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IAFC Leaders Hit the Hill for Fire Service Priorities

IAFC leaders are in Washington this week to raise awareness on Capitol Hill about federal funding and legislative priorities important to IAFC members and the entire fire and emergency service.

Leading the way are President John Sinclair, First Vice President Thomas Jenkins, and Second Vice President Gary Curmode.

First stop was at Governing magazine. Chief Sinclair said that despite the declining number of reported fires annually, home fires still cause the majority of all civilian fire deaths, civilian injuries and property loss due to fire. Further, he said, structure fires of 50 years ago are not the same as the fires of today.

The fires you see today burn hotter, travel faster and produce more dangerous chemicals.
The toxic nature of today’s structure fires is an important reason why the IAFC strongly supports legislation to address firefighter health issues.

He was talking about the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act (H.R. 931), which would establish a voluntary national registry of firefighters to examine the high rate of cancer in firefighters. The anonymous information from the federal cancer registry would be compared by medical researchers with information in state cancer registries to determine the causes of the prevalence of cancers in firefighters and how to mitigate that risk. H.R. 931 has 114 cosponsors The Senate companion bill (S. 382) has 26 cosponsors.

As leaders in the fire and emergency service, it’s important that we not only work hard each day to ensure our fire departments and firefighters are equipped, trained and prepared to respond to any and all emergencies, but to take the time and make the effort to educate the public and our elected representatives about the challenges we face and our needs to meet these challenges to save lives.

Chief Sinclair, Chief Jenkins and Chief Curmode mentioned several other priority issues during the meeting, including:

  • FIRE/SAFER grant reauthorization and funding
  • U.S. Fire Administration funding
  • Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act
  • Volunteer Responder Incentive Act
  • FirstNet
The chiefs have more than a dozen meetings scheduled with key Congressional offices Wednesday and Thursday to discuss these and other important priority issues. Visit the IAFC Government Relations page for more information. 


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