April Tradeshow Report

Fired Up In Indianapolis

2007 was a tough year for American firefighters, and not only because nine South Carolina comrades died while fighting a fire in June. Preliminary data from the U.S. Fire Administration shows there were 115 on-duty firefighter deaths in the United States during the year, up from 106 the previous year. Although slightly down from 51 percent of the total in 2006 to 47 percent in 2007, heart attacks and strokes continued to be the leading cause, with 54 deaths.

When the data were released, U.S. Fire Administrator Greg Cade said 2007 would be "remembered by the entire fire service as one of the most tragic years for firefighters in recent memory." He then reaffirmed the agency's commitment, along with the International Association of Fire Chiefs, National Volunteer Fire Council, International Association of Firefighters, and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, to ensure 2008 is not a repeat of 2007. With the same goal in mind, manufacturers, firefighters, and numerous associations and organizations are meeting this month at the FDIC 2008 Fire Department Instructors Conference, which will take place at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis (April 7-12).

Billed as the world's largest firefighter training conference and exhibition, the event's 340,000-square-foot expo has 38 outside demos scheduled this year and every kind of product, from ambulances and pumpers to PASS devices, and wheel covers. Some 28,000 firefighters are expected to attend.

Hands-on Training
This nearly 80-year-old, annual event is set to draw more than 28,000 firefighters and 200+ industry leaders, and it will host live demonstrations and more than 150 classroom instruction sessions. More than 50 Hands-On Training (H.O.T.) evolutions and workshops are planned all day April 7-8. The four-hour evolutions offered cover a wide range of practical instruction, such as vehicle stabilization techniques, proper use of a 100-foot-plus drill tower, using a thermal imaging camera under live fire conditions, getting the most out of self-rescue products, training strategies for fixed burn building instruction, and more. The eight-hour H.O.T. workshops will offer several sessions for every level of firefighter, whether they are basic, intermediate, or advanced. A waiver form for H.O.T. participations is online at http://fdic08.events.pennnet.com/fl//; participants should bring it with them to the conference if they did not mail it in by March 31.

Basic-level firefighters can choose to receive instruction in the roles and responsibilities of the health and safety officer or learn strategies for firefighting in multiple dwellings; intermediate-level firefighters can choose to attend sessions on aerial apparatus devices--such as rear mounts, tractor-drawn aerials, platforms, and quints--or learn strategies for firefighting in multiple dwellings. Advanced-level firefighters can learn to face the challenge of high-rise buildings or study the intricate properties and characteristics of different kinds of smoke.

Honor and Valor
This year's Opening Ceremony and General Session, being held April 9 and 10 from 8:30 to 10 a.m., promises to be a moving and motivational experience. A tribute will be held for fallen firefighters, and awards will be presented to recognize the contributions of living firefighters.

The awards presentation includes the "Ray Downey Courage and Valor Award," so named by the Fire Engineering Courage and Valor Foundation to honor the memory of FDNY Fire Chief Ray Down, a 39-year veteran who lost his life during rescue operations at the World Trade Center after the 9/11 attacks. Also presented will be Fire Engineering's "Lifetime Achievement Award," to be followed by a look at previous winners, and the "Tom Brennan Training Achievement Award."

With thousands in attendance, there's no better chance for fire department personnel to display their honor and pride than at the Annual National Fire Department Honor Guard Competition, which will take place in the Sagamore Ballroom 3-4-5 on April 12 at 8 p.m. Competing teams will have a chance to display their station flags in a drill displaying etiquette and military precision during the presentation of colors. The competition is graded using the demerit accounting system as judges look for uniformity, neatness, cleanliness, and military bearing. After posting their colors, teams will regroup to demonstrate flag folding and presentation.

Someone Will Get a Ticket to Ride
Attendees will have extra incentive to walk the expo floor this year as they fill their stamp card for a chance to win in the Harley-Davidson Giveaway. To win a 2007 Harley-Davidson motorcycle, participants must get their entry cards stamped at participating sponsors' booths and turn them in before the random drawing on April 12.

