Interim Guidance for Fire Service Agencies from OFPC
Please see the attached document on Interim Guidance for Fire Service Agencies from OFPC:
COVID19 and HIPPA: Disclosures to First Responders and Public Health Authorities
See guidance from: covid-19-hipaa-and-first-responders-508
What is the Impact of COVID19 On LOSAP??
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
What are Category B items that can be covered by FEMA.
Best Practices for Fire & Rescue Response adopted by Suffolk County, NY
Cleaning and Disinfecting 3M Scott Facepieces
See the information provided by Scott: CleaningandDisinfectingScott
WHAT HAS BEEN CANCELED DUE TO THE CURRENT STATE OF EMERGENCY!!
Commissioner's 6 Hour Training Classes that were scheduled through May 10th and will be rescheduled. This includes Clifton Park, Endwell, Keeseville, Hammondsport, Sullivan Co, Watertown, Erie Co., Dutchess County, Long Island Annual Meeting, Irving and Westmere. We are currently working with the instructors and venues to reschedule the effected classes. Once a new schedule is set we will post it and send it to you via email, you will then have a few options. 1. Do nothing - your registration will stay at the same venue and simply transfer to the new rescheduled dated 2. Change Venue - if the reschedule date for your current location does not work for your schedule, you can contact me to change in classroom locations 3. Convert to Online Commissioner Training - you can switch from in classroom Training to Online Commissioner training. (We will issue a refund for the difference of $25) We appreciate your patience and understanding during this event. Please feel free to contact Cathy Deluca at 800-520-9594 with any questions you may have. All classes at the State Fire Academy are suspended as of March 18th tentatively until April 5th. All OFPC Field Classes have been suspended as of March 16th to April 5th. The State Fire Council Meeting has been canceled until May. The State Association Annual Meeting in Uniondale, Long Island has been canceled and the Annual Meeting will be conducted at the Niagara Falls Leadership Expo on the first weekend of October. Updates will be posted here as they become available.
Advice if you Believe You have Symptoms of COVID19
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
The Capital Area Banquet will be Held
We have lost some folks along the way but it will still be a good crowd. We need to have some fun, see you there.
Reservations Due March 1st for Capital Area Reception
Reserve your seat at The Water’s Edge Lighthouse in Glenville on Saturday evening March 14th. Across the bridge from River’s Casino. This is our social event of the year and its always nice to see everyone. Get your reservations in to Janice as soon as possible.
Capital Area Meeting Dates for 2020
Capital Area meetings are all about information exchange and learning from each other. The Capital Area encompasses Warren, Washington, Saratoga, Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Montgomery and Fulton Counties. All meets are scheduled to be held at one central location the West Crescent Fire Station and food will be served at the meetings. Thursday March 12th 7:00pm Thursday May 14th 7:00pm Thursday September 10th 7:00pm Thursday October 8th 7:00pm Nominations Thursday November 12th 7:00pm Elections Saturday January 9th 9:00am All fire district officers are invited including Commissioners, Treasurers, Secretaries and Chief Officers. We hope to see you there to join the discussion.
Creating Retention through Leadership – – Local Training Opportunity
**Creating Retention Through Leadership**
February 8th, 2020, SUNY/SCCC Auditorium, 8a until 12p
This program focuses on the inherit challenges faced by the fire services current battle with retention.
Instructors: Chief Greg Serio, B/C Tim Miter, Chief Joe Dolan, Chief Brian Myers
This seminar is for all member’s of your department to attend at no cost. We encourage Commissioners, Board Members, Chief Officers, EMS Captains and Line Officers especially to attend. As you all know there has been a decline in membership in the volunteer Fire and EMS services. This training will help department leadership with how to be a more effective leaders and provide strategies to help Recruit and Retain members, along with how to enhance your training to meet the current standards (Best Practices).
To sign up for this class please contact Rick Manocchi, Schenectady County Fire Coordinator at Coordinator@SchenectadyFireTraining.com , Note: Rick will only require the names of who will be attending from your agency.