Whether you are a member of the fire and emergency services, a public safety coalition, or the fire service industry, the United States Congress is more aware of your concerns because of the Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI). Established in 1989 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy institute, CFSI is designed to educate members of Congress about the needs and challenges of our nation’s fire and emergency services to help them understand how the federal government can support the needs of our local first responders.
Members of Congress often turn to CFSI for information on a broad range of fire and emergency services issues. These are issues that confront firefighters and emergency services personnel — issues that address their health and safety and the training and equipment needed to perform their duties. We also share information with members of Congress about the important work of our public safety educators and the contributions being made by the public safety industry to reduce the threat of fires and other dangers in our communities.
The cornerstone of our mission is education. Each year, we conduct educational programs that help members of Congress understand the challenges facing the fire service. With the support of the Maryland Fire Rescue Institute and local fire departments, we offer a modified structural firefighter training class and ride-along program. We conduct Capitol Hill briefings that cover pending fire service legislation. We publish white papers and position papers on current public safety issues considered by our lawmakers. And each day, we respond to congressional inquiries on a broad range of public safety issues.
Unlike other national fire service organizations, CFSI is not a membership organization in the traditional sense. While we are governed by a Board of Directors, the strength of our organization comes from our National Advisory Committee (NAC). Unique within the fire service, the NAC is composed of more than 35 national fire and emergency services organizations. The NAC’s role is to develop consensus positions on major issues so that the fire service can deliver unified messages to Congress.
As a first responder, your job is to protect the citizens of your community against the threat of fire and other dangers. Our job at CFSI is to educate members of Congress about the work you perform and how the federal government can support the fire service in making our communities safer.