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National Fire News

Ohio fire chief says staffing strategy brings consistency, controls costs

The Akron Fire Department is adopting a staffing strategy that fills openings as they happen instead of hiring extra at the start of the year and expecting they’ll be needed when employees leave or retire. Before a day of contract negotiations with the labor union and a budget hearing before city council, Fire Chief Clarence Tucker said the old way created roller coaster staffing levels, with too many employees for the first half of the year, just enough in the middle and not enough at the end.
- PUB DATE: 3/14/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Akron Beacon Journal

Connecticut firefighters hold meetings to discuss resources amidst budget troubles

VIDEO: Numerous firefighters, officials, departments, and community leaders are holding meetings to discuss their resources in firefighting amidst an almost certain tightening of the budget belt. Firefighters are familiar with fighting smoke and flames, but at a meeting in Torrington, firefighters and officials are fighting for their futures in the face of shrinking state resources.
- PUB DATE: 3/13/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WFSB-TV CBS 3

Bill could encourage retired Oklahoma firefighters to work as volunteers

VIDEO: The Hickory Hills Fire Department said it has some employees it could hire back if a change to the state's pension system is made. House Bill 2051 would allow those who are eligible for the pension to also continue working for a volunteer department. "I think it's great," Hickory Hills Fire Chief Craig Youngblood said.
- PUB DATE: 3/13/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: KOKH-TV FOX25

Wisconsin DNR assists town after fire destroys fire hall

After a fire destroyed the lone fire hall on Madeline Island in early March, the Wisconsin DNR stepped in to help the island. When the fire broke out on March 6, volunteer firefighters from Bayfield, Red Cliff, Washburn and Ashland responded, but could only bring relatively light "brush trucks," according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, because the ice wasn't thick enough to support the weight of fire engines.
- PUB DATE: 3/13/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: KSTP-TV

Proposed bill would make cancer an occupational disease for South Carolina firefighters

VIDEO: A proposed bill in the State House would make cancer an occupational disease for firefighters. Local fire officials said this would help with workers’ compensation, and if a current or former firefighter passed away from cancer, it would be considered a line-of-duty death. "The nature of the business is you work around carcinogens and there’s a really good chance that something’s going to happen,” said Rob Mullaney, president of the Horry County Professional Firefighters.
- PUB DATE: 3/13/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WMBF-TV NBC Myrtle Beach

Michigan Firefighters Take Exception to Cuts in Lifesaving Equipment Funding

VIDEO: Firefighters in Emmet County are taking exception to cuts in funding for life-saving equipment. Emmet County Commissioners approved a budget that slashes funding for local fire departments in half, and could take it all away next year. “We felt we should voice our concern about this and bring it to the commissioners’ attention,” Resort Bear Creek Fire and Rescue Chief Al Welsheimer, said.
- PUB DATE: 3/13/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WWTV-TV 9&10 News

Illinois fire department might bill insurance companies for vehicle accidents

The Freeport City Council on Monday discussed a potential ordinance change that would allow the Fire Department to bill insurance companies for auto accidents. If approved, the Fire Department would start billing the responsible driver’s insurance company $500 for every accident that firefighters are dispatched to and $1,400 if the driver is extricated from the vehicle.
- PUB DATE: 3/12/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Freeport Journal-Standard

Missouri firefighters head to nation's capitol to fight for mental health issues

VIDEO: Several Kansas City firefighters are in Washington, D.C. this week for the largest legislative conference among all labor unions. Mental health is one of the topics they will be focusing on with members of Congress to encourage support on this issue. As they protect our communities, professional firefighters are also facing threats to their own safety and well-being.
- PUB DATE: 3/12/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: KCTV-TV CBS 5 Kansas City

New York: Gathering of volunteer firefighters focuses on changing landscape

The challenges of running a volunteer fire department — the budget constraints, cancer risks and difficulty recruiting young people — highlighted a meeting of fire officials Saturday in Albertson. State fire officials emphasized the problems of keeping up with the changing landscape of volunteer firefighting, as they briefed about 75 local first responders on state legislative priorities.
- PUB DATE: 3/12/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: NewsDay.com

Proposed bill could allow EMS, firefighters to go armed on duty in Tennessee

A bill introduced in the Tennessee legislature would allow emergency medical responders and firefighters to carry handguns for their safety, but some emergency response leaders aren’t sure that’s such a good idea. As written, the bill “authorizes any person employed as a firefighter or emergency medical technician (EMT), that has received a written directive from their supervisor and completed an annual eight-hour firearm training, to carry a handgun while engaged in the performance of the person’s official duties.
- PUB DATE: 3/12/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Johnson City Press

