FDIC Recap Part I…Networking and the 9-11 Memorial Stair Climb

As social media continues to expand within the fire service realm, firefighters and EMT’s are realizing how they can connect and network with others on a global scale from the comfort of their daily lives. Without taking away from their jobs, lives, and family firefighters can share information and ideas with others from their computers and smartphones. They do this after a call, around the station, at home, and whenever else they find a couple of seconds to update facebook or send a tweet. They connect in a way that wasn’t even possible several years ago.  

After years of Dave Statter photoshopping images to make himself look taller than me we finally have a true image that shows are true height next to each other. And yes, we are both standing.

During a handful of events a year, some of these social media persona’s travel to conferences and conventions within the fire and/or EMS World. EMS Today, FDIC, FRI, EMS Expo, Firehouse World, and Firehouse Expo are some of these events. Some people travel for the actual classes/exhibits, some for the networking, and others find time to do both.


This year at FDIC was no exception. I attended several events including the Meetup at Indy. I also noticed that numerous other companies and organizations planned similar events to compliment the staple events like the FOOLS Brotherhood Bash, Indianapolis IAFF Union Party, and Stop, Drop, Rock, and Roll. It is great to see more events sprout up!

The networking continues to spread and encompass more firefighters. The companies are beginning to take notice (more on that later).

Either way, I had a blast at FDIC. Here are some of the highlights along with some of the people I met and hung out with.

Not to worry though, I have plenty more to share on people I met and hung out with!


Zach Green of MN8 Products after being interviewed by the news.

Willie Wines Jr. and I arrived and were promptly picked up by friend and Firefighter Netcast Cofounder John Mitchell at the airport. We made our way to the hotel. John and Tiger Schmittendorf later went to the ISFSI membership social.

Willie and I met Dave Statter for lunch…

When we met with Dave, he was in full fire buff mode as Indianapolis Firefighters were at his hotel for an elevator call. You can read about that here along with video. Some of the guys on the rig new of Dave, Willie, and I. Dave had his video camera rolling for the events!

and had a quick dinner at Dick’s Bodacious BBQ and were met by Zach Green of MN8 Products (Foxfire illuminating technology). After that, we stopped by Scotty’s Brewhouse and enjoyed a couple of drinks. The topic of the night was free social media branding ideas for companies. Dave and I should get paid for this stuff!


Willie and I were up early.We caught up with Zach once again to check out his interview with local news channel 59 on his illuminating technology. The publicity this guy got at FDIC was amazing! Later that day, another channel interviewed him as well.

Channel 59 news story here

Channel 6 news story here

The audio/visual classroom team helping me with my final touches!

After that we headed to the convention center. I wanted to get checked in with the classroom team at FDIC to make sure everything was copesetic! That classroom team is a cut above the rest! It was my pleasure to see Martin Grube once again and everything went as planned.

Once that was finished, I was reminded at how small this World really is. John Mitchell, Tiger Schmittendorf, Willie Wines Jr. and I were met by Josh Creamer and a friend (I apologize for forgetting the name) for lunch at Claddagh’s Irish Pub.

After we were finished eating, a woman offered to snap our picture. Long story short, she knows my sister. They are both in the Hotel industry. Such a small World!

Later that night, we found ourselves at the FOOLS Brotherhood Bash with Hooters! What a great time! These guys sure know how to put on a party!

Willie and I hanging out at the FOOLS Bash!

We left the FOOLS Bash to head to dinner with the Fire Rescue Magazine and Firefighter Nation team at Harry and Izzy’s. This is an annual dinner they do and the second for me. Let me just say that the bone in filet is one of the best steaks I have ever had in my life. Trust me…bone in filet is the way to go. It is not a cheap cut, but well worth the expense every once in a while!

I got to meet more of the Brotherhood Instructors crew. I must say, these are some great guys! If you ever want to sit down and chat with some very smart, well rounded, and well grounded firefighters you should take the time to bump into these guys. Nate Demarse and Chris Collier were among the guys I met. You can check out their blog here. They have 42 instructors and include some of the best training available this day in age!

Tiger Schmittendorf, Jason Hoevelmann, Willie Wines Jr., the Fire Rescue Magazine Team, Dave Iannone, Bill Carey, Chris Hebert, Dave Statter, and others attended as well.

I didn’t stay out too late as I had some fine tuning I wanted to do on my classroom presentation.


Come Thursday morning, I was in full teaching mode. I must admit that everything kinda went together. I was nervous, but it wasn’t a sick to my stomach kinda nervous…and once I got started it all fell in line better than I had expected.

I wrote about my class here. Don’t worry though, I will have plenty more information on the class in the future!

After the class it was smooth sailing. Firefighter Netcast was in full swing at the Fire Rescue Magazine Booth minus me. I was not allowed to participate with Firefighter Netcast only because they were setup in the Fire Rescue Magazine booth. Apparently there is much to learn about fire service politics…

So I made my way around the FDIC exhibit hall floor.


A firefighter continues the climb

On Friday, I actually assisted Dave Statter with shooting the NFFF 9-11 Memorial Stair Climb which was held at Lucas Oil Stadium. I was honored to see so many firefighters take the time to honor the 343 firefighters who died on September 11th. It was not an easy task. There were so many firefighters who did the walk in full turnout gear. Others did it with a pack on and wore shorts and t-shirts. I don’t think it matters to what extent they took it to, just that they did it!

There are 9-11 Memorial Stair Climbs popping up all across the Nation. If you are interested in starting one the information is here.

The guys who finished first hustled the entire time. This was not a race…but these two finished it in great time. They apparently met shortly into the event. I am sure they will keep in touch.

In order to climb the equivalent of 110 stories, firefighters walked up to the top of Lucas Oil Stadium and back down 3 times. The 110 story climb was only the climbing part, not the walking back down. At the top, the firefighters walked up and down the top section several times from one side of the stadium to the other.

A view from the top

I should have been walking in it. I didn’t do it. I have another shot…I understand that one of my brother firefighters in Roanoke is working on heading one up this September. Maybe that will be my chance to honor the brothers.

Afterwards, I got to meet up with the ladies from Ride Backwards. What a bunch of great people! Ride Backwards is a proud sponsor of the 9-11 Memorial Stair Climbs.

Friday night, we went to the Fire Rescue Magazine/FireEMSBlogs.com/Firefighter Nation meetup at Indy. I will write about that in the near future!

These guys did one hell of a job...and in a lot better time than I would have!

Hanging with the Ladies of Ride Backwards!