IAFF News

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Political Training Academy 
March 18-24, 2017 •  Baltimore, Maryland

Canadian Legislative Conference
April 10-12, 2017 •  Ottawa, Ontario

Communications Training Academy
Registration Open

May 15-19, 2017 • Silver Spring, Maryland

Redmond Symposium/EMS ConferenceAugust 6-10, 2017 •  Vancouver, British Columbia

Canadian Policy Conference
August 21-23, 2017 •  Kingston, Ontario

Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial
September 16, 2017 •  Colorado Springs, Colorado

IAFF-MG International Motorcycle Rally “Lakes of the Ozarks”
September 18-21, 2017 • Lake Ozark, Missouri

International Burn Camp
September 23-30, 2017

IAFF in Action
Jacksonville, FL Local 122 has approved a tentative agreement with the city by a vote of 77 percent for and 23 percent against, said Local 122 President Randy Wyse in an email to the city.
Georgia lawmakers passed a bill Thursday to give fire fighters special insurance in case they get cancer from the job. The bill’s main sponsor said it will honor Frank Martinez, an Atlanta fire fighter who died of cancer last year.
The president of Danville, IL Local 429 is calling the mayor’s proposal to cut 16 fire fighters “risky.” “This is a drastic cut to services and a drastic risk for not only our citizenship but for the city’s pocketbook,” Local 429 President Jerry Sparks said Wednesday, a day after Mayor Scott Eisenhauer proposed the layoffs during a budget discussion with city aldermen.
Members of Albany, NY Local 2007 spent time at the Capitol last week pressing for the “Fair Share for Albany” campaign, launched last month by Mayor Kathy Sheehan to push for an increase in annual state aid received by the city.
The province of British Columbia intends to move ahead with an amendment to the Firefighters Occupational Disease Regulation under the Workers Compensation Act. The amendment will add presumptions for breast cancer, prostate cancer and multiple myeloma as occupational diseases for fire fighters.
With overwhelming support from Wyoming state legislators, Senate File 89 – Presumptive Disability for Fire Fighters – is now state law after Governor Matt Mead signed the bill March 3.
Norwich Township, OH Local 1723 member Dan Buelow was in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, with his son for a volleyball tournament when his attention shifted to a coach. “I saw he was going down. I didn't think anything except to get over there and help,” says Buelow. Buelow performed CPR on the coach and later it was found he had suffered a massive heart attack.
A Superior Court judge said he will decide soon whether to block the state’s overseers from making cuts to Atlantic City’s Fire Department to save the city money. “If you don’t have enough firemen, people are going to die,” said Michael Bukosky, attorney for Atlantic City, NJ Local 198. “You can’t do (staffing levels) on a guess.”
A little more than a week ago, three Republican Connecticut state representatives presented a bill that would remove retirement benefits from the collective bargaining negotiations for recent and future state and municipal employees. If pensions are removed from collective bargaining, a public worker’s retirement future could instead be left to the whim of politics.
The City of Fall River, Massachusetts’s economy has been slow since the demise of the textile industry. With limited available revenue, local government leaders are always looking for ways to delay or cut spending, often meaning Fall River Local 1314 members would have to wait yet another year for safety equipment updates and other resources. That changed after Local 1314 hosted its first FIRE OPS 101 two years ago.
Pharr, TX Local 4213 member Santos Vallejo has never let any life challenges get in the way of his goals. With perseverance and determination, Vallejo overcame his childhood learning disabilities to not only graduate from high school, but to become a fire fighter and children’s book author.
Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) joined several other elected leaders inside the Buffalo Fire Department’s Engine 36/Ladder 13 house on Hertel Avenue to push for passage of a nationwide program that would give fire fighters the opportunity to report their cancer cases, on a voluntary and anonymous basis.
H.B.157, legislation that establishes PTSD as a disease that – when diagnosed in a fire fighter without previous health issues – can be presumed to have been caused by the fire fighter’s service, passed the New Mexico House of Representatives Monday. “Yes, our fire fighters are heroes, but they are also human,” bill sponsor Representative Debbie Armstrong said.
The city has reached a collective bargaining agreement with Calgary, AB Local 255, marking the first time in two decades a deal has been reached between the two parties without arbitration. The one-year contract between the City of Calgary and Local 255 includes a 2.5 percent wage increase for 2017, according to the city.
Fire fighters concerned with a proposed amendment to the state’s collective bargaining laws sent a busload of Bridgeport, CT Local 834 members to Hartford Tuesday. “We’re watching and we’re paying attention,” said David Dobbs, vice president of Local 834. The proposed bill would “remove retirement benefits as a subject matter for collective bargaining by state and municipal employees,” according a summary of the proposed bill.
A city snowplow caught fire Tuesday morning just feet from a fire station. The station, however, had no means to fight the blaze and had to wait for an engine to arrive from a mile away. Syracuse, NY Local 280 used a photo of the burning truck to chide the mayor for cutting department funding four years ago. “Pretty embarrassing when a DPW truck catches fire next to a fire station, but there's no engine housed there thanks to the mayor's budget cuts,” a post on Local 280’s Facebook page read.
Paulding, Georgia, will welcome its first female fire fighter recruit in 10 years after the physical agility test was updated due to new state requirements. In an interview with WSB-TV Atlanta, Jessica Vanegas said her brother was sick growing up and that fire and EMS “were always there and they were always the calm when all the panic was going on, so [she] wanted to be there for somebody else.”
