VFIS offers a free checklist assessing your Vol. R&R Program

May 1st, 2023

FREE CHECKLIST: Assessing your volunteer retention and recruitment programs

Volunteer retention and recruitment should be considered ongoing and separate processes in your ESO. And while you may need additional personnel—your current roster should be your primary focus as it’s less expensive to develop and retain existing personnel than to recruit and train new volunteers.

Answer “yes” or “no” to the following questions and tally up how many “yeses” your organization receives. Be honest—and if there’s any doubt in your mind, it is suggested to answer “no”.

  1. Does your ESO conduct exit interviews with any individual leaving your organization?
  2. Does your ESO conduct periodic evaluations, at least annually, on a continual basis?
  3. Does your ESO have a job description for every position within the organization?
  4. Does your ESO have a clear organization structure for both operations and administrative personnel?
  5. Does your ESO have a written personnel manual updated within the last 3 years?
  6. Does your ESO have both paper and electronic applications available for prospective volunteers?
  7. Does your ESO assist individuals that need assistance when completing the application?
  8. Does your ESO use multiple communication methods to reach current and prospective members?
  9. Does your ESO charge a fee for prospective members to join the organization?
  10. Does a prospective member have to wait between the time of a completed application until the VFD “votes in” the applicant?
  11. Does your ESO advertise “Volunteers Needed”?
  12. Does your ESO have a volunteer awards or incentive program?
  13. Is your ESO able to handle the onboarding process for (5) new volunteers at one time?
  14. Can your ESO afford to outfit and train 5 new volunteers at one time?
  15. Does your ESO have 5 different mentors available that are willing to be assigned 5 new volunteers?
  16. Does your ESO know the cost to outfit and train each new volunteer for their respective position?
  17. Do you know the attrition rate of volunteers in your ESO?
  18. Do you know the retention rate of volunteers in your ESO?
  19. Does your ESO match times of training sessions to times when the volunteers are available?
  20. Does a chief officer dedicate time to meet with each volunteer periodically, at least once per year?
  21. Do you provide a copy of your ESO bylaws to each new volunteer member?
  22. Do you provide a copy of department SOPs/SOGs to each new volunteer member?
  23. Does your ESO have a quantifiable method to determine how a volunteer completes probationary status?
  24. Does your ESO have a quantifiable method to determine how a member is defined as “active” during a given timeframe?
  25. Does your ESO have dedicated office hours at your station announced to the public and displayed at each main entrance?


VFBL Coverage for 16 & 17 Year Old Vol. Firefighters

May 1st, 2023

VFBL Coverage for 16 & 17 Year Old Volunteer Firefighters from Fire Districts Mutual Insurance

As the fire service prioritizes recruitment efforts, many fire districts look to a new, younger generation of members and future leadership development. It is an important tradition and process to ensure that the fire service will continue to evolve and meet the needs of our communities. As the recruitment of young volunteer firefighters develops, we must understand and prepare for the coming challenges. Our friends at FASNY have published a great article and overview on the issues to consider when recruiting younger members (minors) as volunteer firefighters, which you can read by visiting firefighters-what-your-department-should-know.

The purpose of this communication from Fire Districts of New York Mutual Insurance Co. Inc. is to clarify how to ensure your 16- and 17-year-old volunteer firefighters are covered under VFBL. First, for an individual in the fire service to be covered, they must be categorized as an “Active Member.” Other sub-categories such as Full Members, Probationary Members, Cadets, and Junior Members must be defined as “Activ e Members” and written into the fire district’s bylaws. They may also have restrictive duties. The fire district bylaws should clearly define and explain their status to have coverage under VFBL.

If 16- and 17-year-olds are NOT defined as “Active Members” in the fire district’s bylaws, then they are NOT covered under the VFBL. The NYS Attorney General states that child labor laws apply to all minors (under age 18). However, labor law does not exclude a person aged 16 or 17 from being an “Active Member” of their fire district.

It is also essential that you understand the definition and use of the word “Youth.” Across NYS, there are fire districts that successfully maintain well-managed Youth programs. These are considered “Non-Active Duty” volunteer members. These programs are provided for under General Municipal Law section 204-b. They include Explorer scouts and others. These “Youths” must not be permitted to participate in emergencies or any hazardous activities. “Youths” are NOT covered by the VFBL. The fire district must be familiar with federal and NYS child labor Laws for compliance. The fire district should check its other insurance policies for any coverage exclusions for “Youths.” There may be some medical coverage for “Youths” if the fire district has purchased an Accident policy like many Youth sports teams.

