By Trenton Q. Will ~ “The Qwill Pen”
In January 2001, the Elmsford Fire Department decided to sponsor a training seminar to augment its regular training during the winter months. Firefighter Andy Fredericks, FDNY, was the guest speaker for this first seminar.
Andy would subsequently die, along with the members of his FDNY company, Squad 18, in the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center.
This year’s seminar was held on Saturday, January 15, at the Westchester Marriott Hotel. The event was held in the Marriott’s Grand Ballroom, which was split in half. Half accommodated 500 seats and video equipment for the seminar. The other half was filled with firematic exhibitors in trade-show fashion.
The Elmsford Fire Department’s guest speaker was Deputy Assistant Chief John Norman, Chief in Charge of the FDNY Special Operations Command. His presentation was “Fighting Garden Apartment Fires.” In attendance were many firefighters from area fire departments and others from as far away as Boonton, New Jersey, Washington D.C., Virginia and Pennsylvania.
Also in attendance was former White Plains Fire Chief John Cullen, who commented, “I’ve attended every Elmsford Fire Department Seminar. They put on the best seminar out of all of the ones that I attend. Nobody ever does it better than they do…. nobody!”
That’s quite a testimonial from a respected fire service leader.
Elmsford Fire Department Assistant Chief Syd Henry explained that attendance has increased every year since the seminar’s inception. The first year realized about 130 firefighters from both the volunteer and career fire services. This year saw close to 500 in attendance.
Chief Henry commented that this seminar requires year-round planning. “We’ve already booked nationally known speaker, Deputy Chief Vincent Dunn, FDNY (ret) for next year’s event and have reserved the same space at the Marriott, which will be held on Saturday, January 14, 2006.”
Equally large in its attendance was the exhibit portion of the seminar. One of the exhibitors, Walter Ferguson, the Director of Burn Care Everywhere, stated, “The Elmsford Fire Department’s seminar has turned into the premier firematic event in Westchester and maybe New York. Burn Care Everywhere works with many departments and wants to work with more. Short of going to a thousand meetings, I can get our story out and to link up with more departments through this seminar alone.”
The most touching moment was at the end of the seminar when Elmsford Chief John Reynolds, Sr. presented Andy’s widow, Michelle Fredericks, with a plaque commemorating the official name change of the seminar.
The seminar will now be known as the Lieutenant Andy Fredericks, FDNY, Memorial Seminar and Exhibits. Also in attendance, supporting Michelle, were members of Andy’s company, Squad 18, and Diane Feldman, Managing Editor of Fire Engineering, a magazine that Andy wrote for.