The Progressive Firefighters Association (PFA) Charities, Inc. of Miami-Dade and Broward Counties was organized in 1978 because of the increasing awareness and complexity of problems experienced by the African-American sisters and brothers in the fire service and in our communities. Thus, the PFA set forth as its main purpose and goal to study and provide viable solutions to serious problems and issues affecting its membership. The PFA also addresses the subject of recruitment, and the retention and promotion of qualified African-American firefighters within the fire service. The numerous problems affecting our community such as health concerns, fire prevention and safety, social, economic and political issues are also a part of the PFA’s agenda.

The principle founders of the PFA in 1978 were Firefighters Charles U. Phillips and David C. James, both of whom were plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed against Metro-Dade County and the Metro-Dade Fire Rescue Department, because of discriminatory practices. Charles U. Phillips later became the first African-American Fire Chief with the Department.

On December 31, 1979, the PFA incorporated in the State of Florida as a non-profit community-based organization comprised of fire rescue personnel of the Metro-Dade Fire Rescue Department.

In 1982, a settlement agreement was signed between the PFA, Metro-Dade County and the Metro-Dade Fire Rescue Department. Specific actions outlined in the settlement agreement stated: Metro-Dade Fire Rescue Department and Metro-Dade County would use barrier-free criteria and testing processes, validate entry level and promotional tests, establish a specialized recruitment team to actively recruit African-American applicants, employ a Human Resources Coordinator/Affirmative Action Officer, and make every effort possible to recruit and select qualified African-Americans for any and all exempt positions within the fire department.

Since its inception, the PFA has continued a long and unwavering commitment to combat the fires of racism, inequality and injustices that continue to permeate the fire service and our communities. The PFA has assisted hundreds of individuals interested in careers in the fire service. The PFA has also participated in many meaningful activities in the community since 1979. Some of the more noted activities include, but certainly are not limited to: blood pressure screenings, voter registration drives, installing smoke detectors, CPR training, Toys-for tots, a Turkey give-away for Thanksgiving, Sickle Cell Anemia fundraising, DCPS youth mentoring program, and the M-DCC Scholarship Foundation. They also sponsor a free summer swim program for youth, an annual Halloween party for children, the Inner-city S.O.U.P. youth mentoring program, fire safety education for children, a Martial arts program. We have also provided thousands of book bags filled with school supplies, haircuts and manicures to children for back to school. And, we also sponsor an annual Senior Citizen Christmas Dinner, and a Burn/Disaster Victims Trust.

The PFA is an affiliate chapter of the International Association of Black Professional Firefighters (IABPFF) and a lifetime member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). We, the PFA, will continue to call on its membership, as well as all those who believe in equality and justice for all, to “enjoin a new plan of service”, which is deeply grounded in UNITY and SUPPORT for one another. To this aim, we must strive to care for our children and elders, love our spouses, and help those who are in need.

Keep The Fire Burning For Justice”