By FireRescue1 Staff
Each summer, thousands of fire service leaders meet up at the International Association of Fire Chief’s Fire-Rescue International (FRI) – the premier conference for fire chiefs and other fire service leaders, or aspiring leaders – to network, enhance their KSAs and view the latest product offerings. This year’s event is being held Aug.16-18 in Kansas City, Missouri, at the Kansas City Convention Center.
But what if you can’t make it? Don’t worry, 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
The Fire-Rescue International event hashtag is #FRI2023, and the conversation is already starting on Twitter. Also, be sure to follow the IAFC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Plus, check out how the IAFC, presenters and exhibitors are drumming up interest in the show. Some examples:
Pro tip: Not everyone remembers to use the hashtag, so searching “FRI 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. Additionally, FireRescue1 offers educational coverage of a handful of FRI sessions. Check out some of our pre-show FRI coverage here:
- Chiefs of staff: Assisting chiefs from Tulsa to DC
- Your top electric vehicles questions, answered
- Are millennials really the problem – or lack of mentorship?
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, FRI 2023 will feature sessions on a wide variety of topics, including leadership, apparatus, training and instruction, behavioral health, company officer development and more.
Plus, some FireRescue1 board members, columnists and contributors are speaking at this year’s event. Check out their work for related educational information:
- Fire Chief Michael Baker
- Fire Chief (ret.) Marc Bashoor (FireRescue1 executive editor)
- Deputy Chief Chantal Botting
- Fire Chief (ret.) John Buckman
- Lexipol Senior Fire Adviser Deputy Chief Billy Goldfeder
- Lexipol co-founder Gordon Graham
- Assistant Chief David Griffin
- Senior Scientist Sara Jahnke
- Deputy IC Gary Krichbaum
- IPSDI CEO Chief John Oates
- Deputy Chief Steve Prziborowski
- Psychologist/Lexipol Wellness Director Rachelle Zemlok
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 FRI 2023 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, Fire-Rescue International holds special events for groups, 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 FRI, but can you visit exhibitors after the show? Perhaps some of the companies you wanted to visit are located closer to your department than Kansas City, 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, ask 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.