The Enhanced Legislative Wrap Up
These are fire service bills passed this session and their meaning to you in plain English.
Fire Service Related Bills Passed During the 2021
FIRE SERVICE-RELATED BILLS PASSED DURING THE 2021 LEGISLATIVE SESSION
[A total of 13,122 bills were introduced this legislative session]
THE FOLLOWING BILLS WILL NOW NEED TO GO TO THE GOVERNOR FOR SIGNATURE
- S864/A968, CHAPTER AMENDMENTS TO THE NEW YORK STATE VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTER RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION TASK FORCE. THIS BILL MADE TECHNICAL AMENDMENTS TO THE MEMBERSHIP AND MISSION OF THE TASK FORCE. SIGNED BY THE GOVERNOR.
- S1210/A6401, LOSAP AMENDMENT ALLOWS FOR A PROGRAM SPONSOR TO AMEND A POINT SYSTEM AS PART OF A SERVICE AWARD PROGRAM. UPDATING THE LAW FROM USING A PERCENTAGE OF THE TOTAL NUMBER OF CALLS THE DEPARTMENT WAS DISPATCHED TO IN CALCULATING LOSAP POINTS, TO THE TOTAL NUMBER OF CALLS AN INDIVIDUAL WAS DISPATCHED TO WILL CREATE A MORE EQUITABLE AND EFFICIENT SYSTEM.
- S1318A/A1324A, CHANGES TO VFBL PROVISIONS, PROVIDE TOTAL DISABILITY BENEFITS IN THE AMOUNT OF $650 WEEKLY FOR VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS AND VOLUNTEER AMBULANCE WORKERS FOR INJURIES SUSTAINED ON OR AFTER JULY 1, 2021. DESPITE YEARS OF EXPERIENCE AND TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENTS, INJURIES ARE STILL A PART OF THE VOLUNTEER FIRE SERVICE. SOMETIMES THE INJURIES ARE SEVERE – CAUSING TEMPORARY OR TOTAL PERMANENT DISABILITIES. THE WEEKLY BENEFIT UNDER VFBL AND VAWBL FOR SUCH INJURIES HAS NOT BEEN UPDATED IN OVER TEN YEARS.
- S4630B/A5418B, THE FAMILY & FIREFIGHTER PROTECTION ACT WAS PASSED AND BEGINNING DECEMBER 31, 2023, PROHIBITS THE SALE OF MATTRESSES, OR UPHOLSTERED FURNITURE THAT CONTAIN INTENTIONALLY ADDED IDENTIFIED FLAME RETARDANT CHEMICALS TO INDIVIDUALS OR HOUSEHOLDS FOR PERSONAL USE IN RESIDENTIAL SPACE. AS OF JANUARY 1, 2024, NO PERSON OFFERS FOR SALE AN ELECTRONIC DISPLAY THAT CONTAINS INTENTIONALLY ADDED ORGANOHALOGEN FLAME RETARDANTS. SECTION 2 RELATES TO PENALTIES RELATED TO THE SALE OF SAID ITEMS.
- THIS LAW SIGNED BY THE GOVERNOR REQUIRES PUBLIC EMPLOYERS TO ADOPT A PLAN FOR OPERATIONS IN THE EVENT OF A DECLARED STATE DISASTER EMERGENCY INVOLVING A COMMUNICABLE DISEASE. THE PURPOSE OF THIS BILL IS TO AMEND CHAPTER 168 OF THE LAWS OF 2020 TO REMOVE CONTRACTORS FROM THE SCOPE OF SUCH LEGISLATION AND TO CLARIFY THE TIMELINE FOR PUBLIC EMPLOYERS TO PUBLISH AND FINALIZE THEIR PLANS FOR OPERATIONS IN THE EVENT OF A DECLARED STATE DISASTER EMERGENCY INVOLVING A COMMUNICABLE DISEASE.
