MCLEAN, Virginia – Just a little over one year ago, Firefighters and EMS Fund was formed. In April 2018, the organization attended its first conference, the Fire Department Instructors Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. They made over twenty-five new contacts at this conference alone.
In August, members of the board attended Fire Rescue International in Dallas, Texas. At this conference, the organization received fifty new contacts and communicated with over 1,000 attendees at their exhibit booth. Two of those in attendance lead to efforts in Collier County, Florida and in result, information was forwarded to the North Collier Professional Firefighters Association.
Thirteen days before the North Collier Fire District Referendum, Firefighters and EMS Fund took action as the North Collier fire district had grown by over 60% since their budget was last set in 2007. Firefighters there had a real need for new equipment and the flexibility to increase firefighter crew members and hours so help was in need. The referendum did not pass; however, Firefighter and EMS Fund gained experience for future referendums.
Firefighters and EMS Fund was also involved in the North Collier Fire District PAC Support. The PAC run by the North Collier Firefighters Association interviewed candidates and endorsed three to fill the seats available on the November ballot. The organization made an in-kind contribution of digital artwork, along with a budget to run ads and deployed an automated call to over 40,000 homes in the district. As a result, the three candidates whom they were supporting won their seats.
The second major contact from Fire Rescue International in Dallas was lead to firefighters from Houston who were fighting for a pay raise. Compared to those at the top five departments in other Texas cities, Houston firefighters were earning 30% less. In those other four cities (Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio), firefighters earn an average of $51,721 annually. Houston firefighters were earning an average base salary of $42,121 annually. Currently, Houston is the largest city in the state of Texas with a population of almost 2.5 million.
Firefighters and EMS Fund directed resources to a group, Support Our Firefighters PAC, who was supporting the cause. After all of the efforts by both organizations, the Houston firefighters prevailed on election night with a victory in support of the measure 59% for, 40% against.
Due to the thousands of dollars in investment via direct mail, digital ads, email marketing, and word of mouth as a direct result of attending conferences, Firefighters and EMS Fund grew with support in 2018. The organization released one explainer video which has over 30,000 views. The video is the first of a series that will be released quarterly.
Firefighters and EMS Fund is searching for seasoned fire and EMS industry professionals to serve on their advisory committee. Two positions need filled by the end of 2019. Those who are interested in these positions are to email Nile Porter, president, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The mission of the Firefighters and EMS Fund is to provide a grassroots voice for firefighters across the country in the state and local political process. The mission begins by supporting ballot initiatives and working to elect political leaders at the state and local level that understand firefighters’ and public safety officers’ interests.
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