News

Do You Have Six or More Paid Firefighters? What you need to know!

February 27th, 2021
Requirements for Chiefs of Departments where that department employs six (6) or more paid fire fighters

(Does not distinguish full or part time paid, and includes both paid and volunteer chiefs)

 

Purpose: Minimum qualifications for fire chiefs subject to Civil Service Law, section 58-a and General Municipal Law, section 204-dd.

Text of proposed rule: 19 NYCRR Part 426.9(h) is amended to read as follows:

(h) For Supervisory Level V (chief of department level responsibilities) [under development.] a person shall:

  1. possess Fire Officer 3 certification, pursuant to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1021 Standard for Fire Officer Professional Qualifications, 2014 Edition, or possess the training, education, experience, or combination thereof, determined by the State Fire Administrator to meet the requirements of Civil Service Law section 58-a; and
  2. meet the minimum qualifications established by the local civil service agency having jurisdiction; and
  3. meet the core competencies for incident commander established by the State Fire Administrator, pursuant to General Municipal Law section 204-dd and 9 NYCRR Part 227. A new Part 227 is added to title 9 of the New York Code of Rules and Regulations to read as follows: Qualifications of a Fire Chief. 227.1 Authority, intent and purpose. (a) Statutory authority: General Municipal Law Section 204-dd; (b) The intent and purpose of this part is to establish minimum qualifications for a fire chief in any fire department or fire company that employs six (6) or more paid fire fighters in the State of New York. 227.2 Definitions. (a) The term “fire chief” mean the person who is head of the department or any title or rank that includes the duties of fire chief in any fire department or fire company with six (6) or more paid fire fighters. (b) The term “fire fighter” means a member of a fire department whose duties include fire service as the phrase fire service is defined in paragraph d of subdivision eleven of section three hundred two of the retirement and social security law.

227.3 Qualifications of a fire chief

(a) To eligible for appointment or election as a fire chief he or she must meet the core competencies for incident commander established by the State Fire Administrator.

(b) The Office of Fire Prevention and Control shall post and keep current the core competencies for incident commander on its official website.

Text of proposed rule and any required statements and analyses may be obtained from: Kenneth Bruno, Deputy Counsel, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, 1220 Washington Avenue, Building 7A, Albany, New York 12242, (518) 242-5000, email: Kenneth.Bruno@dhses.ny.gov Data, views or arguments may be submitted to: Same as above. Public comment will be received until: 60 days after publication of this notice.

 

According to the Best Practices, Incident Commander core competency qualifications can be met by taking the following:

NYS Office of Fire Prevention and Control

  1. Fire Officer I (2009) (Competencies 1 – 20 and 22) and ICS-200 (Competency 21)

Web Link Here: http://www.dhses.ny.gov/ofpc/training/firefighting-best-practices.cfm

Worker’s Comp Claim Denied by Washington County Plan Third Party Administrators

February 18th, 2021

Workers’ compensation claim denied for NY assistant fire chief who died from on-duty injury

Chad Arnold

[Editor’s Note:  This should be noted by firefighter’s who are being covered by a County that is “self insuring workman’s comp,  and it should put our elected officials on notice that if you want to keep volunteers you need to take care of them!]

WHITEHALL, N.Y. — Some members of the Whitehall Volunteer Fire Company are raising concerns after a nearly $1 million workers’ compensation claim filed by one of their own after suffering a torn aorta while on duty was denied, despite a state law requiring Washington County to cover the expenses.

James Brooks Jr. died in September after tearing the artery while responding to a structure fire in Dresden four months earlier. He was taken to Rutland Regional Medical Center and later flown to University of Vermont Medical Center, where he suffered a series of debilitating strokes during a surgery to repair the damaged valve.

Brooks, who was 45 when he died, was confined to a wheelchair without the use of his right arm, and he was attended to by his older sister, who ensured he was cleaned and fed following the incident, said Brian Brooks, his uncle and president of the Whitehall Volunteer Fire Company.

“He was always a provider,” Brian Brooks said of his nephew. “He just did a lot for the community, serving with different emergency squads.”

During his various hospital stays, James racked up nearly $1 million in medical expenses, which Brooks said should be covered by the county under the state’s Volunteer Firefighters Benefit Law, which requires municipalities to cover medical expenses and provide compensation to any volunteer firefighter injured or killed while on duty.

But James’ claim was been denied by Benetech Adjustments, the county’s workers’ compensation administrator, which cited a preexisting condition for the torn heart valve.

“They should be paying his medical bills,” Brooks said.

Brooks said his nephew had no prior medical history indicating there was any issue with his arteries, adding that he passed a department physical a year prior. He was due for a physical last March, but the procedure was delayed because of the pandemic.

James, who was a member of the Whitehall Volunteer Fire Company for 20 years and served as an assistant chief, likely suffered the injury while reaching for a microphone, Brooks said.

He said the county is trying to skirt paying the claim because of the financial impact.

But the refusal to pay is an insult to all volunteer firefighters in the county who put their lives in danger in order to serve their communities, Brooks said.

“This should never have even been an issue,” he said. “Here’s a guy working for no pay, shows up on his own time, does all the training. I don’t understand the hatred for volunteer firemen.”

James’ family has since hired an attorney in order to appeal the decision to a state workers’ compensation board.

Roger Wickes, the county’s attorney, declined to comment on the case due to the ongoing appeal, but said the process is being handled the same way that any other workers’ compensation case would.

“We’re not going to comment on anybody’s medical records or anything like that, but what I can tell you is that there’s a process,” he said. “The same process we follow when you slip in the parking lot … and get hurt and make a workers’ comp claim. When the process is over, a decision will be made by the workers’ comp board as to whether or not the county is liable.”

Benetech did not return a request seeking comment.

But Brooks said if the county isn’t required to pay his nephew’s claim, it will set a dangerous precedent for all volunteer firefighters in the county who are injured while on duty.

He sent a letter to the county’s Board of Supervisors in December urging the county to pay the claim. Members of the department have released a short video on social media seeking to raise awareness about the ongoing situation.

“There can be no good end to Washington County maintaining its position on this case,” the letter reads. “The only result will be the loss of volunteer firefighters, as there will be another reason for people not to volunteer.”

Brooks said the fact that James was his nephew has little to do with his position, adding he would fight just as hard for any of his members.

He said that he’s heard from several of his members who have expressed concerns about continuing their service with the department over James’ case.

“It’s coming down to an us or them situation with our volunteer firemen,” Brooks said. “They’re going to do self-preservation and think about their families and think about, ‘Well, the next time I run into a house fire, I might not get out, so why should I continue to do it?'”

Virtual Legislative Breakfast 9am Saturday March 20th

February 16th, 2021

Register for the Virtual Legislative Breakfast

9:00 A.M. Saturday March 20th at a Computer near you!

⇓  REGISTER HERE  ⇓

https://pheedloop.com/legislativebreakfast2021/site/home/

We will be joined by local Members of Assembly, Senators, our Fire Service Alliance Lobbyists plus the Officers and Directors of the Capital Area Association.

Our main focus will be to review and discuss the Fire Service Alliance Issues of United Concern

EXAM ANNOUNCEMENT SARATOGA SPRINGS FIREFIGHTER

February 9th, 2021

Firefighter Exam announcement for the City of Saratoga Springs, NY

Exam Announcement – Firefighter 65816 2021

State Association Scholarship Closes on February 20th

February 8th, 2021
2021 NED CARTER SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION

The 2021 application Deadline Date – February 20,2021

To be considered for this honor, applications MUST be submitted online or postmarked by February 20,2021

THE SCHOLARSHIP APPLICANT (STUDENT) MUST:

  • BE RELATED TO A FIREFIGHTER or,
  • BE A FIREFIGHTER or, 
  • BE RELATED TO A FIRE DISTRICT COMMISSIONER, FIRE DISTRICT SECRETARY, FIRE DISTRICT TREASURER OR DEPUTY TREASURER, A FIRE DISTRICT ADMINISTRATOR/MANAGER or,
  • BE AN EXPLORER IN A FIRE DEPARTMENT 
  • THE FIRE DISTRICT / FIRE DEPARTMENT MUST BE A CURRENT MEMBER IN GOOD STANDING OF THE ASSOCIATION OF FIRE DISTRICTS OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK.

AFDSNY awards four (4) scholarships a year for $1,500 each, to graduating high school seniors who plan to attend a two (2) or four (4) year institution of higher education and will be pursuing a community service related career. This may include but is not limited to fire service, EMS, nursing, social work, health related services, teaching, paramedic, etc.

All applications will be evaluated by the Scholarship Committee of the Association of Fire Districts of the State of New York.  Financial need academic achievement and community service are all factors in the selection process.  All decisions of the Committee are final.  Awards shall be made directly to the winning recipients, awards will only be made upon successful completion of the first semester and upon proof of registration for the second semester at an accredited institution of higher education.

