News

Vote NO on Ballot Proposals on November 2nd!

October 26th, 2021

The Capital Area Association of Fire Districts along with the League of Women Voters urge all our members to vote NO on Proposals, 2, 3, and 4.  We take no position on Proposal #5.  Turn your ballot over, these will be on the back of the ballot.  Read more here:

Ballot Proposals 2021

 

Fire Service Regional Cancer Seminar

October 21st, 2021

The dramatic increase in the incidence of occupational cancers is one of the most important problems
facing the fire service today. The First Responder Center coordinates the activities of the Fire Service
Occupational Cancer Alliance, a collaborative effort among all fire service constituencies to educate
personnel about cancer prevention, provide resources for those who have been diagnosed with an
occupational cancer and support research to address the disease.
In September 2017, the FSOCA hosted a national symposium focusing solely on fire service
occupational cancers, the first event of its kind. Over two days, presentations and workshops covered
current research, prevention strategies, presumptive legislation, benefits, and other relevant topics.
Based upon the overwhelming positive feedback we are taking the show on the road and conducting
regional one day seminars based upon some of the key topics from the symposium.

TRAINING DATE: Friday, December 3, 2021
LOCATION: New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control Bldg
ADDRESS: 1220 Washington Avenue, State Office Building Campus
Building 7A, Albany, NY 12242
TIME: 8:00AM – 4:30PM
REGISTER: Regional Cancer Seminar Registration 12.3.2021 or
https://www.firstrespondercenter.org/training/

Regional Cancer Seminar Topics Include:
• An overview of research studies to date, including a discussion of underrepresented groups and
research needs
• Modifiable Risk Factors and Healthy Lifestyle
• Exposure Reduction and Implementation Strategies
• Support After the Cancer Diagnosis

2021 FIRE DISTRICT ELECTION SCHEDULE

October 18th, 2021

OPEN THE ATTACHED FIRE DISTRICT ELECTION SCHEDULE HERE:

2021 FIRE DISTRICT ELECTION SCHEDULE

COMPARE THE 11 REGIONS OF THE STATE ASSOCIATION

October 17th, 2021

There are many inequities and questions to be asked and answered.  Ask your regional directors John Meehan and George June.

Regional Vital Statistics

AMENDMENT TO STATUTE ALLOWS A CHANGE TO THE DEPT. RESPONSES POINT SYSTEM CATEGORY

October 15th, 2021

Contributed by Tony Hill

A bill that allows a LOSAP sponsor to change the department responses category of its point system was signed by Governor Hochul as Chapter 462 of the Laws of 2021.

This new law allows a LOSAP sponsor to adjust the department responses category of its point system to recognize that some groups of volunteers may be restricted from responding to certain types of calls. 

As a reminder, the department responses category provides that 25 points are earned by a volunteer who attends a minimum number of the fire department’s total calls for the year. For departments that also have a rescue/ambulance unit, an additional 25 points can be earned for attending a minimum number of those calls as well. The minimum number is based on a percentage of the total calls for the year. For example, if a department has 400 calls during a year, a volunteer must respond to 40 (10%) in order to earn 25 points. The department responses category is unique from other categories since it is an all-or-nothing category – either a volunteer responds to at least the minimum number and earns 25 points or does not and earns zero (0) points

If a volunteer is restricted from attending some calls, it limits the opportunity to respond to the minimum to earn the 25 points. For example, if a certain volunteer is restricted from responding to 50 of those 400 total calls, that volunteer would have to respond to 40 of the other 350 calls – a little more than 11%. The new law allows a LOSAP sponsor to change the requirement for this volunteer from 10% of 400 calls to 10% of 350 calls, or 35, to earn 25 points. This new statute will help many fire departments better align awarding points for calls with the department’s operations. 

