Adequate staffing of fire fighters and paramedics is essential to public safety. Seconds can mean the difference between life and death, and the number of fire fighters deployed to an emergency scene can mean the difference in lives lost and propery saved. The IAFF works to ensure fire departments across North America meet NFPA 1710, the national industry standard for minimum staffing and crew size.

The IAFF has led the effort to provide federal funding to help fire departments maintain safe staffing, and for fire fighters to have the appropriate training, equipment and resources to safely and effectively to the job. The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program, administered by FEMA, has provided more than $1 billion to help communities hire more fighters and maintain safe staffing through difficult economic times. The Assictance to Firefighters (FIRE Act) grant program provides funding for training and equipment.