President Harry S. Truman had enough.
Less than two years after the conclusion of World War Two and beset by a host of issues — including economic and global concerns – Truman was angered over the nation’s ever-increasing loss of life in fires. With the famous sign on his desk reading, “The buck stops here,” Harry Truman knew it was up to him to do something to stem the tragic tide. So, in 1947, the president brought together experts from the fire service and outside interests. Their goal: find ways to stop the destruction and deaths from fires in this country.
More than 70 years later, Truman’s legacy lives on in the form of the Truman Fire Forum Working Group. The group’s members are dedicated to preventing fires, advocating for safe communities, and preventing firefighter line-of-duty (LODD) deaths.
The group is calling for the fire service and the nation to integrate fire prevention and education into regular fire department operations; use data, research, and science to tell the fire prevention story and increase advocacy for sprinkler use through strategies with federal partners.
How We Got Here
The 17th Annual President Harry S. Truman Legacy Symposium and the President Truman Fire Forum, held in May 2019, centered on the achievements of the 1947 President’s Conference on Fire Prevention. Following this Symposium, the Truman Fire Forum Working Group, in December 2019, had two main goals: to plan for a future National Fire Service Research Agenda Symposium that carries forward the spirit of President Truman’s original goal and to update and prioritize fire prevention strategies from previous Truman Fire Forum meetings.
The Truman Fire Forum report is built on sixteen years of progressive firefighter safety summits. These important gatherings resulted in the landmark 16 Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives and the NFFF’s successful Everyone Goes Home® program. Both programs focus on the health, wellness, and fitness of all in the fire service, covering both structural and wildland firefighting.
In the spirit of President Truman’s original call for progress, the attendees of the 2019 symposium reflected on key elements of the 1947 conference; and developed five areas of focus moving forward. Here are the findings:
The Truman Fire Forum Working Group also adopted the concept of a National Fire Service Research Agenda that would allow the fire service to better articulate safety, health, and wellness research needs, in addition to other areas. A breakout group discussed potential uses of a research agenda, to include funding decisions, including prioritizing those decisions. The group also discussed the idea of the agenda allowing researchers to more closely work with each other in sharing data and results of their work.
The Working Group attendees also prioritized 18 strategies for fire prevention, which were adopted in a December 2019 meeting.
The Truman Fire Forum Working Group report is being presented ahead of the next National Fire Service Research Agenda Symposium and Firefighter Life Safety Summit, which will be held at a date to be determined, because of COVID-19 concerns. The NFFF is proud to be an integral part of the work begun 73 years ago by President Harry S. Truman.
The buck stops here.
- Truman Fire Forum Report Released – The Truman Fire Forum Report reflects the work that was done from the 17th Annual Truman Legacy Symposium and Fire Forum held in Key West, Florida, in May 2019.
- Historic Event added to the Congressional Record – The 17th Annual Harry S. Truman Legacy Symposium and Fire Forum, which revisited Truman’s 1947 National Conference on Fire Prevention, was entered into the Congressional Record on May 23, 2019.
- The Truman Fire Forum – At the Truman Fire Forum on May 7. 2019, three days of events concluded with an agreement on five priorities for the fire service to attack in an effort to make our nation a safer place to live.
- Watch Highlights of the 17th Annual Truman Legacy Symposium – 72-years, to the day, after President Harry S. Truman appeared before his 1947 National Conference on Fire Prevention, fire service leaders and others again gathered to discuss many of the same important issues. This time, as part of the annual Truman Legacy Symposium in Florida. Watch highlights from yesterday’s (May 6, 2019) events.
- Watch Kickoff of Harry S. Truman Legacy Symposium & Truman Fire Forum – Last night fire service leaders and others were welcomed to Harry S. Truman’s Little White House in Florida to kick-off the 17th Annual Truman Legacy Symposium and Truman Fire Forum. Here are the highlights.
- Announcing the 17th Annual Harry S. Truman Legacy Symposium – a Partnership of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and the Key West Harry S. Truman Foundation – The 17th Annual Harry S. Truman Legacy Symposium will be held on May 5-6, 2019, on the historic grounds of the Harry S. Truman Little White House in Key West,