Fire and rescue personnel from across the country are arriving in downtown Baltimore for Firehouse Expo.
Hands-on training will begin Tuesday and pre-conference sessions will take place Wednesday. The main conference is slated to kick off Thursday morning at the convention center.
"This is going to be the best show we've ever had," said Harvey Eisner, director of Firehouse Expo.
The 10th anniversary of Sept. 11 will be remembered, and commanders from New York, Shanksville and Arlington will share their experiences of that horrible day. Personnel will discuss the lessons learned as well as the importance of preparing for the future.
Eisner and his team have been working for more than a year to bring top fire service and EMS commanders to the conference that runs from July 19-23.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, firefighters will don their gear and practice their techniques as they learn from well-seasoned, veteran firefighters.
The opening ceremony Thursday morning at the Hilton will be like none other, Eisner promises.
The focus involves various aspects of 9/11. Attendees will hear from FDNY Deputy Chief Jay Jonas. An Australian author will recite his "Fire Fighter's Dream" poem he penned.
They also will hear from U.S. Marine Cpl. Josh Bleill, who joined the corps after Sept. 11. Bleill was seriously injured in combat.
Firehouse Expo also will pay special tribute to first responders who have paid the ultimate sacrifice while defending their country.
A news photographer who says he owes his life to the men and women of New York law enforcement, fire and EMS will share his experience and photographs. David Handschuh, with the NY Daily News, was buried under chunks of debris.
Also, a safety video -- a collaborative effort of FDNY and NFFF -- will be shown for the first time Thursday morning.
Sprinkled throughout the conference will be a myriad of topics from 9/11 such as health issues of responders, Hazmat considerations as well as the challenges of EMS at Ground Zero, the psychological effects of the incident on responders and their families.
Personnel also will have the opportunity to learn from notable fire service leaders including Alan Brunacini, Burt Clark, Curt Varone, Billy Goldfeder, Rich Gasaway, Harry Carter, Ron Moore and Dennis Compton.