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Editor’s blog


April 18, 2012
By Laura King


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April 18, 2012, Indianapolis – If you’ll pardon the pun, Chief Steve Kraft from Richmond Hill, Ont., was on fire this morning when he delivered the keynote address here at the opening session in Indy.

April 18, 2012, Indianapolis – If you’ll pardon the pun, Chief Steve Kraft from Richmond Hill, Ont., was on fire this morning when he delivered the keynote address here at the opening session in Indy.

There was standing room only for Kraft’s presentation, called Be a leader, not just a position, and Steve’s enthusiasm and passion won him a standing ovation from the thousands (yep, thousands, not hundreds) of firefighters in the room.

I’ve heard this presentation a couple of times and this was, without a doubt, the best yet, delivered with more pizzazz, oomph and takeaways than previous versions.

The facilitator called Chief Kraft the pride of Canada. We’re good with that!

I was at the very back of the room for Chief Kraft’s presentation – couldn’t find a seat and it was the best vantage point for photos – and was putting away my camera and collecting my backpack full of electronic devices (none of which I can use in the conference centre because there is no free wireless, rather there is cost-a-fortune wireless, and since we’re all on a budget . . . I digress) when I ran into Deputy Chief Jon Hagg from Pickering, an Indy rookie, and, while I was talking to him, was stopped by FFIC Truck Tech columnist Chris Dennis and a contingent from Vaughan, Ont. FFIC is extremely well represented here with Dennis, Volunteer Vision columnist Vince MacKenzie from Grand Falls-Windsor, N.L, (also an FDIC rookie), Back to Basics columnist Mark van der Feyst, and extrication columnist Randy Schmitz, whose presentation this afternoon on new vehicle technology was a big hit.

There are slews of other Canadians here too – a group of 45 with The Fire Within/Firefighters First; a contingent from from Burlington, Ont. (who I have yet to find); George Low from Redwood Meadows, who blogged for us last year from Indy, and a group from that fire department (including Jennifer Evans, the better half of FFIC blogger, contributor and sometimes photographer Rob Evans, who is home manning the department in his new capacity as chief – and looking after the kids!); and dozens of others. There are a couple of Canadian get-togethers at various locations tonight, and another tomorrow night . We’ll try to make an appearance!

One of the classrooms sessions I tried to attend today – called Fire behavior has changed, have your tactics? – was over-subscribed before I could get in the door with my much-needed, very large cup of tea (there isn’t a Tims in sight, of course, and trying to find a decent cup of tea in Indianapolis is challenging for a Maritimer who needs an extra-large cuppa to start the day).

Lots of other sessions were full or near capacity, and the handful that I attended were dotted with Canadians.

The trade show opens tomorrow, and FFIC sales manager Catherine Connolly arrives.

Follow us on Twitter for regular updates: @fireincanada, #FFICinIndy.


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