The 2011 Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) in Indianapolis last week was a huge success. My travel to Indy Tuesday night had me on a mission to meet the infamous Fire Critic blogger. Thanks to the power of Twitter and Foursquare I was on the hunt to locate the Fire Critic to introduce myself and thank him for his feedback from his recent review on our helmet bands: http://firecritic.com/2011/03/product-review-foxfire-illuminated-firefighter-helmet-bands/
Well, I found the Fire Critic (Rhett Fleitz) along with fellow bloggers Willie Wines Jr. ( http://ironfiremen.com/ ) and Dave Statter ( statter911.com ) where you would expect to find any self-respecting Virginian to be, at one of Indy's only BBQ joints. We swapped stories about firefighting and where to find the best beer in Indianapolis. The evening wrapped up at a brew-house where I introduced the three bloggers to a website that rates their websites. The rest of the evening was occupied with the three Internet moguls teasing each other over who had the highest rated website.
Wedesday morning started out bright and early as I prepared for my interview with the attractive Kjersten Ramsing of Fox59. Willie and Rhett also showed up to make sure that Kjersten would not be left in a dark room with me by myself. See link: ( http://www.fox59.com/news/wxin-firefighters-convention-comes-to-indianapolis-20110324,0,7662001.story ) The interview went great and they got some great video of our products.
Next, it was off to the convention center to start setting up the booth. After setting up the booth, Foxfire was featured in the second newscast of the day, with Indy ABC 6's Julie Pursley. Here's a recap of that story: http://www.theindychannel.com/news/27293757/detail.html
Later that evening, I had dinner with Nick Caliguri, a fellow firefighter from the Cincinnati area who has developed the best product I have seen in a long time to replace the door wedge www.fativan.com It was a great meal at my favorite Indianapolis restaurant, Adobo that included fresh guacamole, ceviche, a bacon-fig-vanilla specially tequila and lots of fresh margaritas. The evening finished up at Indy's great cigar lounge Nicky Blaines with some nice cigars and more discussion about firefighting entrepreneurship.
Thursday morning Team Foxfire arrived and the show started with a bang. Our 10x20 booth was one of the most crowded booths at the entire show. We were slammed from an hour before the show started until one hour after closing. We were deeply humbled by both the volume of people and the positive feedback on how our products are transforming firefighting. Some of the highlights of day one were being interviewed on the Firefighter Netcast http://ironfiremen.com/2011/03/statter-naked-tons-of-pics-and-more-from-fdic/ and having our neighbor booths thank us for having our crowds so big that they spilled in to their booths. Team Foxfire finished the evening back at Adobo's for more fresh guacamole and incredible food/ libations.
Friday morning started out the same as Saturday - busy, busy, busy. We had the chance to talk to some of the biggest distributors in our industry and let's just say you will soon be able to find Foxfire at most of the major firefighting retailers. The crowds were so large that we actually ran out of brochures and had to order more to be delivered Saturday. Towards the end of the day I was starting to get dizzy from all the excitement when I realized that I’d forgotten to eat both breakfast and lunch (quite a feat if you know me). The day ended up with a great bottle of champagne, shrimp cocktail and the largest steak I have ever seen at Indy's famous St. Elmo's.
Saturday’s traffic was just as busy as the pervious days, none of us had the chance to actually visit the other booths but the feedback we received was that we had one of the largest and most consistent crowds of the show http://firecritic.com/2011/03/fdic-recap-part-i-networking-and-the-9-11-memorial-stair-climb/.
In preparing for the show, we brought three times the amount of brochures and products to sell than we thought we’d ever need. Turns out, we gave out all the brochures (plus the extra we had fedex'd) and sold out of just about all of our products! We knew FDIC would be the biggest show of the year but I don't think any of us would have ever dreamed an idea that was hatched a year ago at this 2010 FDIC show would have ever ended up as such an illuminating success!
Risk -- an inherent part of a firefighter’s job. Firefighters face disorientation, visibility and accountability each and every day on the job. It goes without saying that ongoing improvements to firefighter safety equipment should be implemented to help save lives and improve efficiency. Minimizing risk, vastly improving fire safety and offering cutting-edge technology are the fundamental goals of MN8 Products.
The purpose of this blog, or “Daily Dispatch,” is to educate you on the various aspects of firefighter accountability. We believe this forum will serve as a great resource for firefighters in the field to not only read about improvements of accountability, but also to share their experiences and insights. We welcome guest writers and look forward to providing an interactive resource for firefighters.