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National Fire News

Oklahoma Community Response Team developing way to identify, help 911 'super utilizers' with non-emergency situations

The Community Response Team has received its second one-year grant as the mental-health project develops a system to identify and help “super utilizers” of emergency services without repeated 911 calls. The CRT triumvirate — police officer, fire paramedic and mental-health counselor — respond to mental-health calls in an emergency medical service truck.
- PUB DATE: 2/25/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Tulsa World

Montana Firefighter Who Advocated For Workers' Comp Law Succumbs To Cancer

Great Falls City Firefighter Jason Baker lost his battle with Stage IV lung cancer Wednesday morning. His friend and fellow firefighter, David Van Son, remembers Baker, an 18-year-veteran of the city’s fire fighting team, as not only a terrific firefighter, but an all-around great man. The 45-year-old Baker, a non-smoker and otherwise the picture of fitness, was diagnosed with cancer in 2016.
- PUB DATE: 2/22/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Montana Public Radio

Florida fire chief resigns after federal probe finds he harassed female employee

Orlando Fire Department Chief Roderick Williams resigned Thursday after the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission determined he and two deputy chiefs discriminated against a female employee. “I regret that during my tenure there have been allegations that have hurt the department and the City of Orlando,” Williams said in a letter submitted Thursday afternoon.
- PUB DATE: 2/22/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Orlando Sentinel

South Carolina county council considering shutting down fire department, transferring service

VIDEO: Dorchester County Council is considering taking steps to have the North Charleston Fire Department take over the area that is currently served by the Ashley River Fire Department, and shut the department down. The Ashley River Special Tax District was formed in 1979 to create the fire department because there was no fire protection near the area.
- PUB DATE: 2/22/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WCBD-TV

Fire department officials voice safety concerns with Pennsylvania county paging system

VIDEO: Fire officials in Dauphin County are questioning how safe their paging systems are. Deputy Fire Chief of Hummelstown Fire Department, Leland Blough, says the pagers they use, requires them to look down and read fire calls, sometimes while driving, making them unsafe. The pagers were a 35 million dollar investment, purchased in 2010 by Dauphin County.
- PUB DATE: 2/22/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WPMT-TV Fox 43

Illinois mayor, president of firefighters union accuse each other of fearmongering

Waukegan Mayor Sam Cunningham accused the Waukegan firefighters union of fearmongering in its push to increase contractually mandated staffing levels. The city and Waukegan International Association of Firefighters Local 473 are in the midst of negotiating a replacement to a three-year contract that expired in April 2018.
- PUB DATE: 2/22/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Chicago Tribune - Metered Site

City proposes pay raise to firefighters, but not full parity, Houston officials say

Houston officials have offered to raise firefighters’ base salaries, but not sufficiently to establish pay parity with police officers as approved by voters, city and firefighter union officials said Wednesday. “In my mind, the proposal makes no effort to implement Prop B,” union attorney Troy Blakeney said, referring to the ballot item reflecting a city charter amendment approved in a Nov.
- PUB DATE: 2/21/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Houston Chronicle

Baltimore Fire Department questioned by City Council members over 'aging, depleted' vehicles and stations

Baltimore City Council members on Tuesday questioned Fire Department officials about the agency’s aging vehicles and stations and demanded more information on staffing policies and overtime costs. The council members who sit on the public safety committee asked the department to provide them with data on its operations to help determine how best to allocate resources to improve response times, repair aging firehouses and vehicles, and provide proper overtime pay to employees.
- PUB DATE: 2/21/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: The Baltimore Sun - Metered Site

Missouri Fire Law Wording Can Limit Charge Recommendations

VIDEO: Springfield's Fire Chief says there is nothing he can do when it comes to recommending charges in fires caused as a result of drug production, so he is taking the fight to the capitol. The issue regards to two sections of the current state fire law-- which were written when focus was on methamphetamine.
- PUB DATE: 2/21/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: OzarksFirst.com

Los Angeles City Council OKs $800,000 settlement in lawsuit over fire marshal’s dismissal

The city of Los Angeles will pay $800,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by a veteran fire marshal who was transferred out of his job after he clashed with inspectors in his department and the fire union sought his removal. The City Council voted 10 to 0 without discussion Wednesday to approve the settlement payment.
- PUB DATE: 2/21/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Los Angeles Times - Metered Site

Spat between Cleveland and its firefighters lands before Ohio Supreme Court

A spat between Cleveland and one of its labor unions over when firefighters should start work each day has escalated to a case before the Ohio Supreme Court over who should referee the fight. The high court this week ordered Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Nancy Margaret Russo to file a brief by Friday that explains why she should be allowed to have a part in the case.
- PUB DATE: 2/21/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Cleveland.com

Virginia: County Mourns Loss of Volunteer Fire Chief Norman Brooks Sr.

