The Florida State Firemen’s Association is a nonprofit Fraternal Firemanic Association, incorporated under the laws of Florida, with membership comprised of fire service personnel in the State of Florida, including retired and associate members.
Membership in the Association is not restricted to either volunteer or professional firefighters. There is no distinction between firefighters’ grades within the Association. The volunteer firefighter from the smallest fire department and the private from a paid department have the same rights and privileges as the chief of a large city department. The Association was organized to present a united front for the entire fire service of Florida. It is meant to be a melting pot for firefighters of all levels.
The Purpose of this Association
The primary purpose of the Association is to raise the prestige of the fire service in the public eye, to provide the firefighters of Florida with a strong and unified weapon to assist them in their efforts to better themselves and the general public in the matter of firefighting, education, life safety, and fire prevention.
Other objectives that the Association pledges itself to strive for are: to establish harmony of action, to promote the best interests of the firefighters of Florida, to cultivate a fraternal fellowship between the firefighters of the State, to promote cooperation and coordination between the fire departments and other branches of municipal, county, state, and federal agencies involved in the suppression and prevention of fire, and to sponsor and further such legislation as will tend to raise the standards of all fire services.
This Association is operated by a Board of Directors consisting of the following officers: President, First Vice President, Second Vice President, Secretary-Treasurer, two directors at Large, and the Immediate Past President.
These officers are elected at the annual conference usually held during the months of May or June.
The President appoints a Vice President to preside over and carry out the activities of the Association in each of the twelve districts of the State. The division of the State into districts is a provision of the Association by-laws, These appointees are known as District Vice Presidents, and each may in turn appoint as many necessary within his District to serve as his deputies.
Each District Vice President is responsible for arranging district meetings within his district. Such meetings enable a great number of members to attend and participate in Association meetings near their communities. The Association recognizes the fact that only a limited number of firefighters can leave a city at one time, and by holding a number of meetings within a district during the year, all who desire have the opportunity to attend at least one or two. These meetings are informal, and from them is born the real program of the Association.
The daily business of this Association is performed by the office staff in Avon Park. The operations of the Regular and Senior Death Benefit Funds are also handled by the Avon Park office. The monthly magazine is mailed from the office.
It is the desire and intention of this Association’s officers and the membership to work closely with all organizations in an effort to elevate the firefighting profession, promote better working conditions, and obtain additional benefits so deserved by firefighters.
Florida Fireman magazine is the official organ of this Association. Each member receives the magazine with his membership.
Florida Fireman solicits any news items, pictures and stories of interest from our members, their departments and auxiliaries. Such items and pictures must reach the editor by the first day of each month, in order to appear in the following issue.
Your magazine strives to bring its readers educational and technical articles. as well as to publish the activities of firefighters and fire departments over the State, and to keep our members informed as to what their Association is doing.
This Association has been actively involved in accomplishing the following:
- During the early years of this Association, we sponsored an annual three-day Fire School Session. This led to the need and desire for a full-time institution for training, which resulted in the sponsoring and enactment of legislation to create the Florida State Fire College. This was achieved in 1949 in Ocala, Florida.
- Successfully sponsored the first State law establishing the maximum time in a work week for firefighters.
- Sponsored the enactment of the present Firemen’s Pension Trust Fund for Florida firefighters (Chapter 175, Statutes of Florida). This law diverts the two percent (2%) State excise tax on fire and tornado insurance premiums sold within the cities into the local pension funds.
- Sponsored, and was successful in having passed, State laws which enable independent volunteer fire departments to obtain official X tags for their vehicles, and allows the use of red lights on the private vehicles of firefighters when responding to fire alarms or other emergencies.
- Sponsored legislation which exempts volunteer fire departments from payment of State sales tax on equipment.
- Supported the State law which created the office of State Fire Marshal.
- Was instrumental in raising funds for the construction of the fire station and mechanics shop at the Florida Sheriff’s Boys’ Ranch in Live Oak, Florida.
- Was successful in locating and constructing a modern and adequate home office building in Avon Park, Florida, which was dedicated debt free in April of 1973.
- An Association representative gave testimony before Congressional Committees in Washington in support of the creation of the National Fire Prevention and Control Act.
- Established a film library for the use of our members. The present value of the library, consisting of training and public relations films and slide presentations, is $15,000.
- Supported the establishment of standards for the marking and identification of hazardous materials while in shipment, in storage, or on display for vending, in such a manner that emergency forces can readily identify their special properties and take appropriate precautions for the protection of lives and property.
- Was instrumental in securing and implementing the incentive program for Florida firefighters.
- Organized a coalition of all fire service organizations in Florida to support beneficial legislation in Tallahassee, and supported the formation of a joint council of fire service organizations.
- Established a Bunker Gear program to provide good used gear to departments with at least one third membership in the Association.
- Appoints and maintains an active Legislative Committee which strives to promote and pass legislation which is in the best interest of all fire services. This committee has been actively involved in the support of many existing State laws and works to maintain and protect these laws through a strong lobbying effort in Tallahassee.
- Supported the establishment of a baccalaureate degree in fire science through correspondence courses at Florida International University, Miami.
- Lobbied successfully for mandatory sprinkler protection in certain buildings, and special smoke detectors for the hearing impaired.
- The Association holds active membership in the National Volunteer Fire Council.
- The Association actively supports the EMS Providers Association, the Florida Fire Marshals Association, the Florida Firefighters Burn Foundation, and the Florida Chapter of the International Society of Fire Service Instructors.
The following are some of the goals set forth by this Association.
- To strive for unity among all fire-oriented groups to accomplish our ultimate goal, which is to work for the betterment and upgrading of all fire services in the State of Florida.
- To work for the State Department of Education’s establishment of a permanent state fire science committee to assist in standardizing fire science education and training in our state colleges and votechs.
- Provide, by statute, for fire insurance premium credits for cities in which fire personnel have achieved a predetermined level of training and demonstrate competence in prescribed areas of fire protection.
- To support the establishment of $20,000 life insurance payments for volunteer firefighters.
- To support the required demonstration of competence in providing fire protection, in all its implications, before a charter is issued to a volunteer fire department.
- To encourage that current State laws be studied in order to evaluate the propriety of existing laws pertaining to fire safety, and those that are outmoded, obsolete, or contradictory be repealed or revised.
- To expand present Association facilities for the creation of a State Fire Museum.
- To support the efforts being made toward the construction of a new Florida Fire College facility.
Annual membership dues are: Active Firefighters, $25.00; Retired Firefighters, $15.00; Associate membership is designed for non firefighters who wish to be affiliated with the Association and annual dues are $30.00; and membership for the disabled at $25.00. Upon payment of annual dues, each member receives:
- Membership card.
- An attractive windshield decal or sticker, bearing the official emblem of this Association. This decal, in addition to identifying you as a brother firefighter to passing motorists, is an aid in recognizing you as a member of your department when answering an emergency in your personal car.
- All issues of THE FLORIDA FIREMAN magazine.
- $2,000 accidental death and dismemberment insurance coverage.
- Membership entitles member to participate in Death Benefit Funds.
- Minimum of one third membership of any department entitles department to use the Film Library.
- Minimum of one third membership of any department entitles the department to participate in the Bunker Gear program.
- Departments with at least ten percent of its active membership can sponsor a contestant in the Miss Flame Contest.
- Departments may enter a team in the Firematics Competition (all team members shall be an active member of the Florida State Firemen’s Association.)