Well over 5,000 fire fighters and fire officers, the great majority were IAFF members, listened to General President Schaitberger during the opening of the 2010 Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) in Indianapolis this morning.

He spoke for about 30 minutes and took issue with public officials who close down or brown out companies and lay off fire fighters because it jeopardizes public and fire fighter safety. But Schaitberger also called out those in our own fire service family for standing by while these cuts are made. He said:

“This is life and death, and I take exception to anyone in our fire fighter family who is willing to put fire fighters in peril by letting a rig roll out the fire station when it isn’t fully staffed. Staffing cuts might save money, but they also cost lives! I know that those in Command as well as those of us on the Labor side of the house make it clear that we both are pursuing the same goals on behalf of our crews. But how can you willingly participate in cutting your crews, potentially placing them in jeopardy, without some attempt to take a strong principled stand?”

The speech content was unexpected by most in the audience, but very well received.

A detailed story can be found at www.iaff.org and the General President’s speech can be viewed by clicking here.