Editorial: Presenting The Latest & Greatest

The 17th annual Firehouse Emergency Services Expo held at the Baltimore Convention Center is scheduled this year from July 18 to 23. We have just been informed that we will host a speaker from the Worcester, MA, Fire Department who will highlight the tragic fire in December 1999 in which six firefighters lost their lives. Don't miss this special presentation scheduled for Thursday morning, July 20.

This follows in the tradition of other major presentations that have been presented at the Expo in the past such as: the Oklahoma City bombing, World Trade Center explosion, Chernobyl, California wildfires and the Los Angeles riots. When Chief Gary Marrs spoke on the Oklahoma City bombing, a room filled with 2,000 attendees listened - you could hear a pin drop. Don't miss out on the opportunity to hear about the incident that touched the entire fire service.

During the Professional Information Programs, Thursday through Saturday, a full lineup of nationally recognized speakers will discuss current fire, EMS and rescue topics. We have listened to your comments and are proud to present two days of pre-conference sessions, including inside lectures and hands-on training classes. Among the program tracks are: firefighting strategy and tactics, administration, EMS, hazardous materials, terrorism, specialized rescue, incident command, apparatus purchasing, new products (including EMS, firefighting and specialized rescue equipment), firefighter health and safety, vehicle extrication, training and accountability.

The exhibit floor will be packed with the latest apparatus, tools and equipment available to the fire/EMS service. Many other events are scheduled throughout Baltimore's Inner Harbor, including the return of the parade and the flea market on Sunday morning. See page 85 or www.Firehouse.com for more details. See you there.

Some amazing developments took place within the fire service recently. A controlled burn started by the National Park Service to clear brush at the Bandelier National Monument near Los Alamos, NM, burned out of control and forced the evacuation of 11,000 residents of the town. As this was being written, hundreds of buildings had been damaged or destroyed by the fire 70 miles north of Albuquerque. A fire at the Wild Turkey bourbon distillery near Lawrenceburg, KY, consumed a warehouse containing upwards of 20,000 barrels, each containing 53 gallons of bourbon.

In the District of Columbia, interim Fire Chief Thomas N. Tippett, a 32-year veteran, submitted his resignation to Mayor Anthony Williams, citing concerns for the safety of those under his command. Tippett said the district's control board didn't view the importance of firefighter safety as a priority. A fifth firefighter was added to truck companies and chiefs' aides were returned. Restoration of staffing levels was approved following the deaths of three DC firefighters since 1997. Hal Bruno reported on this subject two months ago. See page 14 for Hal's follow-up report. It is a tragedy that despite preaching firefighter safety, firefighters have to die, and that numerous post-incident reports recommend changes that many times just fall on deaf ears.

Firehouse® Magazine, Firehouse.com, the Worcester Fire Department and Worcester, MA, IAFF Local 1009 will co-sponsor a "one-time" training seminar entitled the Worcester Memorial Safety and Training seminar Sept. 23-24, 2000. Proceeds of this seminar will go to fund the Worcester Firefighters Memorial. For information watch Firehouse.com or call 508-831-0519. Let's see if we can have a great turnout and honor the memories of these firefighters. And wouldn't it be nice if the people who control the funds for emergency services would act first so that the seminars described above would not be needed. Too many firefighter lives have been sacrificed already.