By Laura King
June 2, 2014 - Very early this morning – 3:45 alarm, 6:50 flight – marked the beginning of a 10-day, western trip to the British Columbia and Alberta fire chiefs trade shows and conferences.
Circumstances – mostly other conferences and commitments – have prevented attendance at these shows in the last few years and, way back during budget talks in August, we thought it was smart to do one trip and cover both shows. I’ll let you know the verdict on that next week after our 17-hour drive to Grande Prairie from Victoria!
Meantime, at 30,000 feet, I’ve just put the final touches on two PowerPoint presentations to deliver this week.
Tomorrow’s session is Volunteer Vision – Live! – the brainchild of columnists Vince MacKenzie and Tom DeSorcy, who, as Fire Fighting in Canada readers know, share passion and provide wonderful insight into issues in volunteer departments.
The session – what we reporters call a bear pit, with lots of audience participation (I’m the moderator, and I will find you if you try to hide in the back row!) – promises to be energetic, and perhaps a bit controversial. More on that tomorrow.
On Thursday, I’m presenting on Elliot Lake and the $15-million inquiry into the collapse of the Algo Centre mall and the subsequent emergency response. There’s a lot to cover but there’s also a lot for delegates to learn, about command, control and communication. Especially communication.
Fire Fighting in Canada is extremely well represented at the B.C. conference: Vince is presenting solo in addition to Volunteer Vision – Live!; Rob Evans presents on recruitment and retention; AJ George gives a talk on use of iPads; and Gord Shreiner does one of his Stopbad sessions. (None of this has to do with the fact that Tom DeSorcy is the conference chair and Gord is the education director!).
I’m missing a good chunk of the trade show, which opened yesterday and closes at 2 p.m. today, so the plan is to sprint from the Victoria airport to the show – luggage in tow – and speed visit as many booths as possible during the last couple of hours, which could be a tall order given the early wake-up call.
I have interviews scheduled later this afternoon, and the banquet is tonight – a nice touch, I think, that allows vendors to attend; in other provinces often the trade-show participants depart before the banquet on the final day of the conference.
I’ve landed in Vancouver, where it’s sunny and warm and . . . only 8:30 a.m!