AFSA Chapter Shares Fire Protection Industry Opportunities with Local High School Students
The American Fire Sprinkler Association’s (AFSA) Virginia Chapter held an interactive Fire Protection Industry Career Fair on March 29, 2022, at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Richmond, Virginia, focusing on fire protection careers in fire sprinkler, fire alarm, fire extinguisher, and detection industries. The career fair was open to local high school students, recent graduates, parents, teachers, and career counselors interested in learning about the fire protection industry careers available to their students in the Richmond area.
The purpose of the career fair was to expose local students and graduates to the many careers and career paths in installation, ITM, design, fabrication, and manufacturing in the fire protection industry. Attendees were wowed by the hands-on experience provided by the contractor and vendor members of the Virginia Chapter, allowing them to explore pipe fitting, fire alarm, fabrication, use of fire extinguisher, manufacturing and live demonstrations of Auto CAD, RIVIT, and 3D modeling.
The career fair had a virtual reality table set up so attendees could practice resetting a dry pipe valve, two interactive fire alarm tables with devices to activate, a fire extinguisher table where attendees could practice electronically putting out a fire on a screen, an Auto CAD/RIVIT/3D modeling demonstration with an expert on site, a 48-in. pipe wrench and Hose Monster were on display as well as a screen running the National Apprentice Competition from AFSA40 held in San Antonio, Texas.
The chapter had 12 member companies participate and showcase different aspects of the fire protection industry at each table. Contractor members participating in the event were ACI, Akers Fire Protection, Cavalier Fire Protection, Eagle Fire, FLSA, and VSC Fire & Security. Vendor members participating included Core & Main, Ferguson Fire and Fab, Hajoca, Reliable, and Viking.
Representatives from Henrico County Public Schools, Henrico County Fire Department (bringing their explorer program with kids ages 14-20), and the City of Richmond Public School System were duly impressed with the interactive fair and job opportunities in the fire protection industry for their students.
“The career fair was the correct mix of hands-on and displays of career paths. It was eye-opening for the attendees,” comments Jeff Lewis, vice president of inspections for VSC Fire & Security, Inc. in Ashland, Virginia. “It will also change how we interface with some of the schools’ career fairs. One of the larger districts want us to parti
cipate as a group at their large fair in October.”
He continues, “A few of our members said they were able to speak to two or three candidates after the show and were pretty pleased with that and are looking forward to what the future holds.”
The chapter expects this career fair to lead to numerous opportunities for Central Virginia members to provide internships and employment from these local area high school systems. For more information about the career fair or the Virginia Chapter, visit virginiaafsa.org or contact Steve McGee, the chapter’s executive director, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Bob Beckwith is chair of the AFSA Virginia Chapter and owner of Cavalier Fire Protection, LLC in Dumfries, Virginia. Email at BBeckwith@cavalierfire.com.