IAFF Disaster Relief Efforts
Updated On: Feb 28, 2010

International Association of Fire Fighters Disaster Relief Alert

In this time of crisis following Hurricane Katrina, the IAFF must respond both as part of the nation's official response and to our members serving the area and who continue to work and have experienced personal loss.    

Information regarding the IAFF efforts is available below and online.  

FEMA/DHS Identifies Urgent Need for Fire Fighters, Seeks Emergency Assistance

Donate to IAFF Disaster Relief Fund  

FEMA/DHS Identifies Urgent Need for Fire Fighters, Seeks Emergency Assistance  

The Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) is calling on the nation’s fire service to send 1,000 two-person fire fighter teams to assist citizens affected by Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.  

FEMA has asked the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), the Metro Section of the IAFC/NFPA and the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) to communicate this need for assistance to the fire service in order to help FEMA respond to disaster recovery efforts.  

The initial teams dispatched to the Gulf Coast region are limited to career fire fighters, and must be selected and approved by the chief of the fire department. Teams must be physically fit, self sufficient and capable of working in austere conditions for an extended period of time while sleeping on the ground and eating MREs. In addition, fire fighters are asked to bring carry-on baggage only – backpacks are recommended. Teams will be working for at least a 30-day period. 

“Our thoughts and prayers are with those in the nation’s Gulf Coast during this terrible aftermath of Katrina, and our union’s fire fighters stand ready to assist in the disaster recovery efforts in the Gulf Coast region,” says IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger, who made his way to the areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina September 1. “My members are prepared to help wherever needed and will also bring compassion and support to those impacted by the wrath of Katrina.”  

“I know our nation’s fire chiefs will answer this call, just as we know that the fire chiefs of these affected states would help the citizens of our towns in a moment of crisis. Our prayers are with the thousands of citizens who are suffering and especially for those responders who are working to alleviate the destruction, pain and suffering,” says Chief Bill Killen, president of the IAFC.  

Individual team members will need to register through the National Emergency Training Center’s normal course registration process. FEMA will accept the fire chief’s certification on the application forms as the equivalent to a federal background check on the individual team members. Jurisdictions will be reimbursed for the teams, and teams will be provided brief initial training in Atlanta as Community Relations Response Teams to prepare them to assist the citizens in the disaster area.

To register, click here to complete FEMA Form 75-5A. Completed and signed applications can be sent to  

Departments must submit two applications (one team). Single individual applications will not be accepted. Teams will be notified of their acceptance. Submission of an application DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE TEAM HAS BEEN ACCEPTED.  

Acceptance is a second, separate process. For more information, call (301) 447-7250.  

Donate to IAFF Disaster Relief Fund  

Hurricane Katrina’s devastating power has left hundreds of IAFF members in need of assistance. 

“As these members continue to serve their communities on continuous 24-hour shifts, we need to do our part to serve them,” says IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger. IAFF members can provide assistance immediately by making contributions to the IAFF Disaster Relief Fund. This fund provides financial aid to IAFF members who have experienced loss and devastation from disasters like this hurricane.


To contribute, click here.



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