Firehouse Expo Turns 25

BALTIMORE -- Banners are hung, displays erected and apparatus is pulling into town for the largest fire service show in the country -- Firehouse Expo.

Firefighters from across the country are here for the 25th annual event that features classroom sessions as well as hands on training from some of the nation's fire service experts.

"Every year we present relevant topics," said Harvey Eisner, Expo producer and editor-in-chief of Firehouse Magazine.

It's not too late to take advantage of the sessions that begin today and run through Saturday. Educating firefighters -- volunteers and career -- has been the major purpose since the event's inception.

While other shows concentrate on instructors or personnel seeking to advance in their careers, Eisner said Firehouse Expo has always geared its programs to the men and women on the hose lines.

That's why show organizers seek incident commanders to discuss their operations. It's essential, he said, that firefighters hear how things unfold and how decisions are made.

On Thursday, Gordon Routley will review the Charleston furniture store fire last year that claimed the lives of nine firefighters.

Routely headed a panel that looked at the entire picture including building construction, code violations and the firefighting operation.

Firehouse Expo continues to expand, and this year also includes EMS courses. Eisner said he feels it makes sense to add the EMS tract.

The producer says he is hopeful that the budget crisis and rising fuel costs won't keep fire and rescue personnel away.