Expo hours at the conference are:
• April 10, 2 p.m.-6:30 p.m.
• April 11, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
• April 12, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Upstairs exhibits will close at noon April 12.

Salt Palace Convention Center

Meeting at the Crossroads
Once the junction of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads on a joining a transcontinental route that opened the doors to the American West, Salt Lake City (often referred to as the "Crossroads of the West") will play host this month to another kind of meeting--that of thousands of occupational nursing professionals at the 2008 AAOHN Symposium & Expo. Its dates are April 25-May 1 at the city's Salt Palace Convention Center.

Continuing its long record of enhancement and expansion, the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses, is adding three new pre-symposium certificate programs to this year's event. Limited to 40 participants each, two three-day programs ("Safety Management" and "Physical Assessment--Putting It All Together") and one two-day program ("Practical Ergonomics") will offer 18 and 12 contact hours, respectively. This is in addition to the event's six full-day and 25 half-day pre-symposium workshops and 35 concurrent sessions that will be spread over eight time slots.

Distinguished Guests
This year's lineup of speakers promises to provide many chances for attendees to sit in on informative, high-profile presentations. The AAOHN Annual Business/Recognition Meeting form 10 a.m. to noon Tuesday, April 29, will feature speeches by AAOHN President Richard Kowalski and Executive Director Ann Cox.

The following day, April 30, will include a speech by OSHA head Edwin G. Foulke Jr. at the Catherine Dempsey Lecture from 10:30-11:30 a.m. in Ballroom A-D. This will be followed shortly thereafter with a Presidents Forum from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in which Kowalski will informally meet with members to answer questions and talk about the vision and actions of AAOHN.

This year's Closing Keynote General Session will be presented by John Izzo, Ph.D., a critically acclaimed author whose books include the internationally best-selling "Awakening Corporate Soul: Four Paths to Unleash the Power of People at Work." His presentation is titled "The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die" and will take place on Thursday, May 1, from 3 to 4 p.m. in Ballroom A-D.

This conference is a golden opportunity for occupational nurses to learn and network with fellow colleagues. Both needs are accommodated during the formal Symposium and Expo ribbon-cutting ceremony April 29 at 4:30 p.m.. This will be followed by a reception where attendees can meet with more than 100 exhibitors.

Sights and Sounds of Salt Lake City
Upon your arrival in Salt Lake City, the two mountain ranges visible in the distance are the Wasatch in the east and the Oquirrhs in the west. If these views have you experiencing a bit of cabin fever, the best medicine may be to take a ride on one of the many planned event tours. Several of the scheduled outings are sure to garner interest from Olympics enthusiasts as many six-hour tours, costing $50 to attend, will make stops at Utah Olympic Park, site of many of the jumping events in the 2002 Winter Olympics. Participants may tour the Olympic museum on site, which will be followed by lunch in the town of Park City, where guests will be given special coupon books to use while shopping at the Park City Factory Outlet Mall.

Several five-hour bus tours are planned through some of the city's most historic and prestigious landmarks. Destinations include the Olympic fountain, the Tabernacle, the Mormon temple, the mansions of South Temple Street, and more.

History buffs who want a more personal tour of their lineage can explore their roots at the world's largest genealogy library. A 1.5-hour visit with a professional genealogist will cost $55; this is available any day, but interested parties must contact AAOHN ahead of the event at 770-455-7757 or www.aaohn.org to make appointments and receive pertinent forms.

Of course, no trip would be complete without sampling the local scene--and what better and safer way to go than with AAOHN's "Pub Crawl" limousine service. From 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Monday, April 28, and Thursday, May 1, for $12 per person with a 50 person sign-up minimum, a limo will shuttle non-stop between four of the most popular spots in town. Participants will be able to bar-hop all night unimpeded while being assured a safe ride around town and back to their hotel whenever they choose. Just remember to hang on to all those receipts as you rack up all those "business expenses."

Expo Hours
Tuesday, April 29, 4:30-7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, April 30, 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m.

This article originally appeared in the April 2008 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

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