Well I am back from Firehouse EXPO 2011, and while it was extremely hot in Baltimore a good time was had by all!
This years EXPO had some unique aspects of it. The best thing was the free (with exhibit hall pass) classes offered in the exhibit hall. These classes were 1 hour-long and were short, sweet, to the point, and affordable. I was able to sit in on one of Billy Goldfeders sessions and it was outstanding. This is something I hope becomes a standard for this conference as it really maximizes your dollar.
Another great thing is the apparatus, now this conference does not nearly offer the apparatus number that you will see in Lancaster Pa, or FDIC but it does offer som unique things, for example there were a couple of Virginia rigs there that I probably would not have gotten the chance to see had they not been on display here are a few
Those were just some of the amazing pieces of apparatus that were at the EXPO. There were also a lot of events non more important than the 9/11 Stair Climb, I have posted about his several times and I think it warrants repeating, this event is the greatest tribute you can possibly give to the 343 fireman that were murdered on 9/11. To go through just a portion of what they did shows that you will never forget. If your interested there is one in Richmond Va on 9/11 and there is still a ton of room left (only about 90 climbers so far). If you think you can not do it then if you live close I will come and train with you, but do not let that stop you from participating in one of these days.
I do however have some suggestions to make the conference better:
1. More Social Media Coverage: hardly anyone was tweeting, or Facebooking this needs to be a priority to keep people abreast of whats going on, and to entice to people to come next year. Also with all of the Netcasts, and streaming ability that is out there some of these classes need streams. You could even charge via paypal and have people pay to watch the streams of classes. Bottom line the technology is there and this ability for this show to reach beyond the attendees is there.
2. Apparatus Positioning: This is a small thing but the show floor is so tight, that it is hard to get good apparatus pictures. It needs to be more spread out, or they may need to find a larger venue to host the apparatus portion.
3. Keep the free classes: this speaks for it self.
4. More after hours events: They should take the example from FDIC on this. At FDIC there is something every night. Sometimes its a movie, sometimes its a concert, sometimes its a block party but there is something to do with the conference every night, and people go to them. I went to the FOOLS night at Camden yards and sat in the FOOLS section it was empty and hardly anyway was identified as a firefighter, or FOOLS member. I went because I thought it would be cool to watch a game with a bunch of brother fireman, I should have paid more money and sat in more comfortable seating because there were hardly any fireman there.
5. BRING BACK THE PARADE: This was one of my favorite parts of the EXPO and it has been gone for far to long, bring it back please it was fun, and it was a great event for the children, and photo takers.
Like I said overall this was a succesful EXPO, but it could be so much more! Let me know your thoughts on the EXPO in the comments section, email or twitter (www.twitter.com/averagejakeff)
As usual thanks for reading, spread the word, and STAY SAFE!