The Oklahoma State Firefighters Association (OSFA) is the most unique association in the country providing service to fire departments. The OSFA has more than 15,000 members representing union and non-union paid firefighters, volunteer firefighters, chief officers and retired firefighters. Membership is available to all active and retired firefighters in Oklahoma.
The OSFA was established in 1894 as the Territorial Firemens Association of Oklahoma. The charter was approved by the Governor of the Territory and made of record. The purpose of the OSFA is, in part, to create, maintain and perpetuate a fraternal spirit among its members, to suggest helpful legislation, to educate its membership and to enhance the value and dignity of their profession. These basic ideas were adopted on May 2, 1894, and have remained for more than 100 years.
The history of the OSFA is recorded in the book The First 40 Years and Last Few Decades, which is available for $5 through the Oklahoma Firefighters Museum.
The idea for a pension for Oklahoma firefighters dates back to the birth of the association. In 1900, the idea was conceived that insurance companies,whose profit was largely due to the work of the firefighters in saving life and property, should be responsible for the relief of firefighters. The Oklahoma Constitution contains two provisions about firefighters. The first allows the Legislature to enact laws authorizing cities and towns to pay pensions to disabled firefighters. The second provides for fire insurance companies doing business in the state to pay an annual tax on all premiums collected on fire insurance for the benefit of those firefighter pensions.
The insurance premium tax is still in effect and the Oklahoma Firefighters Pension System is now a state agency. The Oklahoma State Firefighters Association is the watchdog of the system and the members convene at an annual convention to discuss ways and means of improving the Oklahoma Firefighters Pension & Retirement System as well as other important issues facing firefighters.
Membership service to departments includes:
- Information on standards and operating procedures, fire apparatus specification information
- Department and money management
- 10 issues of Oklahoma Firefighter, OSFA's official publication
- Assistance with interpreting state laws
- Annual state fire school
- Assistance in organizing fire departments
- In-line-of-duty death benefit
- Interpretation and implementation of pension laws
- Representation on the State Pension Board
- Assistance with the Public Safety Officers Benefit
- Eligibility to join the Brent Hatcher Benevolent Fund
- AD&D insurance policy included in Association dues
The Association has several active committees serving the membership: Legislative, Educational Advisory, Safety & Health, Volunteer Fire Services, Financial Advisory, Memorial Committee and others.
OSFA serves as the umbrella organization, coordinating for the Oklahoma Firefighters Museum and the Oklahoma Fallen and Living Firefighters Memorial.