You never know what to expect when you sign up to be a volunteer. I had the opportunity to serve as an Ambassador for the Firehouse Expo 2015 Conference in Baltimore, Maryland. I was very fortunate to assist with setting up the inaugural Legends and Icons Event for the Firehouse Hall of Fame. This was one of my most memorable volunteer experiences in my fire service career.
I had the opportunity to be a chauffeur for the 2015 Firehouse Hall of Fame inductee Chief Alan Brunacini, his family and distinguished guests. Chief Brunacini is one of my valued mentors and someone that has inspired me throughout my fire service career. When I first started in the fire service, I read his book titled Essentials of Fire Department Customer Service from cover to cover. This book was one of the first books I purchased and studied when I became a firefighter in December of 2005. I had the opportunity to take classes from Chief Brunacini at the 2015 Firehouse World Conference in San Diego, California. The opportunity to meet one of your mentors, take a class from them at a national conference and the distinguished honor to drive them around Baltimore is an experience I will never forget.
At the Baltimore Fire Academy Training Center, I assisted with the Hands on Training (HOT) classes for the Firehouse Expo Conference. One of those classes was Burning Down the (Dolls) House with Fire Chief Ed Hartin. I had the opportunity to help with the construction of the dolls houses for this class at Firehouse Expo. This was an amazing opportunity to work hand in hand with one of the foremost experts in fire behavior. I had the opportunity while learning to build the dolls houses to ask questions regarding fire behavior and learning more than how to glue particleboards together.
Another Hands on Training (HOT) class I had the opportunity to assist with was for Instructor Billy Leach from Big Rig Rescue and his class on Heavy Rescue: Overturns and Undersides at BA Products Co. in Columbia, Maryland. This was another amazing experience to observe Instructor Billy Leach in action with the complex heavy rescues scheduled for his class. The students in his class were challenged with the complex vehicle extrication scenarios and the full compliment of heavy rescue tools provided to use during the class from neighboring fire agencies and vendors.
During the Hands on Training (HOT) classes for the Firehouse Expo conference, I assisted with the logistical ground support with Lion Apparel in delivering turnouts for the Firehouse Expo conference. This was also a very challenging experience for me as a volunteer because I was unfamiliar with the Baltimore area. I quickly learned my way around the local freeways and the rush hour traffic congestion. Lion Apparel provided a cleaning service to all the students attending the conference to clean their turnouts between the (HOT) class sessions to limit exposure to the harmful toxins that can cause cancer.
While at the Baltimore Convention Center, I was a room monitor assisting with student check-in, Instructor introductions, CEU requirements from Columbia Southern University, student checkouts and assisting conference Instructors with audiovisual related questions. This was a great experience to meet national level instructors and the opportunity to practice my public speaking skills in front of the classroom.
I would like to personally acknowledge and extended my gratitude to the staff from Firehouse Magazine, Editor-In-Chief Tim Sendelbach, Vice President of Events Ed Nichols and Conference Show Manager Brian Cassell for this amazing opportunity, I will never forget. I am glad that I accepted the challenge to be an Ambassador for Firehouse Magazine. If you ever have the opportunity to volunteer for the Firehouse Ambassador program, I highly encourage you to accept this once in a lifetime experience.