- S1091A/A2239A, INCREASES THE NUMBER OF YEARS OF SERVICE THAT A PARTICIPANT IN A DEFINED CONTRIBUTION PLAN OR DEFINED BENEFIT PLAN SERVICE AWARD PROGRAM MAY RECEIVE A CONTRIBUTION FROM 40 TO 50 YEARS.
- S4064/A6296, AT THE CURRENT RATES, MOST INDIVIDUALS WHO WORK FIRE DISTRICT ELECTIONS DO NOT EVEN MAKE MINIMUM WAGE. THIS LEGISLATION WOULD GIVE THE BOARD OF FIRE COMMISSIONERS THE ABILITY TO PAY A MAXIMUM OF $70 OR $100, DEPENDING ON THE LENGTH OF TIME WORKED.
- S1209/A4979, CHANGES THE DATE OF THE PUBLIC HEARING TO DISCUSS THE CONTENTS OF THE PROPOSED BUDGET OF FIRE, FIRE ALARM, AND FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICTS, TO BE HELD ON THE THIRD WEEK OF OCTOBER. THE HEARING WILL BE ABLE TO BE HELD ON ANY REASONABLE DAY DURING THE THRID WEEK OF OCTOBER INSTEAD OF ONLY TUESDAY.
- S3503C/A1561C, AUTHORIZES THE OFFICE OF FIRE PREVENTION AND CONTROL TO ESTABLISH THE NEW YORK STATE RURAL AMBULANCE SERVICES TASK FORCE.
- S1270/A5565, NO NEW VESSEL THAT HAS AN ENCLOSED ACCOMMODATION COMPARTMENT OR A VESSEL THAT UNDERGOES SUBSTANTIAL RENOVATIONS MAY BE SOLD OR OFFERED FOR SALE UNLESS SUCH VESSEL IS EQUIPPED WITH A NEW FUNCTIONING MARINE CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTION SYSTEM.
- S4071A/A96A, DESIGNATES HUMAN ORGAN DELIVERY VEHICLES AS AUTHORIZED EMERGENCY VEHICLES.
- S4233A/A6461A, PROVIDES FOR DISABILITY RETIREMENT BENEFITS FOR THE PRESUMPTION OF PARKINSON’S DISEASE FOR PAID FIREFIGHTERS.
- S4704A/A1108A, REQUIRES THAT MINUTES OF MEETINGS OF A PUBLIC BODY BE POSTED ON ITS WEBSITE IF THE AGENCY IN WHICH A PUBLIC BODY FUNCTIONS MAINTAINS A REGULARLY AND ROUTINELY UPDATED WEBSITE AND UTILIZES A HIGH-SPEED INTERNET CONNECTION AMENDED TO REQUIRES THAT MINUTES TAKEN AT A MEETING OF A PUBLIC BODY BE POSTED ON THE AGENCY’S WEBSITE WITHIN TWO WEEKS FROM AN OPEN MEETING AND ONE WEEK FROM AN EXECUTIVE SESSION.
- S4562/A6767A, AMENDS § 61 OF THE VFBL TO CREATE A PRESUMPTION OF COVERAGE FOR VASCULAR RUPTURE WHERE SUCH RUPTURE RESULTS IN THE DEATH OR DISABILITY OF A VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTER, THE DISABILITY OR DEATH AROSE FROM THE DUTIES AND ACTIVITIES OF A VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTER.
- S4615A/A5402A, PROHIBITS THE SELLING OR DISPLAYING OF CAMPAIGN MATERIAL OR SYMBOLS OF HATE BY MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS, FIRE DISTRICTS, VOLUNTEER FIRE COMPANIES, POLICE DEPARTMENTS AND SCHOOL DISTRICTS.
- S1150A/A1228A, AMENDS THE PUBLIC OFFICERS LAW TO REQUIRE DOCUMENTS TO BE DISCUSSED AT OPEN MEETINGS BE MADE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST OR POSTED ON THE PUBLIC BODY’S WEBSITE AT LEAST 24 HOURS PRIOR TO SUCH OPEN MEETING.
