Every spring the fire service celebrates a rebirth of its continuous efforts in improving service to our communities and our members by participating in the largest exchange of fire service information, tactics, equipment and training in the world at the Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) in Indianapolis.
This year, that rebirth can be taken literally, as FDIC begins on March 21, the second day of spring.
The city of Indianapolis will again open its doors to the world’s greatest collection of fire service instructors, practitioners, leaders, manufacturers, support agencies and firefighting aficionados. For those who have been going to FDIC religiously, this year is the most exciting since the conference began in 1928.
We recommend you make your reservations early. Although there are a number of new downtown hotels, space is already filling up as everyone is anticipating several major milestones at this year’s annual gathering of the best and the brightest in the fire service.
This will be the first fire service gathering to mark the 10th anniversary of the murderous attack on the World Trade Center, and there will be several opportunities to pay our respects. Sculptor Brian Hanlon will supply an inspirational statue, and firefighters will have the opportunity to write their names and a short note in remembrance books, reflecting on the courage and honor that was displayed that day. The books will be turned over to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum to be archived.
We promised to never forget, and we have never forgotten. We will show that we will always remember the courage and sacrifice displayed on that horrible September morning.
The main program will feature the fire service’s highest honor – the presentation of the Ray Downey Courage and Valor Award. The 2011 awardee will receive a medal and a $35,000 check for rising above and beyond the call of duty.
There will be several new social events, including our annual Stop Drop Rock ‘n Roll night of music, entertainment, raffles, food and fun. There’s also the annual Fools Bash, the Hands-On Training (HOT) Instructors Dinner, the Union Party and the numerous informal gatherings at pubs across the city. For the first time ever, the Battle of the Bands promises to be an incredible night of live music and fantastic entertainment.
The Indianapolis Convention Center (ICC) has completed a major expansion project that includes 400,000 square feet of additional space. Over half of that new space will be devoted to exhibits, increasing the overall exhibitor total to more than 900 companies. The ICC expansion includes direct access to Lucas Oil Stadium (LOS) via an enclosed, air-conditioned corridor. Another 100,000 square feet of event space, called the South Street Exhibition and Demonstration Area, will be located between the ICC and LOS. The Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge will take place at that location, as well as product demonstrations by participating exhibitors.
The FDIC keynoters on Wednesday and Thursday are, as is customary for FDIC, from among our ranks, two of our nation’s most respected fire officers and instructors – FDNY Capt. Mike Dugan and Miami-Dade Capt. Bill Gustin. They have messages of inspiration, insight, and motivation. These men are giants who have proven themselves repeatedly, not only by their heroics in battle, but also by their heroic courage of character. They will speak directly to us about our triumphs, challenges, advances and opportunities. We will also take a moment to remember our fallen. The opening ceremony will honor the sacrifices and courage shown by those who came before us.
FDIC 2011 will again serve as the bellwether for the status of the American and the international fire service. The hands-on training this year will include a new Urban Essentials class being delivered by some of the most gritty and fireground-tested firefighters in North America. There will also be a brand-new class on rescue, as well as the latest advances and improvements in our traditional techniques and tactics.
FDIC is as focused on what you do as you are. You are part of the most critical element in your community’s safety and welfare, and FDIC is the most critical element in your continuing drive to be the best for your community. FDIC will make you stronger, and your presence makes FDIC better.
The workshops will include some of the most controversial and most effective techniques for the wide variety of fire behavior one can expect to be confronted with on today’s modern fireground. You’ll return from FDIC 2011 ready to engage your community’s firefighters in discussions around fire station coffee tables. Whether it’s dynamic fire behavior, green construction, the latest in emergency medical services, or fire service leadership, it’s all at FDIC. The conference offers the greatest collection of information in the fire service today with 18 hands-on training evolutions, 74 workshops and 224 classes.
Make your reservations to welcome spring and the annual rebirth of the American fire service this year in Indianapolis on March 21. Be part of the 30,000 firefighters who are leading the fire service by example.