Home Day Events

Home Day Resources

2018 Ricochet Manufacturing Home Day (February 20, 2018)


Congressman Dwight Evans, from our district (PA-2) in Pennsylvania, held a roundtable regarding Community Health Centers at Abbottsford Family Practice and Counseling Network, our neighbor in the building.  After the roundtable, the Congressman came down the hall to Ricochet, and we met regarding sourcing and training programs for labor as well as the current federal budget and government funding and programs to support the fire industry and manufacturing in general.

Congressman Evans, his Chief of Staff, Kimberly Turner, and a few others from his office toured Ricochet, met all our employees, and the Congressman said a few kind words about how important their roles were in protecting firefighters.

2017 Performance Advantage Company Home Day (October 17, 2017)

Pictured Left to Right: Vice President Mike Pence and Dick Young, Founder of Performance Advantage Company

On Tuesday, October 17th, Performance Advantage Company (makers of PAC brackets and tool boards) was the proud host of Vice President Mike Pence and Congressman Chris Collins.  Mike Pence was on a tour promoting small businesses as well as spreading the President’s message on Tax Reform.

PAC is a member of the Fire Apparatus Manufacturers Association (FAMA) as well as the Fire and Emergency Manufacturers and Services Association (FEMSA). PAC was founded by Dick Young, the previous President of Young Fire Equipment, an innovative Fire Apparatus builder in Lancaster, New York. PAC also resides in Lancaster, an area rich in fire history. Dick’s father Lester was a founding member of FAMA.  


During the visit, invitees listened to concerns of area small business owners. Topics ranged from regulations and taxation to a shortage of qualified applicants.


Our nation’s first responders are often volunteers; first in line protecting civilians as well as protecting Federal employees and property. When a fighter jet crashes in a residential area, local first responders (not federal employees) arrive on scene first. When a brush fire threatens a National Park or a Post Office, local first responders (not federal employees) arrive on scene first.  The nations largely volunteer staff must pass continual training and certifications, take time away from home or work and even risk life and injury. Mr. Pence specifically mentioned his support for our first responders!


Encourage your local representative to support the AFG and SAFER grants. Our first responders need our support to continue keeping Americans safe.


2017 Akron Brass Home Day (August 15, 2017)

On August 15th, Akron Brass was honored to host Stephen Hostelley, Legislative Director, and
Zach Male, State Director, of the Honorable Jim Ranacci, Member of Congress 16th District of Ohio.

Pictured Left to Right: David Durstine,  Zach Male, Bill Simmons, & Stephen Hostelley.


2017 Illinois Home Day (June 2, 2017)


The 12th annual Illinois Fire Service Home Day was held on Friday, June 2nd at the Chicago Fire Academy.  With over 100 attendees including fire chiefs, congressmen, staffers, as well as representatives of FAMA and FEMSA member companies, the event was a huge success in advancing issues important to the fire service.

The Fire Service Home Day event is coordinated by the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association, FAMA and FEMSA. Home Day was created to bring together fire chiefs and local legislators to understand the Illinois fire service. The Home Day events FAMA/FEMSA GAC have held have taken place across the country. These events allow members to improve their links within the fire industry.

Twelve companies participated in the event with displays for their equipment and included the following FAMA and FEMSA member companies: W. S. Darley & Co., C.E. Niehoff, Federal Signal, Hendrickson, Paratech, Firehouse, Scott Safety, and Flame Guard USA.

Congressmen Raja Krishnamoorthi and Brad Schneider both spoke and agreed to put their support behind the reauthorization of the AFG and SAFER programs. They both also agreed to join the Congressional Fire Services Caucus.

Chicago Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago and Chief Don Hroma welcomed attendees and shared the rich history of the Chicago Fire Academy. Chief Gordy Nord, President of the Metro Chiefs, and Chief John Christian, Grayslake Fire Department, and 1st Vice-President of the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association, represented our co-sponsors Metro Chiefs. They provided information on other legislative issues facing the fire service including the alarming rate of cancer among our firefighter community.

Paul Darley served as the MC for the event. He addressed the congressmen and staffers saying, “This day is about you, and we ask that you carry home the following messages:

  1. Reauthorization for the AFG program
  2. Continued funding for the SAFER program, and
  3. Please join the Congressional Fire Services Caucus

Richard Dunne, Fire Program Specialist, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) presented on the funding in the fire service.

After formal presentations, staffers then donned full PPE and climbed an aerial ladder to the top of the academy, operated the jaws of life, and held hose lines with theatrical smoke in the burning training building.

Plans already are underway for next year’s Illinois Fire Service Home Day.


