There really are a ton of conferences out there, from chief conferences, EMS conferences, leadership, fire, trainings, etc, etc.
Depts vary in what they will send people to and what it would entail. I've seen several conferences where the info was put up, but everything was on ones own. Some conferences the registration may be paid, but that varies. Other times only a select number of people would be sent or those looking to go are based on seniority etc.
The same thing applies from the union aspect too. Although a union conference is the only one I've been to where registration, lodging and transportation were paid for.
As one goes on in such a job aspect they see there there are many conferences, some good, some poor, and then start to determine which ones to send people to and which ones are important enough to send people to. As a volunteer, the dept I was affiliated with did encourage participation in some different conferences and it varied to what they would pay. FDIC was never one of these.
As a career FF, I see the dept spending money moreso on chief officers or those in prevention, type roles to attend such conferences rather than the membership. There are a few conferences that registration would be paid to the most senior number of FFs allotted to go. So if you are a younger, newer FF, the chance of going to such conferences or having the dept pick up the tab are slimmer. Union side of things, I've seen a better chance and opportunity to attend some more local conferences like EMS or leadership conferences.
I know our volunteer dept has paid the way for our members to attend training siminars and some conferences. Our dept pays every year for lodging for members to attend the state fire rescue covention and any meals they have together. Being the convention is at a beach resort they could get a townhouse rental or reserve rooms at a hotel or motel. Plus they will buy supplies like food or drinks for the stay.
Some members if they rent their own place will get money to help pay for their needs.
Thanks for the replies. I was wondering about what other departments did.