June 16 -June 21, 2024
MSFA Convention Parade

MSFA 2020 Convention Update: No Decision Has Been Made

April 3, 2020    Comment off

On behalf of the Maryland State Firemen’s Association (MSFA) Convention and Conference Steering Committee, I am reaching out to our general membership to provide you with the most up-to-date information about our planned 2020 Ocean City experience.  First, though, let me start by wishing you well and that you remain healthy through this national emergency.

The Steering Committee has continued to meet over the past month via two conference calls to discuss a great deal of research and evaluation that has been completed. We hope this information will help you better understand that we are working hard to evaluate every single option to meet the Convention and Conference requirements of the MSFA.

Here is what we know:

A final decision on the ability to hold the Convention in Ocean City the week of June 21-26 will not be made until early May, and that will depend upon the Social Distancing Restrictions that will be in place at that time. I can assure you that we are doing everything possible to look at all options and issues that surround the decision that will be made.

That decision will include the analysis of five (5) specific options:

  1. Host the Convention as scheduled in June.
  2. Reschedule the Convention to a later date in Ocean City.
  3. Host a modified Convention (1-2-3 days) to address the Business needs, the Election, Installation and Memorial Service at a location more central in the state.
  4. Host a virtual Convention to address the four (4) main requirements of the Convention: Business needs, the Election, Installation and Memorial Service.
  5. Cancel the Convention in its entirety.


Here is what we have done:

  • Contact has been made with the Ocean City Convention Center leadership to ensure we have access to the Convention Center should the June dates be allowed, as well as other dates, should the Social Distancing extend into June.
  • Mayor Meehan has made a personal commitment through the Town leadership and the Ocean City Fire Department to do whatever is needed to ensure our Convention is a success if and when it occurs.
  • The Ocean City Hotel, Motel and Restaurant Association (OCHMRA) has informed us that the lodging facilities in Ocean City are upholding a 24-hour cancellation policy and if a member of the MSFA finds they are having difficulty down the road cancelling a reservation, they will assist in the matter.
  • If you have a rental agreement for a condominium, check to see if you have a force majeure clause which is the best way to execute a cancellation.  We are working on some legal guidance should it be needed.
  • The Steering Committee is looking at other sites that could hold a modified Convention and Conference with the intent of having a back-up facility within an easy drive for activities that would not require a hotel stay.

Here is what you need to do:

  • Allow the Steering Committee to complete its research and analysis before you make any decision concerning the Convention.
  • Do not cancel any reservations or housing contracts until a final decision is made.  We will have help from the OCHMRA if a problem downstream should arise.
  • Send in your credentials, due’s payment, committee reports, program book ads, award nominations, bingo and other sponsorship commitments and please register for the many educational opportunities as though the Convention will be held in June.  It is imperative we get this information for the program and publications associated with the Convention and Conference.
  • If you planned to exhibit at the Convention, order your booth space now and that can be accomplished on the MSFA Convention Website.
  • Purchase your $10,000.00 Raffle tickets. We will need this revenue for the general fund operations of the MSFA.
  • If possible, sell more of the raffle tickets, we have plenty to share, or have your company purchase more than you did last year.  The public events that the Ways and Means Committee usually attends to sell tickets, have been cancelled.
  • Send your money and ticket stubs to Financial Secretary Mitch Vocke.  His address is P.O. Box 401, Jarrettsville, MD 21084.  If you have raffle questions or need more tickets, his email is wmvocke1@gmail.com.
  • Finally, if you have any ideas or suggestions concerning the 2020 Convention, the committee is always open to hear what you have to offer.  Feel free to let us know your thoughts. Send them to us using the Contact the Convention Committee button on the Convention Website.

Pulling it all together:

For years, the Convention and Conference Steering Committee has guided the day to day operations of our annual gathering in an exceptional fashion. As a committee, they have been through a lot and they will get all of us through this, doing what is best for the MSFA.  They are a very strong group and are committed to making the best possible decisions in a fashion that evaluates all available information while keeping all of you informed.

As additional information becomes available, we will send it out to all of you.  Be Safe and Stay Healthy.


Ronald Jon Siarnicki
Convention Chair