Eisner said there will be several courses based on case studies of incidents ripped from the headlines, including the shooting of Congresswoman Gabbie Giffords in Phoenix, and the rescue of an unconscious worker trapped on a broadcast tower 800 feet in the air in Texas.
One class will also involve a three-hour walking tour of San Diego’s Gaslamp District, examining the challenges of the area’s architecture.
This year, the event will feature two keynote speakers, including Robert Baird, deputy National Fire Director, Fire and Aviation Management, U.S. Forest Service.
His presentation will cover a topic called “Pyro-terrorism,” which is the use of arson attacks to terrorize civilians and coerce the government to advance political objectives. The threat of igniting several massive wildfires would damage the region’s economy and endangers the population.
The second keynote speaker is Nick Kalt, a firefighter with the, Long Beach (Calif.) Fire Department who will speak on the topic of “Overcoming Adversity.”
Kalt, a former U.S. Marine, was injured by explosives during a military training exercise and later, during his deployment, he was shot during an engagement and took a year to recover from his wounds. After his military service, he became a firefighter. He is expected to talk about the lessons learned about overcoming adversity through his life experiences.
There are several social aspects as well to this year’s event, including two showings of the movie “Burn” which follows and documents firefighters with the Detroit Fire Department for one year. The producers and directors of the film, Tom Putnam and Brenna Sanchez, and two firefighters featured in the film, are expected to be at the showings for questions and answers.
The movie will be shown on Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. and on Thursday, Feb. 21 at 5 and 7 p.m.
There’s also a networking event for firefighters held at the San Diego Fire Museum on Wednesday, Feb.20, just after the close of the exhibit hall. It is open to all attendees, exhibitors and instructors.
And, speaking the exhibit hall, this year fire chiefs only are invited to a special preview at 5 p.m. on Tuesday night. It will include a special reception for chiefs as well.
Ed Nichols, vice president of events for Cygnus Business Media, Firehouse’s parent company, said there are over 270 exhibiting companies on the show floor for this year.
“Twelve of those companies are participating in the inaugural New Product Showcase program,” Nichols said. “Ninety percent of show attendees say they go to the exhibit floor to see what’s new.”
Nichols said this year, the show floor is open two days to help control exhibitors' costs and improve the show value for the companies that participate.
With just days to go before the start of the event, Nichols said the attendance is way up.
“We are currently tracking 31 percent up year over year in our pre-registered attendance,” Nichols said.
Nichols said he’s also excited that Firehouse is hosting two showings of “Burn."