QUICK REMINDER: YOUR SCBA facepiece lenses may fail while you are
operating in a fire. SCROLL DOWN FOR DETAILS.
night, the Senate unanimously accepted the amendment to reauthorize the FIRE
and SAFER grant programs and maintain the United State Fire Administration
through FY 2017.
The amendment was added to S. 3254, the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense
Authorization Act. This legislation is considered “must pass,” so we should be
in a good position to get these provisions signed into law.
This amendment follows the compromise agreement. There was one notable
exception: Senator Coburn insisted on a five-year sunset for the FIRE and SAFER
grant programs. This puts the sunset date at December 2017. That time will
allow the fire organizations to work with the congressional supporters to
address the sunset provision before it goes into effect.
The amendment includes a
number of major reforms, such as:
=Ensuring a larger percentage of funding for fire prevention and safety
=Increasing award sizes for larger jurisdictions
=Establishing economic hardship waivers for beleaguered communities that need
to maintain their response capabilities, but cannot meet the required local
OSHA is investigating the death of a man after first responder
training Tuesday at the Public Safety Training Institute at Luzerne County
Community College in Nanticoke, an agency spokesman said Wednesday. An autopsy
determined the man, an employee of PPL Utilities, died of natural causes. PPL
officials say the man was a full-time "handyman" at the PPL nuclear
power plant in Salem Township and was part of the company's on-site fire
brigade, which is required to take first-responder training classes. RIP.
GOVERNMENTS CONTINUE TO SLASH FIRE/RESCUE/EMS SERVICES-AND 2013 ISN'T LOOKING
Two of the latest examples are Wilkes-Barre (PA) and
11 WB Firefighters found out yesterday they will be out
of work by week's end as part of what their Mayor Tom Leighton said might
be only the first round of layoffs aimed at reducing a multimillion-dollar
deficit the city is facing.
IAFF Local 104 President Mike Bilski notified his union
members of the layoffs in an emotional email.
"Having to write this e-mail makes me want to (expletive) puke,"
Bilski wrote. "I apologize to everyone affected by this. I (expletive) up
thinking we could make a deal to save jobs and I (expletive) up telling some of
you guys you were safe."
A month ago, Bilski said roughly 16 firefighters worked per
shift. But the cuts will reduce that number to 12, he said. Bilski said he was
"definitely" concerned about the safety of his department and of
residents following the latest rounds of reductions.
In 1995, a consulting agency determined 17 firefighters to be the safest minimum
number on duty during a shift. The city now requires a minimum of 11
firefighters on duty after reducing the number from 12 in October. The minimum
was also reduced in March 2010 from 14 to 12.
Asked if the study's finding were still relevant, Bilski said, "Has the
city shrunk? Obviously not."
The fire department has shrunk over the last decade. There were 88 firefighters in 2001 and 69 at the
beginning of 2012.
The city of York, population 43,718, employs 67 firefighters, and the city of
Altoona, 46,320, employs 66. These figures were taken from each city's 2012
budget. Wilkes-Barre, with 41,498 residents, will employ 53 after the layoffs
go into effect.
18 Firefighter jobs on the line as the Hamilton City Council
meets to hear budget recommendations from its city manager. Those
recommendations also include closing a firehouse. Hamilton is one of many
cities grappling with a loss of funding from the state and a loss in funding
from estate taxes. The city's budget has a projected deficit of $2.3 million
and that could mean 20 percent of the fire department could be cut.
A study released earlier this month had recommended closing two firehouses-that
won't happen now. Firefighters say residents will see a reduction in service.
Deputy Chief Mark Mercer says it will hurt the community. "The obvious
impact is they will have one less engine in that area when a fire call comes
in. It also impacts emergency medical response. The responses will be made from
units that are farther away." People who attended the meeting say they're
concerned. James Johns lives in Hamilton "To be perfectly honest with you,
I'm not against laying off firefighters but I definitely am against closing
firehouses. I was a medic in the service and when you're talking about medical
emergency you're talking seconds not minutes."
Eric Abney, IAFF Local 20 President said all budgets are a work in progress and
he understands the city has money problems but he called laying off 18
firefighters drastically over the top.
DOES THIS IMPACT YOU?
It is likely that city fiscal conditions will remain
weakened in 2013 across North America as city revenue collections lag economic
continue to face the prolonged effects of the economic downturn according to
the most recent report by the National League of Cities (NLC). The
27th annual City Fiscal Conditions report
(below) shows that for the sixth straight year city revenues continue to fall
as financial pressures such as infrastructure, health care and pension costs
combine with cuts in state and federal aid to weigh heavily on cities' bottom
lines. In a survey of city finance officers, the report shows that as a result
of these pressures, cities are making personnel cuts, delaying or canceling
infrastructure projects and cutting local services. The report also projects
that 2013 will continue to present challenges to city budgets due to stagnant
housing markets, high unemployment, and looming federal budget cuts.
IN THE DEATH OF A CALIFORNIA FIREFIGHTER----FIREPLACE MADE OUT OF....WOOD.
A German architect charged with involuntary manslaughter in
connection with the death of a veteran firefighter last year. Gerhard Becker
negligently installed outdoor fireplaces at his Hollywood Hills home, a
decision they say ultimately led to the Line of Duty death of Firefighter
“He acted recklessly,” Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael A. Tynan
said at the closing of Becker’s preliminary hearing Wednesday.
Mr. Becker seemed to be more worried about ensuring that the luxury home
sparkled for an upcoming filming of “Germany’s Next Top Model” than
guaranteeing that the mansion he designed -- with sweeping views and an
infinity pool -- was safe to occupy.
fireplaces lacked required firebreaks to stop flames from spreading out and
consisted of fireboxes “constructed of wood framing and lined with
[combustible] drywall in back, top and bottom,” according to a search warrant
affidavit. “No reasonable person would build a fireplace out of wood,” Deputy
Dist. Atty. Sean Carney told the court.
More than 80 firefighters operated the night of Feb. 16, 2011. 19
became temporarily trapped as the fire spread. The fire erupted from a
third-floor fireplace, shooting upward as flames ate away at wood framing and
supports holding up the ceiling.
When the ceiling collapsed, several hundred pounds of plaster and lumber
crashed onto Firefighter Glenn Allen, a nearly 40-year veteran of the Los
Angeles Fire Department. FF Allen died two days later. He had talked about
retirement and was awaiting the birth of his first grandchild.
Building inspectors said Becker informed them he had no plans to include
fireplaces inside the mansion, and none were found during a final inspection,
court records say. But after the fire, investigators discovered Becker had
installed four outdoor fireplaces at the home, violating city building codes. But Becker’s defense
attorney, Donald M. Re, said Becker had installed the fireplaces prior to the
house’s final inspection, and he relied on the city’s final approval of the
home to judge its safety. Re told the court that Becker and his fiancee were
asleep in the house at the time the 2011 fire broke out, showing his lack of
knowledge over any potential danger the fireplaces posed.
URGENT REMINDER: YOUR SCBA facepiece lenses may fail while you are
operating in a fire.
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