Announcement


Welcome to the IAFF Frontline News Brief, distributed twice a month to IAFF affiliate leaders and IAFF members. We encourage you to forward this news to your members and others in the fire service.

The Frontline News Brief is delivered directly by email and is also published on the IAFF web site. You can view past issues at http://www.iaff.org/Comm/frontline/news.htm.

Your feedback is also welcome - email pr@iaff.org with questions and comments.
 

Headlines

"Ontario Enacts Presumptive Legislation" (International Association of Fire Fighters)
"PSOB Backlog Angers Some" (Firehouse.com)
"The 'Tough' Clinton Strategy" (The Washington Times)
"Canadian Legislative Conference Generates Wave of Support for IAFF Issues" (International Association of Fire Fighters)
"New era sought for fire agency" (The Baltimore Sun )
"Giuliani's Clients May Take Luster From Homeland-Security Image" (Bloomberg)
"IAFF Supports NIOSH "Future Directions" Findings" (International Association of Fire Fighters)
"Illinois Fire Fighters Win Case" (International Association of Fire Fighters)
"Active wildfire season looks likely" (USA Today )
"Los Angeles City Local Mourns Loss of Leader" (International Association of Fire Fighters )
"Judge Puts Halt To Firing" (WUSA 9)
"MSNBC Discussed Giuliani's Attack on Democrats Over Terrorism, Did Not Question Giuliani's Own Record on Terrorism" (Media Matters)
"Report on First Responder Risk for Cancer Features Fort Wayne Fire Fighters" (International Association of Fire Fighters)
"Aurora Fire Chief Suspended With Pay" (Aurora Sentinel & Daily Sun)
"Firefighter Overtime 'Costly and Unsafe'" (Inside Bay Area CA)
"Probe of Grant Money Grows" (Orlando Sentinel)
"Federal Fire Fighters Uniform Allowance Doubled" (International Association of Fire Fighters)
"Ocean City Fire Fighters Sign Labor Deal" (The Daily Times)
"Staying Fit for the Job" (Peoria Journal Star)
"Lawmakers Take Walk in Firefighters' Boots" (New Haven Register)
"Oklahoma Fire Fighter Recognized for Service in Iraq" (International Association of Fire Fighters)
"Aging gear adds to risk, firefighters say" (Boston Globe)
"Women Firefighters Gather in Oakland" (Inside Bay Area CA)
"With budget cuts looming, firefighters union rejects buyout offer" (Bay City Times)
"Firefighters' Symbol of Pride Gets Image Upgrade" (New York Times)
"Psych Rejects Get Do-Overs" (Jersey Journal)
"New FDNY '9/11' Plan" (New York Post)


"Frontline News Brief" is Sponsored By:

MDA 

May is ALS Awareness Month! ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) -- or Lou Gehrig's Disease -- is a devastating disorder that destroys the nerve cells that control voluntary muscles. Muscles grow progressively weaker until paralyzed -- usually within three to five years. ALS typically strikes individuals in the prime of life. Its cause is unknown and no cure has yet been found. For more than 50 years, MDA has led the way in funding research into ALS treatments and cures, and providing services for those afflicted with the disease. MDA's aggressive $13 million ALS research effort spans the globe. In addition, MDA maintains 37 MDA/ALS centers at major medical institutions across the country, as well as a national network of some 225 hospital-affiliated MDA clinics. Encourage your members to visit http://www.als-mda.org/ and underscore the important contribution that the IAFF is making in the fight against ALS. Thank you for sharing in MDA's efforts to bring awareness to ALS and particularly for your ongoing support of MDA.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Ontario Enacts Presumptive Legislation
International Association of Fire Fighters (05/04/07)


The IAFF's 10,000 members in the province of Ontario are the latest in Canada to be protected by presumptive legislation that automatically awards workers compensation benefits to fire fighters who contract certain cancers or suffer heart injuries in the course of their duties. The legislation was announced by Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and Labour Minister Steve Peters in Toronto May 3, and introduced in the Ontario legislature later the same day. In a surprise move, opposition parties waived any debate on the bill, and it passed all three readings on the spot, reportedly only the third time to occur in Ontario history.
(Web Link)
Return to Headlines

