Annual conference expected to bring in record number of firefighters to metro area

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– Firefighters from around the world are in Indianapolis this week for the 85th Fire Department Instructor’s Conference (FDIC). More than 30,000 attendees are expected, making it the largest turn-out in the event’s history.

During the training exercises and classes, firefighters will learn how to safely face some of the most dangerous and unexpected situations. The conference uses the Wayne Township Fire Department’s training facility to create different types of fires, including one of the most deadly, flashovers.

“Inside the metal container inside we simulate a flashover condition which a firefighter hopes to never encounter in a burning building,” said instructor Joseph Berchtole. “If he does ever encounter a real one, it could mean his life.”

When the long training days are over, the conference schedule also provides opportunities for the public to interact with the firefighters.

“These are men and women who, every day, have to deal with some of the most tragic circumstances you can imagine,” said FDIC Chief Bobby Halton. “They like to seek perfection, that’s what they’re doing right now, and in their off hours they like to celebrate life, friendship, brotherhood and sisterhood, because they understand the fragility of humanity.”

Chris Gahl with Visit Indy said the conference is expected to bring in more than $35 million in economic impact to Indianapolis. The group also booked Georgia Street downtown as a venue for some festivities.

View the FDIC events schedule.