These words and definitions matter in NYS and the Workers’ Compensation Board for VFBL coverage to apply. Check your fire district’s bylaws for granting appropriate “Active Member” status to your 16- and 17-year-old volunteer firefighters as described above. Remember, in NYS, any individual NOT categorized as an “Active Member” volunteer firefighter does NOT have coverage under VFBL.

Fire Districts of New York Mutual Insurance Co. Inc. serves to protect those who protect us! Together with our network of insurance broker partners, we are available to help answer your questions and concerns. Feel free to contact us and thank you for your business and support.

Background Checks – Fire Company and Fire District Responsibilities

April 26th, 2023

Background Checks – – Fire Company and Fire District Responsibilities

Greg Serio – CAFDA Legal Counsel

As with so much of the law pertaining to the volunteer fire service and fire districts, section 837-o of the state Executive Law (contained within Article 35 relating to the Division of Criminal Justice Services) is rather prescriptive governance over arson and sexual offense conviction (specifically requiring registration as a sex offender) searches for prospective firefighters.  Also with respect to the legal labyrinth that fire districts routinely navigate, some practices arising from these legal obligations have strayed from the clear prescriptive language of our statutes, including this provision of law.

Questions routinely arise in fire company meetings, fire district commissioners’ meetings and elsewhere about who is specifically responsible for assuring that such searches are done, and when they are to be done.  Oftentimes, a candidate is presented to a fire district prior to a background check being done.  Other times, a member of a fire company is accepted prior to a search even being conducted.  A review of section 837-o is helpful for clarifying the division of labor between fire companies and fire districts, and when exactly such background checks should be completed.

A parsing of the statute provides a convenient and complete process for satisfying the statutory requirement for arson and sexual offense conviction searches to be done.  First, the law requires that a prospective member of a fire company, upon application, to acquiesce to a background check.  That authorization, and the notice that a search is to be made, comes in the form of an application for a search provided by the DCJS.  Within ten days of receiving the authorization to the search, the fire chief is to send the search request form to the local sheriff or the Office of Fire Prevention and Control.  The sheriff and OFPC has ten days to direct the search request to the DCJS.

The chief then is to receive a written response from the sheriff or OFPC within ten days of their receipt of search results back from the DCJS.  The response will only say if the applicant has been convicted of either an arson or sex crime, and the response is to remain confidential.

So, up to this point in time of the process, a few things are apparent: an application for membership has been made, but not acted upon pending the background check, the sheriff or OFPC works with the DCJS to get the background information, and the result is sent back to the chief.  Up to this point, the applicant should not have been accepted for membership; they may have been denied, for other reasons.  If the report is clean, and no conviction is found, then the applicant can be presented for a vote of the fire company for membership. 

Oftentimes, fire companies accept someone for probationary membership and then submit the name for the search.  I would argue that that process is not in keeping with section 837-o.  What happens to a membership that has been granted prior to a search?  Fire companies are then in the uncomfortable position of having to unwind a membership application acceptance.  Importantly, subsection (c) of section 837-o specifically anticipates this sequence by speaking about an “ineligibility for membership” if the search comes back with a conviction found.  It is consistent with the statute to not confer any notion of membership until the search is completed.

If a search does come back with a conviction on the applicant’s record, the company has a duty to the applicant to inform them of “rights to challenge and appeal the information contained in the record of conviction….The applicant shall continue to be barred from membership until all administrative and judicial challenges…are ultimately resolved in his or her favor….”

For fire districts, therefore, there should be no entertaining of any notification that the company has accepted a new member for active duty in the fire department and, therefore, under the responsibility of the fire district both as the final arbiter of membership, per section 176-b of the Town Law as well as their employer, unless that member has in fact been cleared of their background check.  Fire chiefs, under the law, are directed to order searches on prospective company members as the head of the fire company and not necessarily as a subordinated officer of the board of fire commissionersJust as we are looking to clean up practices between company and district concerning membership, like making certain that notification of new members is communicated from the company secretary to the district secretary (also provided for in section 176-b), in writing, hopefully this note will help improve practices concerning consideration of prospective members as intended in section 837-o.


