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IAFF gathering part of busy convention month for Cincinnati

Mark Heyne
IAFF President Harold Schaitberger says delegates will be discussing many issues when they meet in Cincinnati next week.

Thousands of firefighters are converging on Cincinnati for the 52nd biennial convention of the International Association of Firefighters, which starts Monday.  During a press conference Friday to welcome them, Convention and Visitors Bureau Chair Delores Hargrove-Young said the IAFF will  have an economic impact of more than $2 million for the region, and is part of a  busy month for the city's convention business:

"July is an incredible, exciting month for Cincinnati as we welcome convention groups like the IAFF, the National Urban League and the Ohio American Legion."

The CVB says July bookings alone will bring more than 30,000 meeting attendees, about 43,800 contracted hotel room nights and $13 million in economic impact.

For Matt Alter, Cincinnati Fire Fighters Union Local 48 president, it's fitting that the city is hosting the convention because of its rich history and heritage of fire safety:

"Cincinnati has played an integral role in the technological and organizational development of the American fire department dating all the way back to 1853, when the country's first paid professional fire department was created here in the great city of Cincinnati."

About 2,500 delegates will be attending the convention, which will focus on hot-button issues for first responders and major changes facing firefighters in the U.S. and Canada.  The proposals they'll be considering include instituting standard operating procedures for active shooter scenarios, as well as  a proposal to reconstruct and expand the IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland.  They'll also launch a national public safety campaign about the deadly consequences of texting while driving.

The opening ceremony is Monday morning at 9, but IAFF delegates will be taking part in community activities this weekend, including A Fire Ops 101 event at the Cincinnati Fire Department Mill Creek Training Facility on Saturday.