in San Diego, with the proceeds going to the San Diego Burn Institute through the San Diego County Chiefs Association. This is the third year Firehouse has been in a contract with the Burn Institute to increase support for the organization.
Another new feature of this year’s show is a firefighter health and wellness area on the show floor with some hands-on CrossFit training programs with firefighters and instructors from San Diego County.
Even 70 percent of the classes are new this year, according to Nichols.
Among those topical classes is one on finances called “The Economy and Concepts that Frame our Future” – a leadership class taught by Cliff Jones, a retired Tempe (Ariz.) Fire Chief. The class will look at current economic conditions and how leaders need to approach them for the 21st century.
A related class called “Group Purchasing…Save Time and Money!” will look at a trend gaining traction in the fire service because of the saving and the avoidance of RFPs. The class will be taught by Jeff Johnson, CEO of Western Fire Chiefs Association.
Also ripped from the headlines is a class devoted to lessons learned from several hurricanes that have recently wreaked havoc. Called “From Katrina to Irene: Lessons in Healthcare Facility Evacuation,” the class will look at the challenges encountered and lessons learned while evacuating facilities due to devastating storms.
Another hot button in the fire and emergency medical services is the use of social media as the popularity of those types of communications blossom.
That topic will be covered in a class taught by Nick Schuler, Field Battalion Chief with CAL Fire Incident Command Team 9. The class, called “Social Media Best Practices for EMS and Fire Agencies,” will look at innovative uses of social media for communicating with the public and how CAL Fire has started using Skype to give live interviews to the media from the field.
A new class that is sure to be popular due to its name is “Damn that was Close.” Taught by Mike Dugan, a captain with FDNY and a contributing editor to Firehouse magazine, the fireground decision-making class will review problems confronted by firefighters and officers that endanger them and their teams.
A class that is sure to be an emotional rollercoaster is one being taught by a Winnipeg, Canada firefighter who survived a flashover in 2007 that severely injured four firefighters and killed two veteran captains.
The session is called “Getting Through the Fire – One Firefighter’s Journey Back to Duty After Surviving a Flashover and Multiple LODDs.” It will be a firsthand account of the flashover that trapped the six crew members on the second floor of a residential home. It will be taught by Lionel Crowther, who is now director of training of Florian Fire & Rescue in Canada. The presentation, being held in one of the ballrooms at the convention center, will cover an operational breakdown of the incident, the aftermath of recovery and the return-to-work process.
Despite a light-hearted title, “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up,” Curt Varone, a lawyer, author and Firehouse magazine columnist will critically examine firefighter misconduct and its impact on operations by looking at some of the most interesting and instructional cases in the fire service.
A far more serious approach to similar topics will be covered by David Franklin, assistant chief of the San Francisco Fire Department. His class is called “Major Incident Safety Investigations” and will focus on exactly what the topic suggests, covering the ins and outs of investigating serious injury fires and LODDs while still in operation at an incident.
Eisner said the information passed along in this class could greatly benefit virtually all fire departments in the nation.
“It will teach you how to conduct an investigation,” Eisner said. “Most departments don’t know how to even start one.”
And then, there’s HOT training and this year, there are plenty of topics from which to choose.
One new one classes focuses on positive pressure ventilation. Taught by three members of the Anaheim (Calif.) Fire Department, the class is called “The Fundamentals of Positive Pressure Fire Attack.”
The class, which requires full turnout gear, SCBA and spare bottle, is limited to 32 students. It is designed to provide firefighters with the knowledge to perform a positive pressure fire attack. The tactic uses blowers to introduce cool fresh air into the entry point once an exhaust port has been established. The class is part lecture, group discussion, demonstration and most importantly hands-on training.
Firehouse World is co-located with EMSWorld, which means there are lots of emergency medical classes too.
There’s also a trade show component to the event featuring more than 300 exhibitors, each showcasing the latest in product offerings and technological advances in the fire and emergency medical services.
“We have some new people in place bringing a fresh perspective to everything we do,” said Mary Flynn, Cygnus’ Public Safety Group show manager. “I am very excited about this year’s Firehouse World and the experience that we will be providing.”
Complete and up to the minute conference and registration information is available on the web at www.firehouseworld.com. A full schedule can also be found in the November issue of Firehouse magazine.