PSOB Backlog Angers Some
Firehouse.com (05/02/07); Snowden, Lisa


Fire fighter organizations are calling for an investigation into the Department of Justice's implementation of the Hometown Heroes Survivors Benefits Act. The legislation is intended to provide benefits for the families of safety officers who die from a stroke or heart attack while on the job. But because the law specifies that the officer must have been involved in "non-routine activity or training," many applicants have been deemed ineligible. In addition, only two claims of the first set of 40 claims have been approved, and 200 cases are still undecided. To fight the red tape and bottlenecking, the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation have written a letter to President Bush, urging him to examine the situation. Barry Kasinitz, IAFF director of governmental affairs, says that Justice is "refusing to enact their own law," and notes that his organization is frustrated that those who need help are not able to obtain it.

Return to Headlines

The 'Tough' Clinton Strategy
The Washington Times (05/01/07); Bellantoni, Christina


The International Association of Fire Fighters recently hosted a forum for 2008 presidential candidates in which Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) discussed 9/11 and its aftermath. Clinton told the crowd, "A crisis brought us all together, and we rolled up our sleeves." Together with Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Clinton has secured $50 million from Congress to treat first responders and others suffering health problems, including "World Trade Center cough," from the 9/11 attacks. Clinton vowed to "keep fighting until we have the necessary and long-term funds in place to prevent these vital programs from having to go cap in hand to that government as the money dries up."
(Web Link)
Return to Headlines


Canadian Legislative Conference Generates Wave of Support for IAFF Issues
International Association of Fire Fighters (04/27/07)


The IAFF is tracking a wave of political support for the issues on the Canadian Legislative agenda following the 15th Canadian Legislative Conference, which was held April 22 to 25 in Ottawa. More than 120 IAFF members from across Canada conducted meetings with more than 170 members of Parliament and senators, raising the need to establish a national Public Safety Officer Compensation (PSOC) benefit, the need for a national office for fire service statistics and amendments to the Canada Pension Plan for professional fire fighters.
(Web Link)
Return to Headlines

New era sought for fire agency
The Baltimore Sun (05/08/07); Anderson, Lynn


Responding to safety violations that led to the death of a recruit, Baltimore fire officials called for a cultural overhaul that would encourage fire fighters to focus on safety, even if it meant challenging supervisors, something they are taught early in their careers not to do. "We welcome the chief's sudden interest in safety," said Bob Sledgeski, secretary treasurer of Baltimore Fire Fighters Local 734. Sledgeski and other union members accused the department of failing to act quickly enough to provide internal documents to state officials who are investigating [Racheal M.] Wilson's death. They said the officials might recommend new safety policies that could further protect fire fighters. "If something was done unsafe on that fire, it's probably still being done today," Sledgeski said.
(Web Link)
Return to Headlines


Giuliani's Clients May Take Luster From Homeland-Security Image
Bloomberg (04/30/07); Goldman, Henry; and Salant, Jonathan D.


Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani's credibility on matters of public security may be damaged by his business associations. Fire fighters were outraged when Giuliani's law firm, Bracewell & Giuliani, lobbied Congress on behalf of the Coalition for Breathing Safety to grant lawsuit immunity to respiratory mask makers in the event of equipment malfunctions. Masks approved by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, including cheap disposable masks with 95 percent effectiveness rates, would be covered by the exemption. Jeffrey Zack, a spokesman for the International Association of Fire Fighters, says the firm's action "shows that what the former mayor is truly concerned about is dollars instead of the lives of first responders."
(Web Link)
Return to Headlines


IAFF Supports NIOSH "Future Directions" Findings
International Association of Fire Fighters (05/02/07)


Nearly all of the IAFF's recommendations on the NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program (FFFIPP) are included in a summary released by NIOSH May 1 regarding its future role in fire fighter death and injury investigations.
(Web Link)
Return to Headlines


Illinois Fire Fighters Win Case
International Association of Fire Fighters (04/27/07)


