Editor’s note: Deputy Chief and Training Officer George Low, an FDIC rookie, blogs from Indianapolis this week.
March 24, 2011, Indianapolis - My first FDIC experience today was a wonderful surprise. Twenty-one years ago, I left Pickering Fire Department, where I had volunteered for 11 years, to move to Alberta, as a result of changes in my paying job. As soon as I arrived in Alberta, I found and joined our local volunteer department.
One of the first people I saw this morning was Gord Ferguson. When I left Pickering, Gord was a firefighter. Today he is deputy chief with Pickering. What a wonderful opportunity to meet and catch up with old friends. We had a few moments to chat about old times, and parted with the promise to get together soon for a more complete reunion. I had expected to meet up with my Alberta fire service friends during this trip, but was ecstatic to have contacted people I haven’t seen for more than 20 years.
The formal course seminars in which I participated were, as expected, a valuable experience. My plan was, and remains, to pick up ideas that I can use to enhance our training when I return to Redwood Meadows. The seminars I attended today were valuable in that regard. However the last seminar was the best. This was an informal discussion with some of the foremost minds in the fire service in North America. Retired Fire Chief Alan Brunacini of Phoenix was joined by retired Deputy Assistant Chief John Norman of FDNY and retired fire chief and educator director of FDIC , Bobby Halton, in an “unplugged” session. They discussed issues affecting today’s fire service in a candid and informal way. This discussion was a valuable and a thoroughly enjoyable insight into the issues of the day as seen by some of the fire service’s greatest thinkers.
All of these experiences were enhanced by the opportunity to meet and socialize with firefighters from every part of North America.
I can hardly wait to see what today brings!
George Low is a deputy chief and chief training officer with Redwood Meadows Emergency Services in Alberta. He has been a firefighter for 31 years and a fire service instructor for 20 years.