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.

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"SAFER Funding, FEMA Reform Pass Congress " (International Association of Fire Fighters)
"Camp sets teens on healing path" (USA Today)
"Casey, Santorum get safety union backing" (Pittsburgh-Post Gazette)
"Nevada Fire Fighters Show Public Support for Dina Titus for Governor" (International Association of Fire Fighters)
"IAFF Wins Passage of Medical Monitoring Bill " (International Association of Fire Fighters)
"Head to head, toe to toe in Ohio 13th District" (Akron Beacon Journal)
"Police, Firefighters Challenge Residency Rules" (USA Today)
"City of Pittsburgh welcomes newest firefighters" (Pittsburgh-Post Gazette)
"Unions, Mayor Discuss Policy for Negotiations" (Chattanooga Times Free Press (TN))
"Survey Shows Lack of Fire Safety Knowledge Among Americans" (International Association of Fire Fighters)
"Forum Established to Help Laid-off Florida Fire Fighters" (International Association of Fire Fighters)
"Preparing for cuts: Police, fire officials say personnel would be cut if public safety levy is overturned" (Billings Gazette)
"Fit to Survive Warns About Dangers of Obesity" (International Association of Fire Fighters)
"International Association of Fire Fighters, Missouri Locals 42 and 3808 Endorse Amendment 2, Missouri Stem Cell Initiative" (PRNewswire)
"Council Fired Up Over Cuts " (New York Post)
"South Dakota FLSA Case May Set Precedent" (International Association of Fire Fighters)
"Outcry spurs review of 9/11 memorial" (The Arizona Republic)
"Sick Time Focus of Feud Between City, Firefighters" (St. Catharines Standard (CAN))
"Providence Fire Fighters Censure Mayor David Cicilline" (International Association of Fire Fighters)
"Critics hit chief, mayor over fatal fire" (The Boston Globe)
"Alaska Fire Fighters Rally in Support of Tony Knowles for Governor" (International Association of Fire Fighters)
"Fiery Debate Between City of Beaumont and Firefighters" (KBTV 4)
"Some firefighters irked by policy" (The Record)
"City Council passes resolution to exempt public safety jobs from Prop C" (San Diego News Services)
"Vermont Fire Fighters Hold Successful Fire Ops" (International Association of Fire Fighters)
"Firehouse still useful for retired firefighters" (The Daily Nonpareil)


"Frontline News Brief" is Sponsored By:


MDA gives special recognition and credit to all the hard-working, supportive and enthusiastic men and women of the IAFF across the United States and Canada for their overwhelming support for MDA.





SAFER Funding, FEMA Reform Pass Congress
International Association of Fire Fighters (10/02/06)

Just prior to breaking for the November elections, the U.S. Congress passed a spending bill that increased funding for the SAFER and FIRE grant programs. The bill also included major reforms to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which the IAFF played an instrumental role in crafting.
(Web Link)
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Camp sets teens on healing path
USA Today (10/09/06) Bleimes, Ashley

The International Association of Fire Fighters Burn Foundation hosted 42 teenagers in Washington, DC for the National Children's Burn Camp for burn survivors. Visiting the National Portrait Gallery, Bibiana Mondragon, 14, of Dallas says a series of paintings depicting burn survivors by artist Doug Auld made her appreciate people who were not ashamed of their scars but displayed them with pride. "It was artwork; it was beautiful," she says. "We're beautiful." B obby St. John, one of the IAFF Burn Foundation counselors and a burn survivor, says many of the children who first come to camp are introverted, covered head-to-toe in clothing so no one can see their scars. He says that although it is a slow process, many begin to come out of their shells by attending camp. "It just lets you not feel alone," he says. "It takes away the feeling sorry for yourself and makes you part of a group, part of something bigger." Fire fighters from local camps become counselors for the week. Jake Murray of Seattle says it's a great way for fire fighters to reach out to children who need their help. "These kids just tear out your heart," says Craig Hursey, a fire fighter from Goshen, Indiana. "I've been a fire fighter for 30 years, and this is the pinnacle."
(Web Link)
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Casey, Santorum get safety union backing
Pittsburgh-Post Gazette (10/10/06); Lord, Rich and O'Toole, James

