To paraphrase Rick from the classic movie “Casablanca,” of all the conferences in all the world, why should I attend the Fire Department Safety Officers Association (FDSOA) Apparatus Specification and Maintenance Symposium?
The main reason is its uniqueness. Most, if not all, conferences focus on apparatus displays and opportunities to “kick tires.” This event is different in that it brings together apparatus committees, fleet managers, mechanics, vehicle manufacturers, and suppliers. There are no large displays, and the purpose is to get more into the details of all aspects of fire department apparatus—from specifications to purchasing, maintenance, and replacement. It also covers the various components from the new to the improved and everything in between.
Anyone with responsibilities for apparatus, whether specifications, acquisition, maintenance, or replacement schedules, should be interested in making sure that the vehicles are reliable, efficient, and effective. The vehicles need to be in service almost all of the time and need to deliver under the pressure of an emergency. Out-of-service apparatus does no good when 911 is called, nor is it beneficial to have a truck that doesn’t deliver when needed. As such, individuals and departments must learn as much as possible so citizens receive the service they need and deserve.
All of the aspects of fleet management require in-depth understanding. There is no better way to gain the knowledge needed than to talk to experts in the field. These professionals are on fire departments and work for manufacturers and suppliers. Having the opportunity to talk to people who are passionate about their work and who have committed to the improvement of the service is priceless. But besides the intangibles, there is no doubt that you can learn various ways to save money. If you pay just a little bit of attention and spend your time networking, you will learn ways to save your organization money and still be able to get the reliability that you need.
The 31st Annual Apparatus Specification and Maintenance Symposium will be held in Orlando, Florida, January 20-23, 2019, at the Wyndham Resort. Doing this program for that many years shows its value to the fire and emergency service. There are preconference sessions on Sunday including an all-day, hands-on class for mechanics and also a post-conference session. In between, workshops will cover all aspects of apparatus. The Symposium will conclude on Wednesday with nationally known expert Janine Driver speaking on body language. There is something for everyone with any level of responsibility in the apparatus area of a fire department. You should make plans today to attend. Visit for more information. We look forward to seeing you in Florida in January.
RICHARD MARINUCCI is the executive director of the Fire Department Safety Officers Association (FDSOA). He retired as chief of the Farmington Hills (MI) Fire Department in 2008, a position he had held since 1984. He is a Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment and Fire Engineering Editorial Advisory Board member, a past president of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), and past chairman of the Commission on Chief Fire Officer Designation. In 1999, he served as acting chief operating officer of the U.S. Fire Administration for seven months. He has a master’s degree and three bachelor’s degrees in fire science and administration and has taught extensively.