If a LOSAP sponsor chooses to adjust its point system for this change, no referendum is required – only a resolution of the LOSAP sponsor governing board (at least 60% approval) is needed. However, it states that an adjustment to the point system must be in response to written emergency response protocols adopted by the sponsor. (The use of the term sponsor here is potentially problematic, as a village or town isn’t likely setting emergency response protocols for a department.) The statute elaborates that these protocols may be related to a determination made by the district/department physician regarding the duties that a volunteer may be assigned. Since the word may is used, that implies it is not the only determining factor that could be used when a sponsor adopts these written emergency response protocols.

The adjustment would become effective the January 1st following the date the sponsoring board adopts the resolution, unless the written emergency response protocols were enacted as a result of a state disaster emergency. The wording of the amendment is not completely clear regarding this case – if the amendment can be made effective in the year the resolution is adopted by the board, or when the written emergency response protocols were adopted, or even when the state disaster emergency was declared. The takeaway is there is some flexibility allowed in this case.

It is important to be clear about how this amendment is implemented – it must be adopted by the municipal sponsor. A fire department that is interested in changing the point system must work with the sponsoring village, town, city or fire district to actually make the change.

Initially, this bill was meant to address the staffing challenge fire departments were facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many departments were limiting certain at-risk volunteers from responding to calls. Although this was for the safety of those volunteers, these limitations made it more difficult to earn points under the department responses category. However, this new law is not necessarily tied to the COVID-19 pandemic or any state disaster emergency (although it can be); it is a permanent change to the statute that can be adopted at any time.

We could see this new statute being helpful, or at least provide clarity in the following situations:

  1. Implementation of duty-crews or stand-by crews. Some fire departments have moved to a system where a certain group of volunteers are on-call at the firehouse during a scheduled period of time. Calls during that period could be assigned only to that group and not the entire department. Unless an incident required the entire fire department to be activated, calls handled by the duty-crew would count towards their response percentage, and the other volunteers would not be hurt (from a percentage response standpoint) by being unable to respond to these calls.
  2. For larger departments that have multiple fire companies that are dispatched individually. The actual point system category in the law is titled “participation in department responses”, but then the chart detailing the percentage requirement references “volunteer fire company.” Since “department” and “company” can sometimes be used interchangeably, it isn’t 100% clear if total number of responses should be (or could be) broken out by company or tracked for the entire department. This new legislation would make it clear that a LOSAP sponsor could calculate the minimum percentage of calls a volunteer is required to respond to based on their company’s total number of responses.
  3. For departments that respond to a lot of automatic alarms that don’t require the entire department to be activated. Many departments call these “chief’s investigations” or something similar because they do not activate the entire membership, but rather dispatch a chief to investigate the automatic alarm. If the chief determines that the situation requires the activation of the full department, then that step is taken. Again, we believe that under the old construct of the law an argument could be made to exclude chief’s investigations as a “department response” since the entire department was not activated. However, this new legislation would appear to make it clear that this can be done. (A second discussion about how to award the individuals performing the chief’s investigations with points is a topic for another time, and is also potentially impacted by this new statute.)
  4. For departments that may still have impacted department responses in early 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, or where COVID-19 may end up impacting responses again later in 2021.
  5. For a volunteer who joins or resigns mid-year. Although we aren’t certain this is a positive, it could allow a sponsor to require a volunteer to attend the percentage of the calls only during which he/she was an active member. Under the existing requirement, a volunteer must attend a number of calls that is based on a percentage of the total department calls for the entire year. This is difficult for those who join/resign mid-year or take a leave of absence. That doesn’t appear to be the intention of the statute, but it would seem like a possible interpretation.

PROPOSED OSHA 1910.156 FIRE BRIGADE STANDARD – YOU ARE NOT GOING TO LIKE THIS!!

October 15th, 2021

OSHA has proposed a revision to 1910.156 Fire Brigade Standard Attached) that would have significant impacts on how we do business as NYS Fire Districts. This is not a new initiative (been around since at least 2016) but it recently came off the sidelines and is trucking full speed ahead. We encourage you to read this proposed document and send comments that can be shared with the committee next Tuesday  (10/19/21). They have invited several Fire Officials across the country to take part in 9 hours of hearings next week. Dave Denniston is currently at the NVFC board meeting and they have three representatives here that are preparing the same comments. We need solid data on how this would effect your fire district. Looking for data on additional costs, strain on manpower and other facts that can be presented at the hearings on behalf of NYS Fire Districts. This committee has only 60 days to present the findings and is moving quickly.