Pennsylvania fire fighters pledged their support for Democrat Bob Casey for U.S. Senate while incumbent Republican Senator Rick Santorum received the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police. As Santorum was showcasing his police support, fire fighters from throughout the western side of the state gathered in a Pittsburgh fire station to back Casey, rebutting a Santorum commercial featuring former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and volunteer fire fighters. "The commercial is deceiving. It's a misrepresentation of fire fighters," said Joe King, president of Pittsburgh, PA Local 1. "They had a small group of volunteer fire fighters outside of the city of Philadelphia. Giuliani and Santorum portrayed it as fire fighters being for Santorum, and that's not true." The Pennsylvania Professional Fire Fighters Association distributed a list of seven votes in which Santorum supported cuts or opposed increases in federal aid to professional fire fighters. "We're tired of Rick Santorum not supporting fire fighter issues," said George Ban, the western district vice president for the state fire fighters association. "Bob Casey is committed to providing safe communities and seeing that our fire fighters statewide are adequately funded."
(Web Link)
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Nevada Fire Fighters Show Public Support for Dina Titus for Governor
International Association of Fire Fighters (10/10/06)

Approximately 100 members from IAFF locals in southern Nevada joined IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger, Professional Fire Fighters of Nevada President Rusty McAllister and U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) for a October 3 rally in support of Nevada State Senator and gubernatorial candidate Dina Titus at the Clark County, NV Local 1908 union headquarters. President Schaitberger spoke to the crowd, standing in support of Nevada's fire fighters. "Our members understand service, commitment, duty and sacrifice," he said. "And that's what they look for in a candidate. That's why they support Dina Titus for governor."
(Web Link)
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IAFF Wins Passage of Medical Monitoring Bill
International Association of Fire Fighters (10/02/06)

The U.S. Congress has overwhelmingly approved the creation of medical monitoring programs for first responders following federally declared disasters. Ensuring that fire fighters and other responders have access to physical and mental health screenings after major disasters has been one of the IAFF's top legislative priorities in the 109th Congress. "The establishment of future medical monitoring programs is a tremendous victory for our members," said IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger.
(Web Link)
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Head to head, toe to toe in Ohio 13th District
Akron Beacon Journal (10/11/06); Chancellor, Carl

In Northeastern Ohio, candidates seeking political office appeared at a German-themed fall festival as beer and lederhosen. At the Cuyahoga Falls Oktoberfest celebration,  Democrat Betty Sutton shook hands and exchanged pleasantries with folks waiting for beer and bratwurst being served up by a group of beefy fire fighters. Meanwhile,  Lorain, Ohio Republican M ayor Craig Foltin was working a crowd in a tent pulsating with polka music. Foltin and Sutton are battling for the open 13th congressional district seat in the U.S House of Representatives. Sutton, a labor lawyer and former state legislator, has the support of the International Association of Fire Fighters and more than two dozen other labor unions, a crucial constituency in the blue-collar 13th district. The unions were key in helping Sutton win in a crowded eight-person primary field, where she made political corruption and repealing "unfair'' trade agreements her issues.
(Web Link)
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Police, Firefighters Challenge Residency Rules
USA Today (10/03/06) P. 5A; Johnson, Kevin

Fire fighters are fighting rules that make it mandatory for them to reside in the cities in which they work. Such residency laws for public safety workers have been in place for decades and are considered to help communities -- especially urban ones -- be safer and financially strong. But an increasing number of people feel that these laws make it harder for some public safety agencies to hire and keep fire fighters and officers. Often, fire fighters must fulfill the residency laws by living in expensive sections of a city that are unaffordable, or settle for a poorer area that has substandard schooling. In Ohio, unions and municipal governments are now taking legal action against each other in court because of a recently approved state law that loosens residency requirements. In Cleveland, Mayor Frank Jackson has warned that any city employee could be dismissed for living outside the city. Jackson believes that undermining residency laws will hurt urban communities' stability. Ohio's modified law lets municipal staff members live in the county the city is in or an adjacent county, and became effective last spring. "Nobody should be forced to give up their constitutional rights to live where they want to live just because they work in the city," asserts Ohio state Senator Timothy Grendell (R), who sponsored the bill.
(Web Link)
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City of Pittsburgh welcomes newest firefighters
Pittsburgh-Post Gazette (09/30/06); Lord, Rich

