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North America’s largest fire event, FDIC International, brings together more than 34,000 fire industry professionals this month (April 8-13) at the Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. First constructed in 1928, FDIC continues today in its original tradition of providing a forum for networking about the most vexing issues and sharing the most promising solutions to concerns that face the fire service. FDIC provides opportunities to learn new techniques, train alongside world-class leaders, and advance discussions among the most influential firefighters in the industry. FDIC allows practitioners and those who support the industry an opportunity to discuss frankly the latest developments in equipment and support and collaborate on how those new advancements can be best used. 27 Interactive H.O.T Sessions FDIC offers many opportunities for learning and training, starting with its 27 interactive Hands-on Training (H.O.T) sessions“FDIC is steadfastly dedicated to its fundamental principle of providing a non-ideological, non-affiliated and openly inclusive environment for sharing and collaborating among all members interested in the mission of the fire service,” says Chief Bobby Halton, Editorial Director, Clarion Fire Rescue Group, and Educational Director, FDIC International. “Whether their interests lie in operations, medical or fire, in administration, in the production and distribution of equipment, or the advancement of codes and standards, all opinions and worldviews are accepted and debated with the utmost respect and dignity.” FDIC offers many opportunities for learning and training, starting with its 27 interactive Hands-on Training (H.O.T) sessions, 78 pre-conference workshops and more than 200 conference sessions. FDIC’s immersive learning experience extends to the exhibit hall floor and outdoor demonstration area where attendees can see and try the latest products, equipment, services and technology from over 800 exhibiting companies. “FDIC is more important than ever to the fire service industry because it is now and will always be of the firefighters, for the firefighters, and about the firefighters,” says Halton. Events Co-Located With FDIC New this year, iWomen is co-locating their event at FDIC, which includes 14 timely classroom sessions spread over two days, as well as networking events geared at sharing challenges and insights in a supportive environment. Also, the Institution of Fire Engineers United States of America Branch is co-locating their AGM annual meeting and educational update at FDIC. And the National Fire Heritage Center has partnered with FDIC to promote the center, conduct its annual meeting and introduce the annual inductees into the Hall of Legends. FDIC is more important than ever to the fire service industry because it is now and will always be of the firefighters, for the firefighters, and about the firefighters FDIC’s new MATCH! Program is a customized meeting experience that connects attending decision makers, who have an immediacy to purchase, with exhibitors whose products or services match their sourcing needs and interests. These VIP attendees can make the most efficient use of their time by accessing innovative matchmaking technology and a personal program manager to assist them with meeting scheduling and recommendations. Exhibitors At The Event FDIC’s Mobile App is a visitor’s guide to searching the exhibitor list, navigating the exhibit hall and seeing a full schedule of sessions and events. FDIC’s new parking partner, Gate Ten Events and Parking, allows visitors to reserve their parking space ahead of time. Large exhibitors headlining the Exhibit Hall include Pierce; Rev Fire Group, E-ONE, KME, Ferrara and REV Ambulance; 3M Scott Fire and Safety; and HME Ahrens-Fox. Other large exhibitors include Honeywell First Responder Products, Drager, Globe by MSA, Rosenbauer and Spartan Motors. Here are some of the timely themes covered at this year’s conference: Current updates on the development and implementation of science-based strategy and tactics Information and practices on mental health and wellness Leading advances in firefighting technology and managing an integration of technology into the decision-making process during operations Review of recent sentinel events in the fire service from actual participants Analysis of accident investigation from members of NIOSH and the CDC Updates on current research into toxicity in the environment and equipment Current thoughts on decontamination procedures presented by researchers and practitioners The value of belongingness as a tool for health and wellness, suicide prevention, a detailed examination of the sociotechnical interface and firefighting’s role going forward The complex political and operational dilemmas faced in the wildland urban interface Recruitment and retention for the volunteer fire service Networking Opportunities Abound The event takes over the city, and there are chances to network with peers everywhere they turnAt FDIC, networking starts the moment attendees arrive in town. The event takes over the city, and there are chances to network with peers everywhere they turn. Formal networking events are also organized, including the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb, Courage and Valor 5K Fun Run, Comedy vs. Cancer, IFD Open House and Pumper Pull, Stop Drop Rock ‘n’ Roll and more. “We want individuals to walk away feeling inspired by new ideas, tools or techniques they’ve learned in sessions or new products or services they’ve sourced on the show floor that ultimately keep them and their communities safe,” says Halton.
