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2013 IAFF Media Awards Contest


The International Association of Fire Fighters Media Awards Contest is conducted annually to honor reporting and photography that best portray the exciting, meaningful and often dangerous work of professional fire fighters and emergency personnel in the United States and Canada. The contest also recognizes outstanding work by IAFF affiliates in communicating with their members and the public.

While the IAFF applauds and celebrates the work of all of the journalists and photographers whose work you’ll see featured here, we are incredibly proud of our affiliate winners. Not only did they manage to do their demanding jobs; they also produced award-winning journalism, photography and other special projects.

Awards are given out in four major categories: Print, Broadcast and Internet; Multimedia; IAFF Affiliates; and Outside the Box. Click on the navigation bar to the right to select a category.

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Print, Broadcast, and Internet


The print, broadcast and internet category honors journalists, photographers and videographers who have done an exemplary job of making the heart, soul and sometimes turmoil of fire fighting vivid and concrete to their readers and viewers, whether in print or online.

This year’s awards hail from varied places: from small but powerful trade publications to major metropolitan newspapers and everywhere in between, showing that the essence of great journalism does not distinguish between “large,” “small” and “medium” outlets. Rather, it’s the people behind the pen or behind the lens that make the stories they write, the photographs they take and the videos they produce excellent.

The IAFF is proud to honor the work of these dedicated professonals. Click the buttons next to each subcategory to view the winners.

Best News Story, Feature, or Editorial

Best News Photograph

Best Television News Segment, Feature or Documentary



The multimedia category honors work that was designed exclusively for an online audience. By taking advantage of online media’s powerful combination of video, sound, imagery and interactivity, these award winners truly bring fire fighting to life.

Best Blog Post

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“PGFD Special Events Unit Handles Busy Summer Concert”
Published in PGFDNews.com
Written by Mark E. Brady
Submitted by Prince George’s County, MD Local 1619

This in-depth blog post provides valuable insight into the services Prince George’s County fire fighters provided at FedEx Field during a popular Kenny Chesney concert. This piece also features a great discussion about the unit’s setup to assist in handling large events and includes many photos of workers preparing for the concert.

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“When You Take Time to Listen, Your Actions Speak Volumes”
Published in Fire Chief Magazine
Written by Jim Spell
Submitted by Vail, CO Local 4138

This post, published in Fire Chief Magazine’s blog Mutual Aid, examines the officer’s role as a listening and feedback resource for other fire fighters. The piece provides great tips for fire officers on how to actively listen to fire fighters and outlines possible challenges officers may face in attempting to actively engage with fire fighters.


“Six Ways to Keep Active Retired Members Engaged”
Published in IAFF Frontline Blog
Written by Joe Bertoni
Submitted by Fairfax County, VA Local 2068

Providing great insight and advice on how to keep an active retiree base in fire service, this piece outlines the challenges of engaging and including retirees in local affairs.

Best YouTube Video

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Fire and Water 
Produced by Mark Davis
Submitted by Boise, ID Local 149

Fire and Water tells the story of Rick Stover a former retired U.S. Navy diver who became a fire fighter in his home state of Idaho. The 10-minute video demonstrates the similarities between fire fighting and the military such as the camaraderie shared among fire fighters, high intensity and high level training needed to perform both jobs.

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The Game Changer 
Produced by Tara Cardoso, Jack Norris, Derek Wiley, Pete Wallwork and Sergio Ornelas
Submitted by Palm Beach County, FL Local 2928

This documentary explores the effect of cancer on the fire service. Fire fighters share their stories of cancer survival and raise awareness among members about what safety changes should be taken to prevent the disease from spreading in the fire service.

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Your Fire Department 
Produced by Ryan Christen, Ocean City-Wright, FL
Submitted by Ocean City-Wright, FL Local 2879.

Your Fire Department was produced to help citizens of Ocean City to take pride and ownership in their local fire department. The video, produced by Ocean City-Wright Local 2879 member and past president Ryan Christen, creates a better understanding of fire department operations. The community outreach effort paid off, when in November 2012, citizens voted to approve a millage cap increase for the fire department.

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IAFF Affiliates


This category recognizes the amazing work that some of the International’s affiliates have produced. From magazines and newsletters to stunning photography to effective public relations campaigns, these honorees run the gamut—and for many of the entries, if you were to lay them side by side with professional work, you’d be hard pressed to find any difference.

Click the buttons below to view the winners in each category.

Best Print Publication

Best Website

Best PR or Political Outreach Project

Best Special Project

Best Facebook Page

Best Unpublished Photo Taken
by an IAFF Member

Best Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign

Outside the Box


Each year, the Media Awards receives more quality work than it can recognize—and some of that work doesn’t fit neatly into just one category, or in some cases any category at all.

That sort of work is what the “Outside the Box” category is for. This is where the IAFF recognizes excellent work that shows fire fighting in a realistic and positive way and that falls outside our established categories (or blurs their lines).

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“On Duty With Santa Barbara County Firefighters”
Produced by KEYT – ABC California Central Coast
Submitted by Santa Barbara County, CA Local 2046

Santa Barbara County, CA Local 2046 fire fighters participated in a reality television show broadcast on the local ABC affiliate. Each episode highlights the daily challenges fire fighters face. During one episode, fire fighters coordinated a delicate rescue involving a vehicle that was struck by a semi-truck, pushed over the side of a bridge and left hanging by the rear axle. The fire fighters were able to save the mother and two children inside the dangling car.

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“Camp Houston Fire”
Produced by Erin Powers
Submitted by Houston, TX Local 341

The subject of this photo essay is a fire fighting camp supported by Houston Local 341 members to inspire young women to become fire fighters. Houston Local 341’s communication advisor Erin Powers donated his photography services for the project. Then, the photos were used to promote Local 341 during community presentations, on websites and camp fundraising activities.


“Fire Fighter’s Appreciation Day”
Produced by Brad Weaver
Submitted by McMinnville, TN Local 3026

Thousands of people came out to McMinnville Local 3026’s Fire Fighter’s Appreciation Day. The focus of the day was a fire fighter competition which required competitors to complete several fire fighting-related tasks in the fastest time. It was a fun way for the general public to see how challenging the job can be.