Screenshot of a video showing Joe Biden addressing firefighters at IAFF Conference.
19 Mar 2023

Biden first sitting US president in 25 years to personally address firefighters at IAFF conference


The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) recently held its legislative conference, which saw President Joe Biden address the attendees. This marked the first time in 25 years that a sitting U.S. president had spoken at the conference.

As Firehouse.com wrote in a recent article, US President Joe Biden praised firefighters for their dedication and commitment Monday as addressed the IAFF's  2023 Alfred K. Whitehead Legislative Conference.

In his speech, President Joe Biden expressed his support for the IAFF and its members, stating that firefighters are "the backbone of our communities." He also discussed his administration's efforts to provide better resources for firefighters, including investments in firefighting equipment and training.

“I have your back, I promise you. You had my back,” President Biden said, referencing the IAFF’s early support of his 2020 campaign, “I’ll have yours", reported IAFF officials on their website on March 6.  

"...We’re calling on you more and more and more.  Extreme heat and drought have turned wildfire season into wildfire years. Cities and towns that never had to confront this before and are now facing it head on. As President, I saw firsthand the devastating wildfires that burned homes and businesses, from New Mexico, Colorado, California, Idaho.I met with firefighters, many of whom are — never trained to fight wildfires, saving lives and risking their own."

The President's address was well-received by attendees, who appreciated his recognition of the importance of firefighters in protecting their communities. The IAFF has long been a powerful voice in advocating for the needs of firefighters, and having the President's support is seen as a significant boost to their efforts. 

Joe Biden also also addressed the use of cancer-causing items in firefighting gear:

"We’re going after toxic exposure to PFAS — so-called “forever chemicals” — that for years have been in your gear, your equipment, your fire supervision [suppression] agents...I signed legislation to fund research aimed at understanding the risk you face from PFAS and how to mitigate it.  We banned the Department of Defense from buying gear that contains PFAS as soon as it is — alternative is available. I’m determined — determined — to make sure you have the gear that protects you without making you or your families sick.  You deserve it."

Joe Biden also spoke in 2022 at the FEMA Summit on Fire Prevention and Control. Biden is allegedly the  first president since Harry Truman to address the fall conference. 

The IAFF is a labor union representing professional firefighters and emergency responders in the United States and Canada. The conference is an annual event that brings together union leaders and members to discuss legislative priorities and advocate for better working conditions, pay, and benefits for firefighters.

Watch the YouTube video provided to see Joe Biden speak in the 27 minutes video from the AIFF conference.