Support the IAFC Membership Drive

Support the IAFC Membership Drive

As one result of the recent board of directors meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the International Association of Fire Chiefs has announced a concentrated campaign to increase its membership. Described as “Operation Bootstrap” in honor of its president, Chief Raul Gandara, Fire Service of Puerto Rico, it will make use of many of the techniques which have made the namesake operation so successful in developing the economy of Puerto Rico.

Headed by Chief Adrian J. Meyers, Grand Rapids, Mich., second vice president of the IAFC, the drive has set a modest 10,000 memberships as its immediate goal. Working through divisional associations to state and local groups of chiefs, it is intended that personal contact be made with more than 16,000 fire chiefs in the United States. At the same time the Canadian Division, under the direction of Chief Reg Swanborough, Hamilton, Ont., first vice president of IAFC, will seek to expand its membership through the same technique, and a Latin-American Division will be organized to include Central and South America. In conjunction with this action the IAFC has announced that invitations have been extended to representative industrial fire chiefs to meet and consider steps necessary to form a division of industrial chiefs within the organization.

At present the IAFC numbers some 8,000 chiefs on its rolls. These include the United States and Canada in the bulk with 38 additional countries represented. It is estimated the initial organization potential of a Latin-American division is more than 300 with 1,000 prospective members to be solicited within the next two years. This is based on information supplied by the 52 fire officers of 12 Latin-American countries who attended the recent Administration Institute held in conjunction with the board of directors meeting. The language difficulty, since most of those represented speak Spanish, appears to be no problem. The University of Puerto Rico, which played a major part in the success of the recent institute, has agreed to make official translations as necessary to promote the IAFC in Latin America.

The inclusion of industrial chiefs in the IAFC, recommended by FIRE ENGINEERING in the past, will add a substantial number of important chiefs with specialized knowledge. The immediate potential appears to be 500 members with perhaps triple that number as the division gains momentum. It is possible this division may have its own international flavor. There are a large number of industrial chiefs in Canada, Central and South America, for example, who are bound to be interested.

In addition, the IAFC is extending its efforts into the apparatus and equipment supply area to complete the picture. Assisted by present sustaining members, acting as advisors to the president, it is intended to contact all companies presently offering products in the fire protection field with the purpose of interesting them in becoming sustaining members and assisting the IAFC in its endeavors. Besides helping promote mutual interests, sustaining members receive valuable considerations and assistance when exhibiting at the annual IAFC conferences. At present the sustaining members consist of a hard core of loyal supporters of the fire chiefs. Because of a Canadian member it does have international representation but it can easily be expanded in conjunction with the active membership drive to become truly international.

The net effect of this campaign will mean greater strength for the IAFC. Most important, however, will be the increased stature gained by the fire service. In recent years the IAFC has gained recognition as the spokesman for the fire service in the press as well as on radio and TV. This recognition can only be further increased as the public becomes more aware that the IAFC is being supported in its efforts by greater numbers of fire officials.

The IAFC has made great strides in recent years to better serve its members. Its educational efforts to upgrade the fire service technically and administratively have met with wide acclaim. Its continuing surveys to keep municipal officials aware of the needs of modern fire protection have been a factor in promoting greater fire fighting safety.

In essence, the IAFC has exhibited leadership qualities necessary to promote the interest and welfare of the fire service as a whole. Because of its past efforts it deserves support in its present endeavors. If fire chiefs wish representation of stature and strength, then there is no better way to achieve it than by membership in the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

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