News

May 14th Capital Area Association Meeting via ZOOM Web-Meeting

May 2nd, 2020

Members of the Capital Area Association are invited to remotely attend the May meeting via Zoom teleconferencing.

The meeting will take place on Thursday May 14th at 7pm from the comfort of your home office, wherever that might be.  The Zoom Meeting Link is: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82071262228?pwd=RUNIM0wwa3A5THJGTUN0Uit6NERQQT09 

The Meeting ID is :  820 7126 2228, Obtain A Password from one of the Officers/Directors  to join the meeting by phone only: call 646-558-8656 use the same meeting ID and Password.  Passwords are now being used for Zoom Meetings to avoid meeting bombing by hackers.

We know this is certainly a foreign concept but insures distancing and gathering by those of us who are suppose to be setting the example.

We certainly hope you will join us for our next meeting.

 

Finally – The Up to Date Legislative Scorecard

April 25th, 2020

The most recent Legislative Scorecard for May 1st.

Open the 2020 May Scorecard with this link:   2020 Scorecard May 1

Updated 4/28 Web Based Training Available While You’re Home

April 25th, 2020

Saturday, May 2nd @ 9 am – Coffee with Commissioners
https://webinar.ringcentral.com/webinar/register/WN_J7OyU_sYSTKvLqT_6tzVjA

Thursday, May 7th @6 pm – Secretary Training
https://webinar.ringcentral.com/webinar/register/WN_0rcNsWeKQZmpglF4GPUbOA

Saturday, May 9th @ 9 am – Coffee with Commissioners
https://webinar.ringcentral.com/webinar/register/WN_J7OyU_sYSTKvLqT_6tzVjA

Thursday, May 14th @6 pm – Treasury Training
https://webinar.ringcentral.com/j/1487312593?pwd=SXZjdjhSSHJ5MUxyL0JuOHhGK2lkZz09

Saturday, May 16th @ 9 am – Coffee with Commissioners
https://webinar.ringcentral.com/webinar/register/WN_J7OyU_sYSTKvLqT_6tzVjA

Thursday, May 21st @6 pm – Secretary Training
https://webinar.ringcentral.com/webinar/register/WN_kTJNq4JdSyytTuD1CBTAPw


4-29-20 7PM Handling Non-Transport EMS Calls

Join Dave Snyder and Lee Price as we discuss the challenges of refusals, “no patient found” and terminated CPR calls.

https://webinar.ringcentral.com/webinar/register/WN_1RvKEaRzTeiIncNfsw_5sg

5-4-20 7PM Severe Storm Response and Water Emergencies

Join Lee Price and panel as we discuss the challenges of managing small and large weather related events.

https://webinar.ringcentral.com/webinar/register/WN_jvL9gMvFTnuycpZX1_LF2A

5-6-20 7PM Social Media use by Emergency Services Personnel

Join Dave Denniston as he discusses challenges faced by fire and ems organizations and their personnel in today’s age of instant technology.

https://webinar.ringcentral.com/webinar/register/WN_8plMw_l6TaugYxHxHDNkWw

5-11-20 7PM Legal Issues Affecting First Responders

Join Dave Denniston and Attorney Steve Shahan as we discuss legal issues and suggestions on how to avoid them as an individual and organizations.

https://webinar.ringcentral.com/webinar/register/WN_0wnpC7_UTUy7Mn_7-CBwqA

5-13-20 7PM Sexual Harassment Training

Join Dave Denniston and Charlie Brundza as we discuss workplace and sexual harassment issues facing fire and ems services.

https://webinar.ringcentral.com/webinar/register/WN_nWF8VfYESJSBnfccrg6SAg


VFIS WEBINARS:

Common Pitfalls in Patient Care Documentation
Presented by: Rick Gurba, Paramedic, VFIS Education Specialist
May 5, 2020: 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time)
This session will review common mistakes and omissions which may cause your patient care reports to be called into question.
To Register:
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1312994311246393358