April 14th, 2023

Proposed Assoc. of Fire Districts of New York State By-Laws Amendment

To provide for in person or proxy voting

Presently, in order to vote in elections and other business at the AFDSNY Annual Meeting, member districts must vote in person at the site of the Annual Meeting which is costly and inconvenient.

An amendment has been proposed that would allow for voting in person OR voting by proxy. The logistics for the proxy voting would be established by the Association Board of Directors. The important issue is that presently member districts must vote in person. If you pay dues, you should be able to VOTE.

Many feel that all member districts should be able to vote in matters that affect the Association which is a NYS Not-For-Profit organization financed by taxpayer funding. When you pay your dues and become a member, you should be able to VOTE.

The election of officers and voting on by-laws amendments is very important. In the past several years, about 15% of the Association membership is making decisions for the Association.

In order to get this proposed amendment approved, a 2/3 vote is necessary. Therefore, it is vitally important to encourage a fire district official from your fire district to come to the Turning Stone on Friday May 18, 2023 at 4PM to vote. Each member fire district is allowed one vote – and the vote must be cast by a fire district official. (Commissioner, Treasurer, Deputy Treasurer)

This is the opportunity to “have your voice heard” and provide for each fire district to have a voice in elections and other business of the association.

The FASNY 2023 Volunteer Firefighter Economic Study

March 20th, 2023

The electronic version of the Study is available HERE:

FASNY Economic Study 2023

New Career After 60: Firefighter? Really? Good Read You Can Relate To!!

March 10th, 2023

The world’s oldest probationary firefighter, or probie, explains why he volunteered for the
difficult and dangerous job
After more than 40 years as a broadcaster and journalist, I’ve found a new career. It doesn’t pay very well (OK, nothing) but it’s one of the most gratifying things I’ve done with my life. I’m a volunteer firefighter. I ply my new trade in a tiny, very historic hamlet in the northern Catskill Mountains of upstate New York.

As I wrote for Next Avenue three years ago, after I first landed in the region, I’m struck by how desperate rural departments seem to be for members, and further struck by how much these essential services are being carried by gray heads, most younger residents either absent, hamstrung with work and childrearing or just not motivated to this kind of community service.

We Do It Because Someone Must
It’s true, the fire service is not for the faint of heart (says the guy who visits a cardiologist twice a year). It’s alternately mind-numbing, adrenaline-spiking, broiling, freezing, physically and mentally challenging work. It’s also essential that when the siren goes off at the firehouse, people know that someone is coming to help. I feel safe in saying that’s mainly why most of us do it.

Case in point: One of my most terrifying moments was not at a fire, per se. We were “toned out” (modern fire service parlance for being summoned by an alarm) and initially two of us showed up at the firehouse. Two — neither yet qualified to drive the engines or operate the pumps.

With no officers, no drivers and no pump engineers, two guys certified for exterior firefighting-only kind of stood there, half dressed, wondering what to do next. Fortunately, some better-qualified members began filtering in and we got rolling on a mutual aid call to a neighboring town, where we sat in a queue of fire apparatus until eventually told to stand down and return to quarters. But the thought of how that might’ve turned out differently still haunts me. It’s why mutual aid agreements are so critical in rural firefighting.

And yeah, that “stand-down” part happens a lot. But let’s face it: is there anything more fun than riding in a fire engine, hitting that floor button that emits the BLAAT that announces you as the alpha vehicle on the road? Haven’t I dreamed of that since I was six years old?

No more riding the running boards, however. Everybody has to be strapped in before we roll. It’s the wise and prudent thing, of course, but doesn’t entirely square with my childhood fantasy.

I also found that moving to a new place, almost perfectly timed to a three-year pandemic, can be pretty isolating. The local fire company isn’t bashful about recruiting newcomers and so after about 18 months, I caved in and signed up, partly as a way to get engaged with my new community. It worked.

The Over-the-Hill Gang
And I’m not alone. Joining me on this odyssey are two other relative newcomers to town, Dianna Weaver, 54, and her husband Jim, 57. Dianna confesses that she kind of dragged Jim into it. “He was kind of like, ‘Mmm, I don’t wanna do that,'” she laughs. “But I’m used to volunteering and doing something within a community. It’s what I’ve always done.”

Dianna grew up without realizing that volunteers staffed the fire company in her Ohio hometown. In fact, volunteers comprise some or all of the staffs of more than 85% of fire companies across the U.S., according to an estimate by the National Volunteer Fire Council.

