|Schaitberger began his fire service career as a fire fighter and organized the first IAFF local in that jurisdiction
International Association of Fire Fighters General President Harold A. Schaitberger has been elected to the Board of Directors of the National Fire Protection Association.
The assocation is the world’s leading advocate of fire prevention and a leader in establishing codes and standards related to fire and life safety.
“I am honored to join an organization as well respected as the NFPA. For more than a century its work has protected the lives of fire fighters by promoting standards, training and research, and it has protected the lives of the public through its education and awareness campaigns,” Schaitberger said.
Schaitberger was a catalyst behind the NFPA’s decision in 2001 to issue NFPA 1710, which sets minimum standards for fire fighter crews, responses times and other factors involved in determining the organization and deployment of fire fighting and emergency medical systems. NFPA 1710 represented the culmination of a 10-year process that involved research, expert opinion, debate and consensus. He served on the NFPA Professional Qualifications and Standards Committee in the 1970s.
In 2000, Schaitberger was elected by acclamation, becoming General President of the IAFF, which represents more than 85 percent of the professional fire fighters and paramedics in the United States and Canada. He is currently serving his third, four-year term as General President.
Schaitberger began his fire service career in 1966 as a fire fighter in Fairfax County, Virginia, where he rose to the rank of lieutenant. He organized the first IAFF local in that jurisdiction, Local 2068, and went on to be elected the local’s first president in 1971. Two years later he was elected and served as president of the Virginia Professional Fire Fighters. In 1976, he began working at the IAFF’s headquarters in Washington, DC, to create the union’s political and legislative programs, which have been the driving force behind most of the advances in federal legislation dealing with fire fighter health and safety over the past three decades.
Since Schaitberger was elected General President, the IAFF’s political action committee, FIREPAC, has grown substantially and is now in the top 1.1 percent of the more than 7,100 federally registered PACs in terms of dollars raised. Appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009, Schaitberger serves on the Department of Homeland Security Advisory Board to Secretary Janet Napolitano. Schaitberger also serves on the AFL-CIO Executive Committee and has been a vice president of the AFL-CIO Executive Council since 2000. He is chair of the Board of Directors of the IAFF Foundation and serves as a vice president of the Muscular Dystrophy Association of America.