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On the road again . . .

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Where to start after several days on the road?

The editorial in our June issue of Fire Fighting in Canada asks whether an FDIC North is worth considering. There’s been lots of talk about regional Fire Department Information Courses in Canada aimed at front-line firefighters but there’s some trepidation about the magnitude of such events. The guys at FDIC Atlantic have it down to a science.

Last weekend’s FDIC Atlantic at Acadia University in Wolfville, N.S. – the 16th annual, by the way – is a brilliant example of how to run a productive and relevant regional training weekend and trade show that’s affordable for volunteers, manages to attract top-notch speakers (who donate their time and skills) and brings together hundreds of firefighters (490 to be exact – including about 50 females) from all over the Atlantic provinces to train and network.

June 9, 2010 
By Laura King

Thanks to
the board – president Joe Vidito, vice president Stephen Fenner, treasurer Fred
Layton, secretary Bernie Turpin, directors Dave Burnett, Vince Conrad, John
Cunningham (a fellow Caper who also grew up on Hardwood Hill in Sydney!), Lyle
Donovan, Paul Hopkins, Vince MacKenzie, John Malloy, Chris Mitts, Christian
Ruel, and associate director Miles Boulter for their hospitality, the fabulous
accommodations and the great party Saturday night with firefighter duo Sons of


FDIC Atlantic President Joe Vidito, with board members, address 490 delegates during the opening ceremonies Saturday morning at the Festival Theatre at Acadia University. Photo by Laura King.  


lesson learned from FDIC Atlantic: Never walk in late to a presentation by Bob
Krause. Krause is a battalion chief in
Toledo, Ohio, with a booming voice who clearly
never forgets a name. Last guy (or magazine editor) into the room gets picked
on through the entire presentation . . . Thanks to FDIC director Dave Burnett for showing me
the back entrance for Krause’s second presentation on Sunday!

Bob Krause's presentations, "When burning buildings fall down" and "Incident command, even a caveman can do it" at FDIC Atlantic were extremely entertaining, as long as you weren't the last person into the room.
Photo by Laura King.

out there looking for speakers for upcoming conferences should check out the
list from FDIC Atlantic here or get in touch with board members.

I finally
met Fire Fighting in Canada Trainer’s
columnist Ed Brouwer in Wolfville. Ed is from B.C., I’m in
Ontario and we finally connected in Nova Scotia over fabulous fish and chips at
Paddy’s Pub (and mussels – well, everyone but Ed!) on the main street in
Wolfville Friday night. This was Ed’s third year at FDIC Atlantic – the board
broke its rule about rotating speakers after two years and invited Ed back for
a third conference due to popular demand. Ed shoots from the hip and his
presentation are, um, interactive. I won’t give away his secrets and I’ll leave
you to wonder why he gives out candles and matches in the lecture hall despite
rules against both . . .

Students in Ed Brouwer's class trying not to set off the smoke alarms! Photo by Laura King.  

Ed has
written extensively in his columns about training for calling a mayday. His
mission is to change the way firefighters think about doing so. His motto: Are
you tough enough to call a mayday? Kudos to Dwayne (whose last name is
scratched in my notebook but I can’t make out – sorry!), who had the guts to
volunteer for Ed’s workshop exercise in front of his peers, and for immediately
calling a mayday when his partner – Ed! – disappeared during a search and rescue.

A brave but willing participant during Ed Brouwer's calling a mayday exercise during at FDIC Atlantic. Photo by Laura King.  

we're running out of room (I thought there you were never supposed to run out of room on the web – what gives?) so we'll save photo highlights of Monday’s first annual Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs
golf tournament at Glen Abbey in Oakville, until tomorrow. The tournament raised $11,000 for the Ontario Firefighters Memorial
Foundation. I was fortunate to golf with Kwartha Lakes Assistant Chief Ron
Raymer – a charming gentleman who drives a golf cart like a Nascar – and Sean
Farr, a volunteer district chief in
Kwartha Lakes and a career firefighter in Richmond Hill. Their patience and senses of
humour (which improved considerably after the drinks cart finally showed up,
almost two hours into the tournament!) were greatly appreciated.

Kwartha Lakes Assistant Chief Ron Raymer, blogger/editor Laura King and Kwartha Lakes District Chief Sean Farr, waiting, patiently, on the very backed up 11th hold at Glen Abbey.  

More photos from Glen Abbey tomorrow.



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