It seems they serve a largely complacent public. Firefighters Association of the State of New York estimates that the number of volunteer firefighters in New York state has shrunk from 120,000 to 80,000 over the past two decades.

So people like the Weavers play an increasingly vital role, especially in small rural communities where the recruitment pool is limited. “I went to the first meeting by myself,” Dianna recalls, “and I think Jim felt left out, so then he jumped on board. He’s like, ‘Well, you can’t go do that without me. That’s not fair.'”

But it was also daunting for her, being both new and one of only a handful of female members. “I did feel intimidated at first. I felt like all eyes were on me, like, who’s this woman? And I still do off and on a little bit. I am feeling more settled though.”

Dianna has proven her toughness. You should see her go after a car door with the “Jaws of Life.”

Why Do Firemen Wear Red Suspenders?

The answer, as we all learned in grade school, is, “To keep their pants up.” After a half-century or so of thinking this was just a joke, it turns out to be literally true for the 60-plus firefighter. In addition to the heavy black suspenders that hold up my turnout trousers, I’ve discovered that I also need suspenders on my street pants, underneath. Otherwise they end up around my lower thighs, which makes performing basic tasks like climbing in and out of the engine awkward, to say the least.

I’ll admit it. When the dark of evening descends – especially in the dead of winter – and my steam starts running low, I’ll glare at the pager on the kitchen counter and think, “Don’t you dare.” Of course, it often does. Dragging myself off a cushy sofa or out of a warm bed is one of the most daunting aspects of the job.

Chances are it’s another false alarm. But it could be a neighbor’s home burning down around them or someone trapped in their car after rolling it over on one of our serpentine county roads. That’s the motivator.

At this age, setting boundaries is crucial. I’ve discovered my own limits and I have to respect them. So do my colleagues in the company. If I don’t make a call, nobody asks why and nobody ever will. It seems to be an unwritten code, at least in my company. All you do is all that’s expected.

But there is always an undercurrent of peer pressure to advance, gather more skills, more certifications. (My fellow firefighters tend to prefer working with people who know what they’re doing.)

That’s why last fall, at the tender age of 67, I decided to take the plunge and go for state certification as an exterior firefighter, even though it meant three months in a sort of fire service boot camp.

Stay tuned for those adventures, coming up in “Over-the-Hill Firefighter: the Sequel,” coming to a screen near you.

West Crescent Fire District Seeking Station Keeper

March 7th, 2023
Position Announcement
West Crescent Fire District

The West Crescent Fire District is looking for a professional and highly motivated person to perform custodial services and to maintain fire district buildings, grounds and equipment. Must have good communication skills, the ability to manage several projects simultaneously, be flexible with work hours when necessary. Prior experience preferred and all candidates must have clean driver’s license. Employment application and job description can be found on the district website at or by emailing Fire District Secretary Arthur Hunsinger at

Please send application, cover letter & resume to Arthur Hunsinger via email at

Position Announcement Station Keeper/Maintenance Person

Full Time (40 hours/week) hourly position, commensurate with experience. Benefits available (health and disability insurance, vacation, sick days, holidays, retirement).


  • Minimum High School diploma or equivalent
  • Relevant work or experience
  • Pass District Physical, able to lift objects weighing 70 lbs.
  • Preference given to those candidates at least 21 years of age
  • Ability to understand and carry out instructions.
  • Ability to deal with the public and work successfully with other employees and members of the Fire Department

Familiarity with equipment found in fire stations.

  • Experience with cleaning and light building maintenance.
  • Ability to perform minor mechanical repairs.
  • Initiative, resourcefulness and good judgement.
  • Basic computer knowledge for data entry.
  • Hold a valid NYS vehicle operator’s license. A CDL-B license will be required within six (6) months of employment, to include Air Brake Endorsement. Driver’s license will be enrolled in the NYS License Event Notification Service. License acceptable to Fire District’s insurance carrier · Background check for Arson Conviction and Sex Offender Registry.
  • Preference may be given to an active SCBA qualified member in a local fire department.
  • Need to be CPR/AED Certified

General Statement of Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Performs work under the general direction of the Building Committee Chairman and Fire District Secretary, as directed by the Board of Fire Commissioners
  • Maintain Fire District buildings, grounds and equipment.
  • Provide custodial type services at District Office and firehouse
  • Other duties as assigned and approved by the Board of Fire Commissioners
  • Within one (1) year of hire date, must be a qualified driver and pump operator on all District vehicles. (Training will be permitted on District time).