2017 Fire & Safety Services Home Day (May 9, 2017)

On May 9, 2017, Fire & Safety Services had two members of Senator Cory Booker’s staff visit their location at 200 Ryan Street in South Plainfield, NJ.  George Helmy, the State Director, and Steven Fernandez, the Projects Specialist who focuses on DHS and First Responder matters spent a little over an hour visiting the shop and offices and discussing the impact of the current funding levels of the AFG and SAFER grants to both the departments we serve as well as on our businesses indirectly, as well as discussing matters regarding New Jersey business regulations and workforce development issues.

The plans for the visit started after a brief conversation with Senator Booker and Mr. Helmy during the NJ Chamber of Commerce event in Washington DC and was further discussed during the CFSI Hill Day on April 5th and 6th when David Russell, the President of Fire & Safety Services, called on the Senator’s office as part of schedule of Congressional visits during those two days.  In the days after each event, Mr. Russell reached out to Mr. Helmy to discuss opportunities to meet.  Getting someone to come to your office will be much more successful if the staff is invited to your location rather than simply requesting the elected official.  For example, when contact was originally made with the Senator’s office Mr. Russell was initially informed the Senator was very busy and wasn’t available until “possibly” in the summer.  When he responded that he appreciated and understood the Senator’s time constraints, but offered to host members of the Senator’s staff in the interim, the tone shifted quickly to trying to find mutually agreeable dates for the visit.

The reason a visit to Fire & Safety Services was suggested is multi-fold.  First, it offers the development of a “relationship” with that staffer, and indirectly to the elected official.  Secondly, and possibly more importantly, a visit creates a lasting impression.  Experience has shown that conversation without context, while important, doesn’t have the same impression as ones where you can offer concrete and tangible examples of what you are discussing.  If you can get someone from the elected official’s office to your location, the impact is much greater because there is a “personal” aspect to it.  It also helps for them to see that you are a business that is employing people and supporting your local community.  They hear this all day long, but when they can see your operations in action and talk to people provides a much more lasting impression.

While it would have been a great opportunity if Senator Booker was able to attend, Mr. Russell was not concerned that he could not be there.  Why?  Sometimes it is as important, if not more so, to get staffers to attend, because the elected official is often looking at the big picture, or has limited background at their fingertips on the matters of importance for your business; whereas a staffer visiting usually is one who specializes in a particular field, much like Mr. Fernandez for the Senator and is able to quickly understand the impact certain programs can have on your organization.

The best benefit is now Mr. Russell can reach out to either of these two gentlemen in the future and have an easier access to discuss issues or suggest a reason to have the Senator come visit for a particular reason.



2016 Illinois Home Day

11th Annual Illinois Fire Service Home Day

Janet Wilmoth, FEMSA Board of Directors

The 11th Annual Illinois Fire Service Home Day, held at the Northeastern Illinois Public Safety Training Academy (NIPSTA) [http://www.nipsta.org/academy], Glenview, Illinois, had over 100 fire chiefs, 30 vendors and 15 legislative staffers.

The Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association, together with the Fire Apparatus Manufacturers Association (FAMA) and the Fire Equipment and Manufacturers and Services Association (FEMSA) coordinated the eleventh annual event.

Chief Fred Fiedl, Gurnee Fire Department and president, Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association, welcomed the attendees to the working lunch and presentations. Paul Darley, president & CEO, W.S. Darley & Co. and representing FAMA, introduced the video presentations and the speakers.

Representatives Cheri Bustos (D-IL, 17th District) Peter Roskam (R-IL, 6th District) and Robert Dold (R-IL, 10th District) addressed the attendees through pre-recorded videos.  Sixteen legislative staffers were in attendance and several also spoke, thanking the fire chiefs for their work and offered support of their leaders.

Invited speakers for the hour long program included Matt Perez, Illinois State Fire Marshal, Tim Sashko, executive director of the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association, and Jay Reardon, executive director of the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS).

Colonel (Ret.) Royal Mortenson, director of the Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI), provided information on the history of the IFSI, as well as highlighted the extensive research and training programs currently offered by the institute. Mortenson highlighted the Cornerstone training program, point-of-delivery training for volunteer firefighters.

“For the first time in 92 years, we’ve trained first responders from all 102 counties in Illinois,” said Mortenson.

After the presentations, the staffers were offered the opportunity to tour the training academy and don firefighter turnout gear and participate in equipment displays.

Illinois’ Home Day was created to bring together northern Illinois fire chiefs and state and local legislators to understand firsthand the state of the Illinois fire service and the impact of grant funding received. Illinois has 18,500 career firefighters and 20,000 volunteers.

