Death, injury and illness reduction for fire fighters is a major concern of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), which has been actively involved in the health and safety problems of fire fighters. During the course of a single year, a fire fighter has greater than a 40 percent chance of being injured. In fact, fire fighters' deaths, injuries, and occupationally induced illnesses exceed the mining, construction and logging industries, each of which annually ranks among the most hazardous occupations. Clearly, the profession of fire fighting, "the world's most hazardous profession," is deserving of concentrated attention and support in order to reduce the number of injuries, illnesses and deaths.
As a result, the John P. Redmond Memorial Trust Fund (later renamed the John P. Redmond Foundation) was established as a nonprofit organization at the IAFF Convention in 1958. The fund was named in memory of John P. Redmond, the IAFF’s fourth General President, who died in office from occupational heart disease. The purpose of the fund is to encourage and carry forth research and education regarding the occupational hazards and diseases associated with fire fighting. These efforts have been supported over the years through IAFF membership dues, voluntary contributions from IAFF affiliates, IAFF Auxiliary chapters and memorial gifts from families and friends of fire fighters as well as support from federal agencies such as the U.S. Fire Administration, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Bureau of Standards.
To promote education, the Redmond Foundation sponsors a biennial symposium on the occupational health and hazards of the fire service. The 18 symposiums since 1971 provided forums for detailed discussion on safety and health matters directly affecting fire fighting personnel by bringing together fire fighters, medical researchers, medical practitioners, safety experts, fire chiefs, city management representatives, political leaders, universities, industry representatives and federal government representatives from various agencies. Often times, those in attendance have initiated new research efforts or caused programs to be implemented to reduce the hazards associated with fire fighting. In addition, these symposia have served as a valuable forum for fire fighters from across the United States and Canada to learn about and understand the occupational hazards of their profession, as well as ways to minimize these dangers. In this way, the Redmond Foundation has developed a record of achievement by keeping in the forefront of the health and safety issues affecting fire fighters. This, the fourteenth symposium, promises a program addressing what we believe to be the most significant health and safety issues in the fire service. This program will address relevant and timely issues and promote new IAFF initiatives and challenges, which will significantly change the fire service and save lives of our emergency response members.
Although much deserved attention has been focused on the biennial symposiums, they are just the pinnacle of the Foundation's efforts. The studies funded through the Foundation have led to medical evidence that correlates heart and lung diseases as well as occupational cancer with the profession of fire fighting. This research has been used successfully to lobby numerous state and provincial legislatures for the adoption of statutes that automatically provide compensation benefits to fire fighters with heart and lung diseases and occupational cancer. The Foundation has also supported research that examined the effects of the number one fire killer (carbon monoxide), as well as studies involving product liability, diesel exhaust in fire stations, and lower-back injuries. The Foundation has used its resources to continue field testing advances in protective clothing via Project FIRES and Project HEROES.
Mail Foundation donations to the following