In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where the Fire Bureau has paid an average of $1 million per month in premium pay -- mostly for overtime -- since 2004 in an effort to keep its fire companies staffed, the city has trained 128 new fire fighters, bringing the total number of fire fighters in the city to 626, the level it needs to handle several hundred fires and 29,000 medical emergencies, hazardous materials incidents, false alarms, inspections and other events. Overtime costs are expected to dip from $12.9 million this year to $10 million next year (out of a $49 million fire budget). "Any time you have the ability to add fire fighters and reduce the overtime costs, that's beneficial," said Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, whose budget for next year calls for another class of 24 recruits. The hiring "provides a tremendous relief to the fire fighters who were subject to all of this overtime," said Joe King, president of Pittsburgh, PA Local 1.
(Web Link)
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Unions, Mayor Discuss Policy for Negotiations
Chattanooga Times Free Press (TN) (09/30/06) P. B5; Gregory, Lauren

Union leaders in Chattanooga, Tennessee, are working with the mayor's office to craft a memorandum of understanding. The collaboration between the city and local unions of the International Association of Fire Fighters, the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, and the Service Employees International Union is the first of its kind in the history of the city. Chattanooga, TN Local 820 President Jeff Eldridge described the memorandum as a necessary tool for union leaders. "It has to do with us being formally recognized as a bargaining agency," Eldridge said. Mayor Ron Littlefield, who has indicated that he wants the city's relationship with union leaders to remain in good standing, says he is familiar with the concept of the document from his days as the city's public works director, adding that the memorandum is "mostly a statement of policy, which in many cases we should have anyway."
(Web Link)
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Survey Shows Lack of Fire Safety Knowledge Among Americans
International Association of Fire Fighters (10/08/06)

As Fire Prevention Week begins, a new national study conducted by the IAFF and Liberty Mutual reveals that, for most Americans, home fires rank highest on the list of top disaster concerns, along with terrorist attacks and natural disasters. The 2006 Fire Safety Census reports that 75 percent of those polled are concerned about fire in the home. The survey further reveals that Americans are dangerously negligent when it comes to taking fire precautions and are largely uninformed about what to do if a fire occurs.
(Web Link)
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Forum Established to Help Laid-off Florida Fire Fighters
International Association of Fire Fighters (10/06/06)

Fourteen members of Suncoast, FL Local 2546 lost their jobs October 1 as Rural-Metro officially took over fire operations at the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport. However, the fight is not over. On behalf of the Florida Professional Firefighters (FPF) and Local 2546, FPF President Bob Carver wrote a letter to Florida Governor Jeb Bush, formally requesting that he intervene.
(Web Link)
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Preparing for cuts: Police, fire officials say personnel would be cut if public safety levy is overturned
Billings Gazette (10/09/06); Howard, Tom

Fire fighters and police officers are going door to door to urge Billings, Montana, residents to vote against a proposal to recall a 2004 public safety levy that would force the fire and police departments to each cut $2 million from their budgets for fiscal year 2008, which begins next July 1. And, because salaries and benefits account for more than 80 percent of their respective budgets, both departments will have to eliminate fire fighter and police positions. Cutting $2 million from the fire department translates into 37 layoffs and two fire station closures. Plans to build a new fire station would also be shelved. In the fire department, six fire fighters hired last year would be the first to go, along with as many as 31 fire fighters with more experience. The fire department has 110 fire fighters -- fewer than it had in 1974, when 112 fire fighters protected an 18-square-mile community of 60,000. Today, it provides service to an 84-square-mile area, including the Billings Urban Fire Service Area surrounding the city. In addition to responding to structure fires, fire fighters respond to calls for emergency medical services. Those who want to repeal the 2004 public safety levy have dismissed the warnings of severe cutbacks as scare tactics.
(Web Link)
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Fit to Survive Warns About Dangers of Obesity
International Association of Fire Fighters (10/02/06)

