MCFRS News Release

Nation's First Responders Converge to Maryland

25th Annual Exposition takes place this week in Baltimore; Montgomery County Public Safety Training Academy Hosts specialized pre-conference hands-on training

Some first class “hands-on” training will take place locally at the Montgomery County Public Safety Training Academy (PSTA) in Rockville, at acquired vacant structures on Riffleford Road in Germantown, on Silver Spring Avenue in downtown Silver Spring and in Damascus at the Damascus Shopping Center on Main Street as part of the 25th annual Firehouse Expo.  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.  

Last year Montgomery County Fire Chief Tom Carr unveiled the newly fashioned, state-of-the-art Command Development Center located at the Montgomery County (MD) Public Safety Training Academy (PSTA) during the expo.  Montgomery County Division Chief Richard Bowers, Assistant Chief Mike Clemens and captain Chuck Bartlett will conduct several sessions on ‘Command Competencies’ during this year’s ‘hands-on training’ sessions.

This new virtual reality simulation training command 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.  Again this year’s participants will be some of the first from outside of Montgomery County to use the Command Competency Center and learn about methodology and the process for a competency program.

Tuesday and Wednesday, July 22 and 23, sessions at the Montgomery County PSTA include:  ‘Command Competencies’ and ‘The Point of No Return’. This hands-on training evolution combines dynamic video driven classroom sessions with physically and mentally challenging exercises to introduce the skills required for effective air management on the modern fireground and will be taught by a team from the Seattle, Washington Fire Department, including Captains Casey Phillips and Phil Jose and Lieutenants Steve Bernocco and Mike Gagliano. 

Other sessions will take place in Damascus (Montgomery County) at the Damascus Center Shopping Center on Main Street 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 Silver Spring Avenue, in downtown Silver Spring (Montgomery County), Instructor Captain Mike Duggan, FDNY will conduct a session about ‘Engine and Truck Company Operations: Overcoming problems on the Fireground’.   

Division Chief Richard Bowers, Assistant Chief Denise Pouget-Rankin and Captain Alan Keyser, all from Montgomery County (MD) Fire and Rescue Service will tackle the subject of ‘Acquired Structure Training and Live Burns – NFPA 1403’ at a location of Riffleford Road, in Germantown (Montgomery County).  Participants will experience reality based classroom training and how to properly conduct a NFPA 1403 acquired structure inspection and experience an actual live training burn exercise. This unique training opportunity will focus on the proper procedures to safely and effectively conduct training sessions and live burn exercises in acquired structures.
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 Firehouse Exposition and Conference Opening Ceremony will take place on Thursday, July 24 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 24 through Saturday, July 26, 2007.  Many emergency service workers from Montgomery County are expected to attend.