WASHINGTON, D.C. – Fire and rescue personnel from across the country are beginning to arrive for the 25th annual CFSI conference here.
In the past week or so, attendance has picked up, said CFSI Executive Director Bill Webb.
“I think the fact that Vice President Biden is speaking is a big reason,” he said.
Webb, who was busy attending to various tasks Wednesday morning, added: “We have a few surprise speakers. That’s all I can say.”
However, he indicated that there will be several speakers who will be able to tell the story about the origin of Congressional Fire Service Institute.
“We are going to do a tribute to Art Glatfelter. Without him, there would be no CFSI,” Webb said. “We owe a lot to Art.”
Glatfelter, whose insurance company VFIS is the largest provider of coverage for volunteer firefighters, died earlier this year at 88.
In addition to CFSI, he also established both the Pennsylvania Fire & Emergency Services Institute in Harrisburg.
While security will be tighter this year with Biden’s attendance, Webb doesn’t foresee any issues.
Over the next few days, personnel will be visiting their representatives on Capitol Hill.
Kicking off CFSI was Lou Amabili, who helped write “America Burning.” The 1973 report opened the door on the cost of fires, including injury and death tolls.
He said he was excited to share the history of the famous document that celebrated its 40th anniversary recently.
U.S. Fire Administrator Ernie Mitchell not only lauded Amabili for his work. He asked.the crowd to stand and applaud him for his wonderful inspiring document.
At 2 p.m. Thursday, the National Fallen Firefighters will debut the 30-minute documentary "Charleston 9: The Ultimate Sacrifice," about the rebuilding of the department after the Sofa Super Store fire in 2007.