At FRI this year, it seemed like everywhere you looked, there was someone with a name badge ribbon "FSEDI." Actually, there were only 35 people with this ribbon and they were members of the IAFC 2013 and 2014 Fire Service Executive Development Institute: FSEDI.
Throughout the conference, I kept getting emails asking, "What is a FSEDI?"
FSEDI is a professional development program of the IAFC, funded by Motorola Solutions Foundation, for aspiring and newly appointed (within the year) fire chiefs. It's a yearlong cohort program, where the members of the cohort get together for classes presented by experienced, successful fire chiefs, government officials and private-sector executives. The group meets in Leesburg, Va., three times during the year and maintains frequent contact via a private online community on IAFC KnowledgeNet.
This program differs from others currently available in that it focuses on real-life challenges fire chiefs encounter that often lead to difficult and sometimes career-ending situations. The emphasis of the presentations is on what chief officers need to do to prevent these occurrences. It also helps prepare individual chief officers for the fire-chief selection processes and to be successful in their leadership roles.
Members of the first two groups have been very successful in reaching their career goals. Several have become fire chiefs and others have accepted significant fire service executive-level positions. They have all expressed that the FSEDI program was instrumental in their success.
Many of the cohort members have also become more active in their professional associations and in making presentations at training sessions and conferences. Seven members of FSEDI 2013 made a great presentation at FRI on "Wicked Issues" confronting the fire and emergency service.
The IAFC has applied for another year of funding for the program and will be advertising for applicants as soon as the grant is approved. If you're a chief officer currently applying or preparing for a fire chief position or a newly appointed fire chief and you'd like to become a member of the FSEDI, watch for announcements from the IAFC and fire service media.