Examples of Work to be performed:

  • Mowing and trimming of lawns, pruning and mulching, rake and remove leaves/debris as necessary.
  • Custodial type services including but not limited to: mopping, vacuuming, washing, scrubbing, cleaning windows, buffing, carpet cleaning, and garbage removal.
  • Paint interior/exterior of buildings as needed; power wash exterior buildings as necessary.
  • Responsible for maintenance and upkeep of vehicles and equipment provided by the Board of Fire Commissioners to complete duties.
  • Assist in the coordination of fire apparatus and equipment. Clean, fuel, maintain and transport apparatus and equipment as necessary.
  • Assist in coordination of various equipment testing (i.e. hose, ladder, pump).
  • Create written correspondence, generate maintenance records as necessary, enter data into fire district software and create reports as needed.

Last Commissioner Training offered by the Capital Area Association

March 3rd, 2023

The last course being offered by the Capital Area will be held at Berkshire Fire District in Fulton County at 320 Steele Ave Extension, just west of the intersection of Route 29 at Route 30.  Saturday March 25th at 8am.  Lite breakfast and a lunch will be served.  Reserve your seat at, payments will be accepted at the door.  Training Certificates will be provided so please make reservations so that certificates can be prepared in advance.


Know What Your Firefighters are Dealing With!!

February 23rd, 2023
Lithium-Ion Batteries: The 18650

Chris Greene

The Micro-mobility or E-mobility industry has been receiving a lot of publicity over the past few years—and for all the wrong reasons. Through the media, online videos, and direct experience, we have all been witness to the increasing frequency of fires involving E-bikes/scooters. This phenomenon has drawn a lot of attention to this industry, and deservedly so, but it is important to understand the underlying energy source—the 18650 lithium-ion cell. It is the workhorse of the E-mobility, power tool, and portable power supply industry and one of the most common lithium-ion cells on the market. It is small enough to power an E-cigarette/vape cartridge, easily fitting into your pocket, or can be strung together to power much larger items that have become commonplace in the American home.

This cylindrical battery, which derives its name from its dimension—18mm diameter by 65mm in length—was developed in 1994 in response to an increasing demand for smaller and more powerful portable battery-operated devices. The 18650 cell offered a small/compact lightweight rechargeable energy source with high battery voltage—3.2v to 4.2v. The battery had an added benefit of being modular, making it appealing to a variety of rechargeable handheld products as well as larger stationary storage uses.

The 18650 is often compared to an AA battery because of the cylindrical similarities, but this is where the similarities end. The 18650 is larger in size than the AA battery, and its voltage is more than double. The energy density is four-plus times greater than that of an AA battery, but the real difference is in how long this battery can power a device and how fast it can offload its power when needed. This combination of longer-duration use and high cycle life coupled with its ability to offer high-output demands is rare. The 18650 fits into a category of batteries often described as “high drain” and is suited to portable devices that required constant higher voltage such as E-cigarettes, laptop computers, and power tools.

How It Works

Like all rechargeable batteries, it has three primary components: an anode, a cathode, and a separator. The design allows electrons to flow in both directions—hence, the “rechargeable capability.” This is different from a standard traditional nonrechargeable battery where electrons flow in one direction until the battery is depleted or “dead.” Rechargeable batteries are more complicated than your standard battery, and manufacturers employ a variety of proprietary chemistries to achieve their goals.

Unique to the lithium-ion battery is the use of lithium-ion particles in a liquid electrolyte suspension medium. This battery is designed to allow electrons to move from anode to cathode through the “load” as ions flow through the separator. The separator serves an important role and offers some insight as to how these batteries may fail. It keeps the anode and cathode separate; however, it needs to allow ions to flow back and forth through it during the discharge and charging cycle.

When the separator fails, the anode and cathode can contact each other and short out, creating a spark inside the battery. The electrolyte solution for the lithium particles is extremely flammable. As the separator fails and the anode and cathode fault, heat is generated and gas forms inside the battery cell. As the heat and pressure build, the battery casing weakens and fails, resulting in gas discharge from the cell. Some failures occur through the vent port, while others cause swelling of the casing, leading to a breach. This failure process can take days or happen instantly.