Spotsylvania County mourns the loss of Volunteer Fire Chief Norman Brooks, Sr, who passed away Wednesday, February 13, 2019. Chief Brooks dedicated his life to serving and helping others. He remained focused on fulfilling that mission until the end of his life. Chief Brooks was part of a county team overseeing final inspections and acceptance testing of Tower 1 and Rescue Engine 8 this week in Wisconsin when he suffered a sudden medical emergency.
- PUB DATE: 2/20/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Fredericksburg Today

New Jersey freeholders reorganize first responders’ advisory board over objections

The Burlington County Board of Freeholders began reorganizing a first responders’ advisory board Wednesday over objections from some fire and emergency services associations who fear the changes could politicize the group. The resolution approved by the freeholders Wednesday amended the advisory board’s makeup so that it consists of three members from the fire service, three from the emergency medical service and three from police, plus the county Public Safety Director and another representative from the county Department of Public Safety.
- PUB DATE: 2/20/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Burlington County Times

New York fire captain sues arsonists over injuries

A city fire captain seriously injured while fighting a Newell Street arson fire last year has filed suit against the two men who started the blaze. Theodore G. Kolb III filed state Supreme Court action Friday against John H. Long and Scott Munson, both of whom are serving 2 1/3- to 7-year state prison sentences imposed in November in Jefferson County Court for third-degree arson and first-degree reckless endangerment convictions stemming from the Feb.
- PUB DATE: 2/20/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Watertown Daily Times

Health and Human Services Announces New EMS Reimbursement Model

Fire departments across the United States have long struggled with outdated federal reimbursement policies which fail to reimburse fire departments for the cost of providing EMS treatment without transportation and prohibit transporting patients to alternative destinations like urgent care clinics. However, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) announced today that they will begin testing a model policy in which CMMI reimburses fire departments for the cost of providing Medicare beneficiaries with treatment-without-transportation and transporting patients to alternative destinations.
- PUB DATE: 2/20/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: IAFC.org

Small-town Maine fire department accused of endangering other firefighters’ lives

Allegations that the Thorndike Fire Department leadership is unprofessional and has endangered the lives of firefighters from other communities are having an incendiary effect on the small town and its volunteer-run department. The allegations came in the form of a Jan. 23 letter sent by four Waldo County emergency response officials to the Thorndike Select Board and town residents.
- PUB DATE: 2/20/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Bangor Daily News

Unions: Poor conditions plague fire stations throughout Massachusetts

Citing rats, broken plumbing, leaky ceilings, poor ventilation and run-down equipment, firefighter unions across the state are sounding the alarm about station houses they say receive little attention, saying poor conditions raise safety fears and hurt morale. “There’s concerns statewide,” said Richard MacKinnon Jr.
- PUB DATE: 2/19/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: The Boston Herald

Feds requiring regional response teams to oil train wrecks

Federal transportation officials are requiring railroads to establish regional response teams along oil train routes following a series of fiery derailments. The new rule announced Thursday is aimed at having crews and equipment ready in the event of an accident. It applies to oil trains in continuous blocks of 20 or more loaded tank cars and those having 35 loaded tank cars.
- PUB DATE: 2/19/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: NWI.com

Billions pile up in California special district accounts while critics say many should dissolve

California’s most affluent special districts nearly doubled their spending over the course of a decade, while the value of their cash and investments nearly tripled, according to a Southern California News Group analysis of state data. The figures revive the question many good-government advocates have been asking for decades: Do special districts, which operate largely under the public radar, simply have too much money? Critics say they do, and argue that their functions should be absorbed into cities and counties that overlap their boundaries.
- PUB DATE: 2/19/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Daily Breeze - Metered Site

Indiana firefighters sue town, claiming they have been denied overtime pay

Local firefighters claim in a federal lawsuit against the town that they have been denied overtime pay for nearly a decade. The suit filed Saturday by Chesterton Firefighters Local 4600 also claims that despite assurances from the town that "nothing would change," a policy change was enacted just days after the current labor contract was signed that limits firefighters ability to use four 24-hour periods of earned time off each year, according to the union's attorney, Angela Jones.
- PUB DATE: 2/19/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: NWITimes.com