The International Association of Fire Fighters Fit to Survive web site includes a comprehensive report on the number-one health threat in the United States -- obesity. Find out why the U.S. Surgeon General is calling obesity a "nationwide epidemic" that is increasing at alarming rates. And, check out the new menu planner for planning simple, healthy meals for today, this week or this month. The newly updated Fit to Survive also features expert advice and practical information on staying fit and healthy, as well as fun and healthy ideas for your next tailgate party or firehouse dinner.
(Web Link)
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International Association of Fire Fighters, Missouri Locals 42 and 3808 Endorse Amendment 2, Missouri Stem Cell Initiative
PRNewswire (10/04/06)

International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Locals 42 and 3808 in Missouri have lent their support to the Missouri Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative, citing the potential that stem cells hold for developing new treatments for burn victims. "As fire fighters and EMS professionals, we know firsthand the pain, disfigurement, and emotional costs that burn victims face," said Louie Wright, who represents Local 42. "We strongly urge Missourians to vote yes on Amendment 2 because we believe stem cell research could provide new treatments for severe burns and injuries that affect thousands of citizens and fire fighters." One of the new treatments is a developing field of stem cell therapy called somatic cell nuclear transfer, or SCNT. In this treatment, the nucleus from a human cell, such as a skin cell, is combined with an unfertilized human egg cell. After a few days early stem (ES) cells are created. ES cells could then be used to generate healthy new tissue, such as skin, without the risk of the immune-rejection problems common to donated tissue and organ transplants.
(Web Link)
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Council Fired Up Over Cuts
New York Post (10/03/06); Gaskell, Stephanie

The New York City Council is urging insurance companies to continue to underwrite the New York City Fire Patrol. If the 200-year-old Fire Patrol is shutdown October 15, fire insurance premiums could increase dramatically. The International Association of Fire Fighters Local 26, which represents the Fire Patrol, estimates the group saves the insurance industry $100 million a year, but said the Board of Fire Underwriters kept such poor records of the savings that insurance companies believe the program is no longer cost-effective.
(Web Link)
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South Dakota FLSA Case May Set Precedent
International Association of Fire Fighters (10/10/06)

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has handed down a ground-breaking decision -- ruling favorably for the members of Aberdeen, SD Local 446. The decision clarifies that when fire fighters trade shifts, each must be paid according to his or her regular schedule, including any applicable overtime wages. This is the first appellate court decision on the issue, and could set a positive precedent for future similar legal cases. "This is a true victory for the members of Local 446," says IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger.
(Web Link)
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Outcry spurs review of 9/11 memorial
The Arizona Republic (09/30/06); Pitzl, Mary Jo

An Arizona state memorial to victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks will be re-evaluated and possibly removed because of controversial statements inscribed on the "Moving Memories" memorial that opened to the public in September. Billy Shields, chairman of the memorial commission and a representative of Phoenix, AZ Local 493, acknowledged that some of the inscriptions "have been hurtful to military personnel and others." A re-evaluation will be a chance to address those concerns, he said. The commission will meet after the November 7 election  to take it out of the political arena. Republican gubernatorial candidate Len Munsil called for the memorial to be torn down and replaced with one that he deems more patriotic. Since then, critics have tried to link the memorial to Governor Janet Napolitano, who spoke approvingly of the memorial at its dedication. "I firmly believe this would not have been an issue if this were not a political year," said Shields. At the heart of the roiling controversy are several of the memorial's 54 inscriptions, including statements such as "You don't win battles of terrorism with more battles," "Congress questions why CIA & FBI didn't prevent attacks," and "Erroneous US air strike kills 46 Uruzgan civilians," a reference to members of an Afghan wedding party who were killed. "We ought to remove them," Shields said, who added that the 31 members of the memorial commission  "fought internally as a commission. But the goal was to present the range of emotions that the 9/11 attacks evoked in Arizonans." The inscriptions were researched and collected by an Arizona State University history professor, who gathered information from newspaper articles, the report of President Bush's 9/11 Commission and oral interviews with Arizonans with personal connections to the events of September 11, 2001.
(Web Link)
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Sick Time Focus of Feud Between City, Firefighters
St. Catharines Standard (CAN) (10/04/06) P. A1; Bergsma, Marlene