The failure of one 18650 cell may seem harmless, but consider this: One 18650 lithium-ion battery can produce eight liters of toxic/flammable gas. Many devices use several 18650 cells to work. In the case of a typical electric bike/scooter, the battery may contain between 50 and 130 cells. That’s a lot of heat and a lot of gas. Complicating this battery failure process is that hydrogen gas is one of the primary gases produced when a lithium-ion battery fails. So, we now have a combination of high heat, a spark leading to fire, and a gas compound that includes a high concentration of hydrogen gas discharging at high pressure like a mini blowtorch.


Figure 1. Common Gases Produced from Lithium-Ion Device Failure


This situation is not unique to the 18650 cell; it is the basic failure domino effect for any lithium-ion rechargeable battery format. This article focuses on the 18650 because of its total market saturation in the mobile and stationary energy storage space but, most importantly, because of how common this cell is in our homes. If you own a rechargeable drill that is less than 10 years old, it is likely powered by 18650 cells. That new 20v power pack for your cordless drill is five 18650 3.7v cells wired in series. If you have a 40v, then you have 10 18650s powering that tool.

An electric scooter may have as many as 130 18650 cells inside its power pack battery. If that battery fails catastrophically, that’s a lot of gas. If you own an E-mobility device, it is 99.9% powered by the 18650 cells. When considering a fire scenario involving this device, it’s a simple question of how many 18650 cells are in the battery pack and the location of the bike in your home.

18650 Cell Chemistry

The design chemistry for these cells is numerous. The most common ones in use are nickel cobalt aluminum (NCA), nickel manganese cobalt (NMC), and lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4). Each chemistry has a specific strength of application.

NMC is currently the most popular chemistry, with a sizeable market share. It is cheap, has a good cycle life, and is considered a durable battery. This is likely what you see in most E-bikes, power tools, and some electric vehicles.

NCA is most noted for its superior power density and low passive discharge rate (a term used to describe a battery cell’s propensity to lose power while not in use). This battery chemistry has been a staple for Tesla vehicles—some models have more than 7,000 18650 cells.

LiFePO4 is considered the most thermally stable of the three chemistries; however, it has a lower energy density by volume, which means more cells may be needed to achieve the same energy density as an NCA. With stationary battery energy storage systems (BESS) facilities, where space is not necessarily an issue, this chemistry has become quite popular. One of the hazard considerations for this chemistry is that when LiFePOcells fail, the off-gas contains more hydrogen gas by volume that any of the other lithium-ion battery chemistries. Couple this with an enclosed BESS facility, with typical capacity in excess of 10 megawatts, and the hazard profile goes up tremendously. A BESS exploded in Surprise, Arizona, in April 2019 and injured eight firefighters and one police officer. That was a two-megawatt BESS of LiFePO4 cell chemistry. For the Seattle (WA) Fire Department’s Energy Response Teams, any fixed-facility BESS involved in a fire situation mandates an automatic “Defensive Posture” from the onset. The liquid electrolyte solution acts as a suspension medium for the lithium-ion particles. The electrolyte is extremely flammable.

Fire Gas Considerations

Most of the fire gases will be similar to those found in a couch/car fire, but there are a few new ones that we have not seen at this scale before.

Hydrogen gas is one of the primary fire gases present with any incident that involves lithium-ion batteries and creates thermal and explosive issues. We must be prepared for this eventuality. Whether the batteries are the cause of the fire or are damaged as a result of proximity to the fire matters not; the result will be the same: Up to 40% of the fire gases produced by volume can be hydrogen gas.

This is new. We have not seen hydrogen gas in residential spaces prior to this—not to this scale, anyway. This change is a result of two factors: First, all lithium-ion batteries will produce hydrogen gas when they fail. Each chemistry may produce a different amount of hydrogen gas, but it will be present. Second, this is a ubiquitous energy source. From the handheld E-cigarette to computers to the E-mobility, all are powered by this technology. As you can see, these devices are in every home in America, and that is not going to change anytime soon.

For operations, ensure continuous ventilation and don’t leave one single lithium-ion cell behind. This means increased time on scene performing a thorough overhaul. Don’t let the thermal imaging camera (TIC) dictate whether a lithium-ion cell represents a hazard. That cell may read cold on the TIC, but that does not mean that the cell is not in the slow process of failing. Get every cell out of the building. Cells left behind at fires that were believed to be fully extinguished have rekindled days later. The overhaul game has changed, so take your time and be thorough. Remember, no cells left behind.

