The IAFC is the professional association representing fire and emergency service leaders in the United States, Canada and worldwide. We're involved in many of the activities of professional associations, including legislative advocacy, participation in development of codes and standards, and fostering professional standards including educational curricula and credentialing programs.
In fact, it's difficult to think of a fire- or EMS-related activity that's going on at the national level that the IAFC isn't involved in. The biggest limitation on our effectiveness is the small numbers of members who actually get engaged.
While the IAFC might seem like a big, distant organization, at its heart the IAFC is an organization of individual leaders. As fire department leaders and members of this association, I believe we have an obligation to contribute and give back to our profession.
In these times, it's often difficult to just take care of day-to-day business. But we owe it to ourselves, our colleagues and those who'll follow us to make time to step outside our own organization and make a contribution.
That contribution might be at the county, state, section, division or national level. It might involve teaching at a community college, mentoring and coaching young fire officers, testifying before a legislative body on an issue important to the fire and emergency service or writing articles for publication.
It really doesn't matter so much what you do as long as you do something!
An excellent place to get involved is through active involvement in the IAFC. There are hundreds of opportunities to contribute to the fire and emergency service through IAFC participation: vacant seats on committees and task forces at the division or national level; sections searching for folks to help out.
With thousands of IAFC members out there, we should be overwhelmed with individuals who are willing to serve, but that's not the case. While there are a few high-profile assignments and committees that attract lots of interest, there are many more positions that sit empty.
How do you get involved? The simplest answer is to pay attention and speak up. The IAFC regularly announces committee and task-force vacancies—through email blasts and in On Scene. If you see a call for help on a subject that interests you, speak up.
Every one of the IAFC sections has leadership opportunities—on committees and task forces and in officer positions. Reach out to your section leaders and let them know you want to participate.
Want to contribute, but don't want to reach so far? Each of the IAFC's divisions also needs help on division-level committees, task forces, sections and boards. Reach out to your division leaders and let them know you want to help. I know you'll be welcomed with open arms.
As the professional association representing fire and emergency service leaders in the United State, Canada and around the world, the IAFC needs your active participation. We need your knowledge, experience, perspective and energy.
Quit thinking about it; step up and get involved. Your profession and your professional association are only as strong as the effort you put forward as individual members.
Simply put, we need you!
Chief William R. Metcalf, EFO, CFO
President and Chairman of the Board