All signed up and ready to go, the annual FDIC show in Indianapolis is nearly upon us and I am excited to be making the trip out. Being the eighth year I’ve been over to it I have grown accustomed of what it is, what to look for, what to do, what to avoid, and what not to miss. As the years change some vendors come and go, as do some of the offerings, but FDIC regardless of where your involvement is in the fire service has something for you. Yearly I get a list together of what my goals are while I’m there, I’m particular in how I go about it and it turns into a search. The packet came in the mail last week with my badge and I’m amped to once again be taking my Brotherhood CE’s.
By now I probably have a few of you looking back through your packets, maybe even doing a Google search or two, but its something that you just had to experience. If you missed it while you were there, Brotherhood was everywhere, every hall, every room, every aisle, and throughout downtown Indy. While there was no line item on the FDIC registration site for “Brotherhood” that had a price and a “sign up” button, it was included in everyone’s package. It was FREE, but a very important part of the fire service that you need pickup on wherever you can.
Regardless of what you go out to FDIC for, the Brotherhood alone is a priceless piece of the package that you need to learn, refresh, and live in order to keep the traditions and the roots of the fire service alive. The times are changing in the fire service and while I won’t put it all on the shoulders of the youth among the ranks, not all understand the meanings. Likewise, newer members might not know what its about and unfortunately some of the old smoke eaters have forgotten the meaning.
It is up to us as a Brotherhood to keep this feeling and traditions alive. While some may toss it out there, are you living it? Its not leaving a your crew, its about checking on one another, its about having each others back, honoring and respecting those that came before you, teaching, knowing when to speak, and knowing when to listen. It’s not about acting like a schoolyard clique, but a firehouse family because this is family. You promote values and defend the true meanings of the fire service you show outwardly that its not just about money, its not about it being a job, and being in it for the right reasons and that is helping others before yourself.
Much like firefighting needing CE’s , Brotherhood is no different, sometimes you need some continuing education to stay at the top of your game, to keep going, to keep it effective to protect not only you, but others.
Over the last few years I’ve talked with brothers that I’ve met from many states and sometimes the wrong idea about a fire convention gets out there. In some houses the idea is so misconstrued that Boards, Chiefs, Officers, won’t let their members attend, let alone assist in paying for a portion of the trip. The stigma of being a drunken bash where no good can come, no stone is unturned, the pillaging of the land and where quality of event is questioned runs circles. Reluctance is out there by departments to send personnel because of what “they have heard,” or maybe their own choices that were made when they were younger or when last they attended. Regardless of what you go out to FDIC for the Brotherhood alone is a much-needed piece that you must take in.
Is there drinking at FDIC, you bet there is, after the training and after the hard work has been completed and the job is done. Is sitting down with 2, 20, or 200 plus of your Brother firefighters for a meal, beverage, to watch a game and share a part of continuing these traditions, you’re dammed right it is! Safe travels to everyone traveling in for the event.