Editor’s Opinion Chris Mc Loone
My FDIC International Wish List
April has finally arrived and with it the beginning of the trade show season with FDIC International 2019.
North America’s largest conference and exhibition is an almost perfect marriage between fire service products and training and learning. The flow of the week moves from hands-on training to classroom learning to the exhibits, where the learning continues. Having used many of the products on the show floor during the hands-on training sessions, FDIC International attendees get the chance to learn more about each product on the exhibit floor. It really doesn’t get any better than that.
Every year as we get close to the “big event,” I spend a lot of time making appointments, scheduling video shoots, and planning the week. Over the years, the week has become a precise, well-oiled machine. Yet, every year I find myself going into the week with a wish list of sorts. Here are a few FDIC International 2019 Wish List items for attendees—and me.
- Ample time. As Editorial Advisory Board Member Rich Marinucci often says, FDIC International is a tough show to cover without careful planning. Attendees can’t spend time with every exhibitor, but hopefully all attendees have enough time with the vendors they get to see to flesh out a new product as completely as possible. Ample time also applies to hands-on training and classroom sessions. Hopefully, all attendees have enough time to get the answers they need about a training evolution or topic.
- See the entire event. It’s hard to spend the entire week at FDIC International, but to really get the full experience and understand how it is all connected, it’s best to be a part of the entire event. I hope as many as possible get to see it from start to finish.
- Products for crash avoidance. A pet peeve of mine for some time has been the number of rigs being hit while parked. As I’ve noted before, we ride to and from the fireground in the most sophisticated and safe vehicles we have ever had. My hope is that the industry has put its thinking cap on and has come up with a few new products for us to use to work toward reducing these crashes. But, I also hope that attendees take time to really look at them vs. walking by, saying out loud that something would make a good feature on a new rig, and then walking away without stopping to ask about it.
- Fire trucks and more fire trucks. I can’t help it. I love looking at fire trucks, and climbing up on one always brings me back to when I was a kid climbing on one for the first time. Every year, it’s almost like there aren’t enough, and then every year it seems like there are more than the year before. I love it.
- More firefighter-designed products. One of my favorite things at FDIC International is to see the number of products brought to the market by fellow firefighters. We are our most important problem solvers. (For another firefighter-designed product, check out Raul Angulo’s article on the HEROdrag system this month.) I hope to see more this year, and I hope attendees get an opportunity to talk to these problem solver entrepreneurs.
- Returning home energized. One of the most important things about FDIC International is that attendees leave prepared to introduce new training techniques, tips, and information to their respective fire departments. That is the key: returning home ready to pass the lessons onto others. Equally important is passing along information on the innovations experienced on the exhibit floor.
It’s a relatively short list for now, but as I write this, I am still a few weeks and many, many phone calls away from Indianapolis, Indiana. By the time I’m boarding the plane, the list will have grown by several more items … even down to things like, “Geez, I hope I remembered my belt,” or “I hope I have enough pairs of socks.” What is your FDIC International 2019 wish list? One thing I hope is on every list by the time the week ends is, “Budget now to send more members next year.” I’m looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones. FDIC International 2019 is finally here.