Any incomplete application will be NOT be accepted for consideration

You may download the application below, application must be postmarked no later than February 20, 2021
Mail to:

AFDSNY Scholarship Committee

Eugene Petricevich

PO Box 133

Brookhaven, NY 11719

Fillable PDF Application, Download Here:

2021 Ned Carter Scholarship Application fill.pdf (d15k2d11r6t6rl.cloudfront.net)

Communicable Disease Plan Components to comply with NYS-DOL Section 27-c Requirements

January 19th, 2021

Open this document and use as a guidance document for your Communicable Disease response and continuity of operations plan as required of all public employers by the recent addition of Section 27-c  of Labor Law.

COMMUNICABLE DISEASE PLAN COMPONENTS

LINK TO DOL SECTION 27-C CHAPTER AMENDMENTS
http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/navigate.cgi?NVDTO:

The LGS-1 Replaces the Current Records Management Schedule

January 19th, 2021

State Secretary/Treasurer Joyce Petkus has provided us with the new LGS-1 records management schedule with section headings particularly for Fire Districts.  Also is a model resolution to be adopted by the Board prior to using the new schedule.  This should be a great help to the records retention managers for each fire district.

Organized by Item
https://afdca.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/LGS-1-Featureing-FDs-item-list.pdf

Organized by Section Headings
https://afdca.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/LGS-1-excerpt-for-Fire-Districts_organized-by-section-headings.pdf
Model Resolution
https://afdca.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/lgs-1_model_resolution_form.pdf

Fire Districts had until January 1 2021 to adopt the new schedule by resolution of the Board, don’t use the new schedule until it is officially adopted.

NYSVFB Cancer Coverage Offered to Exterior Firefighters

January 19th, 2021

The definition of Eligible Volunteer Firefighter has been amended to:

  1. a volunteer interior firefighter who:
  2. has five or more years of faithful and actual service in the protection of life and property from fire subsequent to having successfully passed a physical examination which failed to reveal any evidence of Cancer; and
  3. has submitted or is able to submit proof of five years of interior firefighting service by providing verification that he/she has passed at least five yearly certified mask fitting tests as set forth in 29 CFR 1910.134 or the applicable National Fire Protection Association Standards for Mask Fit testing or, for firefighters who entered fire service prior to January first, two thousand twenty documentation identified by the office of fire prevention and control in rules and regulations promulgated pursuant to subdivision seven of this section which shall include, but not be limited to, training or certification records, health care provider records, internal fire department records, or any combination of official documents capable of evidencing that the firefighter meets the afore mentioned requirements

NEW: Exterior Firefighter Definition

  1. a volunteer exterior firefighter who has five or more years of faithful and actual service in the protection of life and property from fire subsequent to having successfully passed a physical examination which failed to reveal any evidence of Cancer.

This definition does not include any firefighter who is provided paid firefighter benefits under the New York State Volunteer Firefighter Enhanced Cancer Disability Benefits Act.

The Coverages are here, copy and Paste into your browser:

https://afdca.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Interior-Exterior-FF-Coverage-NY.pdf

 

Open Meeting Law Suspension Extended Until February 26th

January 5th, 2021
OPEN MEETING LAW SUSPENSION EXTENDED TO February 26, 2021  FROM AFDSNY ATTORNEY JOE FRANK

As you commence the process of holding your Annual Organization Meeting and Meetings for January, this will advise that the Governor has confirmed the extension of the authority to hold remote meetings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please read the following:

OPEN MEETING LAW SUSPENSION EXTENDED TO February 26th, 2021 

Executive Order No. 202.87 dated December 30, 2020 has extended the suspension of Open Meeting Law rules to permit remote methods of conducting meetings for local government boards until January 29, 2021. Governor Cuomo noted the following in this Executive Order:

IN ADDITION, Governor of the State of New York, by virtue of the authority vested in me by Section 29-a of Article 2-B of the Executive Law to temporarily suspend or modify any statute, local law, ordinance, order, rule, or regulation, or parts thereof, of any agency during a State disaster emergency, if compliance with such statute, local law, ordinance, order, rule, or regulation would prevent, hinder, or delay action necessary to cope with the disaster emergency or if necessary to assist or aid in coping with such disaster, or to provide any directive necessary to respond to the disaster, do hereby continue the suspensions and modifications of law, and any directives not superseded by a subsequent directive, contained in Executive Orders 202 up to and including 202.21, and 202.27, 202.28, 202.29, 202.30, 202.31, 202.38, 202.39, 202.40, 202.41, 202.42, 202.43, 202.48, 202.49, 202.50, 202.51, 202.52, 202.55, 202.55.1, 202.56, 202.60, 202.61, 202.62, 202.63, 202.67, 202.68, 202.72, as continued and contained in Executive Order 202.79 for another thirty days through January 29, 2021 

Please keep in mind that this series of Executive Orders do not require a Board of Fire Commissioners to conduct a board meeting remotely.

It permits the Board to conduct a remote meeting or a live meeting with proper precautions (health screening, facemasks, social distancing, cleaning and disinfecting, etc.). Boards can also conduct a combination live and remote meeting where some participants are present at the meeting room and others are remote. If any aspect of the meeting will be remote in order to permit a member(s) of the Board of Fire Commissioners to participate remotely and be part of the meeting quorum, the information on how to gain remote access must be placed in the meeting legal notice, the meeting must be audio recorded and a transcript of the audio recording must be created and maintained.

In light of the continuing COVID-19 crisis and rising infection rates throughout the state it is anticipated that the Governor will continue to extend this remote meeting authority for several more months.

LOSAP – Preparing for 2021

January 2nd, 2021

Anyone who works (or volunteers) in local government understands lines and boundaries. One side of the street pays taxes and receives services from one municipality, and the other side, a different one. Ultimately, at 12:00 AM on January 1, 2021 we cross a boundary into a new calendar year. This means many things – some practical and literal, and some that are just plain emotional. The challenges we all faced in 2020, and continue to face today, will persist into 2021. However, the resilience and perseverance we all developed in 2020 will as well and, for that, we’re encouraged about 2021.

As we look forward to the reporting that must be done in 2021, we thought it would be helpful to send a reminder regarding several year-end items, which include some updates and changes:

  1. At Firefly Admin, we call the steps that the municipality and fire department must take at the conclusion of each calendar year the Census Update Process. In early December, our clients were sent the instructions, forms, and roster by email and ShareFile. If you did not receive it, please contact us immediately.
  2. Although this is a good practice for all years, for the 2020 points year specifically, we recommend that the municipality request that the list of points earned by volunteers show the detail by category. In particular, if your municipality adopted a resolution to award additional points during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important for the municipality to review the COVID-19 points to ensure they were awarded consistently with the resolution adopted by the Board. These additional COVID-19 points should be awarded uniformly to all active members, and only those who were active members during the municipally-designated COVID-19 period.
  3. If your municipality has not yet adopted a resolution regarding COVID-19 points, it has until April 30, 2021 to do so. We have a lot of information on our blog, which you can reference here: www.fireflyadmin.com/blog/category/covid19/
  4. The IRS has made changes to the 1099-MISC form, and released a new form called the 1099-NEC. We engaged an attorney with specific expertise with the Internal Revenue Code and tax forms, and we’ve confirmed that the 1099-MISC remains the most appropriate form to report LOSAP payments. By law, these forms must be postmarked by January 31, 2021, which means your participants will receive them by the end of January or possibly early February. If a participant needs their tax form sooner, please contact our office and we’ll see what options are available to provide the form earlier.
  5. Payments from a New York State LOSAP are largely exempt from New York State income tax, but some exclusions apply! The taxpayer must be over age 59 ½ and the payment must not be a lump sum. Read more at www.fireflyadmin.com/NYSTAX/.

The State recently released a bulletin regarding the reporting of fiduciary activities as required by GASB Statement 84. This changes how LOSAP assets are reported on the Annual Update Document (AUD). On page 7 of the bulletin is a paragraph about the LOSAP assets, and it includes a sentence that requires future LOSAP payable amounts that meet the GASB’s definition of a liability to be reported a certain way. Your treasurer should be proactive about reaching out to your external auditor or the Office of the State Comptroller for guidance regarding the implementation of these changes in reporting the LOSAP assets and payables. You can read the bulletin here: https://www.osc.state.ny.us/files/local-government/publications/pdf/accounting-and-financial-reporting-for-fiduciary-activities-gasb-84.pdf

[Thanks to Firefly Admin one of our business partners for providing this information to our fire districts]

Next Capital Area Meeting Thursday March 11th

January 2nd, 2021

All districts are invited to attend the 1st Capital Area Association meeting for 2021

When:  Thursday evening, March 11th, 2021 at 7PM

Where: Clifton Park Fire Station

Clifton Park’s social room is large enough to observe social distancing for several members of the Association, of course masks are requested.

Breakfast items will be available for attendees.

 

Fire District – LGS-1 Records Retention Schedule

December 16th, 2020

We want to thank Secretary/Treasurer Joyce Petkus for sharing the new LGS-1 records management schedule especially for fire districts with us.  Attached below are two different formats of the same document one by item the other by section headings.  The LGS-1 is to be adopted by the Board of Fire Commissioners by January 1.  Also attached is a model resolution.

LGS-1 Featureing FDs item list

LGS-1 excerpt for Fire Districts_organized by section headings

lgs-1_model_resolution_form