What is the International Association of Fire Fighters?
The Mission of the IAFF:
- To organize all fire fighters and emergency medical or rescue workers;
- To secure just compensation for their services and equitable settlement of their grievances;
- To promote as safe and healthy a working environment for fire fighters as is possible through modern technology;
- To promote the establishment of just and reasonable working conditions;
- To place the members of the Association on a higher plane of skill and efficiency;
- To promote harmonious relations between fire fighters and their employers;
- To encourage the formation of local unions, state and provincial associations and joint councils;
- To encourage the formation of sick and death benefit funds;
- To promote the research and treatment of burns and other related health problems common to fire fighters;
- To encourage the establishment of schools of instruction for imparting knowledge of modern and improved methods of fire fighting and prevention; and
- To cultivate friendship and fellowship among its members.
What does that mean?What exactly is the IAFF and what does it do?
The Fire Fighters Voice in the world of Politics:
The IAFF formed in 1918 to unite fire fighters and to seek improvements in safety, better wages, and greater service to their communities.Today the IAFF represents more than 270,000 fire fighters and emergency medical professionals through more than 2900 locals.The IAFF is the “voice of the fire fighter” and is the driving force behind nearly every advance in the Fire Service in the 20th century! Some of the first issues the IAFF took on were fair wages, benefits, and improved hours. At the turn of the century most fire fighters worked 84 hour weeks with little or no time off, were paid $0.29/hr., had no pensions, and no benefits for widows and dependants.
In the early years the IAFF was directly responsible for such benefits and protection legislation as: the 1934 Heart and Lung Act, the Workers Compensation Act, and the Occupational Disease Law.All of these important pieces of legislation helped to improve the safety and benefits within the fire service. The IAFF is responsible for the Public Safety Officer Benefit Act. The PSOB provides federal money to families of fire fighters killed in the line of duty. Today, through continued efforts of the IAFF, LODD benefits have increased to $250,000 and include fire fighters who die from heart attack or stroke. The IAFF has been behind the development of some of the most important standards established to protect fire fighters. These include;
NFPA 1500 “Standards on Fire Occupational Safety and Health Program”
NFPA 1982 “Personal Alert Safety Systems for Fire Fighters”
NFPA 1710 “Standards for the Organization and Development of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations, and Special Operations to the Public by Career Fire Departments” (4 man staffing).
After 9/11 the IAFF participated in the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, was directly responsible for the enactment of the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Fire Fighters Act of 2003, (SAFER Act), as well as the Firefighters Investment and Response Enhancement Act, (FIRE Act). Both provide federal grant money to increase staffing. These are just a few of the many accomplishments that the collective voice of the IAFF has achieved to make our proud profession the best in the world!
Besides representing Fire Fighter concerns in the Political Arena, what else does the IAFF do?
The IAFF provides training opportunities:
The IAFF sponsors several training programs to benefit its locals such as; The Affiliate Leadership Training Summit, The Partnership Education Program, The John P. Redmond Symposium, and multiple Scholarship Programs just to name a few.
The IAFF gives back to its communities:
Through programs such as the IAFF Burn Foundation and our MDA Fill-the-Boot Campaigns the IAFF supports the quality of life in the communities where we work and live. The IAFF has a long history with MDA. We are the single largest contributor to the MDA with over 26 million dollars raised in 2006.
Last but certainly not least;
The IAFF also takes care of our own:
In 2005 more than 200 locals and their families were impacted by hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. The IAFF supplied food, water, clothing, medicine, transportation, shelter, and money to help our members. To date the IAFF has given over 1.6 million dollars to locals and their families who were affected by the hurricanes.
What about at the State Level?
Membership in Local 4017 also includes membership in the Texas State Association of Fire Fighters, (TSAFF). The TSAFF acts in many of the same capacities as the IAFF but on the state level. The TSAFF has been very successful in the political arena promoting issues such as collective bargaining rights, civil service protection, and meet and confer options. The TSAFF also supports locals and their leadership through training opportunities. The Biennial State Convention, Service Leadership Training, and the Legislative Conference are just a few of the opportunities provided by the TSAFF.
And finally, at the local level…
The McKinney Fire Fighters, IAFF Local 2661:
The PFFM Local 2661 became a chartered member of the IAFF on May 16th 2000. We started with 51 brothers and sisters who were committed to building a better fire department and serving our community. We are now over 150 members strong.
The PFFM is the local arm of the IAFF. Much like the IAFF and the TSAFF we are concerned with the safety and rights of our members, we look to serve our community, and offer a brotherhood of fellowship to our members.
We serve our community and our members through several different events;
The PFFM participates in the MDA Fill-the-Boot, our very own golf tournament, coats for kids, family night out, and our very own triathlon.
The PFFM is your voice in our local political arena;
We continue to build relationships with the policy makers of our city to promote the concerns of our members. Currently we are involved in issues of staffing, uniformed vs civilian classifications, benefits options, post employment health insurance, and of course wages.
As a member of the McKinney Fire Department you are already enjoying a major benefit from the work of the PFFM and our brothers and sister in Public Safety, the McKinney Police Association.
How is all of this possible?
The answer is easy, through membership and active participation in your local.
All of the afore mentioned protections, services, legislation, and commitments, at every level, are only afforded to us as fire fighters because of the sacrifice, dedication, and commitments of our brothers and sisters who have come before us. Honor that service by doing your part.
What does the PFFM expect from its members?
- Take pride in yourself and in your profession
- Protect yourself and each other
- Never stop learning
- Bring your interests and talents to the local
- Protect your voice through the political process
- Help in the community with charities and fundraisers
- STAY INVOLVED!
Chris Mayzner - President
Professional Fire Fighters of McKinney, Local 2661