IAFC president cites communications challenges
Speaking to an audience of fire department leaders in August at the International Association of Fire Chiefs national conference in Kansas City, Mo., the outgoing IAFC president, John M. Buckman, said that that the first IAFC conference in 1873 was called to discuss was “how to communicate with the nozzle person. Some wanted to run a phone line along the hose. So, in 1873, we talked about communications problems. We’re talking about communications today.”
Buckman, who is chief of the German Township Volunteer Fire Department, Evansville, Ind., said that the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, have caused changes within fire departments, the nation and the world.
“We are under a microscope. People want to know what the fire department does and why. They want to know, is the fire department doing things the same way and expecting different results? Are our people trained and equipped to meet new challenges?” Buckman said.
Buckman said that IAFC has been increasingly successful in making sure that legislation is pushed through Congress to give the fire service more money. He cited the Fire Act as a success achieved by IAFC together with other organizations. Buckman said that next year’s federal budget is expected to include $3.5 billion to improve first responders’ capability to respond to terrorists. He said that the fire service has opportunity to get its fair share.