Hydrogen fluoride gas. Like hydrogen gas, we have not seen hydrogen fluoride gas to this scale in traditional firefighting spaces. Beyond wearing your full personal protective equipment (PPE) with self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), it is going to be difficult to safeguard for this gas when lithium ion is present. Like hydrogen gas, hydrogen fluoride gas is invisible. It may be present even when a fire-damaged product is reading cold on your TIC. Stay vigilant. Wear your SCBA and ventilate continuously until all cells have been removed from the structure. And, of course, launder 100% of your PPE immediately as you would after any fire.

The 18650 lithium-ion cell is one of the most common building blocks for battery designers. These products will be with us for a long time, and we must understand the hazards and that the fundamental firefighting tactics in the residential space may need to change.

The NYS 2023 Evidence Based EMS Agenda for the Future – Report!

February 21st, 2023

The New York State EMS system has markedly deteriorated over the past several years due to declining volunteerism, lack of public funding to cover costs of readiness, inadequate staffing, rising costs, insufficient insurance reimbursement, rising call volumes, a lack of performance standards, poor understanding of the EMS system by elected officials
and the public, NYS home rule, and lack of transparency and accountability for EMS agencies. New York State’s (NYS) emergency medical services (EMS) are in trouble. Multiple ambulance services have closed their doors over the past
several years, and many who remain open are unable to respond to emergency calls in any consistent fashion. Originally established as a transportation provider, EMS has developed over time to encompass healthcare, public safety, disaster
response, mitigation, and public health. Today, EMS is an unanticipated (and often unfunded) safety net provider of pre-hospital healthcare, offering care to all patients regardless of their ability to pay for services.

READ THE ENTIRE REPORT AT THIS LINK:  february_2023_sustainability_tag (1)

2022 Workshop Presentations

February 16th, 2023

Sorry this took so long but here are the presentations from the November 2022 Capital Area Workshop

2022 Workshop Presentation Slides – OGS Purchasing (1) 2022 Workshop Presentation Slides – HR (Chief Harrington)

Look for the 2023 Workshop to be held on Saturday November 4 at a location to be determined.

Notes on the Volunteer FF Tax Incentive Law from the FASNY Webinar

February 6th, 2023
  • If they are still operating under the previous law, jurisdictions have until 2025 to adopt new legislation by resolution.
  • What is an “enrolled” member, likely an active member who able to be covered by VFBL coverage. Not social, honorary members.  Those who respond to calls, fire police etc.
  • How many years you need to be active is up to the AHJ or the taxing district giving the tax break.
  • The tax break is only for the primary residence and it must be residential. If any part of your residence is used for commercial purposes that portion cannot be covered.
  • The tax exemption must be certified by the AHJ. District, village, Town etc.
  • It appears that the person seeking the exemption must apply annually with a certification from the AHJ. You should discuss with Assessor how they are implementing the law.
  • After 20 years the exemption becomes a lifetime exemption, the spouse of a deceased qualified member may also apply for the exemption.
  • The governing body seeking to implement the exemption must hold a public hearing to start the process, the second step is to adopt a local law.
  • Up to 10% deduction is the norm.
  • There should be a written procedure/policy for certification of members.
  • To obtain tax exemption for school tax a form RP—466a must be submitted to the assessor by March 1st.
  • FASNY is going to have model forms, resolution, entire package on their website for universal use.
  • One a jurisdiction opts in to the exemption forms must be submitted.
  • FASNY will have in the near future the savings realized by having volunteers within County, Assembly and Senate Districts.
  • This will not have any effect on local tax rates or levies, the jurisdiction will collect the same amount of tax money, no fiscal impact.
  • If you live in a different jurisdiction from where you volunteer, the jurisdiction that adopts the exemption is where you apply.
  • If both husband and wife in same household are volunteers you can combine that exemption. For example 10% for each.
  • **You cannot collect on the property tax exemption and the income tax exemption of $200, that prohibition is in the income tax law. Its one or the other!!
  • The notice of public hearing has to occur 20 days in advance of adoption of the exemption.
  • Its 10% off of the assessed valuation of the residence.
  • Just a quick reminder volunteers save the residents of the state $3.2B annually and that number has gone up since the previous study was done. If the volunteers went away you would need 32,000 paid staff!!
  • Look for more good information on the FASNY web site