Indianapolis, IN – William Manning, associate publisher/editor in chief, Fire Engineering, and FDIC conference director, in his opening remarks: “2004 marks the 76th year of FDIC and the eighth year under the leadership of PennWell and Fire Engineering. I was there eight-and-a-half years ago when people heard about our ambitious plans to significantly raise the level of training of this conference, in all its aspects, and many told us it couldn’t be done. There were a million reasons not to do it, they said. We said there are a million reasons to do it-a million reasons called ‘American firefighters.’ “
“… The participants and instructors and staff making the commitment to FDIC and what it represents give me great hope for the future fire service. So long as there are people like you in this business, pushing on the way you push on, holding fast to the core values, and devoting yourselves to leaving a richer legacy … we will improve, we will move forward, and in the end the fire service will prevail ….”
“There are some who say, citing examples from past and recent history, that the fire service’s ability to fractionalize and blow itself up from inside-out knows no limits. Are we political? You bet! Do we disagree sometimes? Oh yeah! Do we fight like brothers and sisters fight sometimes? You’d better believe it! But, when I go out to the H.O.T. sites and I see the intensity with which firefighters are training, I think to myself, ‘This is one fire service.’
“When I see volunteer and career firefighters, when I see firefighters from different parts of the country working together in drills, I say to myself, ‘This is one fire service.’
“When I see firefighters continuing the discussions from workshops and classrooms in the hallways, in the exhibit halls, in the restaurants, I say to myself, ‘This is one fire service.’
“…. And, when I see you standing in this room shoulder-to-shoulder to honor your brothers and sisters in unity and solidarity, I know this is one fire service.”
“…. I have long held that training and education, combined with real-world experience, are the great fireground and emergency scene equalizers. I’ll take that one step further.
“Training and education are the great fire service unifiers. You prove that here at this conference, and you prove that when you take the knowledge and ideas and enthusiasm and apply them when you get home. It ties us together-every one in this room, every one who attends this conference, and every one touched by what you bring home. It means we are never far away from each other in this commitment. And, it means that you have a large and very special support network that stands behind you not only when the going gets tough on the fireground, but also when various human obstacles interpose themselves between you and your great mission. Never forget it.”