Please send Dave Denniston at (ddenniston@afdsny.org) any solid concerns and data that hecan present. Comments like “this is crazy”, “it will never happen”, “it would destroy the fire service” will not hold any water with the committee. NVFC is trying to present that this could have a “significant impact” on smaller rural fire departments. It will obviously have significant impacts on any size department, but our chance to be heard here is under this “Small Entity Organization” The SBA is the group responsible to research and present written findings in less than 60 days now.

 

There may be other opportunities to be heard, you will be kept posted on when and where they may happen. Thanks for the quick turnaround on this.

DRAFT OF THE PROPOSED OSHA FIRE BRIGADE STANDARD

erp-draft-reg

QUICK SYNOPSIS OF WHAT THE STANDARD COVERS

Synopsis of proposed Emergency Resp Std 1910.156

SMALL BUSINESS ADVOCACY REVIEW PANEL – SMALL ENTITY REPRESENTATIVES

ER SER Issues Document – final

 

ANNOUNCING OPEN REGISTRATION FOR THE 2021 FALL WORKSHOP

September 25th, 2021

Workshop Agenda:  2021 Fall Workshop Schedule

Registration Form: 2021 Fall Workshop Registration & Schedule (Generic)

This year’s workshop will be held at the Verdoy Fire Department in Latham, NY, on Saturday November 13th

7:00-8:00              Registration & Continental Breakfast

 8:00-8:10              Pledge to the Flag & Welcome:  Capital Area Association Officers

8:10-9:15              Presentation Topic: Leadership Challenges – Working Together for The Common Good

                              

Presenter: David Denniston, ESIP

                               

Description: The Commissioners and Fire Department Officers both have a responsibility to run the organization. Sometimes the goals of each group can cause conflict with the other. In this session we will explore the roles and responsibilities of Commissioners, Chiefs and Business Officers and how they can both conflict and complement each other.  We will also discuss common breakdowns in leadership and the harm it can cause an organization. By working together as leaders, we can look out for the best interests of our community and membership.

 9:15-9:30              Networking Break

 9:30-10:15           Presentation Topic: NYS Volunteer Firefighter Cancer Benefit Program Update

                             

Presenter: Tim Graves, OFPC

                            

Description: Hear an update on changes to the statutory presumptive Cancer benefits, and an update on the coverage provided by Hartford.

 10:30-12:00        Ask the Attorneys Panel – Do you have Questions, Concerns, Policies, Procedure, Ideas or Plans that require some legal guidance?  Now is your chance!  Attorneys Panel: JOHN CLARK, Esq., TERENCE S. HANNIGAN, Esq., TIMOTHY C. HANNIGAN Hannigan, Esq., and WILLIAM N. YOUNG, JR. Esq. will be available to take questions from our attendees.

 12:00-1:00           Lunch and Networking, sponsored by Penflex Actuarial Services:  mcneilandcompany.com/penflex/

 

Everyone is Invited to Attend

Not limited to Commissioners

 Please Reserve your Seat Now – AFDCA Members $10.00, Non-Members, $20

Price includes all seminars, training materials, meals

How to Start a Successful Junior Firefighter Program

August 24th, 2021

Blaize Levitan

One of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done is junior firefighting, both as a participant and later as an advisor. I can’t imagine my youth without the service and experience of junior firefighting, which profoundly affected who I am today.

Every department with the will and resources should start a program. And if you’re ready to do so, but don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place.

WHY START A PROGRAM?

Junior firefighting programs allow teens, usually between the ages of 14 and 18, to join their local fire department. When done properly, a junior firefighting program is an incredible opportunity for your community. Here’s why:

  • Teens that participate will have the chance at one of the most unique and rewarding life experiences. They develop leadership skills that will serve them for the rest of their lives, inherit important values of the fire service, build lifelong relationships, explore career opportunities, and have a chance to serve their community.
  • The department will benefit by having a group of young people who are willing to assist with a variety of tasks and responsibilities, access to this great recruitment tool and, as their training progresses, additional on-scene support.
  • The community benefits by having young adults engaged with public safety agencies and exposed to opportunities for social development, as well as benefiting from the community services participants can help sustain.

Watching young people transform into adults by passing on the knowledge and traditions of the fire service is well worth the time. Making a lasting impact on a young adult is a powerful and priceless experience.

ARE YOU READY TO COMMIT?

This is the most important question: Are you and your department ready to commit? To do this right, it won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. It will take countless hours. When working with young people, there can be unique, time-intensive challenges. Keep this in mind as you proceed. That said, this is the fire service and you’re not alone. You will need the support of department leadership and a dedicated team committed to this program.

HOW TO START THE PROGRAM

The most successful way to approach the structure of a junior firefighting program is to essentially treat it as its own fire company, with its own drill times, meetings, events, training schedule and even its own junior leadership. You’ll want to integrate the program into the fire department, but the program requires independence to operate. Let’s review how to make this work.

Establish a team of advisors: First, the program needs adult leadership to serve as “advisors” to the program. This team will establish the structure of the program, training guidelines and schedules, and handle the administrative work. They will also serve as the liaison between the department and the program. A variety of firefighters can be called upon to assist with specific training and events, but you want a dedicated crew to lead the program on a day-to-day basis.

Create program policy or guidelines: The first assignment for the Advisor Team is to establish the governing policy creating the program. To start, rather than address every detail of the program, focus on who and how decisions will be made. Often, volunteer departments will need to consider bylaw amendments.

There are many factors to address in this process:

  • Membership: How will junior firefighters fit into the structure of your department? Volunteer departments often have different classes of membership with certain benefits and requirements. Do you want to establish a junior firefighting class of membership?
  • Application process: What steps do you envision to apply?
  • Program eligibility: Who do you want in your program? There are several factors to consider here:
    • Age: Standard participation range is 14-18; however, some programs allow participants to remain until 21, while others don’t let participants join until 16.
    • Residency: There is value in allowing non-resident participants to join your program, especially if there is no alternative in their community.
    • Participants: The program should be co-ed. Junior firefighting programs can be a great way to reverse the fire service’s abysmal record on gender diversity.
    • Health: Consider requiring a doctor’s note, as many school sport programs do.
    • Academics: Consider collecting high school report cards and requiring academic intervention if participants drop below a certain grade point average. Participation in junior firefighting should help develop young people into healthy and successful young adults, not inhibit academic achievement. Advisors or even fellow program participants can tutor those in need.
    • Criminal history: Do you plan to conduct background checks for program advisors?
  • Advisor onboarding: Will you onboard advisors so they understand appropriate behavior when dealing with minors? Dating or any type of relationship with participants outside of the program must be strictly prohibited.
  • Discipline: Who will be responsible for issuing discipline? This is important to navigate, as there is the Advisor Team as well as Department Leadership.
  • Sign-offs: Who is approving the minor’s participation? Participation by minors requires forms for parent/guardian sign-off, which should also include approvals for photo use on the department website or social media accounts.

Note :It is also important to leave some decisions for the program participants to make.

Start recruiting: Recruitment can be a challenge – but it will get easier with time. Websites and social media are easy ways to advertise and a great place to start.

Engage with the local public school system, which will have multiple options to connect you with interested participants. For example, you may be able to speak at an orientation event for students entering high school or you could include a flyer in the new year materials handed out to students. My former department used to park an apparatus in front of the high school on orientation days, and some of the junior firefighters would wear their gear and discuss the program with interested students.

Further, ensure your presence or inclusion in regular department recruitment operations, such as tables at farmers markets or community and department public events. Eventually, word of mouth will become one of the primary methods of recruitment for your program. Invite those interested to come and watch a drill or two to see what it is all about.

On-board your members: On-boarding is important. If you’re investing time and money into the participants, you want to be sure they clearly understand the commitments. Be upfront about the commitment and expectations. This is not just any club or organization; the members will be representing one of the most respected organizations in their community.

Start by developing a standard agenda or checklist that can be reused, then set up a meeting with the interested participant. By doing this, you can not only explain the program but also learn more about what they hope to achieve. Through this process, you may also learn that they have special skills that can benefit the department, such as social media engagement or website graphic design.

A good friend of mine in a neighboring department was highly adept in video editing as a high school student and made multiple amazing videos for his department while serving as a junior firefighter – and he’s a lieutenant now!

RUNNING THE PROGRAM

The specifics of every department’s program will be just as unique as every fire department in this country. Here are some general aspects to consider:

  • Develop a schedule: When does the organization meet? My suggestion is to pick one night per week, with three drills and one monthly meeting. If this is too frequent, consider every other week.
  • Participant leadership: The organization should have its own leadership structure. This is key for participants to develop leadership skills. They should hold an annual or biannual election to elect officers (e.g., president, vice president(s), treasurer and secretary, at least).
  • Monthly meetings: The club should hold an administrative meeting once per month that follows Robert’s Rules of Order, and requires reports from each officer to the membership, and minutes, too.
  • Program finances: The program should have its own budget, managed by the treasurer, with guidance from an assigned advisor who has actual signing authority. The department will need to make a financial commitment to start the program, and then through fundraising, the program can help sustain itself. Firefighting gear, insurance and similar expenses should be covered by the department. T-shirts, banquets and the like can be funded through a thoughtful budget and then fundraising events.

DRILL TIME

One of the most rewarding aspects of running a junior firefighting program is designing training. Training for junior firefighters should focus on the basics, fully preparing members to excel in Firefighter I training, if they so choose.

Here are some ideas to help get started:

  • Hydrant operations: This is what we trained on more often than any other topic. We set up hydrant relay races and held timed hydrant challenges.
  • Ground ladders: Practice throwing ladders over and over, a key skill that junior firefighters can provide on a fireground. Try this target practice exercise with ground ladders.
  • Equipment location: This is a good one for quizzes and mock responses.
  • Equipment use: Try Jenga or stacking cups with extrication equipment.
  • Radio communications: This is a good drill to engage members.
  • Major fire history: It’s important that new members know fire service history.

Encourage participants to attend and or participate in regular department training, too, especially if they are going to be responding to calls with firefighters. This helps build a positive rapport with firefighters.

Other training events include holding joint drills with other junior firefighting programs in the region. One exciting training event is to have competitions with other junior firefighting programs, relay races or muster challenges. For over a decade, the Connecticut Fire Academy has hosted an annual muster for junior firefighters from across the state. Also, Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts has hosted a historic firefighting muster challenge for junior firefighters, with a bucket brigade and hand-drawn pump.

RESPONDING TO EMERGENCY CALLS

Responding to calls is by far the most exciting aspect of the experience. If properly implemented, it is also a huge benefit to the department. Juniors don’t get complacent in firefighting basics because they are constantly training on them. It’s likely a junior firefighter can dress a hydrant and get water to a scene more efficiently than a 10-year veteran who may have not dressed a hydrant in years.

How junior firefighters respond to calls will depend on the design of your program. Clear standards must be met to allow for response eligibility. Develop a set of competencies that must be attained before response is allowed. Utilizing the concept of Firefighter I and Firefighter II, set different levels for participants to attain.

For example, a Level 1 junior firefighter must prove their competence in a basic set of competencies. Create a checklist that each participant can use to track their progress. Have an advisor sign off, confirming when each skill has been successfully demonstrated. Once the checklist is fully signed off, consider performing a final overall spot test. If they pass and have demonstrated character and discipline in line with expectations, they should be approved to start responding. Send a notice to ensure that they’re introduced to the rest of the department.

Level 2 can include a set of more advanced skills to encourage additional development. This level could come with extra benefits, such as an extended time of response or maybe some tools or a pager. Interested participants should be encouraged to become certified EMTs or emergency medical responders.

It’s important to consider participant ages and local, state and federal work rules. While you may allow participants to join at 14, it may be beneficial, based on labor rules, to wait for the emergency response age to be 16. Most states have guidelines and rules that apply to minors working or volunteering in the fire service.

Further, ensure that junior firefighters understand the confidentiality of what they may be exposed to on scene, as well as protocols regarding cell phone use and social media.

Remember, these are teens responding to potentially serious emergencies. There may not be a need to expose them unnecessarily to disturbing or traumatic situations. For example, there was an emergency in which a routine garage fire turned out to be a suicide, with a deceased individual that had barricaded themselves in the garage and then set fire to it. We didn’t need the junior firefighters on scene for body removal. If they are exposed to trauma, include them in critical incident stress debriefing. It’s best practice to reduce the exposure to trauma for anyone, especially young adults. Instill a positive approach to mental health in junior firefighting programs, and start their fire service career on a strong footing.

BOY SCOUTS EXPLORING

One cannot consider starting a junior firefighting program without discussing Exploring, the national program affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) that seeks to “teach important life and career skills to young people from all backgrounds through immersive career experiences and mentorship.” Exploring is implemented through local BSA councils and an interested organization can form its own post or club. Establishing your program as an Exploring Post is like buying ready-to-assemble furniture. It will provide you with operational guidelines, basic policy and a model structure. Notably, exploring programs provide some basic insurance, training for adult advisors, and background checks.

This all comes with a cost, though. There is a per head fee for both explorers and adults, as well as insurance fees and some minor costs depending on your local BSA chapter. Your program will also be affiliated with the BSA, which comes with its rules and policies, as well as to some extent, its branding. I recommend considering a Post at the start and then rethinking its value as the program stabilizes.

IT’S WORTH IT

There is no single right way to start a junior firefighter program. It’s not easy, but it is worth it. When I contemplate my years as a young adult, I can’t imagine them without the profound impact junior firefighting had on my life, as a participant and advisor. I carry this experience wherever I go. Even in my career outside of the volunteer fire service, I find myself leaning on the leadership skills and values I developed as a junior firefighter. That is surely something worth creating for others.

Albany Democrats Want To Raise Your Fuel By 55 Cents Per Gallon And Heating Fuel 25%

August 20th, 2021

Albany Democrats Want To Raise Your Fuel By 55 Cents Per Gallon And Heating Fuel 25%

What will this mean for your fire district/department budget?

Members of the Senate and Assembly Republican Conferences today held a listening session with stakeholders across various industries to discuss the potential impacts of the Climate and Community Investment Act (CCIA), a proposal being advanced by Albany Democrats that could increase the cost of gas by as much as 55 cents per gallon and increase home heating costs by more than 25 percent. Another listening session was held earlier this month in Albany.

The legislation would impose a carbon tax of $55 per ton of fossil fuel emissions in order to reach renewable energy mandates under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCP), passed by the Legislature in 2019.

The session was led by Sen. Dan Stec and Assemblyman Robert Smullen (R,C,I,SAM-Johnstown), ranking members of the Senate and Assembly Environmental Conservation Committees, and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I-Corning), ranking member of the Assembly Energy Committee. Discussions revolved around the potential impacts on small businesses, farms and various sectors of the energy industry. The session provided an opportunity for lawmakers to listen to testimony directly from stakeholders from across those industries

