By Ray McCormack

Have you ever attended the FDIC, or Fire Department Instructors Conference? If you haven’t, then you also missed the FDLC–the Fire Department Learners Conference. While the title of this piece is not a formal request to change the name of the FDIC, it is an undisputed true reflection of what takes place at the FDIC: Learning.

There is a magical revelation that occurs once someone has experienced the sensory overload that is a week at the FDIC. From attending the HOT programs and preconference workshops, which start off the week, to the numerous classroom sessions, and finally the exhibit floor, it is a show like no other. That is why it is so important to experience this event. The fire service is represented from A to Z in products, departments, and personalities.

Attendance provides such a vast opportunity to learn more about the field we have chosen or, as some say, has chosen us. The fire service is always moving forward and we must understand that. Future developments that will affect the rank and file are often developed and or announced at the FDIC.

The FDIC is like a giant charging station for the fire service. Hopefully the charge you leave with is shared at your department and among your fellow firefighters. To fail at sharing what you have learned is a waste of a trip.

Discussions among attendees–which can range from a brief encounter of a few minutes to a few hours–are taking place constantly. These sharing sessions are an opportunity to take a look at issues from another angle, consider other people’s opinions, and determine if they might work for you. If you plan right and get yourself to the FDIC, share what you know to enrich others experience and learn what you can to enrich your experience.  See you at both conferences.

Keep Fire in Your Life

Ray McCormack: Tactical Safety for FirefightersRAY McCORMACK is a 30-year veteran and a lieutenant with FDNY. He is the publisher and editor of Urban Firefighter Magazine. He delivered the keynote address at FDIC in 2009 and he is on the Editorial Board of Fire Engineering Magazine. For more on Urban Firefighter, visit


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