Improving the Health & Safety of all Emergency Responders

Fire Apparatus Magazine

So Many Services to Provide

Anyone who attends FDIC International must come away with a sense of awe as to the breadth of the show. There were more than 34,000 attendees who participated in various training programs and on the show floor. One of the most impressive aspects was the diversity of services and products related to the mission of today’s fire service. It was in all aspects, from the vendor displays that included hardware and software to big-ticket items like fire trucks and management support products. The training programs were equally as diverse, providing classes for firefighters to chief officers and covering the gamut of potential service offerings.

Everywhere I went, from the hallways to the main convention area, Lucas Oil Stadium, and outside, I found crowds and learning opportunities. Besides showing their products or services, all vendors offered insight into their commodity and help in learning more so that good decisions could be made. Too often we forget that the vendor show floor is more than just a chance to see new things. It is part of the educational program, and the value cannot be denied. The biggest challenge is narrowing your search to the items of relevance to your organization. It is not humanly possible to spend any quality time at every space.

One common theme with many vendors and educational programs was firefighter well-being. There are more products and services that are working toward creating a more safe and healthy environment for firefighters. I realize that this is a dangerous business, and often there is little that can be done when people put themselves in harm’s way to help their communities, but clearly there is an effort to prevent the preventable. Undoubtedly, there is more information on the added hazards facing firefighters, including more risks for cancer, mental health and wellness, and physical fitness. It seems that everyone is trying to help in their own way. This is a good thing but also means that those responsible must perform their due diligence so that the product or service addresses their concerns and there are no unexpected consequences.

The use of technology continues to expand, if the show was any indication. Virtually every product on display sought to push its technological advances. This promises to help fire departments become more efficient and effective. But, as with any new venture, let the buyer beware. Make sure you have an issue to address and that the product adequately addresses the issue. You don’t need a solution for a challenge that doesn’t exist.

The modern fire service has become much more complicated, requiring more knowledge, apparatus, equipment, and service. This year’s FDIC International put an exclamation point on this fact. Clearly, the expectations and the challenges facing fire departments to deliver across many disciplines will be around for a long time. FDIC International remains the one-stop shopping place to find what you need.

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