FDIC International: Looking ahead at North America’s leading firefighter conference

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IFSJ takes a look at some of the key sessions, speakers and opportunities in store at FDIC International

FDIC International is North America’s Leading Firefighter Conference, bringing together thousands of Fire & Rescue professionals from around the world, world-class instructors, classrooms, workshops, training, and the innovative products and services on display from 800+ exhibiting companies. Being held in Indianapolis form 24-29 of April, FDIC is a show that focuses on learning and sharing with your peers formally and informally through hallway conversations, developing life-long friendships, and recharging your passion for the industry.

More than 35,000 industry professionals from around the world will be in Indianapolis for FDIC International 2023, giving you the opportunity to develop stronger industry relationships, learning from other departments on the issues they are facing and bringing back these insights to our department.

The week-long event begins with FDIC’s interactive hands-on training evolutions where firefighters and fire and rescue professionals can advance their skills by participating in live training courses, pre-conference workshops and over 200 conference sessions taught by renowned instructors presenting new areas of interest within the fire service along with updated content on important topics. 

Hands on Training

Hands-on Training (H.O.T.) Evolutions at FDIC International are training sessions on the latest technology and techniques in the fire service, instructed by key players within the industry. They are designed so that firefighters that attend will become better firefighters and take back information to their hometown departments that will have an impact on the safety of their community

Among the training sessions on offer is one from Leigh Hollins, Battalion Chief (Ret.), Cedar Hammock (FL) Fire Department, who will host a session on ‘Advanced Vehicle Extrication’, presenting challenging, difficult extrication scenarios requiring advanced skills to stabilise the vehicles, gain entry, and remove patients entrapped and entangled in the wreckage.

With electric and hybrid vehicles on the rise, Jason Defosse, Firefighter, Quinte West Fire Department. will lead a training course on ‘Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Response’. Students will have the opportunity to receive hands-on training on the latest vehicles on the market today. The class will focus on electric hybrid vehicle response as well as new emerging technologies and attendees will be given a unique perspective on proper shutdown procedures, extrication tactics, the removal of patients entrapped and entangled in the wreckage, and firefighting considerations while applying real hands-on training with brand new and late model hybrid and electric vehicles.

Pre-conference workshops

Pre-conference workshops are offered on Monday, April 24 and Tuesday, April 25 ahead of the conference program. These 4-hour sessions provide an in-depth look at specific topics covering new areas of interest within the fire service as well as traditional training topics. Attendees can choose from a variety of topics and should be prepared to walk away with new insights, ideas and approaches.

Among the workshops is ‘25 to Survive: The Commercial Building Fire’, with Doug Mitchell, Captain, Fire Department of New York. This interactive program will address 25 critical firefighting concerns common to the commercial building fire and tactically sound tips, techniques, and drills that firefighters can implement into their firehouse.

Justin Bailey, Chief, Oliver Springs (TN) Fire Department, will host a session on ‘Prioritising Your Department’s Training Program’. This course will help determine the need for training for firefighters and their department and how to make it the leading priority. Topics include organisational training needs and expectations, the selection of a training officer, training program delivery, and personal responsibility in maintaining a healthy training environment.

In the classroom

FDIC International offers more ways than ever to learn the latest tactics, techniques, and technologies designed to take your knowledge to the next level with world-renowned instructors.

‘Cancer: Prevent It, Detect It Early, and Survive It’ will see an interactive presentation and discussions, where students will learn about the scope of the problem of cancer in the fire service, hosted by Russell Osgood, Chief, Ogunquit (ME) Fire Department; Firefighter Cancer Support Network.

 ‘Fight the Fire, Not the Building’, hosted by Ron Kanterman, Executive Inspector, Fire Department of New York Bureau of Fire Protection, will review the built-in active and passive fire protection systems that make up the building’s fire and life safety system and the basic working of these systems.

Women in Fire

Women in Fire Conference returns to FDIC International. This conference will begin with an opening ceremony, followed by a line-up of educational classes that provide training, support, and advocacy for women in the fire service.

Its keynote address on Monday 24 April at 8am comes from Mira Leinonen, a senior officer for a state administrative state agency in Southern Finland and chairperson for the international association CTIF’s Women in Fire and Rescue Services commission.

A seminar called ‘Health and Wellness for Women in the Fire Service’ will present attendees with information and resources regarding the impacts of culture, harassment and bullying, mental health, and suicide among women in the fire service. Included are resources for pregnant firefighters along with information about risks, impacts, and best practices. The session will be hosted by Amy Hanifan, President; Operations Chief, Women in Fire; McMinnville (OR) Fire Department.

‘Your Guide to Responding to Harassment, Discrimination, and Retaliation in Emergency’, with Candice McDonald, Deputy CEO; Firefighter/EMT, NVFC; Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firemen’s Association, will educate on protected groups; define and identify types of unlawful discrimination; examine the behaviours of unlawful harassment; educate on what liability has in addressing harassment and discrimination, and more.


FDIC International brings together members of the fire service from around the world to exchange information, network, reconnect with old friends and meet new ones. Attendees can maximise their experience by attending a variety of special events planned throughout the week.

Returning this year to facilitate networking is the MATCH! Program. It is designed help participant get business done in the most efficient and convenient way possible and is available to officers (or committee members) who are decision-makers and actively sourcing products or services for their department. Meetings are pre-scheduled and mutually agreed upon, which allows both parties to come prepared for a productive business conversation while saving precious time at the event.


Finally, not to be missed at FDIC International is IGNITE: an exhibiting destination for start-up businesses owned by emergency service entrepreneurs looking to make their debut at the show. Companies will feature alongside other start-up and small businesses, creating a dedicated community within the Lucas Oil Stadium exhibit hall. Participating exhibitors will be looking to build relationships, connect and network with industry professionals including fire chiefs, officers, firefighters, EMTs, paramedics, distributors, and other manufacturers large and small.

This article was originally published in the March edition of IFSJ. To read your FREE digital copy, click here.

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