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Editor’s blog


April 11, 2014
By Laura King


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April 11, 2014, Indianapolis – The spreadsheet that kept FFIC sales manager Catherine Connolly and me on track and on time for our visits with writers and advertisers at FDIC in Indy yesterday and today proved to be a godsend.

April 11, 2014, Indianapolis – The spreadsheet that kept FFIC sales manager Catherine Connolly and me on track and on time for our visits with writers and advertisers at FDIC in Indy yesterday and today proved to be a godsend.

Everyone laughed when we said we had created the spreadsheet; everyone stopped laughing when we showed up in the right place, at the right time, didn’t miss a single appointment, tweeted photos and product information from every booth we visited, and learned a whole lot in the process – details about new chassis that leave more room inside, cool new boots for hazmat teams, and heated glass for truck windows.

As noted yesterday, Canada is very well represented here in the sunny Midwest, and last night, the Toronto Fire Services Pipes and Drums were a big hit at Stop, Drop, Rock ‘n’ Roll, the fundraiser for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. (Click here to see photos on our Facebook page.) Apparently I let the cat out of the bag in a tweet last evening about the Pipes and Drums performing at our own version of Stop, Drop, Rock ‘n’ Roll –  Ladders Up for the Foundation – which benefits the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation, on May 3 . . . Oops.

We were thrilled to be joined at Stop, Drop, Rock ‘n’ Roll by the crew from M&L Supply and a group of Bluenosers from Halifax Regional Fire and the Nova Scotia Firefighters School. When we arrived at the venue we got into an elevator with a couple of American firefighters. Being a curious reporter, I asked where they were from – Nebraska – and whether they’d been to Canada. “Yeah,” one fella said. “I’ve taught in Peace River and I’m going back to Alberta in June.”  We all cracked up – much to the surprise of our American friends. Loyal readers will know that I, too, taught (or, rather, presented) in Peace River, Alta., last year at the Northern Alberta Chiefs conference and I’m going back to the combined Alberta/Northern Alberta conference . . . in June. Naturally, I immediately e-mailed Peace River Chief Lance Bushie and conference co-ordinator Rodney Schmidt, the chief in High Level, Alta., who had a good chuckle over the encounter.

Shortly thereafter, we all headed to Wholesale Fire & Rescue’s Canada night. In one of those moments that makes you wonder, the first group of firefighters we saw when we walked into the room were from . . . High Level. (Chief Schmidt, they said to say hi!)

We had an interesting conversation around a table full of Winnipeg-area firefighters – Winnipeg’s new chief, John Lane, starts work Monday – hung out with George Low and Russ Jenkins from Redwood Meadows, Alta., and enjoyed the company of WFR’s Hiba Hodges. The event was well attended  – the all-Canadian music playing was a nice touch! – and there were great prizes: Craig Fowler of Brantford, Ont., and Kraig Devlin of Saanich, B.C., won a trip to the TFT plant this morning and Jigger MacLeod of Alma, N.S. – an FDIC rookie ¬– won Fire-Dex boots.

The trade show floor was jam-packed today, which made getting from booth to booth a challenge, but, with our trusty spreadsheet, we made it to the Lucas Oil Stadium to see Pierce’s new chassis (there are three of them, but the word chassis is both singular and plural – a bit of editor trivia there!), the Schmitz Mittz booth to see Randy and his team, and the Stanley Boats booth to see Rod Soucie from Parry Sound, Ont., who we first met yesterday.

Back at the Indianapolis Convention Centre, we saw new products and innovation at the Innotex, Gore and Knox booths, and kept running into the same Canadians over and over again. (How does that happen? There are, it seems even more than the usual 30,000 people here but we meet the same dozen or so familiar faces every time we turn around!).

Tonight, Drager hosts its hospitality suite starting at 5:30, Safetek’s Canada night starts at 7, and we have dinner with clients/advertisers and fire chiefs at the wonderful Palomino restaurant at 8. It’s all on the spreadsheet.


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