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Editor’s blog


April 29, 2013
By Laura King


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April 29, 2013, Toronto -  It’s remarkable how many Canadians Fire Fighting in Canada advertising manager Catherine Connolly and I saw in Indianapolis last week at FDIC: Windsor, N.S., Fire Chief Scott Burgess, captains-EMTs Jennifer Low-Evans and Gary Robetson and Deputy Fire Chief George Low from Redwood Meadows, Alta., Richmond Hill Fire Chief Steve Kraft, Ontario OFM program specialist Cynthia Ross Tustin, Township of Wellesley Fire Chief Andrew Lillico, the entire 38-member mostly Alberta contingent with The Fire Within (including three of High Level’s finest!), Calgary firefighter Randy Shmitz and his Schmitz Mittz team, Kitchener Deputy Chief Steve Usher, Morden, Man., Chief Andy Thiessen, Woodstock, Ont., Fire Chief Scott Tegler, the crews from Fort Garry Fire Trucks and M&L Supply, and dozens of others.

April 29, 2013, Toronto –  It’s remarkable how many Canadians Fire Fighting in Canada
advertising manager Catherine Connolly and I saw in Indianapolis last
week at FDIC: Windsor, N.S., Fire Chief Scott Burgess, captains-EMTs
Jennifer Low-Evans and Gary Robetson and Deputy Fire Chief George Low
from Redwood Meadows, Alta., Richmond Hill Fire Chief Steve Kraft,
Ontario OFM program specialist Cynthia Ross Tustin, Township of
Wellesley Fire Chief Andrew Lillico, the entire 38-member mostly Alberta
contingent with The Fire Within (including three of High Level’s finest!), Calgary firefighter Randy Shmitz and his Schmitz Mittz
team, Kitchener Deputy Chief Steve Usher, Morden, Man., Chief Andy
Thiessen, Woodstock, Ont., Fire Chief Scott Tegler, the crews from Fort
Garry Fire Trucks and M&L Supply, and dozens of others.

As always, our few days in Indy were full of meetings, trade-show demonstrations (Catherine ROCKED the Globe obstacle-course challenge, coming within seconds of the day’s best time!), and a fair bit of networking – hospitality suites, dinners at Indy’s wonderful downtown restaurants (it amazes me – a Maritime girl – that seafood is an Indianapolis specialty!), and the all-important socializing-that-leads-to-story-ideas-and-writers/contacts. (Really. It does!).

It’s difficult to tell in a city that is overrun with 30,000 firefighters in blue t-shirts (which is actually helpful because it’s nice to see which departments people are with) whether FDIC 2013 was bigger and better than previous versions, but to me, there seemed to be fewer vendors in the hallways of the Indianapolis Convention Centre and, despite size of the trade show, some of the booths seemed smaller – no doubt a result of the sagging U.S. economy and less federal grant money than immediately post 9-11.

It was interesting to see, too, how many apparatus vendors have moved back into the Convention Centre from Lucas Oil Stadium, which appears to get less foot traffic, presumably due to the fact that it’s a bit of a walk between the two venues, which seems inconsequential but given the miles I put on my favourite boots going from hotel to trade show to events to meetings to hospitality rooms to restaurants, I suspect the hike to Lucas Oil does indeed have an impact. (There are shuttles between the convention centre and the stadium but still . . . )

It was also fantastic to see two fairly new contacts – firefighter Ryan Pennington from Charleston, West Virginia, who many of you know as @jumpseatviews, and Jason Hoevelmann (@jasonhoevelmann) from Sullivan, Missouri, who I met a few weeks ago in Peace River, Alta., during the Peace Regional Fire Chiefs conference.

Pennington, who was at FDIC with FoxFury Lighting Solutions, has written two pieces for us so far – you can see his story on fire-ground strategies here; the second piece, on hoarding, is in our May issue, which will be out shortly. Pennington, and his mentor Rich Gasaway (@richgasaway) will be presenting at FDIC Atlantic in June and are keen to experience Maritime hospitality for the first time! (We’re a media partner of FDIC Atlantic so keep watching for the shameless plugs!) Hoevelmann, who presented at Indy on critical decision making on the fire ground, is a training officer with the Florissant Valley Fire Protection District and a seasoned speaker, who I hope to soon bring north of the border.

Meantime, Fire Fighting in Canada and Canadian Firefighter and EMS Quarterly writer Mark van der Feyst presented in Indy on Ongoing Size up for Rescue Profiling, and CFF auto-ex guru Randy Schmitz and his Shmitz Mittz team manned the Schmitz Mittz booth at the trade show.

Schmitz has had a great run with a two-day program in Peace River a few weeks ago, recognition by members of the Alberta legislature for his nomination for the Manning Innovation Awards for the Schmitz Mittz (I’m proud to have been part of the nominating team!), and a successful few days in Indy during which the extrication gloves were a big hit.

It was also great to see the team from Drager – project manager Joe Drouin and engineer Byron Charbonneau – who were part of the LiFTT program in Peace River earlier this month.

I’m back at my desk for four days this week, catching up before our Fire Fighting in Canada golf tournament on Friday, our Ladders Up for the Foundation fundraiser for the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation Saturday night (you can bid in the online auction from anywhere – have a look!!), and the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs conference  Sunday through next Wednesday, at which I expect there will be some interesting moments . . .

Stay tuned!


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