(June 14, 2013) Volunteer fire, rescue and emergency medical services personnel will gather at the Ocean City convention center Saturday for the first day of the 121st annual Maryland State Firemen’s Association and Ladies Auxiliary convention and conference.
Convention Chairman Ronald Siarnicki said about 12,000 rescue personnel and their friends and family will be “descending upon Ocean City” for the June 16-21 event. He said 358 companies in Maryland are registered to attend.
Siarnicki said organizers continue to create a family-friendly environment with some of the same activities from previous years, but a new component has also been added.
The convention will kick off with new “Hands On Training” sessions on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Those who attend will learn fire and rescue skills, work with tools including ladders and hoses and learn important techniques such as forceful entry.
“This training is being offered to enable you to further your knowledge, expertise and abilities to serve the citizens in your community,” Siarnicki stated in a letter to convention attendees.
Other presentations, seminars and family activities will take place Sunday through Friday at the 40th Street venue. Scheduled events including the Miss Fire Prevention Contest will begin Sunday at noon.
There will also be a memorial service on Sunday night at 5 p.m. in the main ballroom.
“The service is to honor our brothers and sisters who have died in the previous year,” Siarnicki said.
The public ceremony will pay tribute to fallen fire, rescue and EMS members and Siarnicki said thousands of people are expected to attend. The service will include a presentation of fallen firefighter’s flag, unveiling of fallen firefighter’s cross and memorial wreaths and recognition of line-of-duty deaths.
Siarnicki said the trips to Jolly Roger Amusement Park on Monday night and Splash Mountain Water Park on Thursday are popular events to encourage families to attend the convention as well. There will also be a parade, rain or shine, at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, June 19.
“Each year the MSFA hosts the largest fire, rescue and EMS parade in the state of Maryland,” Siarnicki said. “Emergency apparatus, floats and marching units will travel from all across the region to participate.”
The parade will run about four hours and travel from 16th Street to 30th Street on Baltimore Avenue and will also feature fire engines, rescue vehicles and cheer squads.
“This is a great opportunity for people to see what different equipment we have for protecting our towns,” Siarnicki said.
The convention will conclude on Friday, June 21 at 7:30 a.m. with a public golf tournament at Eagle’s Landing Golf Course beginning with a shotgun start. For more information visit www.msfa.org or contact Siarnicki at 301-467-5780.