President’s Letter: Education is a Pillar of Our Mission

Without a doubt, I’m proud of our association. Our members, leadership—at all levels—and staff work tirelessly to lead, educate and serve in as many ways as possible.

Personally, the IAFC helped me as a young chief officer and continues to guide me, even as president. From IAFC KnowledgeNet and personal connections to learning at Fire-Rescue International (FRI), I’m grateful that the IAFC has been here for me when I’ve needed help or had unanswered questions.

Our profession isn’t for the faint of heart and it requires almost constant education and learning. The fire and emergency service is saturated with places to go and associations to join. However, it’s important that we don’t get distracted.

An IAFC membership and attendance at our conferences are gateways to successful leadership. While those things alone won’t create a lasting legacy, I promise that the journey is much easier with an IAFC membership card in your pocket.

I once served in a department in which only the fire chief was allowed to be an IAFC member. Today, I see membership in our association and attendance at FRI as a must for fire service leaders—especially our up-and-comers. Our association has worked hard to create pathways for fire service leaders to flourish. Both the Company Officers Section and Executive Fire Officers Section are fine examples of our association adapting to a need within our profession. However, we have much work to do and we need your help.

Since our founding in 1873, education has been a pillar of our mission. Our Program Planning Committee, led by Chief Josh Waldo, has done a superb job, putting together cutting-edge educational opportunities this year for FRI. Challenge yourself to attend classes and programs that are outside your comfort zone. You just might enjoy it!

Being a part of the IAFC isn’t just about absorbing the good information; it’s also about finding ways to contribute. Each year a call for papers occurs after FRI to solicit speakers for the next conference.  This year, please consider stepping up and giving back to your association based on your experience and career.

Take a look at the educational opportunities available to you at FRI 2018 in Dallas. I’ll plan on seeing you there.

Fire Chief Thomas Jenkins
President and Chairman of the Board


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