Every organization depends on its equipment, but none more than fire departments, where innovation often makes the difference between a rescue and tragedy.
Fire-Rescue International, the annual conference and exhibition of the, is where 16,000 leaders from emergency services organizations come to see what's new. Veterans of the exhibit hall floor have learned to wear their running shoes. The smartest ones form teams to divide and conquer more than 625 vendor displays.
We took a similar approach this year, inviting members from the IAFC's Apparatus Maintenance Section to assess new products displayed at the Ernest P. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.
AMS Chair Don Henry is a faculty member at Lakeland College in Vermilion, Alberta, Canada, teaching automotive service technician and heavy-equipment technician programs. Partnering his college with fire etc., he codeveloped Canada's only post-secondary — level fire apparatus maintenance program. A past president of the National Association of Emergency Vehicle Technicians, he is a principal member of the proposal committee for NFPA 1071, Professional Qualifications for EVTs.
John Stacey, chief of Bellevue (Neb.) Volunteer Fire & Rescue, is a board member of the AMS and chairs the NFPA fire hose committee that develops proposals for NFPA 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964 and 1965, which cover nozzles, couplings, appliances and hose. Stacey also has authored many articles in fire apparatus maintenance during his 14 years as fire chief.
This duo is not easily impressed by gadgets and hype — they truly appreciate apparatus and equipment innovations that increase safety for firefighters and don't waste a fire department's limited resources. They deemed five products worthy of the title "innovation."