37th annual Piedmont Fire Expo: Low cost hands-on training and education


CarolinaFireJournal - Karen Jarvis
Karen Jarvis
10/14/2011 -

The 37th annual Piedmont Fire Expo, scheduled for Jan. 13–14, 2012, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, will feature low-cost training opportunities for fire and rescue personnel across the southeast.

The annual event has one of the largest displays of new equipment and other offerings in the region and attracts emergency personnel throughout North and South Carolina, and surrounding states. The Piedmont Fire Expo is the annual fundraiser for the Forsyth County Fire and Rescue Association and the organization has kept entry fees at a nominal fee of $5 for the last four years.

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“Fire and rescue personnel give so much of their time to this field of work, taking time away from their families, that we want to make sure getting the requirements completed to maintain their certifications will not be a financial barrier for anyone to keep doing what they love to do,” said Steve Ogburn, volunteer firefighter at Mineral Springs Fire Department and Association Training Committee Chairman. “We want them prepared to perform the tasks required to save lives.”

Current scheduled hands-on classes during the expo include LP gas live fire training, thermal imaging application and specialist level SCBA maintenance training.

Also offered is an instructional presentation and insider’s look at the Salisbury Millwork Fire that claimed the lives of two firefighters, Victor Isler and Justin Monroe, on March 7, 2008, in Salisbury N.C. Division Chief David Morris will discuss what contributed to the two Line of Duty Deaths and how other departments can make changes and improvements in equipment and training to ensure the safety of all crew members.

“We hope this presentation will teach the lessons learned in a tragic incident so it won’t be repeated,” said Ogburn. The presentation will be conducted on Saturday, Jan. 14.

Fire and rescue vendors from across the country will also display their products and offer great discounts to attendees. The Piedmont Fire Expo is still accepting applications for vendor participants and overall sponsorship. Information is available online at www.piedmontfireexpo.org.

For the last 54 years, the Forsyth County Fire and Rescue Association, with approximately 1,200 current firefighters as members, has supported member fire departments and rescue squads in local communities, offering year-round training and other valuable services at no cost, thanks to participants and expo vendors and sponsors.

“Money raised during the expo will allow the association to continue these training opportunities year-round,” said James Griffin, training officer, Forsyth County Emergency Services Fire Division.

The association also encourages rescue personnel to bring their families as the expo offers something for everyone. A special Kids’ Arena will offer photo opportunities with Sparky the Dog and Smokey the Bear, and the arena will include kid giveaways and more hands-on activities for the entire family.

The expo is open Friday, Jan. 13 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday, Jan. 14 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, and free for children 12 and under. Parking is also free. For more details, visit www.piedmontfireexpo.org.
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