Fire fighters are relieved to hear the federal and provincial government’s announcement that $75 million is being invested to fight the overdose crisis. Vancouver, BC Local 18 Vice President Dustin Bourdeau says he’s encouraged by the funding announcement to fight the overdose crisis. He says more support is needed for mental health.
The Professional Fire Fighters of Eastern Missouri Local 2665 presented a proposal to the Columbia City Council for the first collective bargaining agreement the local and the city have done. Local 2665 Officer Kurt Becker expressed the need for additional staffing of fire fighters in Columbia and said the city is “way below average.”
House Republicans clashed with public union representatives in Missouri regarding a bill fire fighter and police officers said could put a significant burden on their ability to collectively bargain. The bill would force public sector unions to file their constitution and bylaws with the Department of Labor and institute rules on public union officers and employees to file reports on income received from their unions. Democratic Representative Rory Rowland said placing that standard on unions was “beyond the realm of logic.”
Eight Colorado Springs fire fighters, including five paramedics, have already quit the department this year. This spike is forcing some changes for the department and has raised concerns about whether the department will be able to cover everything. “Over my entire career, I have never seen the number of folks we have seen leave our department to go to other departments,” said Colorado Springs, CO Local 5 President David Knoblitt.
Ohio Association of Professional Fire Fighters Secretary-Treasurer Mark Horton was killed in a head-on collision on Sunday while he was traveling southbound on Route 58 just south of Jones Road in his Dodge Caravan. Cody Wallace, 21, of New London, also was killed in the crash. The Ohio Highway Patrol said Wallace was traveling northbound on Route 58 in a Ford Fusion and veered left of center. The patrol said drug and phone use on the part of Wallace are suspected as factors in the crash, which is under investigation.
The Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts (PFFM) cites studies that found fire fighters are eight times more susceptible to Parkinson’s than the general public. Said PFFM President Rich McKinnon, Jr., “Every time we respond to a fire, fire fighters are exposed to thousands of toxic substances. These chemicals attack the nervous system and are linked to such ailments as Parkinson’s. HD 1670, filed this legislative session, is imperative to protecting our members and their families who suffer from this degenerative disease in the performance of their duties as a fire fighter.”
When the Fullerton City Council called a special meeting at the end of January, two items on the agenda had the potential to significantly impact members of Fullerton, CA Local 3421. But those efforts were quickly squashed when 200 IAFF local leaders at the Affiliate Leadership Training Summit in Anaheim showed up for the meeting.
A bill that would overhaul the pension system for fire fighters and police officers in Nebraska’s two largest cities drew criticism Tuesday from their unions, while conservative groups pitched it as a way to keep the plans solvent. The measure pending before a legislative committee would offer a cash-balance retirement plan to newly hired officers and fire fighters in Omaha and Lincoln, rather than a traditional pension. The bill “is going to have a devastating impact on public safety in Omaha,” said Omaha, NE Local 385 President Steve LeClair.
After watching his good friend and fellow fire fighter die of colon cancer, Chris Conner vowed to help other fire fighters find ways to detect the disease in its early stages. Conner, who is president of Bedford, TX Local 3587, worked with Fire Chief Sean Fay and the City Council, and now Bedford is the first in the country to contract with an Indiana-based company, MorNuCo, which provides the ONCOblot test. The test detects a protein in the blood that is present in malignant cells. The Council voted recently to help pay for the tests, which begin in March at the fire department. Conner said the cost will be shared among the city, Local 3587 and each fire fighter who receives the test.
Florida is one a shrinking list of states that have not adopted what’s widely known as the cancer presumption bill. The bill would allow fire fighters diagnosed with certain cancers to collect workman’s compensation benefits. “Getting time off to get treatment and not worrying about getting a paycheck is very important,” explained President of the Florida Professional Firefighters (FPF) Jim Tolley. Last year, lawmakers torched the bill before it could ignite much debate. This year, the FPF is at it again, pushing a new and revised version that limits eligibility to cancer-stricken fire fighters living tobacco-free for five years prior to diagnosis.
Hattiesburg, MS Local 184 members took shelter in the nick of time before their Fire Station 2 took a direct hit from an EF-3 Tornado in the early morning hours of January 21 that destroyed dozens of homes and killed four people.
One of the first fire fighters on the scene when two planes slammed into the Twin Towers has died. The 124th first responder to die from a 9/11-related disease, FDNY Local 94 member Brian J. Masterson, succumbed to a two-year battle with esophageal cancer on January 22. The 61-year-old father-of-three and avid marathon runner, originally from Longford, Ireland, spent months working at Ground Zero after the attack, the Daily Mail reported.
Negotiations over how to reform Jacksonville’s public employee retirement plans continued Wednesday. The city is now offering a guarantee to help unions accept the fact new hires won’t get a traditional pension. But public employee unions are still arguing for rolling new city employees into the state’s pension plan – the Florida Retirement System. But Jacksonville, FL Local 122 President Randy Wyse does think the city’s newest offer is compelling.
First responders are celebrating new hires included in the 2017 city budget plan unveiled this week by Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan. The plan allowed for seven new police officers, 35 fire fighters and six 9-11 dispatchers. Akron, OH Local 330 President Russ Brode said the new hires will boost the staff from about 330 to 360. “We need the numbers. For years, we’ve been doing more with less,” he said. “More manpower will let us do much more.”