- S881/A964, PROVIDES THAT IN ADDITION TO ANY OTHER APPLICABLE REMEDY OR PENALTY, WHERE A BUILDING HAS BEEN ALTERED IN VIOLATION OF ANY PROVISION OF THE UNIFORM CODE OR ANY LAWFUL ORDER OBTAINED THEREUNDER, AND SUCH ALTERATION IMPEDES A PERSON’S EGRESS FROM SUCH BUILDING DURING A FIRE OR OTHER EMERGENCY EVACUATION, THE OWNER OF SUCH BUILDING, AND ANY BUILDER, ARCHITECT, CONTRACTOR, SUBCONTRACTOR OR CONSTRUCTION SUPERINTENDENT, OR AGENT THEREOF WHO HAS KNOWLEDGE OF SUCH ALTERATION, OR AN OWNER WHO REASONABLY SHOULD HAVE HAD KNOWLEDGE OF SUCH ALTERATION BASED ON EITHER AN INSPECTION OR REPAIR OF A LEASED PREMISES WITH CONSENT FROM THE TENANT, SHALL BE SUBJECT TO A CIVIL PENALTY OF UP TO $7500.
- S1383/A711, REQUIRES A HOMEOWNER BE PROVIDED A COST ESTIMATE FOR INSTALLATION OF A FIRE SPRINKLER SYSTEM.
- S391/A443, RELATES TO REQUIRING LOCAL BUILDING AND PLANNING REGULATIONS TO ACCOMMODATE THE USE OF CERTAIN RENEWABLE AND ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOURCES. TO PROMOTE THE USE OF ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOURCES BY ENCOURAGING TOWNS AND VILLAGES TO CONSIDER CERTAIN ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOURCES WHEN DESIGNING ZONING AND PLANNING REGULATIONS.
- S2884A/A362A, RELATES TO PENALTIES FOR CODE VIOLATIONS; PROVIDES PENALTIES FOR SECOND AND THIRD CODE VIOLATIONS. IT ALSO AUTHORIZES LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TO ENACT LAWS PROHIBITING INDIVIDUALS OR CORPORATE ENTITIES FROM OBTAINING PERMITS OR PURCHASING SUCH PROPERTY IF THEY HAVE OUTSTANDING ORDERS OF REMEDY OR IMMEDIATELY HAZARDOUS VIOLATIONS.
- S1633/A3028, RELATES TO REMEDIES FOR VIOLATIONS OF THE NEW YORK STATE UNIFORM FIRE PREVENTION AND BUILDING CODE ACT WHICH THREATEN IMMINENT PHYSICAL HARM TO OCCUPANTS OF A PROPERTY.
- S6446A/A7694A, THE PURPOSE OF THIS BILL IS TO EXTEND THE COUNTY-WIDE SHARED SERVICES INITIATIVE TO INCENTIVIZE LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TO SHARE SERVICES
Legislature Passes LOSAP Bill Modifying How Points Can be Awarded for Department Responses
By Tony Hill
The New York State Legislature passed another bill on June 3, 2021 that would amend Article 11-A of the New York State General Municipal Law, provided the bill is signed into law by Governor Cuomo
This bill is S1210 / A6401 and was first introduced in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. A second bill was also introduced at that time, which allowed LOSAP sponsors to award up to five (5) points per month during the pandemic. Most readers know this second bill became law in 2020.
Bill S1210 / A6401 was also meant to address the staffing challenge fire departments were facing during the 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. As a reminder, the current statute provides that 25 points are earned by a volunteer that 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 could be earned for attending a minimum percentage of those calls as well. If a volunteer is restricted from attending some calls, it limits the opportunity to respond to the minimum to earn the 25 points. Additionally, the department response category is unique from other categories since it is an all-or-nothing category – either a volunteer responds to the minimum number and earns 25 points or does not and earns 0 points.
What makes this bill different from the one that became law is that it is not specifically tied to the COVID-19 pandemic – it is a permanent change to the statute that gives a LOSAP sponsor another option for how to award points for department responses.
