IAFC 150 anniversary logo

Lead, Educate and Serve

The IAFC strategic plan articulates the association’s goals to Lead, Educate and Serve. Each quarter the board evaluates the alignment of the plan with the association’s work by reviewing the completed work of the association. Here are just a few highlights from each category since last July.

To LEAD by being the leading voice and advocate for the fire and emergency service on national policy and in government.

The IAFC is spearheading an initiative to reduce the number of false alarms to which fire departments are dispatched. The IAFC submitted 41 proposals to the NFPA 72 code change process and cohosted a stakeholder’s summit on the issue in April. The Fire & Life Safety Section is currently reviewing the recommendations from the summit and developing an action plan to move forward.

The IAFC works tirelessly to ensure that critical federal funding, such as the FIRE and SAFER Grant Programs, are protected against repeated attempts at deep cuts. As national and state-level deficit initiatives continue, IAFC members will continue to be on the front lines of the debate. Visit the IAFC's legislative issues: grants funding webpage for more information on this constantly evolving issue.

The IAFC is leading the fire service’s effort to establish a nationwide wireless, public-safety broadband network. In partnership with other public-safety leadership organizations, the IAFC is urging congress to allocate the D Block in the 700 MHz band of spectrum to public safety and to authorize the funding required to build the network. As part of this effort, the IAFC leadership has testified before congress four times, attended three White House meetings and met with key administration and congressional leaders numerous times. To learn more, visit the IAFC's legislative issues: communications webpage.

The Wildland Fire Policy Committee joined state and national wildland fire stakeholders to urge U.S. congressional support for the development and implementation of a National Cohesive Wildfire Management Strategy. IAFC members worked with federal agencies and other stakeholders to ensure that the plan, released this spring, was relevant to and inclusive of local fire departments and their work with federal and state counterparts to prevent and respond to the wildland fire problem.

The EMS Section has taken a leadership position in articulating the perspective of fire-based EMS leadership on a number of federal issues. On April 14, the IAFC issued a recommendation to the federal government (written in conjunction with the EMS Section) that called for the establishment of a lead federal agency for EMS at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The leadership of the EMS Section and IAFC staff also participated in the National Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council meetings, hosted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In March, the Volunteer & Combination Officers Section held a very successful summit, Constructing a National Blueprint for Expanding the Future of Volunteerism in the Emergency Service Community. There were approximately 145 attendees, including representatives from many IAFC divisions and sections. Based on the summit’s outcomes, the VCOS is constructing a strategic plan to address volunteerism challenges and opportunities that are critical to the future of the emergency response community.

To EDUCATE current and future fire and emergency service leaders by providing training, education and professional development opportunities.

The IAFC took the first steps in creating a structure for a comprehensive knowledge-management framework by redeveloping the IAFC website and web-based video outlet, IAFC TV. More than just a website redesign, the site’s development process engaged members in a variety of surveys and focus groups, leading to the development of a cohesive resource that will serve as the foundation for member-driven knowledge-management. Read more about the IAFC knowledge management plan in Leading, Educating, Serving in the Information Age (in this issue of On Scene).

The Safety, Health and Survival Section issued the much-anticipated Rules of Engagement for Firefighter Survival and the Incident Commanders Rules of Engagement for Firefighter Safety. The Rules of Engagement can be downloaded from the section’s website in a poster format (from the left-hand navigation) and are the subject of countless educational sessions and articles, including a monthly column in On Scene.

The Emergency Management Committee supported an unprecedented MABAS 270/90 validation exercise and coordinated its live broadcast during a general session of FRI 2010. In October, several EMC members and staff traveled back to Chicago to conduct an after-action review that validated and documented the unprecedented exercise as a success. The EMC is currently supporting a similar exercise in the Midwest.

The National Hazardous Materials Fusion Center portal was launched in October 2010. In less than six months, the portal registered more than 1,000 users and 60 hazmat teams registered to use the incident reporting system.

The National Fire Fighter Near-Miss Reporting System remained a strong resource for the fire and emergency service. In 2010, the program saw a 15% growth in reporting over the previous year. In addition to the online offerings, the program offers a variety of educational resources such as the Report of the Week, annual report and planning calendar, articles and educational sessions.

The IAFC continues to develop exciting and relevant educational programming for all levels of the fire service, from company officers to veteran chiefs:

  • The IAFC, with our partners at IAFF, produced a successful second LMI Conference in Phoenix in January, with nearly 500 attendees.
  • The Chief Officers Symposium (Level I) was introduced at FRI 2010 as the IAFC continued to build the professional development program that mirrors the needs of battalion, assistant and deputy chiefs as they ascend the leadership ladder. Level I and Level II will be offered at FRI 2011 in Atlanta.
  • The IAFC received rave reviews for its first New Chief’s Leadership Symposium, which packed in new—and even aspiring—five-bugle chiefs looking for strategies to put their best foot forward and to develop a support network of fellow officers.

To SERVE by providing services and products of value to our membership, affiliates and partners.

Another 23 IAFC members were selected to serve on the national emergency management Go Team. The IAFC's Emergency Management Committee deployed two members of the Go Team and the IMAS Technical Advisor to Puerto Rico to help with the finding the cause and origin for a 100%-plus increase in wildland fires on the island during the first two months of 2011. Go Team members were also deployed to assist in the aftermath of the spring tornados in Georgia and Alabama.

The IAFC continues to expand services and resources available to members, with an eye toward personalization of members needs throughout their careers:

  • The IAFC has created a new Company Officer Task Force to ensure the voice of emerging leaders in the IAFC are heard and to explore ways the IAFC can support their professional development. Additionally, the new IAFC website has a specific audience page and discussion forum dedicated to issues specific to company officers.
  • For the first time, the IAFC has entered into a cooperative agreement with two trade publications, FIRE CHIEF Magazine and FireRescue Magazine, to ensure members have access to resources that fully explore both tactical and leadership issues.
  • The new economy has made purchasing not just financially challenging, but also more complex and time consuming. The IAFC launched the First Responders Marketplace to make that job easier.

The IAFC, led the by members of the Fire and Life Safety Section, began a partnership with Kidde to develop a program that will help the fire and emergency service community understand the various smoke detector technologies and how their use can be maximized by targeted placement inside a home.

The Wildland Fire Policy Committee nationally launched the Ready, Set, Go! Program in coordination with federal, state and industry partners. The program provides implementation guidance, background knowledge and presentation tools to help fire departments teach individuals in high-risk wildland fire areas how to best prepare themselves and their properties against fire threats.

The IAFC began providing management services to the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association SAFER Grant-funded volunteer firefighter recruitment and retention program. A first-ever geographic-information systems study will examine 10 communities in Virginia and compare them using scientific methodology against traditional recruitment methods to determine best practices and recommendations for new recruitment models.

Working with sample policies from a variety of departments, the IAFC developed and issued the Model Fire and EMS Department Social Media Policy (PDF).

Ann Davison, CAE, is the strategic information manager for the IAFC.

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