By Chris Mc Loone
Of Fire Apparatus Magazine
Many FDIC International attendees may not realize that a good portion of the manufacturer representatives they meet at the show are actually end users of the myriad products available at the exhibition. Such is the case for Rod Carringer, chief marketing officer at Task Force Tips (TFT), who offers this appraisal of the event. “After more than 30 years with TFT and more than 42 years with the fire department, I have had the opportunity in my career to attend and participate in well over 1,000 conferences and exhibitions globally,” he says. “For those of us who take our craft seriously, there is no better venue to learn or teach. Face to face. Touch, feel, experience, and share. As a manufacturer, the ability to communicate our messages about our products with potential customers, see in person what our competitors are doing, and to learn and gain input on potential new product development projects has been critical to our success. While today’s digital communication technologies offer incredible opportunities, a conference venue such as FDIC International cannot be replaced or duplicated. The cumulative knowledge of equipment, training, operations, and emergency services management found in Indianapolis during FDIC is unique and not duplicated anywhere else on this planet.”
On the “touch, feel, experience, and share” front, Carringer mentions what TFT will be introducing at the show this year. “While there will be over a dozen new product introductions in the TFT booth, one of the most unusual dichotomies is the introduction of both the smallest and largest monitors we have ever produced,” he says. “The STORM micromonitor has been developed specifically for global brush truck applications where low flow and space constraints left our popular TORNADO monitors too big. At only about 12 inches tall and with a target flow rate of 80 to 100 gpm, this STORM manual or remote control package is an ideal choice for smaller brushfire apparatus.
“On the other end of the spectrum is the new TSUNAMI mega monitor, an 8,000-gpm design created specifically for OEM partners building apparatus for high-hazard applications such as petrochemical processing, storage, and transportation. Several units will be on display on OEM apparatus on the show floor as well as in the TFT booth.
“Additionally, new water flow projects such as a Jumbo Water Thief, slow-close valve integration into all water supply appliances, and the expansion of the VORTEX smooth bore series will all be highlighted at the show. TFT nozzles will also be in use in Bullex’s HEAT program on South Street.”
TFT will also introduce a new ProPak foam injection and application system that has been developed specifically for rapid field decontamination of firefighters after active suppression duties. “Many now are looking to mitigate potential carcinogens and stem the rising tide of firefighter cancer incidents,” says Carringer. “This new ‘green’ decon ProPak has been developed to work easily from a garden hose, or any fire hose, applying any detergent decontamination agent a department wants to use. This concept is simple—brush off/wash off/rinse off before a firefighter can come into further contact with contamination before getting back on the rig to return. It is one more tool to help agencies work toward the rapid on-site removal of known carcinogens from PPE before coming in contact with responders. We are in field trials for these units and will have three in the NewForce Booth for viewing and feedback.
Shortly before FDIC International 2016, TFT announced that it had purchased AMKUS Rescue Systems. During the ensuing months, the company brought AMKUS to TFT headquarters and began working on various projects for AMKUS rescue tools. The most innovative project AMKUS has going, according to Carringer, is the introduction of its new ION battery-powered tools. “Within the series will be spreaders, cutters, rams and combi tools—all developed to be lightweight, very compact, exceptionally powerful, and using DeWalt’s proven battery technology,” says Carringer. “This is a huge event for the AMKUS team, as tethered hydraulic rescue tools had been their core business prior to our purchase. Further research into rescue tool design and development is also allowing us to introduce new rescue tool handle lighting systems to aid in seeing where you are working, and a radically new design of rescue spreader tips called ‘GATORS’ that reduce tearing of metal and improve spreading forces. Additionally, the acquisition of 911 Tools has added a full line of rescue struts and vehicle stabilization equipment that will be shown at the FDIC for the first time.
He continues, “The AMKUS booth will be nearly twice the size it has ever been previously, and we will be working with the PennWell team doing outside extrication demonstrations on Thursday afternoon on South Street.”
The benefits of attending FDIC International is also something Carringer knows about. “Even before I started with TFT, I was attending FDICs with my own money and time away from my business,” he says. “But, it was important to sit in classes and learn from folks with huge amounts of experience. Very little applicable to little Center Township (IN) Fire, but important in concept and framework just the same. One of the most valuable aspects of this conference I have found is the opportunity to meet and learn from others. Over the years, the number of folks I have met, communicate with frequently, share ideas with, agree with, and disagree with have kept me grounded in both my philosophies with our department as well as business development with TFT and AMKUS.
“Here are my top three reasons to attend the FDIC:
To listen, learn, and share.
To participate in hands-on activities, learn, and share.
To enjoy and share in the comradery of the brotherhood and sisterhood of our calling.”
Also important to remember is that FDIC International is a venue for dealers to gather and learn. In fact, this year’s conference features a four hour session for dealers. “Our distribution network and our partners are such a critical aspect of our success, this is just one more element that can help them learn how to better provide value to their emergency responder customers. We hope this will become an annual event.”
Carringer adds that while it is important for industry suppliers to present themselves and their products to end users at FDIC International, the event is also aimed at distribution partners. “Getting them informed, excited, and knowledgeable about new products and having them interact with their customers in the booth, is a critical aspect of FDIC as well,” he says, “Dealer breakfast, dinners, and meetings—it is all part of how we grow our business, and the FDIC venue is ideal. From a global standpoint, though Intershutz is in a category of its own with our global partners, FDIC each year becomes more of a “must attend.” This is often represented in our dealer breakfast, which now has nearly 15 percent global dealer attendance.”
Carringer also says that knowing something is slated to be on display at FDIC International is an added impetus for his design teams to make sure they are ready for prime time. “Much as college finals found me studying and preparing the night before, when we communicate clearly to our design and manufacturing teams that these new developmental projects will be introduced at the FDIC, things get done,” he says. “Now in some cases, the paint is drying on the way down there, but this show and the importance of it to our distribution partners coupled with our mission of developing at least a dozen new products each year makes each FDIC our finals week.”
Visit TFT and AMKUS at booths 3511 and 3503.
For more information, visit www.tft.com.