Firehouse Expo Preview: New Big Room Session to Close Out Event

Aug. 7, 2023
Aggressive tactics. Risk-based decision-making. Both will be scrutinized to culminate the 40th—and best—Firehouse Expo.

This year’s Firehouse Expo will conclude as never before, with a lively discussion about fireground operations that will be provided by two veteran and experienced fire officers.

Join Deputy Chief Daniel DeYear, who recently retired after a 40-year fire service career, including 30 years with Dallas Fire-Rescue, and Houston Fire Department Battalion Chief Mo Davis as the two share their pointed views on today’s tactics, priorities, decision-making processes, command, scene safety and more.

Davis approaches fireground operations with aggressive tactics and decision-making, while DeYear looks more at risk-based decisions and strategies to control fires, rescue citizens and accomplish all of the other steps at working fires.

The Big Room session begins at 2:45 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 29. The pair will take questions from the audience, to provide you with varying feedback based on their experiences.

New apparatus purchasing classes

Because the process to purchase fire apparatus has challenged departments big and small particularly in recent months, Tom Shand and Michael Wilbur, who are the longtime authors of Firehouse’s The Apparatus Architect, put together two new sessions to help departments to navigate the unprecedented challenges.

“Where Is My New Apparatus?” will have the veteran apparatus designers digging into the rising cost of emergency vehicles and the reasoning behind the monthslong delays (even years) that have become commonplace when purchasing new apparatus. The duo also will cover what steps that departments can take to get apparatus delivered as quickly as possible. In addition, the session will look at the effect of revised NFPA standards and governmental regulations that are creating revisions to the purchasing and specifying process.

You also don’t want to miss “How to Manage Your New Apparatus Order.” Shand and Wilbur will take purchasing committee members through the new steps of purchasing fire apparatus during rising costs, new technology, and worker and supply chain shortages. They will outline the critical points and key steps that are integral to today’s preconstruction engineering meetings and final inspections.

Jeffrey Gaskin’s look at trends in aerial and pumper apparatus will help departments to specify a new apparatus that’s laid out with tactical and response needs as key factors in the overall design.

Roundtables and Tailboard Talks

The Firehouse Expo exhibition floor will include the return of the popular roundtables and the second year of Tailboard Talks, which involves multiple presenters who focus on one operational or administrative topic in short, 15-minute discussions.

This year’s roundtables include discussions for company officers, chiefs, training officers and instructors and a look at fireground operations through the lense of all that has been 2023.

On the stage for the Tailboard Talks, instructors will reflect on fireground coordination, leadership in today’s fire service, and recruitment and retention for volunteer departments.

Find the full schedule for the roundtables and the Tailboard Talks under the Conference menu at

New classes in 2023

Sid Newby from Wichita, KS, will present “Engine Company Basics,” which will help attendees to understand the baseline of their engine companies and to create drills to sharpen skills.

“Rhabdo: Not Just for Wildland Firefighters” is a presentation by Dr. Brittany Hollerbach that will look at the physical toll on the heart for those who work in high- and extreme-heat environments. Over the past few years, rhabdomyolysis—which often is called rhabdo—claimed the life of several firefighters. You’ll learn about the warning signs and symptoms.

A must-see session that will focus on lessons learned from training will be presented by Ragan Underwood. “Training Mayday: I Was Not Ready for This!” will provide Underwood with the opportunity to talk about how, during live fire evolutions, he recognized changing conditions in a flow path and got his trainees to safety. However, Underwood wasn’t as fortunate, and he found himself trapped, which forced him to endure extreme heat conditions. Attend the session on Wednesday, Sept. 27, to hear how all of what Underwood encountered evolved live fire training and mayday skills for this veteran instructor.

Firehouse Contributing Editor Dr. David Griffin looks at how the longtime messaging of “suck it up” no longer is acceptable in the fire service during his presentation, “Resiliency Is the Way.” Griffin will share signs and symptoms of post-traumatic stress and acute stress disorder and explain how to utilize self-help tools and peer support. These tools and techniques have been used for more than 100 years to combat stress and require no funding. They only require a willingness to learn and to take information back to your department to help to save those who save others.

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Firehouse Staff

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