The members of Dolton, IL Local 3766 emerged victorious in a legal case against the Village of Dolton after an arbitrator ruled that the Village had hired a fire fighter without proper testing. The Dolton Professional Fire Fighters Local 3766 agreement with the Village's Board of Police and Fire Commission requires all fire fighters to take and pass an oral examination, a written examination, a psychological examination and a physical agility test.
(Web Link)
Return to Headlines


Active wildfire season looks likely
USA Today (04/27/07); O'Driscoll, Patrick


Fire scientists preparing this year's national wildfire forecast don't expect much of a reprieve from 2006, the worst fire season in a half-century. An average or above-average year is likely, including more fires in parts of Southern California not already scorched in recent years.
(Web Link)
Return to Headlines


Los Angeles City Local Mourns Loss of Leader
International Association of Fire Fighters (05/02/07)


The members of Los Angeles City, CA Local 112 are mourning the loss of dedicated union leader and fire fighter/paramedic Danny Cypert. Brother Cypert, secretary for Local 112, was killed in a motorcycle accident on April 27, 2007. Cypert, 65, was a 38-year veteran of the Los Angeles City Fire Department. A longtime member of the labor movement, he was elected Local 112 secretary in November 2006. In addition, he was known as one of the most experienced motorcycle riders in Local 112 and an active member of the Los Angeles Fire Department Motorcycle Club.  
(Web Link)
Return to Headlines


Judge Puts Halt To Firing
WUSA 9 (05/08/07); Statter, Dave


A week after Washington, DC's new fire chief ordered the firing of one fire fighter and the suspension of another, a DC Superior Court Judge is saying not so fast. Judge Robert Tignor issued a temporary restraining order that keeps Chief Dennis Rubin from disciplining two fire fighters who treated former New York Times reporter David Rosenbaum. Local 36 of the International Association of Fire Fighters contends Chief Rubin has violated department rules and the contract with the union by increasing the trial board's penalty. In his order, Judge Tignor wrote that, "the city's action is in clear contravention of its own regulations."  
(Web Link)
Return to Headlines


MSNBC Discussed Giuliani's Attack on Democrats Over Terrorism, Did Not Question Giuliani's Own Record on Terrorism
Media Matters (04/26/07)


Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani has criticized Democrats for being too soft on terrorism, but Giuliani's own stewardship of the city during 9/11 has been criticized by many as well -- although not often by journalists. However, Media Matters for America has repeatedly noted concerns regarding Giuliani's record on national security issues. For example, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) described in a speech the incompatibility between the New York police department's UHF and the fire department's VHF radios on 9/11. Furthermore, fire fighters feel Giuliani "mishandled the development of a radio system that could have saved lives on 9/11 and turned his back on first responders' remains in the rubble," according to a Cox News Service article cited by Media Matters. Giuliani's decision to locate -- despite warnings -- his command center in the 7 World Trade Center Building proved similarly erroneous. Giuliani has also been censured for using then-New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik as a bodyguard during 9/11, rather than letting Kerik lead the police.
(Web Link)
Return to Headlines


Report on First Responder Risk for Cancer Features Fort Wayne Fire Fighters
International Association of Fire Fighters (05/03/07)


Watch the two-part series on fire fighters and cancer featuring Fort Wayne, IN Local 124.
(Web Link)
Return to Headlines


Aurora Fire Chief Suspended With Pay
Aurora Sentinel & Daily Sun (04/27/07); O'Connell, J.C.


Aurora city officials put Fire Chief Casey Jones on paid administrative leave April 26 after news about the fire chief's golf habits and alleged illicit relationship made headlines again.

Return to Headlines


Firefighter Overtime 'Costly and Unsafe'
Inside Bay Area (CA) (04/28/07); Huff, Ryan


A recently released grand jury report censured the amount of overtime worked by Contra Costa County's fire fighters in 2006. County fire fighters are currently slated to work 24-hour shifts, with at least one day off between stints, 10 times each month. However, fire fighters can volunteer for overtime shifts, which are available due to hiring issues and numerous retirements. The grand jury cited the example of one fire fighter who worked, on average, 17 hours per day each day in 2006, putting himself and his crew at risk for "injuries and unsafe conditions" due to fatigue, according to grand jury forewoman Olga Jones. The grand jury suggested capping consecutive work time to 72 hours with a required 24-hour break between shifts. The International Association of Fire Fighters supports limiting the number of consecutive hours worked, though the organization is "discussing what that number will be," according to Contra Costa, CA Local 1230 President Ron Walker. Fire fighters in the county note that they would like to work less overtime, and support the hiring of additional fire fighters.
(Web Link)
Return to Headlines


