International Association of Fire Fighters

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International Association of Fire Fighters logo.jpg
Full name International Association of Fire Fighters
Founded 1918
Members 300,000 (2012)[1]
Affiliation AFL–CIO, CLC
Key people Harold A. Schaitberger, president
Office location Washington, D.C.
Country United States, Canada

The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) is a labor union representing professional fire fighters and emergency medical services personnel in the United States and Canada. The IAFF was formed in 1918 and is affiliated with the AFL-CIO in the United States and the Canadian Labour Congress in Canada. The IAFF has more than 300,000 members in more than 3,200 affiliates in every U.S. state and in Canada. IAFF members protect 85 percent of the U.S. population.

The IAFF is one of the most active lobbying organizations in Washington. Its Political Action Committee, FIREPAC, is among the top 25 federal PACs among the more than 4,000 in the country.[2]


The IAFF is the driving force behind nearly every advance in the fire and emergency services in the 21st century — from the introduction of shift schedules to the enactment of the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program, which provided federal funding for fire departments to hire and retain fire fighters. With extremely active political and legislative programs, and with recognized experts in the fields of occupational health and safety, fire-based emergency medical services and hazardous materials training, the IAFF has established professional standards for the North American fire service.

Today, the IAFF is the primary advocate for providing fire fighters and paramedics with the tools they need to perform their jobs safely and effectively. The IAFF plays a key role in the development and implementation of new training and equipment, and has worked hard to ensure the proper staffing of fire and EMS departments. The IAFF is a member driven organization — for fire fighters, by fire fighters.


Founded nearly 100 years ago when fire fighters worked 24-hour shifts on continuous duty and received salaries as low as 29 cents an hour. Since then, the IAFF has fought for better wages, benefits and working conditions and improved safety for its members, as well as and greater public safety services for the communities they serve.

IAFF Districts[edit]

The IAFF is divided into 16 Representational Districts (1 through 16) based on geographical locations that are overseen by the IAFF’s 16 District Vice Presidents, that make up the IAFF Executive Board along with the General President and General Secretary/Treasurer. The Districts are composed of various States within the United States, Canada and Territories of the U.S. The 16th District is composed of Federal Fire Fighters working for Federal Governments at Federal Installations in the U.S. Canada and Guam.

Partisan questions[edit]

The organization is non-partisan. It endorsed the successful gubernatorial candidacies of Rick Perry (Texas), Terry McAuliffe (Virginia), and Mitch Daniels (Indiana), and has endorsed several Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Examples of the IAFF’s endorsement of Republicans in 2010 include Senators Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Chuck Grassley (Iowa); and Representatives Sam Graves (MO/6), John Shimkus (IL/19), Geoff Davis (KY/4) and Peter King (NY/3).

IAFF Legislative Conference[edit]

Each year the IAFF hosts a national legislative conference in Washington, DC that is open to any IAFF member who wishes to register. The IAFF legislative conference is the largest legislative conference of any union in the country. Over the years attendees have heard from President Bill Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, members of the Cabinet of both Republican and Democratic administrations and numerous members of Congress, including the Leadership of the Senate and House of Representatives and key congressional staff.

IAFF Fire Fighters Interested in Registration and Education Political Action Committee[edit]

FIREPAC (Fire Fighters Interested in Registration and Education Political Action Committee) is the federally registered political action committee of the IAFF. FIREPAC was established in 1978 and has grown into the top one percent of all federally registered PACs. During the 2009 – 2010 election cycle FIREPAC raised $5.3 million and was the tenth largest PAC in terms of donations to federal candidates. Within organized labor, FIREPAC has been the most bi-partisan PAC during the last decade, contributing a larger percent of its donations to Republican candidates than any other union. The IAFF follows a simple philosophy when it supporting candidates – they support those who support them, regardless of party affiliation or one’s political leanings.

IAFF Charitable Foundation[edit]

The IAFF Charitable Foundation was formed in 2011 to assist IAFF members and their families if affected by natural disaster (including hurricanes, earthquakes, floods) promotes fire and burn prevention, advocates for fire fighter health and safety, and provides public education on how to prevent and recover from burn trauma.

IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial[edit]

The IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial is a permanent remembrance of IAFF members and emergency personnel who have lost their lives in the line of duty. An annual memorial observance is held each year in September in Colorado Springs, Colorado. More than 7,400 names of fallen IAFF members are etched on the wall.

IAFF and Muscular Dystrophy Association[edit]

The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) is the largest national sponsor of the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). The 300,000 members of the IAFF in the United States and Canada raise funds to support the MDA primarily through the 'Fill the Boot' campaign to help eradicate over 40 neuromuscular diseases. The contributions of fire fighters go towards MDA's summer camps for children, professional and public health education and other programs. IAFF members have donated nearly $558 million to MDA since 1954.



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