OCEAN CITY – The Maryland State Firemen’s Association, which represents 392 fire and rescue departments and related associations throughout Maryland, will hold its 116th Annual Convention and Conference in Ocean City from June 14-20.
More than 30,000 volunteer firefighter/rescuers and Emergency Medical Service workers and their families are expected to attend. President Paul Sterling of the Wheaton Volunteer Rescue Squad in Montgomery County will open the proceedings at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, June 16 at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center.
Throughout the convention and conference, attendees will be offered a variety of free seminars covering a myriad of subjects related to fire and rescue operations, which will help teach fire and rescue personnel new administrative and operational skills. Delegates from each member department will vote to elect the new officers for the coming year and to approve changes to the by-laws of the organization. The various state agencies, such as the State Fire Marshal’s Office and Department of Natural Resources, whose duties impact on the fire service, will make reports on their past year’s actions and future plans.
All attendees will have the opportunity to visit displays of the newest types of fire fighting and EMS equipment, and to view some of the newest apparatus that has been purchased by Maryland fire companies.
Fire, rescue and EMS members who passed away during 2007 will be honored at a Memorial Service on Sunday, June 15 and service awards for fire prevention, Emergency Medical Services, training and safety activities will be given out on Monday and Tuesday.
The convention and conference will culminate on Wednesday, June 18 at 1 p.m. with one of the largest fire department parades in the area along Baltimore Avenue in Ocean City, featuring bands, marching units, majorettes and fire apparatus from Maryland and the surrounding states.
Downtown traffic patterns will be affected as follows: Beginning at noon on the day of the parade, traffic entering Ocean City via the Route 50 bridge will be directed to one of two routes. Vehicles crossing the bridge in the left-hand lane will turn left onto Philadelphia Ave. and travel in a coned-off lane going north to 9th St. Resort officials advise motorists to take this route as traffic should flow more quickly in the coned-off lane. Vehicles crossing the bridge in the right-hand lane must turn right at Talbot St. and travel north on St. Louis Ave. Motorists traveling southbound on Philadelphia Ave. will be directed to the far two right lanes beginning at 9th St.
To accommodate the altered traffic patterns, parking will be prohibited from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the day of the parade at the following locations: All of Philadelphia Ave. from 9th St. to N. Division St.; the west side of St. Louis Ave. between 2nd St. and 3rd St.; the east side of St. Louis Ave between 1st St. and 2nd St.; the south side of 2nd St. between St. Louis Ave. and Philadelphia Ave. and the north and south side of 1st St. between St. Louis Ave. and Philadelphia Ave. Vehicles not removed prior to 10 a.m. will be towed.
The bus route also will be temporarily altered from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. on the day of the parade. City buses normally traveling south to the downtown area will go no further than N. 1st Street where they will turn right to St. Louis Ave. The buses will then return north along St. Louis Ave. to 15th St. to rejoin the normal route to the Delaware line. There are no bus stands along St. Louis Ave.; if you need to catch a bus just give the driver a wave. Those waiting for northbound buses on St. Louis Ave. between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m., are asked to wait on the east side of the street. Normal bus service should resume after 6 p.m. The fare is $2 to ride all day.