Before we give you the text of the new proposed statute, let’s first review the summary and justification for the bill:
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Amends General Municipal Law by adding a new subparagraph (q) to address developments in how volunteer fire departments respond to emergencies by allowing programs to calculate percentages based on the total number of calls an individual was dispatched.
The length of service award programs (LOSAP) are pension-like programs intended to help recruit, retain, and reward volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers for serving their communities. New York requires volunteers to earn 50 points each year to receive these benefits. One of the ways firefighters can earn points is by responding to emergency calls. However, since COVID, emergency precautions have been adopted to protect vulnerable volunteer firefighters from being exposed to the virus. Specifically, fire departments have had to reduce how many firefighters respond to calls.
This bill recognizes that not every emergency call requires all volunteer firefighters to be dispatched. The current LOSAP point system does not reflect the complexity of emergency response protocols, which only results in more emergency vehicles on our streets and represents a less efficient system. Updating the law from using a percentage of the total number of calls the department was dispatched to in calculating LOSAP points, to the total number of calls an individual was dispatched to will create a more equitable and efficient system.
The Summary and Justification make it fairly clear that the intent is to allow a sponsor to credit the points for department responses on an individual basis, rather than for the entire department’s number of calls. In the view of the legislators that sponsored the bill, this creates “a more equitable and efficient system.”
Since our expertise is not in fire department operations, we won’t discuss how a specific department operates and if an emergency response protocol is efficient or not. We are certain there are many factors to be considered.
This legislation will be helpful 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 wasn’t 100% clear if points should (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 based on each company’s number of responses.
Another scenario where this could be helpful is 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. Even under the current construct of the law, we believe an argument could be made to exclude chief’s investigations as a “department response” since the entire department wasn’t 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.)
In general, we question whether this new system will actually be more equitable and if it really will create efficiencies in the recordkeeping process.
For a typical department where all active members (regardless of fire company membership) are dispatched for an alarm, the ability to create sub-groups or to assign certain calls to certain volunteers could create inequity and administrative complexities – the opposite of the stated intent of the new law. An obvious example is when chiefs are responsible for responding to all calls, whereas the fire police are only needed for a fraction of the calls. Whatever that fraction is, members of the fire police will be able to earn the same 25 points as the chiefs by responding to fewer calls.
Under the existing point system rules, every active volunteer firefighter of the fire department is expected to respond to the same number of calls in order to earn the same number of points (i.e., 25). The same for the other event-based categories: each firefighter receives the same number of points based on the specific event (points for officers being the one variant). This new statute would allow some firefighters to earn 25 points for responding to fewer calls than others. This seems contrary to the spirit of the rest of the point system.
There would be further complications about how to handle people changing groups mid-year, or even joining or resigning from the fire department mid-year. We can easily see this resulting in an individual-by-individual call requirement to earn the 25 points, as seems to be indicated in the Summary and Justification. This would likely be an administrative challenge for any department – large or small.
If adopted into law, this change to how points are awarded for department responses would be optional. Great care should be taken before implementing it, and the LOSAP sponsor should review it with its legal counsel and LOSAP administrator.
The full text of the new law is below. If you have thoughts or comments, please share for everyone to read!
Section 217 of the general municipal law is amended by adding a new subdivision (q) to read as follows:
(q) The program sponsor may make adjustments to the participation in department responses point system category provided for in paragraph(vi) of subdivision (c) of this section in the event that such program sponsor adopts written emergency response protocols setting different emergency response requirements for the fire department, fire companies, squads and units thereof such that certain participants are not permitted to respond and are restricted from responding to all non-emergency rescue and first aid squad calls and/or all emergency rescue and first aid squad calls. Such restrictions on response may relate to determinations made by the district physician or department’s physician as to the duties that may be assigned to certain personnel. In the event that the program sponsor adopts different response requirements for different groups, participants in those groups shall be required to respond to the minimum number of emergency calls assigned to their group by applying the percentage provided for in paragraph (vi) of subdivision (c) of this section. Notwithstanding the provisions of section two hundred sixteen of this article, a point system amendment to address written emergency response protocols may be adopted by the affirmative vote of at least sixty percent of such governing board, without referendum. Such amendment shall only take effect as of the first day of January next succeeding the completion of the proceedings required for adoption of the amendment and shall only apply prospectively unless the new written emergency response protocol is adopted in order to address a state disaster emergency, as such term is defined in section twenty of the executive law, and applicable to the county or counties in which the fire department operates, in which case such amendment may be applied in the year adopted.