Probe of Grant Money Grows
Orlando Sentinel (05/02/07); Schlueb, Mark


State and federal officials are investigating allegations the Orlando Fire Department misused grant money. The city returned $378,800 in grant funds last month, after the Orlando Sentinel and TV news stations reported the city had sought federal reimbursement of personnel costs that didn't exist. But that hasn't stopped the Florida Department of Law Enforcement from launching an investigation.
(Web Link)
Return to Headlines


Federal Fire Fighters Uniform Allowance Doubled
International Association of Fire Fighters (05/04/07)


Information provided by the IAFF helped convince federal government officials to increase the federal fire fighter uniform allowance by $400 -- double the previous allowance. The new U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM)-issued rule becomes effective May 29, 2007. New NFPA standards call for more flame-retardant uniforms, which are more expensive than previous uniforms. The IAFF and 16th District Vice President Jim Johnson began talks with OPM, emphasizing the need for a uniform allowance increase. The government office responded by offering a $100 increase.
(Web Link)
Return to Headlines


Ocean City Fire Fighters Sign Labor Deal
The Daily Times (05/08/07); Ward, Beth


For the first time, a three-year labor agreement was signed between Ocean City, Maryland, and its fire fighters and paramedics. The Career Firefighters and Paramedics of Ocean City, International Association of Fire Fighters Local 4269 negotiated a collective bargaining contract with the town that begins July 1.
(Web Link)
Return to Headlines


Staying Fit for the Job
Peoria Journal Star (05/03/07); Davis, Jennifer


Peoria, Illinois, Fire Chief Kent Tomblin recalls back in the late 70s actually being chastised for playing basketball with fellow fire fighters during their down time. Today, as a sign of how times have changed, exercise is actually mandated in the fire fighters' new contract. And Captain Eric Richards, for one, is pleased. Richards, who turns 50 next week, works out most days, and it shows. He bench presses 250 pounds and runs "three miles or 30 minutes, whichever hits first."  

Return to Headlines


Lawmakers Take Walk in Firefighters' Boots
New Haven Register (05/08/07); Yaremich, Marissa


At an initial glance, the six men and women desperately saving mannequin "victims" speckling various emergency scenarios staged at the Hartford Fire Academy appeared to be average fire fighters. But underneath the air packs and breathing masks was a group of state legislators getting a taste of the stresses faced by area fire fighters as part of the first statewide initiative to implore lawmakers to understand why fire fighters and their lobbyists seek state funding and laws relative to the profession.  
(Web Link)
Return to Headlines


Oklahoma Fire Fighter Recognized for Service in Iraq
International Association of Fire Fighters (05/03/07)


Brent Judd, a member of Miami, OK Local 1969, has received the Bronze Star for his service in Iraq from November 17, 2003-January 1, 2005. Judd was deployed with the 319th Core Support Battalion in the U.S. Army Reserves. 
(Web Link)
Return to Headlines


Aging gear adds to risk, firefighters say
Boston Globe (05/06/07); Paige, Connie


Fire fighting equipment in Newton, Massachusetts,  has long been an accident waiting to happen. Then it did. Now fire fighters are waiting for the next one. The aging equipment includes air tanks, firetrucks and a rescue boat. "I'm very surprised that they haven't taken more time and put more effort into making the Newton Fire Department the best they could," said Fran Capello, Local 863 president. "You can have the greatest fire fighters in the world, but without the proper equipment we can't do our job."
(Web Link)
Return to Headlines


Women Firefighters Gather in Oakland
Inside Bay Area (CA) (04/27/07); Harris, Harry