Training in an eLearning Environment
Presented by: Bryan Duquin, VFIS Education Specialist
May 12, 2020: 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time)
In a time where organizations have limited abilities to train, it is important to keep the members of the ESO engaged and educated. This seminar is designed to give our clients some insights on how to develop an online learning platform that still keep the membership of the organization engaged and thinking through critical incidents. During this seminar we will discuss various programs available to achieve this task as well as some fundamentals of Educational Methodology that will better guide the concept of training in an eLearning platform.
To Register:
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7818217473587835406

Governor’s Executive Order Regarding Provision of Face Masks to Employees

April 15th, 2020

Executive Order: Executive Order 202.16, issued on April 12, 2020, provides the following directive:

For all essential businesses or entities (which includes Fire Departments), any employees who are present in the workplace shall be provided and shall wear face coverings when in direct contact with customers or members of the public.  Businesses must provide, at their expense, such face coverings for their employees.  This provision may be enforced by local governments or local law enforcement as if it were an order pursuant to section 12 or 12-b of the Public Health Law.  This requirement shall be effective Wednesday, April 15 at 8 p.m.

Guidance: Essential businesses, as well as state and local government agencies and authorities, must procure, fashion, or otherwise obtain face coverings and provide such coverings to employees who directly interact with the public during the course of their work at no-cost to the employee.

  • Businesses are deemed essential by the Empire State Development Corporation (ESD), pursuant to the authority provided in Executive Order 202.6. Please visit the ESD website for specific information on essential businesses.  For the purpose of this guidance, essential businesses shall also provide face coverings to contractors, including independent contractors.
  • Face coverings include, but are not limited to, cloth (e.g. homemade sewn, quick cut, bandana), surgical masks, N-95 respirators, and face shields. Please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)” website for information on cloth face covers and other types of personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as instructions on use and cleaning.
  • Direct interaction with the public shall be determined by the employer, but, at a minimum, shall include any employee who is routinely within close contact (i.e. six feet or less) with members of the public, including but not limited to customers or clients.
  • Employees are allowed to use their own face coverings, but shall not be mandated to do so by their employer.  Further, this guidance shall not prevent employees from wearing more protective coverings (e.g. surgical masks, N-95 respirators, or face shields) if the individual is already in possession of such PPE, or if the employer otherwise requires employees to wear more protective PPE due to the nature of their work (e.g. healthcare).
  • Employees are required to wear face coverings when in direct contact with members of the public, except where doing so would inhibit or otherwise impair the employee’s health.  Employers are prohibited from requesting or requiring medical or other documentation from an employee who declines to wear a face covering due to a medical or other health condition that prevents such usage.
  • Employees who are unable to wear face coverings and are susceptible to COVID-19 based on the “Matilda’s Law” criteria (i.e. individuals who are 70 years of age or older, individuals with compromised immune systems, and individuals with underlying illnesses) should consult with their employer to consider reasonable accommodations, including but not limited to different PPE, alternate work location, or alternate work assignment with fewer interactions with the public.  Employers should work with their employees to see if they can be accommodated to ensure the employee can continue to deliver essential services in the safest manner possible.
  • If an employer is unable to procure, fashion, or otherwise obtain face coverings for their employees, they may consult with their local office of emergency management to determine if extra supplies exist within the municipality for this purpose and, if so, they may submit a request for face coverings.  Please note that quantities are extremely limited and are prioritized for health care workers and first responders.  Not being able to source face coverings does not relieve an employer’s obligation to provide such face coverings to their employees.
  • Nothing in this guidance shall supercede the respiratory protection equipment requirements set forth by the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Interim Guidance for Fire Service Agencies from OFPC

April 4th, 2020

Please see the attached document on Interim Guidance for Fire Service Agencies from OFPC:

DOH_COVID19_FireServiceAgencies_040320

COVID19 and HIPPA: Disclosures to First Responders and Public Health Authorities

April 1st, 2020

What is the Impact of COVID19 On LOSAP??

March 27th, 2020

By Anthony Hill, Firefly Admin Inc.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, directives from government agencies of all levels – Federal and State for certain, but also County and other local governments – have resulted in the cancellation of many events, including activities of our volunteer fire departments. Departments are cancelling regularly scheduled meetings and drills. In-person training classes have also been cancelled, along with many fundraisers.

