FDSOA 2017 Keynote - A story of tragedy and community heroes

“Everyone can be a hero” is the title of Steve Pegram’s keynote presentation at the Fire Department Safety Officers Association’s 29th Annual Apparatus Symposium, January 16-18, 2017, in Orlando, FL.  Pegram’s message is one of personal experience and the individuals who are part of the industry that support the brotherhood and sisterhood of firefighters.

Pegram, fire chief in Goshen Ohio and President of the International Society of Fire Service Instructors (ISFSI) said, “As firefighters and as vendors who provide items to the fire service, we all have an oath to help improve the safety, health and wellness of the communities we live, work and provide services to,” Pegram said.

“For some individuals it’s the role of firefighter, safety officer or chief and for others it could be selling those firefighters’ equipment and apparatus to make their community and their family safer,” he said. Pegram added, “Often we become so involved in our own lives that we forget how blessed we are versus the needs of our friends and family.” Chief Pegram will share his story of “When tragedy struck and a community and the fire service came together to become heroes to save lives.”

In addition to his keynote address and as part of the Safety Forum Conference on Wednesday, January 18th, Pegram will present the program, “Safety Officer on the Training Ground.” The role of the safety officer on the scene of emergencies is critical, but  often, in many smaller communities, this is a difficult task on a major fire let alone on some more routine incidents but what about in training?

Pegram said, “Firefighters should never be injured or killed while training, yet every year we report thousands of training related injuries and even some fatalities.” Pegram will exam the safety officers’ role in training, common standards that address safety, and the need for a safety officer to be involved in training plans, as well as case studies where training wasn’t done safely. Chief Pegram will offer suggestions how to effectively provide and use a safety officer in your training programs and why it is so important in your department.

The 29th Annual Apparatus Symposium will also include topics on:

  • “Building maintenance into apparatus specs” Mike Bowman, Smeal Fire Apparatus
  • “Fleet Replacement challenges” Brian Brown, South Metro Fire Rescue
  • “Scene Lighting Best Practices” Sam Massa, Firetech & Peter Lauffenburger, Akron Brass

Details and registration are available at

The Fire Department Safety Officers Association (FDSOA) was established in 1989 as a non-profit association, incorporated in Massachusetts. In 2013, the offices moved to Michigan. Its mission is to promote safety standards and practices in the fire, rescue and emergency services community. The association is led by a volunteer board of directors and has a small staff to handle the day-to-day operations. The association is dedicated to the issues that affect the critical role of the safety officer in protecting and promoting the safety and health responsibilities of fire departments, communities and first responders. FDSOA works to helps fire departments achieve proficiency and promote the recognition of training, skills and a secure future. In May 2016, FDSOA won the Paul S. Sarbanes Fire Service Safety Leadership Award for its work over 28 years, “as an organization fully dedicated to the health and safety of the nation’s firefighters.”

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