St. Catharines, ON  Local 485 maintains that Fire Chief Tony Mintoff has breached Ontario's Fire Protection and Prevention Act by imposing a revised sick leave policy, according to Local 485 President Terry Colburn. The new policy, which is intended to curb upward trends in sick time and overtime costs, requires meetings between sick or injured fire fighters and their supervisors when their sick time surpasses the average amount of sick leave taken throughout the department. Fire fighters are concerned that the new policy may lead to firings.
(Web Link)
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Providence Fire Fighters Censure Mayor David Cicilline
International Association of Fire Fighters (10/05/06)

More than 300 delegates and alternates voted overwhelming during the Rhode Island AFL-CIO Convention to approve a resolution submitted by Providence, RI Local 799 to request that the AFL-CIO notify all Rhode Island labor organizations to request that Providence Mayor David Cicilline cease and desist his anti-union positions and actions against the members of Providence Local 799. "Mayor Cicilline should seriously consider the sentiments expressed in this censure resolution in future negotiations with Local 799," says IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger.
(Web Link)
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Critics hit chief, mayor over fatal fire
The Boston Globe (10/08/06); Lazar, Kay

The death of a Gloucester, Massachusetts,  woman in a house fire one mile from a closed fire station has prompted demands for the fire chief to resign and for the mayor to be recalled. In addition, one city councilor has requested a special election to permanently reopen the city's two frequently closed stations. Russell Hobbs co-founded Citizens for Public Safety, a group that has been lobbying since last winter to re-open the stations. "This administration is failing us. If we have to put together a petition to recall our mayor, we will," he said. Fire fighters responded to a 911 call at 11:37 p.m., arriving at Bridget Clary's smoke-filled house 11 minutes and 27 seconds later -- nearly double the six-minute benchmark. At a recent City Council meeting, residents called for the resignation of Fire Chief Barry McKay, who has led the department for 24 years, and for a petition drive to recall Mayor John Bell. Citizens s aid they were outraged over McKay's staffing policy, which relies on a slim overtime account to keep stations open. When a fire fighter went home ill, McKay opted not to spend $375 to call in a replacement on overtime. The decision in 2004 to cut fire fighters and close stations came when voters rejected an override. Since then, many residents have said they would approve such a measure if guaranteed the funds would be used only to keep the fire stations open. Meanwhile, the mayor plans to meet with fire fighters to better understand the staffing shortfall and discuss ways to to resolve it. Gloucester, MA Local  762 President Clinton Carroll said, " I am glad the city is stepping up." Fire fighters have criticized Bell and McKay in the past for not providing enough funding to keep the four stations open full time.
(Web Link)
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Alaska Fire Fighters Rally in Support of Tony Knowles for Governor
International Association of Fire Fighters (10/03/06)

IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger joined Professional Fire Fighters of Alaska President Mark Drygas and more than 150 fire fighters from throughout the state for a September 29 press conference and rally in support of Tony Knowles for governor of Alaska. A Vietnam veteran and former governor of Alaska (1994-2002), Knowles is a strong advocate for public safety.
(Web Link)
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Fiery Debate Between City of Beaumont and Firefighters
KBTV 4 (10/02/06)

A binding arbitration decision awarding Beaumont, TX Local 399 fire fighters a 9 percent pay raise over the next three years is being contested by the City of Beaumont because it says the arbitrator didn't follow all of the guidelines. "The main comparison was the wages, working hours and benefits," said Tommy May of Beaumont Local 399, who explained that Beaumont fire fighters are underpaid compared to the private sector." City Manager Kyle Hayes maintains that the union's contract requires comparison with municipal fire departments across the state of Texas.
(Web Link)
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Some firefighters irked by policy
The Record (10/06/06); Cristo, Robert

