Forming of Regional or County Fire District Organizations

June 19th, 2021

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.

Formation of a Regional Associations

Minimum Standards for Fire Chief of a Career or Combination Fire Department

June 6th, 2021

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).


Secretary Treasurer and Chaplain Appointed

May 25th, 2021

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.

We Often Get The Question – What Is A Fire Commissioner Responsible For???

March 18th, 2021

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

March 14th, 2021

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

227.3 Qualifications of a fire chief

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

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

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


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

NYS Office of Fire Prevention and Control

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

Web Link Here:

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

January 19th, 2021

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



The LGS-1 Replaces the Current Records Management Schedule

January 19th, 2021

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

Organized by Item

Organized by Section Headings
Model Resolution

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

NYSVFB Cancer Coverage Offered to Exterior Firefighters

January 19th, 2021

The definition of Eligible Volunteer Firefighter has been amended to:

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

NEW: Exterior Firefighter Definition

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

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

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


Fire District – LGS-1 Records Retention Schedule

December 16th, 2020

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

LGS-1 Featureing FDs item list

LGS-1 excerpt for Fire Districts_organized by section headings



Reminder for the Enhanced Cancer Benefit Program – Documents Due

December 4th, 2020

Click on this link to open the document:

Vol FF Enhanced Cancer Benefit Program 12_3_20 TDG

The 2021 Officers of the Capital Area Association

November 24th, 2020

Association of Fire Districts of the Capital Area 2021 Officers

President:                Tom Rinaldi, Commissioner Stillwater/Saratoga

1st VP:                      Jill Wiseman, Commissioner West Glenville/Schenectady

2nd VP:                     John Meehan, Commissioner West Crescent/Saratoga

All Directors have been nominated to retain their positions for another term:

Directors: Les Bonesteel Commissioner Burnt Hills/Saratoga, Tom Wood Commissioner Northumberland/Saratoga, Joyce Petkus Treasurer Greenfield/Saratoga, Ed Woehrle Commissioner Niskayuna #1/Schenectady and Mike Podolec Commissioner West Glenville/Schenectady

Secretary Treasurer    Tony Hill

Sargent at Arms     Tom Woods, Commissioner Northumberland Fire District/Saratoga County

Chaplain     Fred Richards, Commissioner Harmony Corners/Saratoga County