About Us

IAFF History at a glance

The International Association of Fire Fighters was established on February 28, 1918, for the sole benefit of rank-and-file fire fighters in the United States and Canada. It was on this date that thirty-six fire fighter delegates attended the first IAFF Convention and adopted the IAFF Constitution and By-Laws. The objectives incorporated into that Constitution remain in our preamble to this day.

The International Association of Fire Fighters was formed to achieve the following objectives:

  • To organize all fire fighters and emergency medical or rescue workers;
  • to secure just compensation for their services and equitable settlement of their grievances;
  • to promote as safe and healthy a working environment for fire fighters as is possible through modern technology;
  • to promote the establishment of just and reasonable working conditions;
  • to place the members of the Association on a higher plane of skill and efficiency;
  • to promote harmonious relations between fire fighters and their employers;
  • to encourage the formation of local unions, state and provincial associations and joint councils;
  • to encourage the formation of sick and death benefit funds;
  • to promote the research and treatment of burns and other related health problems common to fire fighters;
  • to encourage the establishment of schools of instruction for imparting knowledge of modern and improved methods of fire fighting and prevention;
  • and to cultivate friendship and fellowship among its members. [From the Preamble of the Constitution and By-Laws of the International Association of Fire Fighters AFL-CIO, CLC.]

The history of fire fighting is really a story of men and women who have dedicated their lives to helping people. The heritage of fire fighting has always been one of bravery, loyalty, and devotion to public service. These characteristics, coupled with a strong commitment to a personal calling that places their lives in jeopardy every day, makes the career of fire fighting truly a Proud Profession. Success in this proud profession is only possible when there is a unity of purpose. When the IAFF was established on February 28, 1918, fire fighters brought with them a newly formed union, and shaped the IAFF into the Bold Union that it is today.

It is through the collective strength of its diverse membership that the IAFF has fairly earned the honor and respect necessary to move forward and accomplish its mission to improve wages, hours, and working conditions of its membership. As you examine the history of the IAFF, you can see that the success of the IAFF has always been dependent on its membership. The growth, achievements, and success of the IAFF and its membership are as distinguished as its Future is Bright.