WOW what a great conference FDIC2014 was. If you wonder where the brotherhood is then look no further than FDIC! This year the classes where once again great, as well as the opening ceremonies with Chief Bobby Halton and Eric Rohden, but everyone knows about that in anything you read you hear about the education you get from going to FDIC and it is by far second to none, so I want to focus on some other things in my FDIC wrap up.
I will however as usual give a shout out to the best class I took at the conference and that was Reading Buildings: The Rapid Street Approach. it was taught by Dave Dodson of Reading Smoke fame, and Chief Jon Mittendorf who has been a staple in Truck Company Operations for decades. They are taking a new look at how to identify buildings to enhance fire ground operations. They have a book coming out through Fire Engineering Books and Video and I will no doubt be buying it.
During the conference I got the chance to meet some people who I have only interacted with over social media, one of them was Kerry Falzone from Plymovent she gave me the chance to be part of a program I really believe in called #HOOKUPTHEHOSE if you have not seen it here is the first PSA![youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9tjKBwbFY8]
I regret that I did not get a pic with me and Kerry but she is an awesome person and so passionate about protecting firefighters from the dangers of cancer caused by vehicle exhaust no matter the product they use. It was great to meet her!
Another person I got to spend some time with was Andy Starnes. Andy is a Captain in the Charlotte North Carolina Fire Department. Andy is involved in the Kill the Flashover Project www.killtheflashover.com , and writes for Firefighter Toolbox www.firefightertoolbox.com . On top of all that though Andy is a top-notch person. We ran the Courage and Valor 5k together and climbed the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb together as well. The whole time he was encouraging and even stated we started the climb together we will finish together.
Here is my brother, Andy, and I getting ready to run the 5k. It was awesome to meet Andy, he is one of those people who has never met a stranger in his life, because within minuets you are his friend.
Another person who I had met before but got to spend some more time with was Andrew Catron from the Model City Firefighter Blog http://www.modelcityfirefighter.com/
Andrew is a blogger, and firefighter in Kingsport TN. He is also a Ride Backwards www.ridebackwards.com sponsored athlete! He is usually seen hanging around Capt. Wines and Rhett Fleitz (Ironfireman and Fire Critic). Andrew also ran the 5k and participated in the 9/11 memorial Stair Climb both while wearing his TECGEN http://www.tecgenxtreme.com/ gear!
On Friday I got to climb in my 4th 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb but first at FDIC climbing this time for Battalion Chief Orio Palmer
I am huge supporter of the 9/11 Stair Climbs, a lot of people talk brotherhood but by doing a climb you LIVE IT and FDIC was one of the best climbs I have done by far. The stadium configuration makes it a tougher climb but the camaraderie was so much more during this climb as you are constantly passing people on the stairs. I found myself fist bumping and encouraging others, and others doing the same back to me! It was something I had never experienced before during a climb.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Fw3_yki_R8]
You can see the emotion, the Brotherhood that was present during this climb. It was truly an honor to share the stairs with my brothers and sisters, and also my wife Karen who has done every climb with me!
While there I also got to participate in the FOOLS BASH, and Firefighter Turnout hosted by the First Arriving Blog Network that hosts a lot of popular blogs like Fire Critic, Iron Firemen, First Due Tackle, Boron Extrication, Statter911, Model City Firefighter and a host of others! I was able to interact with Paul from First Due Tackle www.firstduetackle.com during several events and he even gave me his challenge coin! The Firefighter Turn out was AWESOME! There was gaming, good food, and of course BROTHERHOOD! I do not think it could have gone better, and I hope it is not the last time.
Lastly I did get to meet one other special person…
Chief Fire Wife Lori Mercer! Lori runs the website www.firefighterwife.com which is a group determined to make fire marriages work. Lori works tirelessly with other fire wives giving them support in a multitude of different areas of life in order to improve relationships with their firefighters! My wife is a member as has become extremely active in the sisterhood even becoming a moderator and poster in the Fit Fire Wife subgroup. Lori may be the most sought after and popular person at the conference as she was always in demand. She is doing great things for firefighters and their wives, it was great to meet her!
Again too many great things happen at this conference to confine it all to one post, I couldn’t come close to listing all the people I met, or the impact things had on me. I just know that FDIC is the greatest fire service conference on the planet no matter how you slice it. I love going, and I want to go every year! That may not always be a possibility but I know what the conference has done for me and my passion. If you have never gone then you are missing out. Save your money, sleep on a floor in your buddies hotel room, do what you have to do to get to go an experience this event!
As usual thanks for reading, spread the word, and STAY SAFE!