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IAFF: Violence against fire, EMS personnel ‘never acceptable’

The union condemned those who have “interrupted” peaceful protests and directed violence at firefighters and EMS providers


By Laura French

WASHINGTON — The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) has released a statement condemning violence against fire and EMS personnel during nationwide civil unrest.

The statement, signed by IAFF General President Harold A. Schaitberger, says that peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd have been “interrupted by violence and unrest,” and expressed pride in the firefighters, paramedics and EMTs working amidst riots in multiple cities.

Multiple fire apparatus and ambulances, as well as first responders, have been attacked with objects such as fireworks thrown toward them by rioters.

The statement emphasizes that violence directed toward fire and EMS personnel is “never acceptable.”

Read the full IAFF statement below:

“Peaceful protests by our neighbors exercising their first amendment rights across America are being interrupted by violence and unrest. In the middle of the challenges and turmoil, I am proud of our IAFF fire fighters, paramedics and EMTs who are once again proving their dedication to keeping their communities safe when they are needed most.

“As always, the safety of our members is our top priority. So, it was with disappointment and outrage that I witnessed our members – who are integral to keeping everyone, including protesters, safe — attacked over the weekend. In cities from Atlanta and Austin to Cleveland and Minneapolis and St. Paul, our members were subjected to having bricks or large fireworks hurled their way, simply for doing their jobs. This is inexcusable.

“Throwing rocks, fireworks or directing violence toward fire fighters, paramedics and EMTs is never acceptable.

“Fire fighters will continue to respond when needed; it is their job and their calling. On behalf of our 320,000 IAFF members, please allow your fire fighters on the frontlines to do that job, keeping everyone safe, without violence or incident.

“To our members, stay safe and know that this IAFF has your back.”