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A sign with big letters "FDIC" outside Lucas Oil Stadium

Source: PHOTO: Chris Davis/Emmis

INDIANAPOLIS — The Fire Department International Conference isn’t all fun and games. It’s a time to learn, to teach, and to help a fellow fire fighter in need.

This year, three fire fighters from Ukraine Roman Kachanov, Oleksii Chernomorchenko and Serhiy Bilous, are in Indianapolis to take some workshop classes and talk about the Ukraine/Russia war. Also at this year’s FDIC, a fundraiser for the Ukrainian Fire Service.

“Last year, we were able to raise somewhere in the neighborhood of 200-thousand-dollars in cash,” says FDIC Education Director Chief David Rhodes on WIBC’s First Day, “and then, we also did like, ten tons of supplies.” That’s the goal for this year as well: raising money and gathering supplies and equipment for fire fighters on the ground in Ukraine.

Providing for their fellow fire fighters across the world is just one part of the FDIC. There will also be several exhibits and classes this week that explore the latest advancements in toxic chemical containment.

“One of the biggest problems were facing right now in the fire service is exposure to chemicals, not only on the fire scene but from exhaust from our vehicles,” says Chief Rhodes. Chemicals and cancer are two of the biggest challenges fire crews face, says Chief Rhodes.

“A lot of the things (advancements) are to create separation of space, so there’s air pressure interlocks that keeps exhaust fumes out of the living quarters. There’s special gear storage ventilation, there’s gear washers so you can the contaminants off of your gear after every incident.”

You can learn more about chemical containment efforts and support for Ukraine’s fire fighters at The convention lasts until April 29th, with exhibits and workshops spread throughout Lucas Oil Stadium, the Indiana Convention Center, and other spots in downtown Indianapolis.