Firehouse Expo Speaker Profile: Christopher Naum

Christopher Naum will be presenting "Taking It to the Streets: Baltimore and Buildings on Fire," a four-hour in-depth workshop at Firehouse Expo on July 16. On July 28 he presents "Buildings on Fire: Lessons from the Fireground 2014." Learn more about Naum and his Taking it to the Streets program. 

What will attendees to your program walk away with?

This is a unique program exclusive to both Firehouse Expo and Firehouse World providing a rich experience to the student by taking the classroom into the streets of downtown Baltimore. It provides the stage for an incredible opportunity to tour an amazing collection of buildings and occupancies dating from the late 18th Century to current times. This program starts in the classroom and transitions to the field for a dynamic walking lecture and tour of prominent examples of various buildings representing Heritage, Legacy, Conventional and Engineered construction, plus Hybrid structures representing a cross-section of residential, commercial, and mixed occupancies. This program provides firefighters, company and command officers with key insights to improve their reading the building skills and identifying inherent, predictive characteristics that will influence fireground operations

What is the story behind your class?

The concept for this program began five years ago between with my good friend, Battalion Chief John Fisher from San Diego Fire & Rescue. We were talking about building construction, firefighting operations and firefighter safety. We both shared stories of fireground operations and factors affecting operations from a building construction and occupancy risk perspective. We continued to discuss how the streets and its buildings are so formative to a firefighter or officer's insights and subsequent operations.  San Diego's historic Gaslamp Quarter provided the stage for an incredible opportunity to tour an amazing collection of buildings and occupancies when we launched the first Taking it to the Streets pre-conference in 2013. This year at Firehouse World we had over 40 participants representing all ranks and organization sizes, from both west and east coast organizations, and had to restrict the program size due to the strong demand. 

Tell us about your time in the fire service.

I'm entering my 39th year in the fire service and it's been an exceptional experience filled with phenomenal friendships and a brotherhood forged by a deep tradition and culture. I've had the profound honor and privilege to work with some of the finest firefighters, officers, instructors and educators on all levels in both the fire services and allied professions and academia. I've had the opportunity to work concurrently as an architect, fire protection engineer, fire officer and commander, author, lecturer and theorist. I've seen a lot. The good and the bad, and it's what drives many of us to continue to give back to this tremendous profession in search of operational excellence and  enhanced safety.

What has been the highlight of your career?

That's a two-fold response. Having the opportunity and privilege to presently serve as a technical consultant to the NIOSH Firefighter Fatality LODD Investigation Program and participate in the assessment, causal determination and review process of numerous firefighter line of duty death incidents. It's allowed me to contribute toward the lessons derived from those events so that the fire service profession has valuable learnings and the opportunity to curb history repeating events. The second has been the  opportunity to lecture, instruct and advocate over the many years across the country and interface with new and veteran firefighters, emerging and senior officers and commanders sharing insights, lessons  from the fireground and perspectives that honor our past while identifying areas for improvement and excellence in our operations and profession.

What’s one piece of advice that you can give to Firehouse Expo attendees to make it a great experience?

Take in a class or session on a topic that is unfamiliar or new and take advantage of new and emerging concepts and ideas. Don't dismiss an opportunity to immerse yourself in knowledge, training and educational. It's the formal program that delivers training and education insights. The networking in the halls and on the floor creates perceptions. The initiatives start at the conference -- turn them into a reality back at the firehouse through perseverance, rigor and focused efforts.

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: