In 1956, a small group of local fire mechanics met at a local garage in Worcester, Massachusetts to discuss some of the mechanical problems they were experiencing and how to solve them. From this group’s meetings, the association was founded and incorporated. The first meeting was held in Paul Mauin’s garage. Paul was the master mechanic for the City of Worcester. Paul was one of the original founders of this association, which has grown to what we know it today. The association was originally know as the Fire Apparatus Maintenance Association (FAMA).
Subsequent meetings in the early years were held at the Town Crest Restaurant on Lake Qinsigamond in Worcester, MA. As the years went on and the membership grew, meetings were held at the Howard Johnson’s Restaurant in Shrewsbury, MA. Meeting places have changed over the last 45years or so. Sometimes this was due to the Presidents wishes, and sometimes due to the availability of restaurants being able to hold the large group. Today, the association holds most of its meetings at the Indian Meadows Country Club in Westboro, MA. Sometimes meetings are held at a Vendor’s business in which tours are given of the facilities of part being manufactured or sold. Over the past years the association has grown to over 400 members and covers the six New England State regions. In the mid 80’s changed its name to the New England Fire Apparatus Maintenance Association (NEFAMA) so not to be confused with the Fire Apparatus Manufacturers Association (FAMA).
In a short time the association will be celebrating its’ 50th anniversary, making it the oldest association in the country today. Some of the members who are considered to be founders of the association include Paul Marin, George Bigelow, William Story, Albert Fuller, John Hedlund, who ran Hedlund Motors, a Seagrave Dire Apparatus Service Center in Quincy, Ma, Max Goldstine, who owned Goldie’s Auto Salvage in Quincy, MA, and William Novelli, master mechanic for fire department of the City of Quincy, MA.
There undoubtedly were more names that could be added to the list of original founding members, however our records have some omissions and the original members have all since passed on. We express our heartfelt thanks to each and every one of them for their foresight and determination to make this association work and grow to where it is today.
A five member executive board currently governs the Association with several working committees. We conduct monthly meetings, which are held on the second Tuesday of the month beginning in September and ending in June annually. At these meetings, manufacturer’s representatives give updates in products and training. Roundtable discussions of current problems are always interesting and informative.
The association has conducted many training trips and tours to various manufacturers in the fire service industry over the years. We have gone to Detroit Diesel/Allison, Waterous Pumps, Pierce Manufacturing, Hale Pumps, FMC, American Eagle, Saulsbury, Emergency One, United Plastics Fabricating and Koehler Manufacturing, Oshkosk Trucks, to name a few. Over the years, these trips have proven to be a valuable asset for networking for both the members and manufacturers.
The highlight over the years was an Annual Equipment Show and Banquet that the Association held at “King Phillip” in Foxboro MA. It was a day event with up to forty vendors participating with a luncheon for the 300 attendees. It was a fun day for all.
In 1995 with the advent of the Emergency Vehicle Technician (EVT) certification the association held its first training seminar in conjunction with its Annual Equipment Show. It was held at the Sturbridge Inn in Sturbridge MA. Over 60 members attended training classes for the three-day event culminating with the Annual Equipment Show. The seminars became success with the need for training due to the rapidly changing technology of the fire apparatus.
In 1997 the Association formed a partnership with the New England Fire Chiefs Association (NEFCA) to be an active participant in their trade show held out in Springfield MA. In this partnership, NEFAMA members began doing the judging of the parade along with holding its training seminars at the conference. The training seminars are two days of classes. The Association’s Seminars is also a test site for EVT testing if desired. Many members in attendance of the seminars take advantage of the EVT testing and also with watching the parade with their families. Today the parade has over 120 pieces of Fire Apparatus participating on Sunday morning. The partnership has grown over the years along with the conference, which is now called the “New England Fire, Rescue, EMS Conference and Exposition”.
Many changes have taken place in the mechanical side of the fire service of the years and many more will surely come. NEFAMA has helped many with these changes. It is with this association and other associations across the country like it that the educational training will continue. A new era of cooperation and professionalism with the New England Fire Chiefs Association, the New England Division of the IAFC, the New England Exhibitors and Expo Association and the New England Fire Apparatus Maintenance Association has been established and will continue to flourish the “continuing education through the exchange of ideas” in the future.