Forming of Regional or County Fire District Organizations
If other areas in the State are thinking about banding together as a group to exchange ideas or problem solve, here is a resource document to help form a formal or informal organization to bring fire district officials together.
Minimum Standards for Fire Chief of a Career or Combination Fire Department
General Municipal Law §204-dd and 9 NYCRR Part 227 establish minimum qualifications for fire chiefs,
volunteer or career, of a fire department with six or more paid, civil-service appointed career firefighters
Civil Service Law §58-a and 19 NYCRR section 426.9 establish minimum qualifications for fire chiefs
appointed pursuant to the Civil Service Law, relative to a career department (not combination).
Hybrid Capital Area Association Meetings
The Officers and Board of Directors of the Capital Area are working to make our future meetings available to all of our members both in person and virtually. We cover such an expansive area, equal to the size of Connecticut that its difficult for all our members to travel for a meeting. With the use of virtual platforms such as Zoom we now realize that we can make it easy for far flung fire districts to attend meetings without leaving home. We still have to work out some of the technical details such as being able to provide sound within a large space so that everyone can be heard. We hope to be able roll out this option when we resume meetings in September. Once we work out all the bugs we will notify all of our member districts with the option. More to come.
Secretary Treasurer and Chaplain Appointed
The Capital Area Association took action at the last meeting to appoint two positions. The Secretary Treasurer’s position was filled by Tony Hill who is principle with Firefly Admin Inc. Tony volunteered to take the position to fill the vacancy left by the retirement of Jan Turcotte who left to spend more time her ailing spouse. We welcome Tony and appreciate his efforts. We also thank Jan for her willingness to fill the position that was vacated by Mike Ouimet. Jan your service to the Capital Area Association is much appreciated.
We also appointed a Chaplain. Fred Richards a newly elected commissioner from the Harmony Corners Fire District in Saratoga County is also a chaplain for his department and has graciously agreed to be the Chaplain for the Capital Area Association. Many of you probably remember Fred who was formally with OFPC prior to his retirement from the State. We welcome Fred to the group and appreciate his willingness to provide his heavenly guidance.
New Legislation Honors Whitehall Fire Chief who Died in the Line of Duty
Asst. Chief Jim Brooks Jr. of Whitehall suffered a ruptured aorta while responding to a fire in the town of Dresden last May. He died four months later after complications set in. The 45-year-old Brooks reportedly racked up nearly a million dollars in medical expenses fighting for his life–which Washington County Workman’s Comp refused to pay. Today, state lawmakers, firefighters and Brooks’ family members stood in front of the Firefighters Memorial at the Empire State Plaza, while lawmakers introduced the Chief James Brooks Jr. Act, aimed at ensuring that those who suffer vascular ruptures in the line of duty are covered in the same way heart attacks suffered in the line of duty are covered.
S4562 Brooks/A6767 Woerner AMENDS § 61 OF THE VFBL TO CREATE A PRESUMPTION OF COVERAGE FOR VASCULAR RUPTURE WHERE SUCH RUPTURE RESULTS IN THE DEATH OR DISABILITY OF A VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTER, THE DISABILITY OR DEATH AROSE FROM THE DUTIES AND ACTIVITIES OF A VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTER.
We Often Get The Question – What Is A Fire Commissioner Responsible For???
The Powers and Duties of a Fire District Commissioner:
Powers and duties of a Fire Commissioner Open this link, it will amaze you!!!!
