||THE I.A.F.C.... WHATS
IN A NAME?
by Chief Billy Goldfeder
I thought you might find it of interest
that in this weeks meeting in Santa Rosa, California, the IAFC Health and
Safety "Committee" chose a name for the NEW "section" of the IAFC. So what's
in a name? The name change isn't a big deal in itself-but the fresh and
sometimes new attitudes and enthusiasm that it appears to stand for at
the IAFC, is. Fyi, within the IAFC, a "committee" has limited membership
and opportunities. A "section" however, can be as large as the members
want it to be-and has many more opportunities to succeed in a specific
mission. 600+ members of the IAFC have supported the change.
The IAFC Safety, Health and Survival Section
(SHS) is looking for even more new members. Yeah-you. And I don't often
get very optimistic on changes like these...but I am pretty confident that
this NEW section will soon make a significant impact on the safety, health
and survival of members of the fire service. I think this new change and
focus with the folks that are involved will matter. By the way, if you
signed a petition in New Orleans at Fire Rescue International 2004, you
will soon be receiving a letter requesting your support as a formal dues
paying member of the new section. Pay the bill and get others to join as
well. IAFC SHS has a number of ongoing "stop firefighter death and injury"
activities "that matter" that you'll hear about in the near future.
One area that I am especially glad about
is that the major focus of the new section will be on the IAFC's role in
the promotion and action related to the 16 life safety initiates developed
at the National Fallen Firefighter’s Foundation Line of Duty Death Summit
Why is that a big deal? Because, for a
change, we decided NOT to reinvent the wheel. The problems and issues effecting
FF injury and death are obvious-and have already been well identified thru
the NFFF LODD summit---IAFC SHS is going to take on those issues (with
goals, objectives and solutions) to effect every IAFC member in numerous,
numerous ways. And IAFC SHS is going to work aggressively in partnering
with the other firefighter safety/survival groups and associations both
nationally, state and locally to support the ONE FOCUSED mission in getting
the injury and death rates changed-fast. This must/will be a coordinated,
focused and successful mission.
As many of you may know, the new section
was enthusiastically endorsed by IAFC Board of Directors in August--that's
a fact--I was in the meeting. The IAFC President, VP's and Board Members,
one by one made "on the record statements" supporting the actions and changes.
Not a big deal? I think it's a decent start. If every fire association
and organization (national, state and local) and their members take the
same actions-and coordinate the efforts to continue the momentum,
it will matter.
If you were not one of the 600+ IAFC members
that signed the petitions in New Orleans but are interested in getting
involved on the ground floor of the IAFC Safety, Health and Survival Section,
contact the IAFC at 703-273-0911 (Membership Dept) or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
for the details. Yes-you must be a member of the IAFC to join-but keep
in mind that IAFC membership is open to other members of the fire service-not
just Chiefs. If you are already a member of the IAFC, join the new section.
If you've been a firefighter for more than
15 minutes, you know that change is slow in our business. And the ONLY
way this stuff will get fixed is when we get the message of "change to
survive" through to the FIRST LINE supervisors...be it Firefighters, Sgts,
Lt's, B/C's...whoever is supervising. However, there has never been a time
where "we" are all focused on fixing the "bad" stuff-and there has never
been a better time to fix it. The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation
took the ball and ran with it last Spring. Other organizations have also
gotten the wakeup call and are working with them. This new section at the
IAFC is one example. The newly formed "IAFC Safety, Health and Survival
Section"-of which you can become an active member-will be playing a major
role in effecting the changes: from the Chiefs-right down to where the
changes can most successfully be made: the First Line Supervisors. A few
years ago, at the FDIC main program, we spoke on how "The Beat Goes On"
and last year some friends of mine and I spoke on how "It Takes Courage
to Make The Ch-Changes"....the formation of this new group at the IAFC
is one more step that will lead to all of us slowing down "The Beat" and
making the critically needed "Ch-Changes."
Now, don't waste time whining to me why
this won't matter or why it won't work...this time I'm being positive and
don't have time to argue with you. Just join the IAFC Safety, Health and
Survival Section and get personally involved as a member...so it does matter.