Cohoes, NY Local 2562 fire fighters must now go immediately to the hospital if they come to work and then ask to go home sick. The new policy is designed to prevent abuses of sick time, and has upset fire fighters who consider the measure extreme. "No other city employees have to take an ambulance if they have a tooth or belly ache. If we have to, then why doesn't the chief, the mayor or anybody else have to go the emergency room if they feel sick?" said Cohoes Local 2562 President Shawn Morse. The mayor and fire chief maintain the policy protects the fire fighter's health and the city from fraudulent on-the-job injury claims. Morse contends the policy was enacted as a direct punishment for when he recently went home sick and then decided to return to work later that day and asked to change the nature of his absence to personal time, which, he says, is not an unusual practice. "This has been a union-busting tactic, because we raised the issue about the truck he purchased in 2005 ... a truck we rightly recognized was a big safety issue," said Morse about a truck that was eventually replaced. "We called out the city on it, and they refused to deal with it and now they are taking it out on me." Morse has already filed a grievance, along with 17 others on various issues, which means it will be in the hands of an arbitrator to decide.
(Web Link)
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City Council passes resolution to exempt public safety jobs from Prop C
San Diego News Services (10/09/06)

The San Diego City Council has approved a resolution to exclude public safety jobs from a November 7 ballot measure that would allow the outsourcing of certain services now performed by city employees, including police, fire fighters and lifeguards. Council members maintained that the ballot language as written does not explicitly prohibit the outsourcing of public safety jobs, despite assertions by Mayor Jerry Sanders that that was his intention. Proposition C was brought forward by the mayor along with Proposition B, which seeks an amendment to the charter prohibiting future pension benefit increases for city employees without voter approval.
(Web Link)
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Vermont Fire Fighters Hold Successful Fire Ops
International Association of Fire Fighters (10/10/06)

The Professional Fire Fighters of Vermont (PFFV) are making sure political candidates understand the importance of fire fighter issues. On October 4, the PFFV conducted its first statewide Fire Ops 101 -- inviting candidates from all levels of government -- with great success. "This is a great political action tool on every level -- during election time or not," says Matt Vinci, vice president of PFFV. "At the end of the day, participants all understood how crucial our issues are."
(Web Link)
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Firehouse still useful for retired firefighters
The Daily Nonpareil (10/01/06); Rohwer, Tim

On the first Wednesday afternoon of each month, retired members of Council Bluffs, IA Local 15 meet  at former Fire Station 5 to continue longtime friendships and reminiscence about old times. "We learn history by talking with each other," said retired fire fighter and amateur historian Dennis Devine. The history of Station 5 is also worth noting. In March 1904, the City Council approved a petition to build a firehouse in a neighborhood where  two months earlier six family members were burned to death in a house fire. By May 27, money was raised to buy a lot for a grand total of $100. Money was also raised to erect the building, which was approved by the Council. As the city limits expanded to the south, Station 5 was relocated, and in November 1973, the new station was opened. In 1978, the old structure was leased as a meal site for seniors and in 1992, was turned over to the Council Bluffs Fraternal Order of Latin Americans with the stipulation that the first floor remain a senior meal site. In 1998, an agreement was reached between the city of Council Bluffs and Local 15 to turn the building over to the union for a union hall. Union members remodeled the structure and invited all retired fire fighters to use the building as a gathering place. On April 4, 2001, fire fighters met for the first time, and it has been a monthly tradition since. D evine said he plans to send out invitations to some 75 retired fire fighters to attend the next monthly meeting.
(Web Link)
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copyright 2006 International Association of Fire Fighters


  • Frontline News Brief - September 27, 2006 more

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


October 11, 2006

The IAFF represents more than 273,000 full-time professional fire fighters and paramedics who protect 80 percent of the nation's population. More than 2,900 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