Like so many other regions of the country and the world of late, our communities are experiencing their share of turmoil. In the Albemarle/Charlottesville, Virginia, community I serve, we recently marked the one-year anniversary of a civil disturbance that drew the eyes of the nation.
As I said during my acceptance speech at Fire-Rescue International in Dallas, many of us are facing some of the stormiest and most demanding challenges we’ve ever seen in our business.
In short, our jobs are changing. We aren’t just firefighters anymore. We’re civil servants called upon to answer at a moment’s notice any call for assistance.
There are other battles we face. Our departments are entrenched in fighting for our own health and welfare through cancer-prevention efforts. Fighting for our jobs and benefits through pension reform. Defining our role alongside law enforcement in acts of domestic terrorism. And ensuring ample future funding for much needed resources.
The IAFC embraces these challenges; it’s at the forefront of finding solutions.
One very important challenge we have embraced is the mental health and welfare of our members. The IAFC and fire departments around the world understand the urgency of recognizing and treating firefighters who are in crisis. We are better than ever about building peer-support teams and proactively offering programs for PTSD, depression and substance abuse.
We have much to be proud of in the fire service in 2018. With an influx of younger members, I feel confident we’ll continue to see our profession thrive.
As your new IAFC president, I pledge my dedication to upholding and elevating the impeccable standards of the IAFC and the expectations of the global fire service.
I challenge each of you to do the same as we stand side by side and march into the future of the fire service.
Fire Chief Dan Eggleston
President and Chairman of the Board