IAFF General President Vows to Protect Firefighters’ Safety as they Face New Threats and Hostile Politicians

International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) General President Harold Schaitberger vowed to continue protecting career firefighters on the job amid one of the most dangerous years for the fire service and as many elected officials are putting politics ahead of public safety.

“I don’t have to tell any of you about the tragic year we have had on the job, because we have all mourned, reflected on and honored our brothers and sisters who have fallen,” Schaitberger said in a speech opening the IAFF John P. Redmond Symposium and the Dominick F. Barbera EMS Conference in Denver.

Schaitberger made special acknowledgement of the recent death of IAFF 9th Vice President Randy Atkinson and this year’s numerous multiple line-of-duty deaths, including the 19 Granite Mountain Hot Shots and members of Local 3066 in Prescott, Arizona, as well as the brothers and sisters lost in Philadelphia, Indianapolis, and Bryan, Houston, and West, Texas.

Mr. Schaitberger vowed to ensure that every affiliate leader in the International “has the support, information, means and expertise to be successful in representing our members who put their lives on the line every day for their neighbors and country.”

During the conference themed “Pathways to Success,” delegates tackled topics including responding to terror threats, fireground survival techniques, the latest wild land fire science and optimal crew sizes. In addition, the conference addresses the increasing concern over active shooter attacks in public areas, as well as attacks on first responders.

Schaitberger noted the numerous ways the IAFF has dramatically improved public safety, including fighting for the passage of NFPA 1710, the partnership creation of the Wellness-Fitness Initiative, improved and expanded training opportunities, the passage of the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program and research to collect data in joint field studies with the National Institutes of Standard and Technology (NIST).

U.S. Army (retired) General and former U.S. Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey delivered the keynote address for the conference sharing his wisdom on the importance of leadership

Go to http://youtu.be/9tBwd7XJMoI to see General President Schaitberger’s address in its entirety.

The IAFF, headquartered in Washington, D.C., is the leading advocate in North America for the health, safety and training of firefighters and paramedics. The IAFF represents more than 300,000 full-time professional firefighters and paramedics who protect communities in every state and throughout Canada. More information is available at www.iaff.org

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