Can’t make it to FDIC?
Don’t worry, you can still experience elements of the show from afar
By FireRescue1 staff
FDIC is the largest fire service conference on U.S. soil, with tens of thousands of firefighters rolling into Indianapolis each year to participate in hands-on training, attend educational sessions and partake in networking and other special events. The conference also includes speakers and attendees on EMS topics, as the former JEMS Con now falls under the FDIC umbrella. The event takes place in Indianapolis, Indiana, April 24-29.
FDIC is a bucket list event for many firefighters, paramedics and EMTs. However, many will be unable to attend due to budget constraints, scheduling conflicts or, in recent years, uncertainty over travel during the pandemic.
For those of you who are unable to attend FDIC 2023, you can tamp down the FOMO (fear of missing out), as there are ways to stay connected to the action. Here are a few ideas:
1. Follow the event on social media
A quick search will reveal FDIC-related hashtags. This year, the go-to hashtag is #FDIC2023 and you can already see the conversation underway at FDIC’s Twitter page. Plus, check out how presenters and exhibitors are drumming up interest in the show. Some examples:
The calm before the storm…The 3M Scott team is hard at work supporting fit testing in preparation for two days of hands-on training at #FDIC2023. Plus a birds-eye view of the H.O.T. Instructors’ meeting with Chief David Rhodes.#ForgedForTheFight #FDIC2023 pic.twitter.com/tC04TWJ54y— 3M Scott Fire & Safety (@3MScott) April 24, 2023
Attending @FDICevent? Join us for 2023 FDIC 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb. Honor/remember @FDNY firefighters who selflessly gave their lives so that others might live on Sept. 11, 2001. Respect. Reflect. With Every Step. More: https://t.co/vS5bAokNU0 #FireHero #FDIC911StairClimb pic.twitter.com/7fyS8IYu8k— NFFF (@NFFF_News) April 22, 2023
New Search & Rescue Tactics in Single-Family Single-Story Residential Structures online training coming this May! Stop by #FDIC2023 Booth # 843 Thursday, April 27 at 2:00 p.m. to discuss the tactical considerations with the researchers/tech panel! #firefightertraining pic.twitter.com/hSt7lW5ob6— Fire Safety Research Institute (@FSRI_org) April 21, 2023
Pro tip: Not everyone remembers to use the hashtag so searching “FDIC 2023” or similar keywords or presenter names will elicit posts as well.
2. Check out educational session previews
Many presenters share preview articles or videos to drum up interest in their sessions before the show. Reviewing these previews is a first step in learning more about the topic at hand. For example, Chief John Alston of the New Haven (Conn.) Fire Department discussed one of his upcoming FDIC educational sessions, "What's on your mind? The incident commander mindset," in a video shared to social media.
Additionally, FireRescue1 offers educational coverage of a handful of FDIC sessions. Check out the FDIC coverage here – with session insights to follow in coming weeks.
Join me at #FDIC2023 for my new class offering, "What's On Your Mind? The Incident Commander Mindset. For Women in Fire #WIF Monday April 24th and FDIC Friday, April 28th. Check out times and register. pic.twitter.com/ljrcdW9GpU— Fire Officer Trust (@j_alston) April 20, 2023
3. Seek out similar content
Once you’ve identified the content you’re most interested in exploring, start seeking out similar articles and videos. For example, FDIC 2023 will feature sessions on a wide variety of topics, including search and rescue, fire attack, fireground decision-making, leadership, apparatus, training and instruction, behavioral health, PPE, incident command, staffing and more. Search FireRescue1’s topic page for information on these and many other topics.
Plus, some FireRescue1 board members, columnists and contributors are speaking at this year’s event. Check out their work for related educational information:
- Captain/EMS Coordinator Rommie Duckworth
- Captain Brad French
- Lexipol Senior Fire Adviser Deputy Chief Billy Goldfeder
- Lexipol Co-founder Gordon Graham
- Senior Scientist Sara Jahnke
- Assistant Chief Nicol Juratovac
- Fire Chief Gary Ludwig
- Deputy Chief Steve Prziborowski
- Rescue Captain Justin Schorr
- Firefighter Mark van der Feyst
- Battalion Chief Dena Ali
- Fire Chief (Ret.) Clare Frank
4. Connect with presenters
Reach out to presenters whom you would have liked to see at the show, particularly if you have specific questions that you would have asked in the in-person session. Connect on LinkedIn or follow them on social media to glean information from their sessions or associated training.
Check out the full list of FDIC presenters here.
5. Attend virtual events
Not all shows offer virtual events, so you’ll want to keep tabs on the show’s event information page to learn which events or presentations, if any, will be available to livestream – or for on-demand viewing after the show. Keep in mind that while some events may not be livestreamed, event sponsors or groups might choose to live-tweet from an event, keeping you up to date on the action.
6. Join a local chapter or organization
Like most major trade shows, FDIC holds special events for groups. For example, FDIC 2023 will feature a networking event for Women in Fire plus the Indy Metro F.O.O.L.S. Brotherhood Bash event. Other groups or associations may hold meetings at events like this, as so many members will be in the same place at the same time. Research whether groups you are affiliated with – or want to be affiliated with – are holding events at the show, and consider joining a local chapter to help keep you current on activities from the show. You can also follow these groups on social media to stay in the loop.
7. Visit vendor websites, headquarters or distributor sites
You may not be able to make it to FDIC, but can you visit exhibitors after the show? Perhaps some of the companies you wanted to visit are located closer to your department than Indianapolis, and it would be an easier trek to hit the road for individual visits. Remember to make appointments with these companies so they are prepared to show you the goods.
You may not be able to attend the show this year, so start planning now for next year. Block off your calendar, asking your supervisor about the steps necessary to attend the show, and start saving those pennies. It’s always great to connect with your peers, but when that’s not in the cards, at least you have some solid strategies to stay connected and continue learning.
This article, originally published in 2022, has been updated with new information.