What to Expect at FRI 2011

As a member of both the Atlanta Fire Department and the Fire-Rescue International (FRI) Program Planning Committee, I invite you to join me and the thousands of other attendees in Atlanta this August for FRI 2011!

The FRI 2011 theme is “Innovation Begins Here”–an appropriate theme as the conference is focused on helping you embrace the innovations within our profession, as well as offering a plethora of educational programs that are guaranteed to propel you to the next level of success within your organization and career.  

Changing Times
The events of the past several months have demanded that leadership at every level seek innovative opportunities for enhancing the knowledge, skills, abilities and service delivery of fire departments across the globe. Why is this so important? Each year, fire and rescue departments encounter increasingly complex issues that force them to adapt to new situations–and there’s no sign that this will change anytime soon. Fortunately, you can help prepare yourself for these changes ahead. In late August, various industry leaders and subject-matter experts will convene in what we Atlantans call the “Heart of the South,” to discuss new ideas, provoke discussion and promote an engaging learning environment.

Leaders Are Made
We have all heard the saying “Leaders are born, not made.” Although I do agree that some leaders are born, experience teaches us that leaders are indeed also made.

I became a member of the IAFC when I was a captain. My active participation afforded me the opportunity to meet and work with a group of phenomenal fire service and government leaders as I assisted with the development of the Company Officer Leadership Symposium (COLS) program. Since then, the COLS program has flown to new heights–and so have I. Now, as a chief officer in the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department, I credit a great deal of my success to many of you who are reading this. Regardless of rank and/or title, we learn from those who are willing to share their experience. Additionally, I recognize FRI conferences for igniting my personal ambition and career achievements.

What’s Offered
Visit the FRI website (www.iafc.org/fri) and take a look at the courses and programs offered. I realize that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, as FRI 2011 promises an impressive array of experts and talent for this year’s conference. You may find yourself wanting to be everywhere and in every class. My advice: Plan your conference around those subjects and issues that you hope to take home to your organization.

Classes for aspiring or newly promoted company officers and chief officers are always packed. The Company Officer Leadership and the Chief Officer Leadership symposia are producing some of our industry’s sharpest officers yet. The Company Officer program offers a range of classes across three levels, from “The First Five Minutes: Size-Up & Initial Incident Action Planning” (Level 1) to “Rapid Intervention Reality & Why You’re Not Prepared” (Level 3). The Chief Officer Program offers classes across two levels, from “Firehouse Leadership: What Legacy Will You Leave Behind?” (Level 1) to “Conflict Resolution: Fast Attack Strategies for the Proactive Officer” (Level 2).

Many of the sessions will offer concrete steps that your department can take to enhance its practices, reduce risks and propel its progress in the direction of mission sustainability. Others will test your assumptions about various subjects and issues. All of the sessions will encourage you to remain relevant, vibrant and vigilant in your efforts during these times of uncertainty.

With so much to see, the IAFC has implemented new registration packages for attendees’ specific needs and budgetary capabilities.

Other Highlights
While at the conference, the exhibit floor is a must! This is your chance to see, touch and operate the latest and greatest technology available in fire and EMS. This is also your opportunity to speak with vendors and share your innovative ideas that may serve as the ignition point for a new product.

And on a different note, get out and see Atlanta! In my opinion, it is absolutely fitting that FRI revisits Atlanta, as it is one of America’s more diverse cities that has always drawn people from various areas, traditions and walks of life to its physical beauty, architecture, culture and Southern cuisine.

Final Thoughts
I would be remiss if I failed to thank everyone for all of their efforts to make this magnificent conference a reality. Its growth and top-notch professional qualities never cease to amaze me. I would also like to thank you for your dedication to the fire service industry as you give, receive, educate and learn as leaders. FRI is a truly a solid cornerstone in our profession. I look forward to seeing each of you in Atlanta!

ADDITIONAL FRI INFO

New in 2011
Check out the changes & improvements we’ve made to enhance your FRI experience:

New Schedule: Our new lineup offers you a more enhanced FRI experience with fewer days away from your department.

  • Pre-conference seminars are now mixed in with the core education tracks Wednesday through Friday (with no additional fees).
  • Education sessions will run from Wednesday at 1 p.m. until Friday at 4:30 p.m. (and a few special sessions will be held in the Expo Hall on Saturday or those coming for the day).
  • The FRI Welcome Reception will now be held on Thursday.
  • The FRI Street Party will take place on Friday.
  • General Sessions will be held on Friday and Saturday before the opening of the Expo Hall each day.

New Level: Chief Officer Level II has been added to the Officer Development Program.  

Expo Tours by Topic: Guided tours of the Expo Hall will help you navigate the floor and take you directly to the companies in the product category of your choice.

Networking Coffee Shops: We’re making it easier for you to network with your colleagues at FRI coffee lounges in the lobby areas.
More Interactive: Many sessions will be using audience response features, giving you a chance to weigh in on the topic.
Session Captures: We’re offering access to select sessions that are captured electronically so you can watch them online when you’re back at the department.

To learn more about what’s new at FRI 2011, visit www.iafc.org/fri.

And Don’t Miss …
Safety Officer of the Year: Don’t miss the presentation of the Safety Officer of the Year Award. The award, which is co-sponsored by FireRescue magazine and the Fire Department Safety Officers Association (FDSOA), is presented annually to a safety officer who has made a significant contribution to their organization and/or the fire service as a whole in the area of health and safety. The award will be presented during the Safety, Health and Survival Section meeting on Thursday, Aug. 25, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. For more information about the award, visit www.iafcsafety.org/awards.php.

Health & Wellness Pavilion: Sponsored by the IAFC Safety, Health and Survival Section, the Health & Wellness Pavilion focuses on the health and well-being of your firefighters. Stop by the pavilion (located in booths 241—251 and 340—350) for numerous health screenings, including blood pressure, stress, strength and body composition tests. You can even test exercise equipment. This pavilion will feature the leading companies with products and services to help you create or enhance the health and wellness initiative in your department.

Register Now!
The IAFC has simplified FRI registration, making it easier for you to choose the package that fits your needs and budget. Visit www.iafc.org/fri to view your registration options. If you have questions, call 708/486-0722 or 877/303-0722 or e-mail iafc@ compusystems.com.

Click here for a complete listing of FRI 2011 exhibitors.

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