Fire Service Attorneys and HR Personnel-What the Fire Service Doesn’t do Well
By: Gary Ludwig
Imagine you’re in command of a fire scene. There are several chiefs in various roles, such as operations and safety. You’re managing multiple companies inside the building and exterior. The fire is not yet under control, and the company assigned to do a primary search has not completed it yet.
Suddenly, the attorney for your fire department jumps into your command car and starts telling you how to manage the fire. The attorney is not a firefighter, has no fire background, and has not even taken one of those “a day in the life of firefighter” academy classes – you know, the ones where we give politicians and journalists some bunkers, an air bottle and a mask, so they can feel the heat of a burn barrel in the center of a burn building while breathing through a facepiece.
You have several options. You can laugh at your attorney or you can tell them in the most pleasant or unpleasant language to get out of your car.
Now, let’s reverse the scenario: Does your attorney or human resource (HR) director laugh at you when you try to handle a personnel or legal issue without you seeking their advice? I would venture to say they do – or at least maybe they shake their head. But it would be no different than them trying to tell you how to run a fire.
CONSIDER A COMMON PERSONNEL SCENARIO
You receive a complaint that one of your firefighters has written several negative comments on Facebook about those who protested and/or caused civil unrest last summer. The firefighter did not identify himself as a firefighter with your department and there are no pictures on his Facebook page associating him with your department.
How would you handle it as the fire chief? Would you tell him to delete the post? Would you ignore it? Would you take some other action?
If you were to pose this question to 100 fire chiefs, you would receive many, many varied answers. Some chiefs would tell the firefighter to delete the posts. Others would tell him to delete the posts and would discipline him. Other chiefs may terminate the firefighter’s employment. Other chiefs would ignore it. Still other chiefs would defend the posts if questioned by a citizen or a journalist.
This situation is complicated, and if not handled properly, you could find yourself in court facing a First Amendment lawsuit.
THE GIFT OF TIME
First, as I like to say and teach my chiefs and junior officers, you are not on an emergency scene. Therefore, you do not have to make any snap or misinformed decision – or even take any immediate action. Unlike a fire scene where immediate decisions are necessary, you have the luxury of discretionary time, and you should use it before you make a mistake.
So, what should you do?
This where the most undervalued members of your team come into play – your attorney and/or HR director. Just like your attorney trying to tell you how to run a fire, you should not take any action until you have spoken with your attorney or HR director about the complaint.
Even if you receive a media inquiry, it’s OK to use a simple answer like you are looking into the matter and will get back to them. Saying “no comment” does not sound good and raises suspicions that you are trying to hide something.
ENGAGING THE EXPERTS
Before calling your attorney and/or HR director, you should gather all the facts. They are going to ask a lot of questions. Be prepared to answer them to the best of your ability.
Next, follow their advice. They are well versed in employee law, and they know the landmines. Chances are, you may be knowledgeable, too, but you could step on one landmine that you did not know about.
Tips: Have your attorney and/or HR director on speed dial. After all, you should be in contact with them for a variety of issues, not only for First Amendment complaints. This would include any time one of your employees is arrested; you are served with a union grievance that may go to arbitration or a court after multiple steps; or you are served with an administrative complaint from the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the U.S. Department of Labor, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), or similar agency. You should contact your attorney and/or HR director when you are served with a lawsuit from an employee alleging work-related claims or when an employee complains of being mistreated in the workplace. The phrase “hostile work environment” should always get your immediate attention. Lastly, you should always consult with your attorney and/or HR director whenever you are considering terminating the employment of one of your firefighters or staff.
HERE TO HELP
You’ll never see your attorney or HR director on an emergency scene, but there is no doubt they can be one of the most valued members of your team when they give you advice that can save you money, avoid damage to your fire department’s name and reputation, and maybe even prevent someone from being injured.
Final Scorecard and Legislative Wrap Up for 2021
Do You Have Six or More Paid Firefighters? What you need to know!
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:
- 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
- meet the minimum qualifications established by the local civil service agency having jurisdiction; and
- 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
- Fire Officer I (2009) (Competencies 1 – 20 and 22) and ICS-200 (Competency 21)