Hattiesburg firefighters are celebrating a historical event that bonds them to a national brotherhood within their profession.
Tuesday night Hattiesburg's Local 184 was presented a new charter into the International Association of Firefighters.
Hattiesburg firefighters became a part of the organization back in 1918, but eventually lost touch because of lack of participation. Officials say now a new generation of firefighters wants to be heard collectively, and being part of the union not only levels the playing field for Hattiesburg to recruit and retain qualified professionals, but also lets the association tackle firefighter issues on both national and local levels — issues ranging from compensation to safety.
"One of the big things of the International Association of Firefighters is the promotion of safety on the job," says firefighter Trey Baker of Station No. 6. "Firefighting is inherently a dangerous job, and we're trying to do everything we can to make it safer and to our job better. It's all about getting back to doing a better job for the community."
Of HFD's 114 sworn personnel, 105 signed up as members of the International Association of Firefighters.