New this year at Firehouse Expo were a few networking and socializing events, including a benefit show featuring an illusionist and a headlining comedian, all designed to enhance the Firehouse Expo experience in Baltimore.
“We know we have the best training and the best speakers, we just want to give the participants a bit more,” said Ed Nichols, vice president of Firehouse Expo. “We want them to have a venue to network and have some fun too.”
Understanding that fire department budgets and firefighters’ personal finances might be tight, Nichols said packaging the conference and training with a chance to unwind and socialize just made sense.
This year, Firehouse held a networking reception immediately after the close of the show floor and the completion of training right in theBaltimoreConvention Center. The event was sponsor by Tencate, a manufacturer of material used in turnout gear, KME, a fire apparatus manufacturer and MAXXFORCE, the maker of diesel engines for the fire service.
Part of package was a comedy show featuring a variety of localBaltimoreacts and Spencer Horsman an illusionist who recently appeared on NBC’sAmerica’s Got Talent. Headlining the event was Raphie May, a comedian who has had four specials on Comedy Central and tours the nation.
Tailoring his comedy to fit a show filled with firefighters, May, who is a person of size, joked about his chances of being saved should he be trapped on the third floor of a burning building.
“Chief, we’ve got one fatality,” May said, of firefighters’ reaction to seeing May in need. “Hey, no, I am right here. Help. …I’m not making it out am I?” He even joked about his health and perhaps needing CPR someday , speculating about his chances for effective resuscitation.
“Gee, Mr. May, you’re turning blue, looks like you need some CPR,” May said, mimicking a care provider. He then blew into the microphone with a blustery flap of his lips and used his foot to illustrate how he might get CPR. “Nope, it’s not working. Go into the light.”
The proceeds from both the networking and comedy events were shared by four non-profit groups including the 9-11 Patch Project, NYC Bravest Scholarship Fund, Terry Farrell Fund and the Feal Good Foundation.
Although not new, ever popular was the FOOLS Brotherhood Bash, a well-attended annual event forBaltimoreduring the Expo.
“We just want to provide a full experience for our attendees,” Nichols said.