MCFRS News Release

Montgomery County Hosts Training for Nation's First Responders

Firefighters From Across the U.S. to Train at Public Safety Training Academy and Other Local Venues

The Firehouse Expo (Baltimore Convention Center, July 24-29) has established a reputation among fire and emergency service professionals for the quality of its educational program. To start, on Tuesday, July 24 and Wednesday, July 25 some first class "hands-on" training will also take place locally at the Montgomery County Public Safety Training Academy (PSTA), at acquired vacant structures on Darnestown Road, in Rockville and in Damascus at the Fire Department Activity Center as well as at the Damascus Center Shopping Center. These sessions are considered to be some of the best training in the country and will be taught by nationally known fire and rescue service leaders, including several instructors from Montgomery County.

On Wednesday, July 25, Montgomery County Fire Chief Tom Carr and others will unveil the newly fashioned, state-of-the-art Command Development Center located at the Montgomery County (MD) Public Safety Training Academy (PSTA). This new virtual reality simulation training center is one of only a few in the United States and the only such facility east of the Mississippi River. It also includes what is believed to be the largest fire and rescue tactical 'table-top' venue in the nation. Participants will be some of the first to use the Command Competency Center and learn about methodology and the process for a competency program.

Tuesday and Wednesday, July 24 and 25, sessions at the Montgomery County PSTA include: 'Engine and Ladder Company Placement on the Fireground,' Instructors Lieutenant Mike Wilbur, FDNY and Tom Shand, Emergency Vehicle Response; 'Rapid Intervention Teams,' Instructor Lieutenant James Crawford, Pittsburgh (PA) Bureau of Fire and Lieutenant Mike Bates, Providence (RI) Fire Department. Other sessions will take place in Damascus at the Fire Department Activity Center as well as at the Damascus Center Shopping Center and will include 'Forcible Entry,' Instructor Captain Robert Morris, FDNY; and 'After the Mayday: Handling Critical Fireground Emergencies,' Instructor Battalion Chief John Salka, FDNY. Additionally, on Darnestown Road, Instructor Captain Mike Duggan, FDNY will conduct a session about 'Engine and Truck Company Operations: Overcoming problems on the Fireground.'

Hundreds of firefighters from across the United States, in addition to many from this area, will be participating. Other 'hands-on' and pre-conference sessions are also taking place at the Baltimore City Fire Training Academy and the Baltimore County Fire Training Academy.

The opening ceremonies at the Firehouse Expo are a tradition not to be missed and offer something for everyone: a keynote address, honor guards, music, guest speakers, awards, a short film and more. This year will be no exception. Many career and volunteer firefighters from the Washington and Baltimore areas will be attending to help kick off the 24th Annual Firehouse Expo at the Baltimore Convention Center. Educational and uplifting, it will be hard for these local heroes to leave the opening ceremonies not feeling motivated and proud to be a part of the Fire and Rescue industry.

Thousands of firefighters from across the United States, in addition to many from this area, will be participating. Dozens of Montgomery County Fire and Rescue personnel will be assisting with the special "hands-on" training sessions taking place throughout the region, including training facilities in the Baltimore area.

The Firehouse Conference and Expo features industry leading experts from across the country, such as Pittsburgh, Chicago, Phoenix, St. Louis, San Jose, New York, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia. These speakers provide a different look at these timely problems that can affect all fire/EMS providers.

On Thursday morning, July 26, following the opening ceremony, Montgomery County Fire Chief Tom Carr will be joined by Chief Sal Cassano, FDNY and Fire Commissioner Ray Orazco, Chicago for a Chief's and Commissioner's Panel moderated by Hal Bruno, Firehouse Magazine Contributing Editor and retired ABC News correspondent.

The Firehouse Expo exhibit show floor hosts hundreds of companies featuring the latest innovations in fire fighting and rescue equipment, apparatus, tools, vehicle accessories, rescue/extrication equipment, training, Hazmat gear and clothing. New firefighting apparatus will be on display on the showroom floor, including the first of 37 new fire engines to be delivered to Montgomery County, Maryland. Elite Fire Apparatus, Inc. of Tilleda, Wisconsin was recently awarded a contract to provide several dozen new fire engines to the existing emergency apparatus fleet. The cost per unit will be about $435,000 each.

The Information Technology exhibitors will feature the latest in communications ranging from software and imaging to recording systems and wireless technology. There will also be extensive exhibits relative to emergency medical services.

The Firehouse Exposition and Conference Opening Ceremony will take place on Thursday, July 26 at the Baltimore Convention Center. The exhibit floor of the Baltimore Convention Center featuring the latest in fire, rescue and EMS equipment and technology will be open Thursday, July 26 through Saturday, July 28, 2007. Many emergency service workers from Montgomery County are expected to attend.