Bristol Uniforms, a designer and manufacturer of protective clothing for emergency services across the globe, has joined forces with its international distributor Rosenbauer Slovenia to secure a contract with Ljubljana Fire Brigade. Rosenbauer Slovenia and Bristol’s world-class design team worked closely to produce the winning design, which is based on Bristol’s ergonomic and lightweight XFlex design and customized to accommodate specific equipment. They used the latest fabric technology to create a quality, bespoke garment using a Hainsworth TITAN1220 outer layer, a GORE-TEX CROSSTECH FIREBLOCKER moisture barrier and a Hainsworth ECO-DRY ACTIVE lining. Customizing Garments Bristol’s experienced design team is well-versed in customizing garments and delivered to a high specification The XFlex design met Ljubljana’s core requirements - manufactured to European standards, fit for purpose, comfortable, ergonomic and durable - but was adapted to ensure it fully complied with their brief, including a special shaped collar, waist adjuster straps and additional padding on the shoulders. As well as having specific fabric and design requirements, the brigade also wanted the design to incorporate a number of different loops, hooks and pockets to accommodate a specific harness belt, radio and mic, torch, carabiner and Pax bag. Bristol’s experienced design team is well-versed in customizing garments and delivered to a high specification. Strong Competitors Aleš Vrščaj, Area Sales Manager at Rosenbauer Slovenia said: “We invested a lot of time into understanding the brief and requirements, and are very pleased with the finished design, as were Ljubljana. We were up against some strong competitors in the industry but in the end, our competitively priced tender, attention to detail and sound understanding of the brief gave us the edge.” Richard Cranham, International Sales Manager at Bristol Uniforms said: “We have a long history of supplying Ljubljana Fire Brigade, who procured PPE from us until the mid 2000s, and are pleased that they have once more opted for Bristol kit. The contract will see us supplying the Brigade with 220 sets of kit over three years, including warranty. They have already taken delivery of 114 sets and feedback so far is really positive.”
When a trade fair decides on a lead theme, that is just the beginning. It is then up to exhibitors to take the next steps by breathing life into the lead theme – by featuring it at their stands, providing hands-on demos and sparking dialogue. "We are absolutely delighted at the early, strong commitment of our exhibiting partners and companies at INTERSCHUTZ 2020," says Martin Folkerts, Global Director of INTERSCHUTZ at the Deutsche Messe group of companies. "Our exhibitors are in the process of developing an abundance of great ideas and concepts which they will be showcasing at the fair, highlighting the opportunities that digitization and connectivity will provide for fire brigades, rescue services, civil protection and security." The following details some of these. Sharing International Experience Digitization, automation and connectivity are more than just modern buzzwords for us" "Digitization, automation and connectivity are more than just modern buzzwords for us," says Dirk Aschenbrenner, President of the German Fire Protection Association (vfdb). "The application of digital technologies is a prerequisite for speed and effectiveness. The use of robotics in danger prevention, for example, is no longer merely a utopia, but, in many areas, has already become a part of everyday life. Let me simply mention the use of firefighting robots or drones to explore emergency deployment sites." In Hannover in 2020, the vfdb association will present the current state of research in the field. "INTERSCHUTZ 2020 offers the best opportunities for sharing international experience among developers, manufacturers and users," says Aschenbrenner. The German Fire Service Association (DFV) is taking the connectivity lead theme literally and planning a showcase whose visualizations are all interconnected by an overarching network/web. Securing Livelihoods At a number of different levels, the web will symbolize the importance of connectivity for the further development of fire protection. "Under the keyword of 'Fire Brigade 4.0', there are already visible opportunities and capabilities to improve, accelerate and change the tasks of the emergency services – even if this might seem a long way off," says Frank Hachemer, Vice President of the German Fire Service Association. "But these opportunities are also associated with challenges that need to be mastered, such as data protection, training and budgets." In addition to technological and tactical connectivity, there is also connectivity between people. "Political and social connectivity will become increasingly important and intensive for mastering problems, for securing livelihoods, for the further development and daily work of the fire brigades," says Hachemer. Digitized Production Different conditions apply to the area of fire prevention and civil protection" "Connectivity is therefore the keyword, not least for the fire brigade associations and – as their umbrella – the German Fire Service Association, which we, as the central element, are placing at the core of our activities – and not just at INTERSCHUTZ." The keyword 'Fire Brigade 4.0' is derived from the oft-cited term 'Industry 4.0', which refers to digitized production and a high degree of connectivity between industrial enterprises. The two terms however cannot be equated. "Different conditions apply to the area of fire prevention and civil protection," says Dr. Rainer