Improving the Health & Safety of all Emergency Responders

FDSOA Apparatus Specification & Maintenance Symposium 2019 Wrap-up

Janet Wilmoth looks at some of the highlights from the 31st FDSOA Apparatus Specification and Maintenance Symposium in Orlando, FL.

February 4, 2019


The 31st Fire Department Safety Officer Association’s (FDSOA) Apparatus Specification and Maintenance Symposium in Orlando, FL, concluded another successful event that included several award presentations and a host of educational sessions.

The 2018 Emergency Vehicle Technician (EVT) of the Year Award was presented to Al Hasenfratz, Master EVT, of the Sylvania, OH, Fire-EMS Department. The award recognizes outstanding efforts to promote a high standard of excellence in quality and safety in emergency vehicles.

Spartan’s Bill Foster, vice president and sponsor of the 2018 EVT of the Year Award, spoke of his 13 years of friendship with Hasenfratz, highlighting his commitment as both a student, instructor and Northwest Director with the Ohio Association of Emergency Vehicle Technicians. He also noted that Hasenfratz actively promoted the certification of EVTs in Ohio.

Also recognized was EVT of the Year Award nominee Danny Peluso, who lost his battle with cancer in November 2017. Peluso was the lead technician for the Holbrook, NY, Fire District. While we hear of the new “clean cab” project and firefighter safety, we need to realize that EVTs are also at great risk of exposure to the same carcinogens and toxins while working on emergency vehicles and apparatus. Currently, no one is keeping track of EVTs with cancer—no matter what type.

In introducing a new FDSOA program, Executive Director Richard Marinucci acknowledged Brian Brown, retired bureau chief with Fleet Services for South Metro Fire Rescue in Colorado, as the recent winner of the IAFC’s Emergency Vehicle Management Section’s (EVMS) Boyd Cole Award.

Brown and Terry Stewart, fire training officer (ret.) with Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services in Ontario, Canada, then announced the introduction of FDSOA’s new EVT Training & Education (EVT T&E) program, a new on-site, hands-on training program for U.S. and Canadian EVTs. The classes—developed by Brown, Stewart and Eric Valliere, assistant fire chief with the Scottsdale, AZ, Fire Department—support EVTs pursuing EVT certifications.

Mike Richardson, division chief of Training and Safety for St. Matthews Fire Department in Louisville, KY, and FDSOA’s Eastern Director also introduced FDSOA’s The Five Reads program, which highlights the five critical fireground “reads”: reading buildings, smoke, hazardous energy, risk and firefighters. The course is designed for chief officers, company officers and incident safety officers. Richardson noted that, “If you have your ISO certificate, this will be a great continuing education opportunity.”

Programs offered in Orlando included Roger Lackore, director of product development for REV Fire, offering an update on the proposed changes to the NFPA 1901 Standard. Lackore presented numerous areas that will be in the next proposed edition of 1901, including colors of rear chevron striping, night mode for warning lights, hose reels over 100 feet, and backup cameras required on all apparatus. Lackore added that the next edition of 1901’s first draft report will be released in late February, followed by a call for comments.

Preventing and restricting exposure to carcinogens and toxins was covered in three different presentations, including Apparatus Exposure Control: Beyond the Cab, presented by Robert Tutterow, president, F.I.E.R.O. (Fire Industry Education Resource Organization). Tutterow focused on research revealing levels of carcinogens found on fire and emergency apparatus. He also covered numerous areas where carcinogens are found in and around apparatus, on-scene contaminant control measures, and solutions for storage and transport for contaminated PPE and equipment.

Some additional educational sessions:

  • Pump Operations and Testing
  • Choosing What Aerial to Purchase—Comparing Mid-Mount vs. Rear-Mount Aerials
  • Engine Emission Troubleshooting
  • Aerial Maintenance: What You Need to Know
  • Electrical Power Management
  • Out-of-Service Criteria
  • The Importance of Having a Certified EVT Mechanic
  • Clean Cab Concept
  • Justifying Your Department’s Fleet Replacement
  • Leadership for Apparatus
  • Advanced Pump Controls
  • Working Safer Around Apparatus
  • First Responder Collision Avoidance
  • Investigating Crashes and Fatalities

The 2020 FDSOA Apparatus Symposium will be held Jan. 12–16 in Scottsdale, AZ. Learn more at

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