NIPSTA, opened in 2001 by 17 founding members, has over 300 instructors and last year held 164 educational programs over 24,000 instructional hours. NIPSTA is an inter-governmental agency comprised of municipalities, fire protection districts, and other organizations located in the Chicago metropolitan area that have combined energies and resources to create a regional, state-of-the-art, $29 million, public safety training facility. NIPSTA is designed to meet the needs of its members by providing ongoing training of fire, police, public works, and other public safety personnel.

Home Day Darley Home Day Sponsors  Home Day Sremac Niehoff  Home Day Darley 2

2015 Illinois Home Day

10th Annual Illinois Fire Service Home Day

Janet Wilmoth, FEMSA Board Member

On Thursday, June 4th, more than 150 people attended the 10th annual Illinois Fire Service Home Day held at the Northeastern Illinois Public Safety Training Academy (NIPSTA) in Glenview, Illinois.

Illinois’ Home Day was created to bring together northern Illinois fire chiefs and state and local legislators to understand firsthand the state of the Illinois fire service and the impact of grant funding received. Illinois has 18,500 career firefighters and 20,000 volunteers.

The meeting was co-chaired by Chief Tom Deegan, Metropolitan Fire Chiefs; Paul Darley, President/CEO, Darley & Co.; and representatives of FAMA/FEMSA GAC. Thirteen Illinois manufacturers, dealers and service providers also participated in the event. More than 100 Illinois fire chiefs were in attendance at the event in addition to Congressional leaders and staff members.

The 13 legislative staffers in attendance were invited to introduce themselves and who they represent. Representatives Peter Roskam (R-IL, 6th District) and Robert Dold (R-IL, 10th District) addressed attendees through pre-recorded videos.

The featured speaker was Don Mobley,FEMA Region V fire program specialist, focusing on the importance of the DHS Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) and SAFER programs. Mobley stated that nine organizations—including the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), and the Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) —represent the fire service. Mobley further encouraged Illinois fire chiefs to, “Make sure you let those organizations know what your needs are.”

Mobley explained that, to date, there have been 61,019 AFG awards and almost $6 billion in awards to fire departments across the nation. For 2015, the AFG is funded at $306 million, SAFER is $340 million and Fire Prevention and Safety at $34 million. Mobley encouraged fire departments to apply for “micro grants” for items less than $25,000.

“If you have 10-year old or broken gear, we want to get that replaced,” Mobley said. While the grants do not cover building new fire stations,” he said, “we do offer money for certain [fire station] projects—for fire sprinkler systems and generators. In recent years we have funded station alerting systems.” Mobley added that there is also funding available for behavioral health programs and immunizations.

The Fire Prevention and Safety grants are also well-worth considering. “If you want to modernize your inspection programs with iPads to make your program better, we help fund that,” said Mobley.

Tim Sashko, executive director of the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association, provided updates from the 2015 CFSI legislative activities. Among the items reviewed, Sashko cautioned that the cuts to President Obama’s FY2016 budget would reduce AFG and SAFER grants by $5 million each. It would also cut the US Fire Administration’s budget from $44 million to $41.582 million.

Sashko mentioned that the Illinois fire service is asking Congress to support a Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act (FSIA) that would amend the Internal Revenue Code to allow accelerated depreciation of retrofits of commercial and residential buildings with lifesaving sprinkler systems. “It is critically important that we keep working on that effort,” said Sashko.

Jill Ramaker, executive director of NIPSTA, welcomed attendees to the facility and encouraged them to explore the different buildings, vehicles and displays.

Home Day Resources


2017 Home Day Toolkit
2017 Hill Day Packet
2017 Hill Day Map
2017 Ten Key Facts


2016 Home Day Toolkit
2016 Hill Day Packet
2016 Hill Day Map
10 Key Facts About the Fire Service Industry
Congressional Directory


2015 Employee Map
2015 Hill Day Packet
10 Key Facts About the Fire Service Industry


2014 AFG Grant Chart
2014 AFG One-Page Leave Behind for Congressional Offices
Key Messages for Hill Day 2014
Background Talking Points for Hill Day 2014
2014 Real Progress Real Results (5 Key Findings)
10 Key Facts About the Fire Service Industry


10 Key Facts About the Fire Service Industry
Real Progress, Real Results (5 Key Findings)
2013 AFG
AFG Funding Over the Last 5 Years
Key Messages for Hill Day
Background Talking Points for Hill Day

Department of Homeland Security
Federal Emergency Management Agency

Fire Grant Support


United States House of Representatives
United States Senate