FDIC is the largest Fire Training Conference in the United States. It’s a week long event with H.O.T (Hands On Training) classes, classroom lectures, exhibits and more. This is THE place where all the top instructors and students merge once a year for a common cause…. learning, sharing and building upon our profession. I hope you made it out!
When I talk about “Take”, Im talking about knowledge, experience, networking, friendships, ideas etc. What was your “take” from FDIC? I hope everyone who attends comes away with SOMETHING… if you didn’t / don’t, it’s your own fault. I’m curious as to what it was for you (the “take”).
For me, it was several things…. it would take me a week to type all my experiences, everything I learned and the names of all the Brothers and Sisters I met (this wasn’t my first trip). Instead, I’ll try to sum it up and hit some of the highlights for ya… I hope you enjoy the story and share it with your friends.
1st Arriving (link) is the network that hosts our web sites / blogs. It’s the largest, most popular and powerful network in the industry and for good reason. Where else would you expect to find us?
At the meet-up, we got to visit and talk with some of our friends and fellow bloggers on the network. Although many of us talk a lot electronically, it’s always great to sit down face to face. Our stay there however was short as we needed to make our way over to the FOOLS Bash.
We never miss the Bash and for the 2nd year in a row now, even had a table set up for our local Chapter, Valley of the FOOLS (link) .
F.O.O.L.S (link) is all about The Brotherhood, comrade and providing training that might not otherwise be available to our members. Our Mission Statement says it all … “The F.O.O.L.S. exemplify the true meaning of the Brotherhood by providing training opportunities to Brother and Sister Firefighters worldwide. We organize benefits to assist not only a firefighter and their families in need, but our communities as well. The F.O.O.L.S. exist to strengthen the Brotherhood of our chosen profession and fuel the flame of passion we have for our calling”.
Getting to meet, shake hands, talk and take a photo with Brothers and Sisters from all across the Country is the only way to kick off FDIC! If you have a photo of us, or see yourself in one of ours, please tag and share them on Social Media.
The Fire Critic (Rhett), Model City Firefighter (Andrew Catron) and I spend our time on the showroom floor working to help promote companies and their products.
Don’t take that wrong… we wont work for just anyone … it has to be a good product and something we use / believe in. We started out this year in the TECGEN (link) booth.
TECGEN is has been long time and loyal friends of ours. They are a GREAT company with GREAT products! “INVISTA’s TECGEN® brand is an innovative flame resistant (FR) fiber, fabric and garment manufacturer of protective apparel. Its TECGEN® fiber was developed with next-generation FR technology and is primarily used in garments for wildland and technical rescue firefighter applications, as well as manufacturing, transportation, mining, oil and gas and energy utility operations. – See more HERE “
We also spent time working in the Viking Life Saving Equipment (link) booth.
This was our 1st year working with Viking and I have to admit, their gear is impressive.
All you need to do is look at the technology they build into their gear and you’ll understand why we were there helping to spread the word.
Beyond their Viking Duo, the new Viking MACS is going through UL testing now and will be coming out soon. The new gear will come with 2 outer shells and 1 inner shell. The reason for this is that you will be able to remove an outer shell once you come out of a fire and put a new one on to go back in service. They also supply a bag to place the dirty shell into. This limits your exposure to carcinogens and helps keep them out of our rigs, POV’s, stations etc.
You may have also found / seen us in the Demers Ambulance (link) booth! We started working with them last year and have enjoyed the relationship.
Again I’ll have to talk about / mention technology and how much of it these folks put into their product.
Demers is another company who puts us (the firefighters) first. Their ambulances are designed for our safety, comfort and efficiency.
“Hundreds of innovative differences make a Demers ambulance stronger, more aerodynamic, more fuel-efficient, longer lasting, smarter and safer. 50 years of experience and customer feedback have led to continual improvements, driven by the philosophy that every single detail contributes to a superior vehicle. Demers ambulances deliver significant and tangible added value, low operating costs and excellent, 24/7 after-sale service. Detail by detail, Demers ambulances have exceeded the sum of their parts and are standouts in the industry”.
Of course we were also back in the Black Diamond (link) Booth as well.
We have been honored to work with the folks from Black Diamond Footwear for years now. It’s the only fire boot we wear!
