Don't Leave It In Vegas - NFPA Conference & Expo 2018

“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”,  may be a great slogan for your evening activities, but not for the content of the 2018 annual NFPA Conference and Expo. Every attendee receives valuable knowledge, tools, and resources that they should bring back to their respective fire departments and organizations. Educational sessions, vendors, and networking opportunities abound for all functions and components of fire protection and life safety:
  • Healthcare
  • Fire Service
  • Emergency Management
  • Fire Protection Engineering
  • Fire Protection and Alarm Systems
  • Facilities Management

General sessions featured two speakers that focused on the theme of future innovations. Futurist, Jim Carroll, provided a broad overview of the future of technology, and how that future is already here. He challenged attendees to stay attuned to the world around us and strive for continuous growth and development with the quote, “The future belongs to those who are fast.”

Keller Rinaudo inspired the audience with the accomplishments of his company, Zipline. Zipline is utilizing “futuristic” drone technology to bring life saving medical supplies to the most remote parts of the world. The company is currently in the process of opening its second distribution center which will provide the entire country of Rwanda with readily available blood and medicines.

NFPA President, Jim Pauley, introduced the “fire and life safety ecosystem” concept. The ecosystem is eight elements that must work in harmony to protect people and property. Pauley stated, “We have forgotten that safety is a system – not a singular action, piece of equipment, or event.”

My particular interests led me to presentations on pre-incident planning, human factors and behaviors, risk and resilience, media relations, and training and development.  Two of the most impressive presentations were case studies, one from Uber and the other from Carvana.

In “The eVTOL Revolutions: How the Next Generation of Air Travel Will Impact Fire and Life Safety”, representatives from Uber presented the next phase in their growth strategy and its impact on the fire and life safety industry. Celina Mikolajczak, Director of Engineering, painted a picture of the what Uber plans to do with electric VTOL travel and transportation. Rex Alexander, Head of Aviation Infrastructure, discussed the impact that this new form of public transportation would have on codes, standards, and FAA regulations.

Carvana, the online-only used car dealer, created the innovative concept of the car vending machine.  Their presentation, “Carvana: Performance-Based Design of an Automated Vehicle Storage and Retrieval System” demonstrated how they were able to implement the performance-based design process to create a product that would garner acceptance from a variety of local officials and regulatory agencies.  

The NFPA Conference & Expo is one of the world’s biggest and most comprehensive fire, electrical, and life safety events. It's an opportunity to gain valuable insights, meet with industry experts and learn about new products and solutions.  With 110 knowledge enhancing presentations, several hundred vendors exhibiting in the expo hall, and more than 1,000 attendees to network with, the NFPA Conference and Expo should be the primary event on the fire and life safety professional’s calendar.  

Handouts of the all presentations are available for download from,

Featured New Developments: