Firehouse World Ready For Big Opening in San Diego

The 2013 Firehouse World expo in sunny San Diego is only days away, but there’s still plenty of time to get in on the training and all the action the award-winning event has to offer.

Firehouse World continues to be the largest fire event on the West Coast and this year promises to be even bigger and better, event organizers say. This year’s event begins on Feb. 17 and continues through Feb. 21, and features literally hundreds of hours of world-class training and more than 270 exhibitors and vendors showing off their latest products and services. This year, the exhibit is compressed into an action packed two days.

Registration is open to the day of each particular event. Click here for registration and schedule information.

With the Northeast reeling from the effects of the Blizzard of 2013, and much of the country, particularly the Mid-West, struggling with weeks of frigid temperatures, San Diego provides the perfect venue for a little relief and respite from winter’s grueling weather.

Education and Training

However, it’s the education and training, as well as the exposure to all the “new stuff” vendors display, that comprise the real reasons to attend this year’s event, which is based at the San Diego Convention Center in the heart of the vibrant downtown area of the city by the sea.

“We are trying to provide firefighters with information that they may not be able to get at their fire departments,” said Harvey Eisner, Editor-in-Chief of Firehouse magazine and Firehouse Event Conference Director, who has responsibilities for selecting and organizing classes.

Eisner said he is particularly pleased to offer more classes featuring California fire instructors as well as nationally recognized instructors from across the country.

“We have been working with chiefs from San Diego, San Diego County, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County and Phoenix to develop more classes and get more instructors from California,” Eisner said, adding that Firehouse is responding to the request. “We’ve done just that.”

Additionally, Eisner said he and the staff have added more state and nationally certified classes this year than ever before, some that are two to five days long. Firehouse is now able to accept San Diego fire departments’ UASI payments for classes and training.

Also new this year are several behavioral health classes for responders, and Eisner said he is pleased the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) will preview a new behavioral course at Firehouse World called New Approaches to Firefighter Behavioral Health.

The NFFF will also debut a wildfire safety video during the conference.

Some other highlights include a special program on burn prevention, taught by Jason Woods, president of DCFF Burn Foundation, developed with the help of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program. It focuses on burn prevention awareness.

A course called "Command Boot Camp" will be conducted by Mario Rueda, deputy chief of the Los Angeles Fire Department, along with Joseph Castro, battalion chief of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Curt Varone, an attorney, author and Firehouse contributor will present a course called "Hot Legal Topics: Digital Imagery and Social Media," which will cover the need to control and limit scene photography and its distribution.

Retired LA Fire Dept. Battalion Chief John Mittendorf will teach a course titled, "Ten Most Common Fireground Mistakes and How to Avoid Them." As the title suggests, it will look at errors made with fire apparatus placement, incident command systems, reading buildings and a host of other issues facing firefighters daily.

The Firehouse World event also features a variety of Hands on Training (H.O.T.) programs and this year, Eisner said four of the seven classes offered are brand new. They include elevator rescue, school bus extrication, an International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) fire ground survival course, and a new technical search operations course featuring lessons about cameras and listening devices.

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.

Social Events

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.

Exhibit Hall

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."

“There is still time to register,” Nichols said, encouraging people interested in participating to go to for more information.