Communications Committee
Rita Francis

The mission of the Communications Committee is to promote effective communication, dialogue and understanding for the International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters. 

The overall objective of the Communications Committee is to provide and promote an information sharing process for the members of the IABPFF. Communications will include all written, spoken and electronic interaction with the target audience, including, but not limited to:

  • Online Communications
  • Media Relations/Public Relations/Social Media
  • Committee and Board Communiques
  • Marketing/Branding


Rita M. Francis, born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, received her education in the Baltimore City public schools’ system. She attended James Madison University, and earned certificates as an Emergency Medical and Cardiac Rescue Technician from the Community College of Baltimore. Ms. Francis started her career in the emergency services arena with the Rockingham County Volunteer Fire Department, in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She secured employment as an Emergency Medical Technician and Dispatcher for a private ambulance service and in 1986 joined the Woodlawn Volunteer Fire Department, Baltimore County, Maryland.

In 1989, Ms. Francis became a dispatcher with the Howard County Bureau of Communications in Ellicott City, Maryland, where she dispatched fire, rescue, EMS, and police personnel. She is trained in hostage negotiation, domestic violence intervention, and is a national and Maryland State certified Emergency Medical Dispatcher. She was also a twenty-five year member of the Howard County Critical Incident Stress Management Team.

Ms. Francis has been a member of the International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters (IABPFF) since 1992. On the Executive Board of her local chapter, The Phoenix Sentinels of Howard County, Maryland, she has served as 2nd Vice-President and Secretary. She has also served as the Corresponding Secretary of Black Women in the Fire Service, an affiliate of the IABPFF. Ms. Francis has served as the Corresponding Secretary for the IABPFF from 2008 to 2018. She was the Corresponding Secretary for the South East Region of the IABPFF from 2001 to 2015, and was the First Vice-Director for the South East Region of the IABPFF from 2015 to 2019.  In 2006 Ms. Francis was presented with an Outstanding Service Award, and in 2012 she was awarded a MOMS pin from the IABPFF.

Ms. Francis is the proud mother of a son, Darius Staten, and resides with her significant other, Frederick Cotton in Memphis, TN.

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