This pandemic will likely also impact how departments respond to calls. In Saratoga County, officials met on March 17th to talk about how emergency services will be managed in the County. It was mentioned that fewer police and EMS personnel will be responding to fire emergencies, and that firefighters will largely not be responding to medical calls. It doesn’t take much of a leap to foresee the next step being a limit to the number of firefighters who respond to an emergency, in order to prevent “large gatherings”. If in a typical emergency there are three times the number of individuals responding than can actually participate in the call, it makes sense to encourage fewer individuals to respond, or at least try and coordinate a sufficient-enough response to handle the emergency and thereby limit the potential spread of the virus.

But for now, what we concretely know is that events are being cancelled. Most everything else is unknown, including if any of these cancelled events will be made up.  The uncertainty and fluidity of our current situation leads to speculation on how long fire departments may have to run on a diminished capacity. Putting responses to the side, it is more than likely that a significant number of activities will not be postponed but cancelled altogether.

Under the current version of the law (Article 11-A), a municipality has no authority to grant points for activities that haven’t happened or to decrease the 50-point threshold required to earn a benefit. If there are no activities, there is no opportunity to earn points. We won’t know how significant of an impact this will have on the volunteers’ chances of earning 50 points during 2020 until this crisis is over. It may turn out that everyone will just have to be extra vigilant to attend activities during the 2nd half of the year. In all likelihood, earning 50 points will be difficult for some volunteers.

At this time, our suggestion is to track the training, meetings, drills, and miscellaneous activities that have been cancelled. This data will allow the municipal sponsor to assess how significantly impaired volunteers were from having opportunity to earn 50 points.

However, the calls present a different challenge. It would seem there are two scenarios – fire departments putting restrictions on the number of volunteers who respond, and/or volunteers becoming unable to respond because they either have the virus or are concerned about contracting it. Either way, this is an unusual time-period that may require a municipality to make some adjustments. One approach could be that a municipality identify the time period in which the COVID-19 pandemic impacted volunteers responding to calls. The required number of calls needed to earn points for department responses could then be determined two ways: (1) by including all calls for the year and all firefighter responses (i.e., the usual way), OR (2)by excluding calls and responses during this period. If a firefighter responded to the minimum percentage under either approach, then the volunteer would be credited with the points.

Depending on the severity of the situation, it is possible that special legislation will be required from the State to help guide municipalities. But given how low a priority the LOSAP point system is likely to be, it will probably be left to the municipality to determine about how to handle it locally.

We encourage you to reply with your comments and questions – the more input we are given regarding what you are experiencing at your local department, the better we can help develop reasonable solutions.

Thank you for all you are doing to serve now and in the future. It is an honor to work with so many people committed to their local community.

Category B Public Assistance Disaster Declaration for NYS

March 27th, 2020

What are Category B items that can be covered by FEMA.

Catagory B EPMeasures

Best Practices for Fire & Rescue Response adopted by Suffolk County, NY

March 27th, 2020

Cleaning and Disinfecting 3M Scott Facepieces

March 27th, 2020

See the information provided by Scott:  CleaningandDisinfectingScott

Corona Virus and the State’s Open Meeting Laws/Commissioner’s Meetings

March 18th, 2020
The statute reads as follows:
McKinney's Public Officers Law § 104
  •  104. Public notice
  Public notice of the time and place of a meeting scheduled at least one week prior thereto shall be given or electronically transmitted to the news media and shall be conspicuously posted in one or more designated public locations at least seventy-two hours before such meeting.
  1.  Public notice of the time and place of every other meeting shall be given or electronically transmitted, to the extent practicable, to the news media and shall be conspicuously posted in one or more designated public locations at a reasonable time prior thereto.
  2.  The public notice provided for by this section shall not be construed to require publication as a legal notice.
  3.  If videoconferencing is used to conduct a meeting, the public notice for the meeting shall inform the public that videoconferencing will be used, identify the locations for the meeting, and state that the public has the right to attend the meeting at any of the locations.
  4.  If a meeting will be streamed live over the internet, the public notice for the meeting shall inform the public of the internet address of the website streaming such meeting.
  5.  When a public body has the ability to do so, notice of the time and place of a meeting given in accordance with subdivision one or two of this section, shall also be conspicuously posted on the public body's internet website.Public Officers Law § 104

