FDSOA’s Annual Fire Apparatus Conference looked a little different this year given it was held on Zoom rather than in person like the previous years, but that did not stop the organization from striving towards their mission to “educate and bring safety to the streets.” The Fire Department Safety Officers Association (FDSOA)’s Chairman of the Board Eric Valliere – current Assistant Fire Chief in Scottsdale, Arizona who has been a part of the association for eight years while in the fire service for over thirty – started the Trade Show with a bang – or rather, a reality-check.
Twenty-five percent of all line-of-duty deaths each year are a result of fire apparatus accidents, and FDSOA aims to lower that statistic down to zero. To do so, it is essential that the apparatus and equipment are mechanically sound to accurately perform when firefighters are called to help their communities. Ensuring the sturdy cohesiveness of all the fleet’s complex elements involves the crucial formation of relationships between various ranks and positions which, according to Valliere, aid in creating success. When, for example, the driver operator and EVT mechanic have a good partnership, the mechanic can teach the driver about the engine to better arm the driver if something goes wrong. Valliere noted how important it is, “for the mechanics side and the fire department side to get to know each other so the person operating the machinery and the person operating on it are working together to make sure it functions appropriately and is doing what it’s supposed to do.” Sharing those skills, knowledge and abilities with the entire fleet creates a grand sense of ownership by all parties involved, consequently forming extra layers of safety that prevent avoidable misfortunes.
Preventing avoidable misfortune via layers of safety is the underlying mission at FDSOA, evident in their pillars: membership, leadership, partnership, education and sustainability. The organization realizes that some fire departments can afford the best apparatus and equipment while others cannot, so their vision stems from providing as many resources as possible to help protect all first responders by offering training and certifications on a consistent basis. Some programs offered include but are not limited to: EVT Training and Certification, F1-F6 Technical Training, M1 and M2 Management Training, Support a Driver Operator Training and Incident Safety (ISO) and Health Safety (HSO) Training. To find out more about FDSOA’s Certifications, head to https://www.fdsoa.org/CertInfo.
The Virtual Fire Apparatus Conference was held on May 18 and 19, 2021, and involved over twenty-five experts who spoke about topics from tires to COVID-19 to emissions. If you were unable to attend, head to FDSOA’s YouTube Channel to watch the sessions available.
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