At the 12th annual International Conference of Women in the Fire Service, held in Oakland, California, approximately 500 female fire fighters gathered. Women from 10 nations observed the opening flag ceremony, networked with colleagues and participated in workshops. Female instructors led the majority of the workshops, which dealt with matters such as live fire training, combating sexism and vehicle extrication. Positive feedback about the conference was due to the efforts of the conference's hosts, Oakland's women fire fighters, said conference spokeswoman and retired fire fighter Anne-Marie Jensen. In the United States there are currently 6,200 paid women fire fighters.
(Web Link)
Return to Headlines


With budget cuts looming, firefighters union rejects buyout offer
Bay City Times (05/01/07); Pacheco, Scott


The Bay City, Michigan, fire fighters union has declined the city's early retirement offer because it would have allowed the city to use volunteer, paid, on-call firefighters. ''There are going to be no buyouts because we soundly rejected the offer,'' said Chris Reynolds, president of Bay City Local 116. ''I cannot negotiate jobs away."
(Web Link)
Return to Headlines


Firefighters' Symbol of Pride Gets Image Upgrade
New York Times (04/26/07); Lee, Trymaine


Many New York City fire fighters' house arm patches have been refashioned recently, but the patches continue to serve as individualized symbols of company pride. The patches display nicknames and images representing each house, like the Tillary Street Tigers and the Bushwick Bomberos. Fire fighters wear house patches on their right sleeves, across from the official patch of the fire department. However, some politically incorrect patches have led to a review, and now a borough fire commander must approve patch designs. Still, the optional patches remain meaningful to the fire fighters who wear them, evoking the house's history, strength and personality. Fire fighters note that the closer the company, the more house patches will be seen on display.

Return to Headlines


Psych Rejects Get Do-Overs
Jersey Journal (05/03/07); Thorbourne, Ken


Six of the current crop of recruits to become fire fighters in Jersey City who failed an initial psychological test were allowed to take it again.  With the city footing the bill, all six passed a follow-up psych test with a different psychologist. One of the first beneficiaries of this policy switch -- which officials say may never happen again -- is Sean T. Mangan, identified as a nephew of Fire Chief William Sinnott.  Jersey City Firefighters Union Local 1066 President Joseph Krajnik said it's not likely the city can get away with instituting a one-time-only policy. "Precedent makes law," Krajnik said. "A lawyer would have a field day. They would say you did it for these (candidates) and you paid the bill, so you have to do it for my client."  
(Web Link)
Return to Headlines


New FDNY '9/11' Plan
New York Post (04/26/07) P. 4; Gallahue, Patrick


The Fire Department of New York has released a report on how it will improve its operations in order to avoid many of the communication problems and challenges coordinating with other first-response agencies that led to unnecessary fatalities during the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The report, titled "FDNY Terrorism and Disaster Preparedness Strategy," outlines plans for training of more elite fire fighters, development of better response technology and decentralization of chains of command so that fire fighters can more efficiently respond to large-scale emergencies. The study was prepared by department Deputy Assistant Chief Joseph Pfeifer, whose brother, Lt. Kevin Pfeifer, died on September 11, and establishes a number of organizational and training goals, including plans for chain of command when communication lines are unavailable; procurement of better gear protecting fire fighters against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats; and training for better identification of suspicious situations. In addition, the department has improved its coordination of radio communication with other city agencies and is planning to launch its own wireless radio system.

(Web Link)
Return to Headlines

 


copyright 2006 International Association of Fire Fighters


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International Association of Fire Fighters
1750 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20006

 

May 9, 2007


The IAFF represents more than 280,000 full-time professional fire fighters and paramedics who protect 80 percent of the nation's population. More than 3,100 affiliates and their members protect nearly 6,000 communities in every state in the United States and Canada. In addition to city and county fire fighters and emergency medical personnel, the IAFF represents state employees (such as the California Forestry fire fighters), federal workers (such as fire fighters on military installations), and fire and emergency medical workers employed at certain industrial facilities.

Sponsored by the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), the Frontline News Brief includes summaries of news articles related to fire fighters, emergency response and the fire service. It is distributed twice a month to IAFF affiliate leaders and members.

For more information, contact:

Jane Blume Director of Communications International Association of Fire Fighters 1750 New York Ave., NW Washington, D.C. 20006 (202) 737-8484