“The CCIA clearly demonstrates two things. One, that the Senate and Assembly Majorities are clearly trying to get out in front of the job the Climate Action Council (CAC) is tasked with doing relative to their scoping  plans for implementing the CLCPA and two, that they are completely out of touch with the financial needs and concerns facing families and businesses in our state.  Our CCIA roundtables will continue our efforts to highlight these issues so we can make clear to the public the wide-ranging financial impacts implementing the CLCPA will have on every sector of our state’s economy and the critical need for the state to conduct a full, transparent and honest cost benefit analysis of the CLCPA.  Given that NY contributes just. 0.5 percent of the total carbon emissions globally and 3.3 percent in the U.S., the public clearly deserves to know what the financial impact of implementing these policies will have upon them. While I agree clean and renewable energy needs to be a part of our energy portfolio and strategy, it is equally important, however,  that our energy portfolio and strategy address affordability and reliability for families and businesses and the CCIA, and likewise the CLCPA, clearly fails to address these vital areas,” said Palmesano.

Pick up the phone and tell them what you think about that.  The only bus we’ll be able to afford is the one leaving New York!!

Model Code of Ethics for Fire Districts

August 19th, 2021

Do you have a completed Code of Ethics on file with your Board?  If you undergo an audit by OSC you will be asked for a copy.  If you haven’t constructed a Code of Ethics here is a template you can use.  Please don’t just fill in the name on the line, read and understand what the Code is saying.

code-ethics-local-governments

Fire District Budget Process Calendar for the 2022 Budget Year+Tax Cap and Tax Base Growth Link

August 19th, 2021

The Tax Cap for 2022 will be 2%

Link to the Tax Base Growth Factors for Special Districts: https://www.tax.ny.gov/pdf/publications/orpts/tbgf/2022-tbgf-specialdist-7-29-21.pdf

FIRE DISTRICT BUDGET PROCESS CALENDAR FOR 2021 FOR THE 2022 BUDGET YEAR

On or Before September 28th, 2021

Required Action:

  • Adopt proposed budget for 2022, including fund balance estimate for 2021 (Town Law [“TL”] §181[2]).
  • File budget with fire district secretary (TL§181[3]).
  • Post budget on fire district’s website (if district maintains a website) (TL§181[3]).
  • Provide copy of proposed budget for 2022, including fund balance estimate for 2021 to town
  • clerk of towns in which district is located. (no statutory reference, but best practice)

 

September 29th to October 4th

Required Action:

  • Post notice of budget hearing on fire district website and signboard (if district maintains a

website/signboard) (TL§175-c[1]).

  • Provide copy of notice of budget hearing to town clerk of towns in which district is located. (Each town

clerk must post the notice on their town’s website (and on clerk’s bulletin board and town

signboard)(TL§175-c[2]).

  • Provide copy of notice of budget hearing to town clerk of towns and secretaries of fire districts with

which district contracts. (Each town clerk and fire district secretary receiving notice must post it on the

town or district website; town clerks must also post the notice on clerk’s bulletin board and town

signboard) (TL§175c-[2])

 

On or Before October 14th

Required Action

  • Publish notice of budget hearing in official newspaper or, if not official newspaper, in newspaper having

general circulation in district, and publicly post notice (TL§181[3][a]).

Remember That You Have Already

  • Posted the notice on fire district’s website (if district maintains a website)(TL§181[3][a]).
  • Provided a copy of proposed budget for public inspection to town clerk of towns in which district is

located [see September 29th tasks stated above] (TL§181[3][a]).

  • Provided a copy of published notice to town clerk of towns in which district is located (Each town clerk

must post the notice on the town’s website and on the town signboard) (TL§181[3][a]).

Treasurer Performs Following Task on Comptroller’s Website:

After adopting proposed budget complete tax cap levy form for New York Comptroller’s Office

and “save” but do not submit. Determine if proposed budget will exceed tax cap (GML§ 3-c(3))

 

On the 3rd Week in October (has been changed to any day of the week) BUT: I would not recommend holding it on a Friday night!!

Required Action

  • Hold Budget Hearing (TL§181[3][a]).