Kansas considers relaxing rules on rural ambulance drivers

A statewide shortage of trained medical personnel has left many rural county ambulance services having to delay hospital transfers to ensure they have enough staff for emergencies. For example, in Norton County in northwest Kansas, the county's 5,400 residents are served by six full-time volunteers and nine volunteers, who respond to all 911 calls and taken patients from one hospital to another.
- PUB DATE: 3/12/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: The Kansas City Star

Fire chief suffers fatal medical event at fallen Maine firefighter's funeral

VIDEO: As firefighters from all over Maine and the nation gathered to honor the life of one of their own who died in a Berwick fire, another firefighter also lost his life. Oxford Fire Chief Gary Sacco died while he was in Portland attending the funeral of Capt. Joel Barnes on Sunday, March 10, according to multiple sources.
- PUB DATE: 3/11/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: News Center Maine

Florida firefighters to get smaller pensions, saving city $20M over time

Working firefighters will earn less from their pensions than their retired peers because the city will spend less on those plans. Before city commissioners unanimously approved a new pension plan on Feb. 19, retired firefighters could have gotten payments comparable to $72,000 a year. But the new plan caps pension payments at $95,000 for lifetime for firefighters who have yet to retire.
- PUB DATE: 3/11/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Palm Beach Post

Overtime cap lifted for understaffed, overworked New York City EMTs

The city’s ambulance corps is so busy that an overtime cap applying to all other agencies has been lifted and medics are routinely putting in 60 and 70-hour weeks, union officials said. Normally, city workers can’t make more than 40 percent of their salary in overtime. However, with just 4,133 emergency medical technicians and paramedics to handle nearly 1.
- PUB DATE: 3/11/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: New York Post

Washington: Here’s why firefighters from three cities are staying home to train

What started as an experiment in training firefighters locally is turning into a regular event in the Tri-Cities. Starting Monday, 17 firefighters will start a 15-week training program at the regional fire recruit academy — without having to leave home. With Kennewick looking to open a new fire station, and Pasco and Richland replacing retiring firefighters, it will be the largest class ever trained in the area.
- PUB DATE: 3/11/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Tri-City Herald

New Jersey firefighters, builders debate need for stronger safety standards for multifamily housing

More than four years after a massive blaze destroyed an Edgewater apartment complex and temporarily displaced more than 1,000 residents, legislative attempts to better protect residential structures from fast-spreading fires have stalled. A panel of firefighters, fire safety experts, activists and builders at a public forum in Teaneck weighed in Wednesday night on how best to address the issue.
- PUB DATE: 3/11/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: North Jersey.com (Bergen County Record & Herald News)

Regional EMS agencies face painful cuts in New York

Greg Eisenhut saw a high school soccer goalie hit a goal post and fall to the ground with a probable concussion and possible spinal injury two years ago. An ambulance arrived 50 minutes later, said Eisenhut, board president of Mohawk Valley Ambulance Corps, or MOVAC. “That made me realize that we have issues here.
- PUB DATE: 3/8/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Utica Observer-Dispatch

Mayor implements racial sensitivity plan in Michigan fire department

VIDEO: On Wednesday, the Lansing Mayor released a statement saying that a new racial diversity and sensitivity would go into place in the City of Lansing Government. "As Mayor of the City of Lansing, I am committed to continuing to work toward racial equity," Andy Schor said. "We must all work together to ensure that no one is left behind or treated differently based upon race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other distinguishing characteristics.
- PUB DATE: 3/8/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WSYM-TV FOX 47 Lansing

Florida fire officials blame budget issues for delayed response to fatal chainsaw accident

Immokalee Fire Control District officials say budget shortfalls are to blame for a delay in getting to a man who died because of injuries suffered from a chainsaw accident Saturday. It took only a few minutes for crews from the Immokalee fire district to arrive after Esteban Cristobal-Antonio, 36, injured himself while cutting branches about 30 feet up in a tree he had climbed at 331 N.
- PUB DATE: 3/8/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Naples Daily News

Connecticut fire department replenishes its ranks, works to build experience

VIDEO: The Hartford Fire Department continues to rebuild. It was short 100 firefighters after it lost more than that in 2016. Now, nearly 40 percent of the city's firefighters are new. "Five years ago, 19.5 [years] of experience was the average time for having a firefighter in the Hartford fire department," said Chief Reginald Freeman, Hartford Fire Department.
- PUB DATE: 3/8/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WFSB-TV CBS Channel 3