Hundreds of firefighters and other first-responders converged on the World Congress Center in Downtown Atlanta for the Fire-Rescue International expo. The event was sponsored by the International Association of Fire Chiefs and attracts participants from across the globe. The latest in industry tech and gear was on display, with one of Hartsfield-Jackson’s massive Panther fire trucks getting a lot of the attention.

But the conference does more than show off equipment. Atlanta Fire Rescue Chief Randall B. Slaughter says it’s a way for senior leadership and fire chiefs to share notes and to talk about the challenges they face, as well as partner to find solutions.

With Atlanta serving as the host city for FRI this year, Chief Slaughter says the event is even more special because the department also made history there. For the first time in 22-years, the AFRD was accredited without an initial recommendation for deferral, which means the outside team that reviewed and assessed the department’s performance recommended it for approval from the start. The Chief noted that the AFRD also retained its Insurance Service Office rating of one, which is the best rating an agency can receive.