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IAFC predicts $16B revenue deficit, 30K layoffs

Extrapolated results from an economic impact survey of IAFC members found “draconian numbers” of potential layoffs and revenue loss

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The International Association of Fire Chiefs has reported that nearly 1,000 fire department personnel have been laid off or furloughed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and projects that about 30,000 fire department jobs will be impacted by the crisis.


By Rachel Engel and Laura French

CHANTILLY, Va. — In the weekly IAFC webinar addressing the impact of the COVID-19 on the fire service, President Gary Ludwig revealed the results of an economic impact survey which showed the industry is facing a dire situation.

The data from the survey, taken by IAFC members, showed that hundreds of fire department employees in both large and small communities, including frontline firefighters and EMS providers, have been affected by budget cuts due to the pandemic’s economic impact in what the association says are the largest cuts to the fire service in modern history.

Data analysis of the survey predicts that fire departments across the country will face billions in lost tax revenue.

“These numbers are staggering on the economic impact we’re going to see as a result of [COVID-19],” Ludwig said. “Fire departments will see … a loss in tax revenue of $16 billion.”

He urged all members of the fire service to contact their state representatives and request additional funds for grant programs.

“Those are some draconian numbers, and we are trying to work with Congress to fund the AFG and SAFER grants,” Ludwig said during the webinar. “We need your help. We need you to go and let your voice be heard with your senators and with your Congresspeople. The best way to do that is through our legislative action center at”

The association said it also expects some volunteer departments to close as a result of the economic difficulties.

View the full webinar below, and visit the IAFC website to view the organization’s full library of COVID-19 webinars and upcoming events.