Kirbo Center to host public-safety expo

Published 10:01 am Thursday, July 19, 2012

On Friday, July 27, the Charles H. Kirbo Regional Center at Bainbridge College will play host to 15 manufacturer representatives at North America Fire Equipment Company (NAFECO)’s 2012 South Georgia Vendor Expo. The event is being hosted by Chief Eric Miller and Bainbridge Public Safety, Chief Charlie McCann and Decatur County Fire/Rescue, and the Bainbridge Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The expo will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free and the event is open to the public. Attendees are invited to pre-register by visiting online at

The event will bring companies that provide equipment and apparel to fire, police, sheriff, EMS and industrial safety personnel to Bainbridge. Companies from as far away as Virginia, Indiana and Pennsylvania will be coming to Decatur County to display their products for members of area public safety departments, and for the local public. The event will include first responder training sessions covering rescue rope and techniques by PMI, turnout gear care and inspection by LION, as well as hose, foam and nozzle demonstrations.

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McCann said local public safety agencies will see a lot of benefits from the expo.

“We’ll be able to have a few training classes from the various vendors,” he said. “They’ll show us things like how to keep better care of turnout gear and nozzles, which helps us get more life out of our equipment before needing to replace it.

“This expo will also give us the opportunity to ask vendors questions about their equipment. Usually all we can do is talk to somebody on the phone when we have a question about a company’s item, but at this expo we’ll be able to meet a company representative face-to-face.”

McCann said Bainbridge was able to attract the expo because the local area NAFECO salesman lives in Decatur County.

“He talked with the company and they agreed to try and put on a little mini-expo here, for the agencies in the tri-state area of Alabama, Georgia and Florida,” he said. “This is the first time we’ve tried to host something like this, so we’re just going to have to see what kind of support we get. I know that there have already been lots of agencies from our area who have signed up to attend.”

NAFECO has sponsored an annual vendor expo in its hometown of Decatur, Ala., for years, and is looking forward to expanding that event, said Jerrell Oaks, president of NAFECO.

“We are excited to bring an expo of this quality to the public safety personnel in south Georgia,” he said.

Oaks also stated that he believes the event will benefit far more than public safety personnel, because it will bring exposure to Decatur County, and increased revenue to the city as guests will be staying in local hotels, eating at local restaurants and purchasing gas from local stations.

Oaks said that all public-safety departments within a 150-mile radius have been invited to attend the expo.

“We look forward to showing departments from south Alabama, south Georgia, and Florida what NAFECO has to offer,” Oaks said.

NAFECO has been in business since 1968, and is headquartered in Decatur, Ala. The company also has offices in Norcross, Ga., and the states of Virginia, South Carolina, Texas, Florida and North Carolina.