 

On or Before November 4th

Required Action

Before passing any resolutions necessary to override the tax cap levy and adopting the Fire District

Annual Budget “submit” the Fire District budget/ tax cap form to the New York State Comptroller’s

Office on the form prescribed by them. (GML3-c(7))

  • Adopt fire district annual budget (TL§181[3][b])..

 

On or before November 7th

Required Action:

  • Fire district secretary delivers two (2) certified copies of fire district annual budget to town clerk of

towns in which district is located (TL§181[3][c]) and obtains receipt.

What are the Current OSHA/PESH Training Requirement for Firefighters: A Review

August 17th, 2021

Are your firefighters taking their annual OSHA/PESH training, and if not, who do you think is going to answer for the lack of training if something unfortunate happens to one of your members?  You, the Board of Fire Commissioners.

The pertinent OSHA/PESH requirements which require annual refresher training are those designed to maintain proficient firefighter knowledge, skills and abilities in according to 29 CFR (Code of Federal Regulation) 1910.156(c)(2) and increase overall firefighter safety in accordance with other applicable OSHA/PESH standards.

What is PESH?  PESH is the Public Employee Safety and Health division of the NYS Department of Labor.  The Public Employee Safety and Health Bureau (PESH), created in 1980, enforces safety and health standards promulgated under the United States Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) and several state standards.  Public sector employers include:

  • State
  • County
  • Town
  • Village governments
  • Public Authorities
  • School Districts
  • Paid and Volunteer Fire Departments

The Public Employee Safety and Health Bureau responds to:

  • Deaths related to occupational safety and health
  • Accidents that send two or more public employees to the hospital
  • Complaints from public employees or their representatives

The Public Employee Safety and Health Bureau also:

  • Inspects public employer work sites
  • Gives technical assistance during statewide emergencies

The OSHA/PESH required annual training for all fire departments both career and volunteer is conducted so that all members can demonstrate knowledge and proficiency in the topics required.  Those topics include; Hazardous Materials/Emergency Response, Respiratory Protection, Blood Borne Pathogen, Right to Know, Workplace Violence and Fire Extinguishers (if required to use them) which most firefighters are required to do at some point of their career.

In addition to the above required training, OSHA/PESH Standard 29 CFR 1910.156(c)(2) requires that Fire Department Training Programs be designed to address annually the proficiency of each member’s knowledge and abilities as it relates to that member’s expected assignment. Such assignments may include Exterior Firefighter, Interior Firefighter, Apparatus Operator, Fire Officer/Incident Commander and Fire Training Officer. The annual refresher training should be comprised of current content and of sufficient duration so that each member can demonstrate knowledge and abilities in their assigned duties. It is important to maintain documentation of all training conducted to comply with these requirements While no specific time is allotted to the annual training or specific topics, this clarification is not intended to shorten the previously established timeframe, but to provide you with the flexibility to adjust the length of time spent on specific topics that your department feels are more or less necessary.

The OFPC Best Practices for Fire Department Training Programs document outlines subject matter that can be considered for annual refresher training for each member’s expected assignment. Fire Departments must document each member’s annual proficiency training to maintain knowledge, skills and ability proficiencies as related to that member’s expected assignment. This annual refresher requirement does not take into account special operations or activities that would exceed the requirements for this refresher training and should be considered separately based on the needs of the firefighters assigned to those activities.

Suggestions: In addition to subject area topics discussed in a firefighter’s initial training, additional topics for annual refresher training may include those listed below. It is also important to maintain an awareness of current fire service trends and advancements as they relate to your Fire Department and response area.

Some suggested topics may include:

  • Hazard Recognition
  • Fire Station Safety,
  • Response Safety,
  • Fire Scene Safety,
  • Protective Clothing,
  • SCBA Use,
  • Tools and Equipment.

Summary: The overriding consideration when determining the appropriateness of fire service training intended to address annual firefighter refresher training is:

  • Does the training relate to the expected duties and assignments of the firefighter;
  • Does it provide a means to refresh or evaluate competencies the firefighter is expected to perform; and
  • Does the training increase the level of safety for the firefighter.