Monday, June 23, 2014

2014 NFPA Conference and Expo - Review






The Venue


The site of the 2014 NFPA Conference and Expo was the Mandalay Bay, in Fabulous Las Vegas.  This was my first visit to Las Vegas.  It is a great place! There are lots of things to do to occupy your time.  It is enjoyable just walking the strip and visiting the different hotels, casinos, and bars. The weather was amazing (even at 103 degrees, it’s not an oppressive heat). I stayed at the Luxor.  The room was low priced ($55), comfortable, and clean.  I look forward to visiting this location again in the future.  There is not much more I can say, because as you know…what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!

The Value

The 2014 NFPA Conference and Expo provides great value in the number of educational sessions that are offered.  There are sessions that appeal to every part of the fire protection industry.  

The general session was highlighted by speaker, Michael Beschloss author of, Presidential Courage.  A vivid story teller, he reveals the qualities that have made great presidents in history and shows how to apply these qualities to leadership today.

Kurt Schwartz, Director of Homeland Security for Massachussettes during the Boston Marathon bombings gave an in-depth presentation on the local, regional, and state planning process for the 2013 marathon. He discussed the multi-jurisdicational/multi-agency response, challenges encountered, lessons learned, and best practices for response to and recovery from an attack.

A few of the sessions that I found interesting included:

NFPA 1730 and the Identification, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation of a Fire Prevention Program -  Referencing the requirements of NFPA 1730, Standard on Organization and Deployment of Code Enforcement, Plan Review, Fire Investigation, and Public Education Operations to the Public, this program outlined the steps used to analyze data from a community risk assessment, identify appropriate fire prevention programs, and develop, implement, and evaluate those programs. This session also served to provide a guide for the conduct of a community risk assessment.

Management of the Complex Fire Scene: Lessons Learned From the West Texas Explosion -  utilizing NFPA 921:26, this session addressed many of the challenges raised by the complex fire scene where multiple federal, state, and local entities, together with private parties, each have a legitimate interest in the fire scene.

Revisiting Analysis of Potential Fire Sprinkler Performance in the Great Adventure Fire of May 11, 1984 – using computer modeling,  this presentation was able demonstrate what the results of this tragic fire could have been had fire sprinklers been installed. The presenters shared A history of the fire including construction details, interior finish, travel distance and available exits. Exhibits also included, pre- and post-fire photographs, facility plans, re-creation of the sprinkler plan used in the trial, and a smokeview movie of the fire timeline.

Aircraft Down--Are You Ready? – this session, presented by Duane Kann, Fire Chief, for Orlando International Airport, provided an overview of preparedness considerations, and applicable NFPA standards and FAA regulations for emergency response.

Life Safety for the Vegas High Roller Observation Wheel - This presentation described the safety analysis conducted, including the redundant power drive systems, external drive mechanism, and quality control measures. Also discussed was the emergency procedures for unloading passengers and methods for emergency passenger extractions. The Vegas High Roller is the world’s tallest observation wheel.



The Visitors
At the 2014 NFPA Conference and Expo, as with all conferences, the greatest value is in the people that you meet and the connections that are made.  Besides the opportunity of receiving an eclectic learning experience by sitting under the instruction of those who are more knowledgeable, provide a different perspective, or perform in another sector, is the opportunities to meet others in your field.  Its always interesting to hear how others are doing things, how other departments function, how the private sector and public sectors differ in their thinking.  From the speakers to the people you meet on the plane, these introductions serve to add as much value as the conference presentations itself.