If you spotted either of us walking around Indy, chances are we had on a pair of the Black Diamond X2 boots. Why do we wear them around all week on the hard concretes floor, sidewalks and pavement? Because we CAN! The boot is THAT comfortable. Why buy a fire boot from a guy wearing Nike tennis shoes?
So what was “the take” on all this work? That’s simple… the chance to talk about and share these innovative products and technologies with our Brother and Sister firefighters! There is no way we could count all the folks we get to meet and talk to by working these booths but I can tell ya this… IT’S A LOT!
So we also got to attend the NFFF (National Fallen Firefighters Foundation) Stop, Drop, Rock n Roll event as we always do.
Those of you who follow me know that Rhett (The Fire Critic) and I have supported and worked / volunteered for the NFFF for many years now. There is no higher calling than to take care of the families (survivors) of our fallen.
Each year at FDIC, the NFFF puts on a concert and live auction to help support their mission. Chief Billy Goldfeder is the auctioneer for some AMAZING items.
I got out bid on every item but Rhett (The Fire Critic) was fortunate enough to land a Lift Master Garage Door Openers NASCAR hood. Not just any hood mind you, this hood proudly displayed the names of the Prescott 19!
The “Take” here? Supporting the NFFF and having this hood to bring home and hang in the station to remind all the members to NEVER FORGET.
We did get a couple small breaks and the chance to walk the showroom floor while there.
Of course there is NO WAY you can see all of FDIC in a day, much less in an hour but we did get to visit a couple great companies.
The stand out in my mind had to be MSA (link).
Rhett and I were able to stop by and briefly meet the folks from MSA. What’s more is they gave us a personal demo and allowed us to try on their new G1 SCBA!
Again the words technology and innovation come to mind.
This pack is amazing.
It has a swivel back that moved with and fit me like a glove. It has a central power system, duel color LCD and analog displays, buddy lights, quick connect systems, it even has a built in thermal imaging camera, blue tooth and more!
The “take” here was that I wouldn’t have gotten to see and try this unit on had I not have been at FDIC. I also wouldn’t be able to share it with you…. click HERE to learn more about the MSA G1 air pack.
With over 1,000 in attendance, it was our biggest and best yet! Like so many of the things we do, this was our way of saying “Thank you” to our friends and supporters.
We teamed up with Andrew Catron (The Model City Firefighter) and Lori Mercer of Firefighterwife.com to host the event.
There was free food, drink, Brotherhood and more for everyone!
With additional support from companies such as Phenix Technology, TECGEN PPE, Engine Company Apparel, Fully Involved Leatherworks, FITFIGHTER training, Firefighter Art, HexArmor Extrication Products, Fireman Up!, MN8 Foxfire, FatIvan, Crosstitched and Identifire we were also able to give away some AWESOME prizes!
IT WAS A BLAST and the “take” here was without a doubt the Brotherhood shared and the opportunity to give back!
Take for example the fact that my wife got to come up on Friday. Thanks to my good friends Mike, Amanda Parris, Chris Hawks and Andy Utt she was able to not only attend Indy On Fire but to also get a glimpse of the work we do will on these trips. I was excited to share the experience with her (and them).
We also had our “entourage” with us again this year. Rhett and I have always tried to allow other Brothers to travel with us to events like this. For us, it’s giving them an opportunity they may not have / get otherwise. We cover their travel, lodging and most of their meals in exchange for helping us out while on the road. This year we had Preston, Jarrett and Jarrod with us and they did one hell of a job taking care of us. You’re going to be hearing a lot more about these Brothers in future.
We also had Kevin Thompson with us to handle our Social Media postings (yea.. we needed a social media guys..LOL) and Matt Schimmel of Leatherhead Photography along as our official photographer.
Believe it or not, we even talked Dave Statter into emceeing Indy On Fire for us Friday night and he did a great job. So again, the “take” here is the Brotherhood and friendships we’ve made and continue to build upon. This ride is getting bigger than we ever expected… I don’t know where we’re going but we’re making good time! LOL
So Ill leave you with a few more pictures and some video of the Pipes and Drums at Indy on Fire. I’ll also leave you with the question I’ve been asking all along… what did YOU take from FDIC?
Stay SAFE and in House!