Henry County, GA Local 4052 reaffiliated with IAFF in the fall of 2017 and are already finding strength in standing together with one voice. After using their influence to educate the Henry County mangers and Board of Commissioners, the commissioners voted unanimously to accept the $3.7 million Staffing for Adequate fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant.

The money will go to hire 28 new fire fighters which will help alleviate a serious short staffing and safety issue.

“This is a great victory for our new Henry County members,” says 12th District Vice President Walt Dix. “I am really proud of all of the hard work they put into addressing this critical issue.”

The SAFER grant was awarded in August 2017; however, the Henry County administration was initially hesitant to accept the grant due to financial and other concerns.

“We have been responding to emergencies with just two fire fighters on an apparatus,” says Local 4052 President Wade Birch. “We know that understaffing puts not only our safety at risk, but it also jeopardizes the safety of Henry County citizens. So, we met with our county leaders to explain the seriousness of the situation.”

When the decision on whether to accept or decline the SAFER grant finally went before the County Board of Commissioners for a vote, the board voted unanimously to accept the grant.

As part of the membership growth initiative in Georgia, Local 4052 came back into the International with 50 members and have since grown to 83. Since the initiative began in September 2016, Georgia has gained more than 400 new IAFF members.