We regret to pass on that early this morning (Tuesday), City of Passaic Firefighter Israel “Nudge” Tolentino, 33, died of COVID-19 complications. A Firefighter since December 2018, the father of 2 young children died at 0300 Hours.
Firefighter Tolentino was originally hired for the department as a full-time EMT and continued to serve some shifts in that role as well as volunteer for the community emergency response team. Firefighter Tolentino is survived by his wife Maria, a daughter, 9, and a son, 7. Our condolences to all those affected. Rest In Peace.
IS THIS A LINE OF DUTY DEATH?
That’s the question everyone has.
I spoke with NFFF Executive Director Chief Ron Siarnicki about that this morning, as the NFFF has been working to insure we get the fact. They had a meeting yesterday with the PSOB folks at DOJ and were successful in getting the answers.
The answer is YES….but you MUST have documentation (ON EVERY RUN, NOT JUST EMS-EVERY RUN!) as you will read below and in the attached.
NOW IS THE TIME to use this app: https://i-psdi.org/nfors-fire-exposure.html along with any and all documentation your department, association or union requires. Leave no stone unturned related to your needed documentation.
Departments must use “blanket exposure reports” regardless of the run. Every single run. Take the lead from FDNY, following what they experienced with September 11th, Katrina, Sandy etc.
AND if you haven’t listened to Curt Varone’s Webinar on COVID-19 FIRE SERVICE LEGAL CONSIDERATIONS, please take time to do so:
Administered by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (PSOB) Program provides death benefits to the eligible survivors of public safety officers who are fatally injured in the line of duty, disability benefits to public safety officers catastrophically injured in the line of duty, and education benefits to the eligible spouses and children of fallen and catastrophically injured officers. BJA’s PSOB Office is honored to review the more than 1,000 claims submitted each
year on behalf of America’s fallen and injured public safety heroes and their loved ones.
With the recent outbreak of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, America’s law enforcement officers, firefighters, and other first responders face a new health risk as they continue to selflessly serve their communities. Under the current PSOB Act and its implementing regulations, conditions caused by infectious diseases, viruses, and bacteria may be found to be an injury sustained in the line of duty. To establish eligibility for a public safety officer’s death or disability due to COVID-19, the PSOB Act and regulations require that the evidence show that it is more likely than not that the virus resulted from the public safety officer’s exposure while performing a line of duty activity or action.
While some states have laws that presume a public safety officer’s infectious disease resulted from their employment, eliminating the need for evidence of when the transmission of a disease or infection occurred, the PSOB Program has no such presumption. (The PSOB Program does cover certain conditions resulting from September 11th exposure, as coverage is based on the laws and regulations establishing the World Trade Center Health Program and its scientific and medical analysis.)
As the PSOB Office receives claims based on COVID-19 exposure, it will work closely with survivors, officers, and agencies to seek evidence of the exposure and causation through all available evidence, including incident reports and related documents. For questions regarding the PSOB Program or filing a claim, please do not hesitate to visit PSOB’s online portal at www.psob.gov, or email the PSOB Director at [email protected]
Thanks again to the NFFF staff for their work on every Firefighters behalf-
Take Care. Be Careful Pass It On.