Alabama Association of Volunteer Fire Departments

The voice for Alabama's volunteer fire fighters

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AAVFD History

The Alabama Association of Volunteer Fire Departments (AAVFD) was organized in 1977 to provide common ground for the interests of the volunteer fire fighters in the state and to have a means for putting those interests forward to the public and interested agencies. Since only about 5 % of all departments have a majority of paid personnel. The remaining departments have 50% or more volunteer personnel and of these, some 87% are members of the AAVFD.

Early efforts of the AAVFD concentrated on membership with emphasis on assisting numerous areas organize a volunteer fire department. Eventually these efforts resulted in almost every square foot of the state having coverage by a fire fighting unit. Fire Departments in a county were encouraged to join together in county associations until today finds each of the 67 counties with a county fire association. This alone has fostered mutual aid, training and shared use of training sites, not to mention the ever important exchange of information.

The diverse geographic features of the state have engendered numerous methods of operation for fire departments. One end of the state deals with heat, high humidity, the effects of using personnel and equipment in and near salt water, conducting rescue operations in the presence of poisonous water snakes and alligators. The other end of the state must contend with mountainous terrain, steep cliffs, and high angle rescue operations. One volunteer department alone has over 250 caves in its coverage area which has resulted in unique training and equipment needs. Rural, somewhat isolated areas of the state find volunteer fire departments having to meet medical and rescue needs in their areas, often during and following severe, sometimes tornadic weather. These and other challenges have been well met as a result of the volunteer fire service in the state continuing to attract into its ranks some superb, dedicated men and women.

Every year the AAVFD holds an annual conference in August and rotates the location annually among the Northern, Central, and Southern areas of the state. Besides the annual business meeting of the association, the conference also features training and information sessions, vendor displays, and competitions between teams from various member departments. The conference also includes an awards banquet, where those who have made important contributions to firefighting and related fields are recognized by their peers.

Two prestigious statewide awards, in addition to any Awards of Valor that recognize lifesaving efforts, are awarded annually at the banquet: a Firefighter of the Year Award; and, the Sherry Garner Memorial Award, in memory of the first woman fire fighter to lose her life in line of duty in Alabama.

The AAVFD is always striving to improve fire service throughout the state. We do this in two basic ways, one is by being the voice of the volunteer firefighter in Montgomery. Here we keep track of legislation that impacts your ability to field a safe and effective fire crew. We also propose laws that we feel will benefit the volunteer firefighter, like the Volunteer Firefighter license plates, for example. The other focus of our work centers on more practical matters. We believe that by promoting training, information exchange, and mutual aid among our member departments, we not only improve the safety of the firefighter, but the quality of protection provided to the communities we serve. Probably the best indicator of the effectiveness of the fire service in this state is the increasing number of lower Insurance Service Office (ISO) ratings found throughout the state.

If you are interested in AAVFD membership, e-mail the AAVFD and request an application, or write:

Alabama Association of Volunteer Fire Depts.
P.O. Box 2490
Montgomery, AL 36102


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