Mid-Atlantic Life Safety Conference (MALSC) is one of the foremost annual conferences of its kind in the nation, having celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2019. The one-day conference offers a variety of educational and keynote sessions featuring presenters from local and national organizations. Speakers, chosen for their subject matter expertise, experience, and contributions to the greater fire and rescue profession, cover a range of important and current life safety and community risk reduction topics. The MALSC is also the venue for announcing the winner of the John C. Spiker, Sr., Excellence in Life Safety Educator of the Year Award. Exhibits and networking opportunities are available to attendees during meals and breaks.
The MALSC evolved over the years as a means of fulfilling a mandate established in 1959, when Maryland Governor J. Millard Tawes first saw the need for a statewide conference on fire prevention. That year, the Maryland State Firemen’s Association (MSFA) sponsored the very first Governor’s State-Wide Conference on Fire Prevention.
Since then, the Maryland State Fire Prevention Commission has been required by law to hold a conference at least once a year (per the Maryland Public Safety Code Annotated, Section 6-205) to “inform the public and fire fighting personnel of the latest techniques in: (1) fire prevention programs and procedures; (2) life safety measures; (3) changes in the State Fire Prevention Code; and (4) development of improved fire safety goals.”
In addition to fulfilling the mandate of the Commission, the MALSC also helps to carry out the mission and responsibility of the Maryland Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM), which includes coordination of fire prevention efforts throughout the state of Maryland. The name of the conference changed at some point from the Governor’s State-Wide Conference on Fire Prevention to the Maryland Fire Safety Symposium. In 1989, it was renamed the Governor’s Fire Safety Conference, then in 1993 was changed to the Governor’s Fire and Burn Safety Conference, and in 1997 to the Governor’s Life Safety Conference. In 1999, it became the Mid-Atlantic Life Safety Conference in recognition of its scope and importance as a regional source of timely and important education for life safety professionals.
Over the years, the scope of the program has expanded beyond public fire and life safety education and code enforcement to also include topics relevant to the emergency medical services, emergency management, firefighter health and safety, and community risk reduction. This has increased the MALSC’s outreach and relevance to the community we serve. Participants return to their jurisdictions and put into practice the information and strategies they learned at MALSC, with the goal of increasing life safety on many fronts.
The MALSC has drawn an average of 227 registered attendees since 2001. Attendance comprises first-timers as well as those who have been coming back for years. Comments from participants indicate the value that participants receive from attending the conference. In addition to positive reviews of the information and resources gained, and the range of topics presented, they note the valuable opportunities to network with their peers from the Mid-Atlantic region.