There is no authority to waive the strict requirements for video conferencing and right of the public to be present [as opposed to webcasting to avoid public attendance].
In looking at the Governor’s March 7th emergency declaration and it should be noted that he had waived some aspects of Article 7 of the Public Officers Law for certain  state agencies;

No. 202

E X E C U T I V E  O R D E R
Declaring a Disaster Emergency in the State of New York

WHEREAS, on January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization designated the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, outbreak as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern;

WHEREAS, on January 31, 2020, United States Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II declared a public health emergency for the entire United States to aid the nation’s healthcare community in responding to COVID-19;

WHEREAS, both travel-related cases and community contact transmission of COVID-19 have been documented in New York State and more are expected to continue; and

WHEREAS, New York State is addressing the threat that COVID-19 poses to the health and welfare of its residents and visitors.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of the State of New York, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the Laws of the State of New York, hereby find, pursuant to Section 28 of Article 2-B of the Executive Law, that a disaster is impending in New York State, for which the affected local governments are unable to respond adequately,
and I do hereby declare a State disaster emergency for the entire State of New York. This Executive Order shall be in effect until September 7, 2020; and

Article 7 of the Public Officers Law, section 41 of the General Construction Law, and section 3002 of the Public Health Law, to the extent necessary to permit the Public Health and Health Planning Council
and the State Emergency Medical Services Council to meet and take such actions as authorized by law, as may be necessary to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak,
without meeting quorum requirements or permitting the public in-person access to meetings, provided that any such meetings must be webcast and means for effective public comment must be made available; and

   “The Committee understands that your office has fielded multiple inquiries seeking advice on the question whether public entities subject to the requirements of the Open Meetings Law (“OML”) may in light of current concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 obtain a “waiver” of the requirement that the public be permitted to attend open meetings “in-person.”

The OML contains no “waiver” provision.  The legislature did not contemplate the potential need for waivers of the “in-person” requirement for any covered entity when crafting the OML and the Committee does not have jurisdiction to grant waivers from legal requirements.  Accordingly, there is no provision for obtaining a “waiver” of such requirement under the law.

However, while it appears that no New York court has yet examined a challenge of this type, the staff of the Committee believe that judicial review of an alleged violation of the OML by a public body will take into consideration that body’s desire to protect public health while continuing to perform necessary government functions.  Under such circumstances, though, the staff of the Committee recommends that if any public body determines that limiting public in-person access to an open meeting is necessary given the current public health threat, those bodies should otherwise comply with the provisions of the OML regarding making meetings pubic through technology and also limit discussions and actions taken to those matters for which harm would be caused by delay in order to mitigate potential impact on constituents.”

Finally:

Suspension of law allowing the attendance of meetings telephonically or other similar service:

  • Article 7 of the Public Officers Law, to the extent necessary to permit any public body to meet and take such actions authorized by the law without permitting in public in-person access to meetings and authorizing such meetings to be held remotely by conference call or similar service, provided that the public has the ability to view or listen to such proceeding and that such meetings are recorded and later transcribed;

This suspension of strict Open Meeting Law requirements permits teleconference participation by Board members at meetings until such time as the Governor lifts the suspension of strict application of the statute. However, if your Board of Fire Commissioners utilizes a teleconference it will be necessary to audio record the meeting and transcribe it.

As long as you not closing the door to the public people have the ability to hear the teleconference while it is taking place as they observe those present.

Advice if you Believe You have Symptoms of COVID19

March 13th, 2020

If you believe you have been exposed or that you have symptoms of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), CALL YOUR DOCTOR.  Please do not walk in to your doctor’s office or to the Emergency Room and risk exposing the staff and other patients. If you arrive to Saratoga Hospital, you will be directed to a safe entry at a nearby testing location.

For all other questions, call:

NYS Novel Coronavirus Hotline: 1-888-364-3065

OR: contact your County Public Health Service