Each year, FDIC seems to become busier and busier for us. As this is a good problem to have, it also means that I have less and less time to walk the show floor to catch up with old friends and find time to make new ones. This year’s schedule had The Fire Critic, Cpt. Wines, and myself in a number of booths for hours each day the exhibit hall was open.
Leading up to FDIC, we always post our schedules online to help any of our friends track us down during the show. This year, we were able to start off the week with our friends from TECGEN PPE. This is a company that we’ve worked with for a number of years, and also a sponsor of Indy On Fire. We were able to help them with a few giveaways and talk to potential clients about the technical rescue, wildland, and extrication gear. Click here to read my recent product review of TECGEN PPE.
For a few hours during the week, we also were able to be in the Viking Life-Saving Equipment booth to help tell firefighters about the newest Viking gear that is coming out soon. The concept is that soiled turnout gear will be taken off on-scene and placed in a bio-degradable bag. Once at the firehouse, the bag is placed in the gear extractor while the second shell is then placed on the gear to return it to service. This is only one of the new features that the gear brings to the market.
Next to Viking Life-Saving Equipment’s booth, we were also able to spend time with Stuart and Colin from TITAN powered by Hainsworth that provides the fabric for the turnout gear! These guys are always great to spend time with, and also handed out challenge coin bottle openers by Engine Co. Apparel that seemed to be a big hit during the show!
While Rhett and Willie helped out our friends from Demers Ambulances for a few hours, I was able to touch base with a few other companies that I have been in contact for some time now.
I was able to finally meet the crew from 555 Fitness, which if you are not familiar, is a non-profit that promotes health and fitness throughout the fire service. My recently released RFB- Earl Morphew shirt from Big Dawg Shirt Shack is having all of the profits donated to 555 Fitness. They have been giving grants to departments across the country in the form of workout equipment with the hopes of helping to reduce the number of firefighters who are killed in the Line of Duty each year.
Another fitness company that I have had the pleasure to work with is FitFighter Training. Sarah Apgar from New York has recently launched a company that reuses retired fire hose by filling it with steel weights letting it be used in firehouse gyms across the country. They have developed a number of circuits and recently launched a training video of the workouts to assist firefighters looking to stay fit for duty. FitFighter Training donated a resistance set of hoses for Indy on Fire, and I feel certain that her business will be growing after the exposure they had at FDIC.
Another huge supporter of ours that I was finally able to spend some time with was Firefighter Art (Artist Jodi Monroe). We have worked with Jodi a number of times, and she always comes through for us. This year, she had several new prints on display in her booth, and were showcasing the cornhole boards that now can be personalized for your fire station! She also donated a handful of prints for our Indy On Fire event. I was able to deliver a set of Kingsport Fire challenge coins for her son, Noah, to add to his collection. It was also a pleasure to meet her husband, Jeremiah!
Throughout the rest of my limited time roaming the floor, I was able to catch up with Zach Green and Shiloh Powell from MN8 Foxfire (who donated to Indy On Fire).
HexArmor Extrication had a very busy booth as always, and I was able to see Michael Ens there who showed me the changes in design with one of their new extrication gloves. Their products were also given away at Indy on Fire.
Rob Shield and the Fire Cam crew were also very busy at the show as we stopped by to pick up several cameras that were raffled away at Indy On Fire, an event that they sponsored.
The Phenix Technology booth is always one that we have to stop by! Angel, Nicole, Shaun, and the rest of the group are great friends! They show us support in everything that we do!
Of course, it was also a pleasure to meet up with many of our fans! After all, we wouldn’t be where we are today if it wasn’t for those brothers and sisters that take time to follow along and read the articles. I’m always very humbled when they ask to take photos, trade coins, or just talk shop about how things have been going. At the FOOL’s Brotherhood Bash, NFFF Stop Drop Rock ‘n’ Roll, the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb, and roaming the show floor, we always run in to people who recognize us or read the articles. It’s always a pleasure!
While it was a stretch for time, Jared Lindholm (KFD) and myself *along with 500 of our closest friends* made it over to Lucas Oil Stadium to participate in the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb. This is one event that is always a must for FDIC! Each year, it seems that more and more climbers register to carry the name of a fallen FDNY firefighter to the top. Each climb, I try to pick-up a different name tag, as they are all equally important. This year, I saw many familiar faces in the crowd and climbing up and down the steps with us. It was great to see Jonah Smith lead the pack, as we followed behind with Sonny O’Conner, Chief Reed Johnson, Danielle Celii, Brian Edwards, Alex Smith, and several other close friends.
This climb, I carried the name of Firefighter John T. Vigiano II.
After an exhausting climb, I rushed off to prepare for the biggest party of FDIC, Indy on Fire! I’ll have more on the event in the near future.
We finished up the exhibit hall on Saturday by working the booth with our good friends from Black Diamond Fire! They have worked with us for years now, and I am proud to say that their boots protect my feet on a daily basis. It’s always nice to show firefighters from across the country the pair of boots that I have worn for the last 4 years, and how they still hold up today! Frank, Matt, Nora, Claudia, and Mary are always very welcoming, and it’s always a pleasure to close out the show on a high note!