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IAFF Legislative Conference 2024 to address firefighter health and safety

February 28, 2024

Upcoming IAFF Legislative Conference in Washington D.C.

Next week, from March 3 to 6, the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) will host its 2024 Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C.

This event offers an opportunity for members to engage with legislators directly, advocating on behalf of issues crucial to firefighters’ employment, health, safety, and economic security.

The Alfred K. Whitehead Legislative Conference stands as a pivotal moment in the IAFF’s legislative endeavors, marking significant achievements over the years.

These achievements include the establishment of a national firefighter cancer registry, the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) program to ensure safe staffing levels, securing healthcare for the first responders of 9/11, and protecting members’ defined benefit pensions.

Insights from IAFF members

Roy Cormier of Local 341 in Houston, Texas, shared his experiences with the conference, highlighting the importance of direct communication with U.S.Representatives and Senators to advocate for the IAFF’s political objectives.

Cormier noted the presence of influential speakers at past events, including President Joe Biden, underscoring the event’s significance in garnering support for firefighters.

Furthermore, he emphasized the necessity of building relationships with elected officials beyond local representatives to address the needs of firefighters across Texas and the broader community.

Jon Harvey, President of the Ohio Association of Professional Fire Fighters, also stressed the value of the Legislative Conference for networking and advancing the political agenda of firefighters.

Harvey pointed out the IAFF’s successful approach of supporting allies who demonstrate their support through actions, not just words.

He highlighted the importance of engaging in politics at all levels to protect the interests of firefighters, from their equipment and salaries to their pensions.

Political involvement and advocacy

The conference underscores the inherently political nature of firefighters’ work, with every aspect of their job influenced by political decisions.

The advice from both Cormier and Harvey to their fellow members is clear: active political engagement is essential.

The IAFF Legislative Conference serves as a crucial platform for this engagement, enabling firefighters to advocate effectively for their needs and interests.

FSJA Comment

The IAFF Legislative Conference exemplifies the vital role of advocacy in shaping policies and programs that affect the firefighting community.

By facilitating direct interaction with policymakers, the conference enables firefighters to convey their needs and priorities effectively, ensuring that their voice is heard in legislative processes.

The emphasis on building relationships with elected officials, as shared by IAFF members, highlights the strategic approach necessary for successful advocacy.

The conference’s role in fostering political engagement among firefighters underscores the importance of active participation in the democratic process, advocating for policies that safeguard the well-being of those who serve on the front lines of public safety.

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