Chief Allen Baldwin will be presenting "Engine Company and Truck Company Chauffeur/Operator" at Firehouse Expo in Baltimore next month.
What will attendees to your program walk away with?
I will stress what it means and takes to be a good apparatus operator and how important this fireground role really is. It is more than just getting the rig to the scene. It is operational readiness, preparation, education, commitment, and taking the time to think ahead. I help you focus on knowing your first-due territory show what dedication you need to have for this job. Attendees will learn how to practice, hone and develop the needed skills for getting water in and out of the engine, positioning and setting up the aerial. New or veteran driver/operators will take home new ideas and we'll reinforce operational tactics and training for you.
What is the story behind your class?
Over the last 30-plus years I have had great fire service mentors in various capacities who have driven home the importance of coordinated fireground operations and the key components of those operations. One of those components is a good chauffeur/operator who can make all of the difference. I was given the opportunity in a small volunteer department to become an operator just after graduating high school. The love and thrill of running the engine and, in later years, the truck has stuck with me to this day. My first real fire service job was that of an engine and truck driver for a small combination department. That job helped fuel my love and drive for this position and its importance. With the added guidance of some very wise old timers, this young buck was able to benefit and realize the importance of this position, and they instilled that it was one that required ongoing training and commitment.
Tell us about your time in the fire service.
I have been in the fire service for over 30 years. I currently have the honor and privilege to serve as the chief of the Winchester, Va., Fire and Rescue Department. My fire service career started with the Wilkins Township #1 Fire Company, just east of Pittsburgh. I have had the opportunity to present at previous Firehouse Expo conferences and FDIC over the years. I am an Executive Fire Officer (EFO) Program graduate and hold Chief Fire Officer Designation.
What has been the highlight of your career?
I would have to change this to highlights. The biggest highlight of my career has been sharing it with my wife and son, who are both involved in emergency services and have supported me over the years. You have to love a woman who allows her husband to leave a job of 13 years to return to his love of the fire service as a career. Along with this is watching my son grow into the service. Being able to train and mentor young firefighters and watch them progress through the ranks or into the career service has been wonderful. .
What’s one piece of advice that you can give to Firehouse Expo attendees to make it a great experience?
Look at the schedule in advance; you can't attend everything but develop a plan so you can sit in on as many classes as possible. Go to the networking events as this is a great opportunity to make new friends, learn all kinds of good information and compare notes on the fire service. You never know who will sit down next to you or join the group. Most importantly, you are there for training. Keep training, take it back and give it to the brothers and sisters.
The 31st Firehouse Expo will take place in Baltimore, MD, July 15-19, at the Baltimore Convention Center. This year's conference offers over 90 education sessions, including hands-on training, in-depth workshops and classroom sessions. Find out more about Firehouse Expo, the exhibitors who will be showcasing their products and learn how to register go to: FirehouseExpo.com.