Fire Rescue International Atlanta, GA - Illuminating Fire Safety
We just returned from another fantastic firefighter trade show and we could not have been more pleased. The original plan was to travel down the day before the show to get set up and visit with some of our friends and colleagues. I say original plan because we were thrown a exciting curve ball the week before the show. The week before the show, Foxfire was notified that we won an innovation award from the Cincinnati Innovates Contest Cincinnati Innovates (I plan on writing more about this wonderful honor if our next blog). The only problem was that the award was being presented on Thursday evening in Cincinnati-N/Kentucky and our booth needed to be set up by Thursday afternoon in Atlanta. We were deeply honored to be recognized for this award, however we had to get the booth set up....
After sharing my predicament at the firehouse a few of our younger firefighters (Taylor Wood and Conner Brunck) offered both their pick-up truck and time to drive all the way from Cincinnati to Atlanta and set up the booth. This is brotherhood, this is what gives me such pride to be a firefighter. As I’ve said in previous posts, we are brothers helping brothers and these guys are the epitome of helping out their fellow brothers. They don’t just talk the talk, they walk the walk.
Taylor & Conner did a great job driving the booth down to Atlanta in record time (except for the little delay thanks to one of Georgia’s men in blue..) and set the booth up perfectly. They did a stand-up job at the show and shared their personal experiences of how they have used Foxfire’s illuminating products over the last year. Taylor and Conner joined my fire department several years ago as high school cadets and are both now full firefighters in my department. It is so great to watch these former pimple-faced teenagers grow in to not just great firefighters but also young men.
Speaking of brothers I was also helped by a few other brothers at the show. Two individual titians of the fire industry. The first is none other than the Iron Fireman himself, Capt. Willie Wines http://ironfiremen.com/ . Capt. Wines helped us in our booth at the Baltimore Fire Rescue International show last month and I could not be more privileged to have him in our booth again. I watched and listened to Capt. Wines talk and demonstrate Foxfire’s benefits of improving positional orientation, increasing the accountability of tools and personnel, and illuminating search areas. My initial thought was how exciting it is to have such a well known firefighter help sell this product. As I reflected on this, I realized the selling was not what mattered, what mattered was a brother firefighter helping other brother firefighters. My driving force and number one priority for Foxfire is that we need to educate the firefighting community on how advanced photoluminescent technology will positively transform the fire industry and save the lives of our brothers by reducing the second cause of LODD’s, disorientation. Capt. Wines, like myself, is passionate about how these products can help our brothers and I could not be more proud to have him join me in the crusade to help make our brothers be better and SAFER heroes.
The other guest in the Foxfire booth was none other than my own Fire Chief, Robert Rielage. Prior to joining our department he was the State Fire Marshal for the entire State of Ohio. Chief Rielage is a frequent contributing editor to Fire Chief magazine and travels all over the world speaking and consulting on various fire-industry related topics. He is great leader, a deeply respected mentor and a fantastic chief. He one of those people that makes you a better person by having him in your life. A few months ago, he asked to help me in our booth at the Fire Rescue International show I literally got goose-bumps. He was willing to put both his personal and professional credibility on the line by wearing our shirt and representing our company in front of his peers. Again, I thought to myself what a great thing to do for a fellow brother but like Capt. Wines, it hit me. He was not just doing this for me, he was doing it for all firefighters. He to feels passionate about what this product can do for our fellow firefighters and he wants to teach and show as many firefights, officers, and chiefs as possible that these products can and do save lives.
The show was tremendous, there were several times that we had more people in our booth than all the booths in our aisle combined. We sold every single illuminating helmet band we brought and were busy from the start to the finish.
We met some new friends and many old friends. One new friend in particular we met was Mariah Leavitt of Fire Rescue TV Fire Rescue TV. It was great sitting next to her and Rhett Fleitz (Fire Critic & Daily 911 Deals) at dinner and listen to them spend all night comparing who had the bigger social media footprint. We also got to briefly visit with the guys from Fat Ivan Fat Ivan who also had a great show.
As I drove home, I was overcome with the realization that we are not even a year old and yet our impact is transforming the fire-industry. In this short time we have sold over 10,000 products to firefighters in over 8 countries. Every week I get e-mails, phone calls, and messages about how our products help firefighters find their tools, keep track of their crews and reduce disorientation. I’m living a dream, a dream that started as a little kid playing on the fire truck at Cincinnati FD Station 34. The only thing that makes me more excited than living the dream of being a firefighter is the privilege to help other firefighters around the world by introducing them to this innovative new technology that will and has made their jobs safer.