South Dakota to Indy! Where will The Fire Critic and I be next?


10154418_738488066195639_5607984722987061596_nSo the Fire Critic (Rhett Fleitz) and I just wrapped up our weekend in Aberdeen, South Dakota.

We were up there presenting a class on Social Media and Generational Diversity at the 2014 South Dakota State Fire School.

Actually, we presented the class twice, once on Friday and again on Saturday. It was a long and tiring weekend but also very rewarding.

salka-solo-picThe “school” was put together very well and included instructors such as John Salka (link). It’s an honor to just be on the same “ticket” with speakers the caliber of Chief Salka.

We had a great group of students on both days as well and really enjoyed some of the conversations that arose from the class. We wrapped up Saturday evening feeling as if every student who attended was able to take something away from the presentation. As instructors, you can’t ask for more. Thanks again to all who attended (If you’re reading this, at least you paid attention..LOL).

Have us teach or speak at your event. Click HERE

Clint Hostetler and kids 2014One of the greatest things about the traveling Rhett and I do is getting the opportunity to meet the people that we do. We honestly LOVE it!

The kicker to this trip was that it was actually not our first time to South Dakota. So, not only did we get to meet and make new friends, we also got to see and visit with some old ones! (Much like Clint and Amber Hostetler from Chancellor, SD pictured right with their beautiful family).

Our first trip to South Dakota was back in 2012. Bob Gard brought us out to do the keynote speech at the inaugural SD Firefighter’s Benefit. We flew into Rapid City and then toured across the state in a Spartan Fire Truck ending up in Sioux Falls (YES… Rhett and I have toured across South Dakota in a FIRE TRUCK!!!).

We had several stops planned / scheduled along the way, and many of those were at fire houses. The trip remains one of the highlights of all our travels and is one that we will certainly never forget. Use the links below to read the posts from that trip (part #3 includes a link to over 170 photos from the trip!)……

2012 South Dakota trip Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Special THANKS to Bob Gard, the Aberdeen Fire Department, the staff of the 2014 SD Fire School, our fellow instructors and all of the Brothers and Sisters who were in attendance and that we were able to meet for their graciousness and hospitality!

FDIC184We fly back home on Sunday but we wont get to stay long. On Wednesday, we get back on the road and head out to Indianapolis for FDIC 2014 (link) !

FDIC is one of our favorite trips of the year and we are VERY excited! Read my post from FDIC 2013 by clicking HERE .

If you clicked the link above (from FDIC 2013 ), then you know that we obviously stay VERY busy throughout the week. There are several events that we always attend in addition to working booths on the exhibit floor and everything else that we commit ourselves to. This year will be no different and our schedule is pretty full. The good news here is that we still have time and have made plans to meet and spend some time with YOU!


Just like last year, The Fire Critic and I will be having another “meet up”. This year, we have teamed up with several other groups / organizations to make the event even bigger and better than last years! I know … you don’t know how that can be possible but TRUST ME …. you will NOT want to miss this event!!

This year, we are calling it The 2014 Firefighter Turnout and you wont want to miss it!

Like always, there will be a LOT of free give-a ways! Door prizes, firefighter swag, whatever you want to call it …. we have a ton of stuff to put in your hands! FREE food…. FREE beer …. FREE prizes … not to mention the Brotherhood and comrade. What more could you ask for??

Like last year, this is our way of saying THANK YOU for the support you’ve shown us over the last several years! The event will be held between 5-11pm on Friday night. We will be located at the Crane Bay (link) located at 551 West Merrill Street in Indy. It’s in the downtown area and VERY close to the convention center. MAKE PLANS TO ATTEND!

Visit our Face Book “Event Page” HERE

Valley Of The FoolsLike I mentioned above, we will be VERY busy. We have plans to attend the FOOLS Brotherhood Bash on Wednesday from 6 pm- whenever. The event is located at Jackson and Meridian Street, just behind Hooters. We will be set up at a table inside the tent displaying some merchandise for our newly established local FOOLS Chapter, VALLEY OF THE FOOLS (link) .

On Thursday, we will be attending the NFFF Stop, Drop, Rock ‘N’ Roll (link) Event. – Over the past twelve years, Stop, Drop, Rock ‘n’ Roll has played an important part in honoring America’s fallen firefighters. It is a chance for firefighters to give back to the fire service and have fun at the same time. Through a small donation at the door you help the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation honor and support the families of firefighters who have died in the line of duty.”

So Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights seemed “booked” but don’t panic. As always, I’m sure you’ll be able to find us afterwards as well. Just be sure to make these 3 key events to know which direction we’re headed afterwards!

Black DiamondOur daytime schedule is just as busy. This year, you’ll be able to find us in booths #807, #4731, #4963 as well as several others.

Booth #807 is the Black Diamond Booth! We will be there along with the Black Diamond sales reps and Black Diamond Models showcasing the X2 boot and other firefighter footwear.

*Be sure to stop by for a chance to get a limited run Black Diamond/FireCritic/IronFiremen Challenge coin!

Find their Web Site by clicking HERE!

Logo-DemersAmbulances-300x185You will also find us in an apparatus booth this year! Not just any apparatus manufacturer’s booth either mind ya … this is Demers Ambulances (link).

Again, this is a GREAT company!

Demers has built a new ambulance geared to meet the needs of Fire based EMS. Like any company worth their salt would, Demers is asking for and WANTS YOUR INPUT! They want an honest answer as to what you like or don’t like and what they can do to make our job easier and more efficient.

Now THERE’S an idea….. ask the people who use it!

What other companies give you that much “buy in”? That much leverage? That much input? Again I’ll ask ya to simply  TRUST ME.  Trust me and stop by booth #4731 as well as the other locations that we’ve scheduled to be at. You can view a more detailed schedule of events (for the Fire Critic and myself) as well as find more links etc in the link below ….

2014 FDIC Ironfiremen / Fire Critic tentative schedule HERE

MN8 FoxFire LogoOf course I’ll also be in and out of the MN8 FoxFire (link) Booth (#4963).

Zach and the FoxFire team will have several new and exciting products to debut as well as the full line of products that so many of you have come to love and trust!

If you’ve never heard of or seen the FoxFire products in action, then Booth #4963 is a MUST VISIT booth for you while at FDIC. Catch me there and I’ll give you a personal demo.

I’ll publish a more detailed schedule of my time on the exhibit floor in the next few days.

There will be several more of our friends and supporters in attendance as well. We hope you stop by for a visit and show them the same support you have given us over the last several years.

Be sure to stop by Booth #1107 and visit Fire Cam (link) (Also find Fire Cam on Face Book HERE) . Andrew Catron (Model City Firefighter) will be traveling with me and Rhett again this year. You can find his full Itinerary by clicking HERE . Other itineraries that may interest you can be found in these links…..  FirefighterWife.comBoron ExtricationFirst Due Tackle

There are MANY other Booths and EVENTS that I haven’t even mentioned yet (such as the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb link)…. all the class room sessions / lectures and Hands On Training (HOT) classes.  Glove Crafters will be in Booth #208, and TECGEN can be found in Booth #13103.I’ll try to get a little more out each day and at least offer you some options. Until I do …

Stay SAFE and in House! See ya in Indy!

Captain Wines