Firehouse World Conference Readies for Opening

The Firehouse World trade show and training conference, held annually in San Diego, Calif., will convene Feb. 26 through March 2.

Once again, Firehouse World offers a wide variety of fire and EMS training, including continuing education certification, hands-on training and an exhibition hall filled with exhibitors displaying their products, all in the downtown San Diego Convention Center.


The keynote speaker for the event is Josh Bliell, a Marine Corporal who was seriously wounded in 2006 and lost both legs above his knees while conducting combat patrols in Iraq. He also suffered a broken jaw, crushed hip, dislocated pelvis, concussion, several broken fingers and lacerations. He received a Purple Heart from President George W. Bush for his bravery. Bliell lives in Indianapolis and serves as a motivational speaker and community representative for the Colts.

Special Topics

Many of Firehouse World’s lectures and courses are based on events that come straight from the news headlines.

One of those is a three-hour class based on recent wildland fires in California, particularly the 2009 Station Fire that claimed two firefighters who drove off a cliff as they tried to protect their fire camp. One of the presenters is Los Angeles County Fire Engineer Rob Morales, who was Camp 16 Crew Supervisor. Morales witnessed the tragic incident and, for the first time, will be speaking publically about the tragedy.

Morales will be joined by other presenters with experience in the Esperanza and Calabasas burnovers. The class will explore the human factors in “fight or flight” response when faced with unexpected, intense fire behavior.

Training organizers are also finalizing a new class that will cover the huge gas line blast and fire in San Bruno, Calif., last fall. The class is scheduled to cover the emergency medical service and fire response to the event that killed eight people, injured at least 50 and destroyed a neighborhood.

Hands-on Training

Firehouse World will also feature two days of hands-on training starting Sun., Feb. 28. These classes will be held at a variety of locations around the San Diego area.

Among the hands-on training courses offered are “High-Density Forcible Entry Concepts, Softening the Structure to Get Out Alive,” taught by Encinitas Capt. Andrew Mejia; “Real World Ventilation Practices,” taught by Seattle Lt. Todd Wernet; and two classes new to Firehouse World: “East Meets West – Fireground Search Operations,” taught by San Jose Firefighter Jeff Seaton and Jersey City Battalion Chief Pete Griese; and “Live Fire Critical Evolutions” taught by Hemet Capt. Todd Fetters and Cal Fire/Riverside County Battalion Chief Tony Mechan.

Hands-on training will also be held in “The Hot Box” on the exhibit floor, including a driver training simulator that tests acclimation, high visual horizon, critical scanning, multi-tasking and intersection analysis.

Classroom Sessions

Throughout the three-day conference there will be nearly 100 classroom sessions, most running 90 minutes. Topics range from leadership to tactics and strategy, to specifying apparatus, to developments in technology and software.

The first day of classroom sessions starts off with a presentation titled, “A View From The Streets: The First 20 Minutes,” taught by FDNY battalion chiefs Richard Blatus and Tom Richardson. The scenario-based program is designed to provide students with the opportunity to direct fireground operations based on information gathered from the transmission of the alarm.

One of the opening sessions of Day Two focuses on recruiting and retaining volunteers with federal grant money. The session, titled “Volunteer Firefighter Recruiting Through Federal SAFER Grants,” is taught by Aly Troy, project manager for Alaska State Firefighters SAFER Grant Program, and Greg Redden, President of Redden Group.

There are also programs designed for emergency medical service providers. One such class is scheduled for Day Three and it is titled, “Advances in Resuscitation Science,” taught by Dr. Dan Davis of the UC San Diego School of Medicine.

At various times during the conference, free presentations will take place in “The Hot Box” on the exhibition floor, featuring Billy Goldfeder, deputy fire chief of Loveland-Symmes (Ohio) Fire Department and Firehouse Magazine Contributing Editor, and Ron Moore, training chief of the McKinney (Texas) Fire Department.

Goldfeder will speak on the hazards of “ho-hum” non-structural fires, such as car fires, Dumpster fires and automatic alarms. He will point out the pitfalls of complacency and its potentially devastating results. He will also have a separate class on what to do at fires with occupants trapped and the initial decision that can affect the ultimate results.

Moore will offer a presentation on “The Challenges of Extrication Involving Vehicles with Advanced Steel Structures.” In the presentation, Moore will discuss the use of ultra high-strength steel alloys in vehicles and how to extricate patients from vehicle wrecks.

For more information on the conference and to register for the event, go to