A press release by Port Chester, NY Local 1971, states that the New York Department of Labor has ruled that the Port Chester New York Fire Department behaved in a discriminatory and/or retaliatory manner when it eliminated the jobs of all eight of the Village’s full-time career fire fighters in June 2016. The ruling marks a clear victory for the eight fire fighters – all members of Port Chester, NY Local 1971 – who claimed village officials fired them in retaliation for speaking up about safety violations that occurred during a fire response.

The request to eliminate three fire captain positions at a time when the department is expected to grow by nearly a third is not logical, according to the president of Warren, OH Local 204. President John Jerina has been a vocal critic of the administration’s plan to reduce the number captains in the Warren Fire Department from six to three. In addition, the city is looking to change a policy that fire investigators must have captain ranks.
A dispute on labor hours between Ocean City, MD Local 4269 and the town of Ocean City has again failed to reach a concrete resolution, following a meeting with a neutral arbitrator. The dispute is over a proposed change to fire fighter and emergency medical service personnel labor hours. The proposal, made in March 2016, would change the hours from 24-hours on duty followed by 72-hours off duty, to a series of 12-hour shifts.
Flanked by members of the Ohio Association of Professional Fire Fighters (OAPFF), Ohio Governor John Kasich signed the Michael Louis Palumbo Jr. Act (SB 27) into law, giving presumptive protections to fire fighters diagnosed with cancer.