By Chris Mc Loone
FDIC International is the largest fire service conference and exhibition in North America. Come here once and you will discover why not only firefighters but vendors want to be here. Here are 10 reasons you should make plans to make it to Indy.
1. HOT Training: You will not find hands-on training anywhere that matches what you will find at FDIC International. The breadth of resources at FDIC International is unlike any you will ever see at a fire training conference. From actual collapsed houses to drilling on forcible entry, RIT, firefighter survival, to vehicle extrication, the hands-on training you receive at FDIC International is not like anything you will find anywhere else.
2. Get to try out new equipment and provide valuable feedback: Fire service equipment suppliers and manufacturers have long recognized the value of FDIC and send their equipment to be used, tested, and reviewed by firefighters. They are anxious to receive feedback from firefighters participating in HOT training evolutions and there are few places where manufacturers have such a captive audience.
3. Classrooms: There are more than 200 classroom sessions after you’re done HOT training. After two rigorous days, it’s time to spend some time in the classroom with leading fire service leaders.
4. Exhibits: Simply put, you won’t find one show in North America that features a larger exhibit. FDIC International exhibitors debut their newest innovations here as the trade show season beings.
5. Camaraderie: Firefighters are firefighters no matter where they are from. When you come to FDIC International, you have an opportunity for camaraderie during training, during the conference portion of the event, and of course, the night life as you gather at the end of a long day of learning to relax and share stories with fellow firefighters. FDIC International gathers more firefighters than any event in North America. The opportunities for building long-lasting friendships abound here.
6. Networking—Firefighters: Along with camaraderie, firefighters have an opportunity to network with other firefighters. What is working in their departments? What isn’t? What issues do they face with recruitment and retention? You’re not going to find a bigger group with more diverse backgrounds at any fire service event in North America.
7. Networking—Vendors: Fire service vendors and manufacturers who come to FDIC recognize this conference and exhibition as the premier event in the fire service. That is why more than 800 of them gather annually in Indianapolis to introduce their newest innovations. More importantly, the representatives staffing the booths are the decision makers at their respective companies. You will be speaking with those who are responsible for relating what you express directly so they can address your needs. You are not meeting with local sales representatives here but with the movers and shakers of these exhibitors.
8. Networking—Fire Service Leaders: The fire service leaders who come to speak at FDIC are not only here to speak to you—they are also here to listen, offer advice, and speak with you during and after their classes. You will find them out at night and are always willing to share their experiences, knowledge, and wisdom with you. With more than 200 classes, your opportunity to interact with today’s leaders and tomorrow’s leaders is unmatched.
9. You get to mingle with Fire Engineering, FireRescue, and Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment staffs: Stop by the PennWell Fire Group booth and you will find representatives from Fire Engineering, Fire Rescue, or Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment there to answer your questions no matter what they are. Want to find out how to become a writer for one of these publications. Stop by the booth. Our editors are more than happy to sit down with you and talk.
10. The knowledge you bring home: When you leave FDIC International, you tie together everything you experienced here. And, that’s what it is: an experience. FDIC International isn’t just a hands-on training event, a conference, or an exhibition. It’s the entire experience involving the first nine items on this list. When you leave, you are richer for having trained, learned, and networked with thousands of other firefighters.