Koch, from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Paderborn. "High-connectivity solutions are possible for areas like preventive fire protection and resource planning. And 3D simulation systems for managers and staff training are already available in the training sector." Smart Home Technologies But the conditions for emergency services are different, he maintains. "For information systems to support us in this area, they need to offer a maximum of robustness, user friendliness and speed," says Koch. "In addition to providing already prepared information, these systems would then also be able to interact with building systems – and initial projects for the use of smart home technologies have already been launched. Digitization and automation can definitely facilitate the work of the emergency services here." When it comes to game-changing digital technology, industry is called upon to gear up, and by that I particularly mean industrial manufacturers and automotive makers. "Especially in an age of rapid technical change, INTERSCHUTZ is a definite must for everyone on the lookout for innovations," remarks VDMA Managing Director Dr. Bernd Scherer. Digital Assistance Systems The central prerequisite consists of reliable, manufacturer-independent standards" "Real-time communication over ultra-fast 5G networks, networked deployment processes, digital assistance systems and electric drives are high on the industry's innovations agenda." But digitization must not be an end in itself, as Scherer also makes clear: "Manufacturers of chassis, superstructures and equipment who are members in VDMA rely on reliable, robust and intelligent technology, true to the motto that what is sensible is also that which is useful for the purpose at hand." According to VDMA, the advantages of digital technologies include the promise of transparent and sustainable processes, effective coordination and a significant increase in operational reliability. These promises are not, however, a guarantee. "The central prerequisite consists of reliable, manufacturer-independent standards," says Scherer. "This is the only way for interfaces to function smoothly – regardless of whether they are mechanical, hydraulic, electric or digital in nature." Partnership-Based Networking Rosenbauer is one example of a vehicle manufacturer that has been relying on its own developments and innovations in the field of telematics systems and IT-supported deployment management for over ten years. "These systems are now being massively further developed, with the focus on customer benefit," says Michael Friedmann, Head of Group Strategy, Innovation and Marketing at Rosenbauer International AG. "This is not only about digital solutions for vehicles, but connectivity now also includes new technological options, with the keyword here being drones or smart wearables." Friedmann is convinced that a trade fair is also the right place for this, even in the digital age: "We want direct communication on site, because as the innovations, technology and world market leader at INTERSCHUTZ, we act as a platform for partnership-based networking on the megatrends of our time and on approaches for joint solutions." Optimization Of Processes Digitization, communication and overarching forms and systems of cooperation play an obvious role in this" The fields of rescue services and civil protection are also positioning themselves in relation to the lead theme. Johanniter Unfall Hilfe, for example, focuses on connecting people and technology for the benefit of people. "In the rescue service and in civil protection, everything revolves around the optimization of processes and procedures in order to serve the ultimate goal of saving human lives," points out Hannes Wendler, State Director of Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe (German Order of St. John) in Lower Saxony and Bremen. "Digitization, communication and overarching forms and systems of cooperation play an obvious role in this.” The challenge lies in enabling rescuers and helpers – equipped with specialist skills and all the available technical aids – to consistently act in a targeted and manner based on the situation at hand. Advancing Urbanization "We see ourselves as networkers for people – including our staff members and volunteer helpers," he says. "In addition to progressive HR development, this also includes space for innovative projects and services like telemedicine in offshore rescue and VR rescue simulations." As the flood of data grows, so does the complexity of the decision-making process Stefan Truthän, Managing Partner of hhpberlin Ingenieure für Brandschutz GmbH, focuses on civil security. His company deals intensively with the digital answers to new challenges, such as advancing urbanization, growing infrastructures and the increasing strength and frequency of natural phenomena. At the same time, digitization itself presents people with new challenges: As the flood of data grows, so does the complexity of the decision-making process. Concrete Connectivity Scenarios This leads Truthän to demand: "If civil security wants to take its mission seriously, data and thought silos need to be cracked open and the growing volume of data intelligently connected," he says. At INTERSCHUTZ 2020, hhpberlin will display a series of showcases highlighting the potential of digitization for civil security and fire protection. "Together with RXSK GmbH and selected partners from the digital industry, we will be using concrete connectivity scenarios to demonstrate the possibilities of new, non-redundant and latency-free collaboration," says Truthän. "Only if all actors interact more intensively and transparently than in the past, can cities become safer in the long run."