“There’s a lot of attention for line of duty deaths. Firefighters who die in a burning building, in a collapse—the funerals are on television. The truth is the number of us dying with our boots off is far greater."
CBS4 in Miami recently published an article highlighting the silent killer known as cancer and how strong of an effect it has on putting firefighters' lives in danger. The article, which we highly recommend reading, can be read here: http://miami.cbslocal.com/2014/04/29/cbs4-investigates-silent-killer-claiming-lives-of-firefighters while the video report is embedded above.
Cancer is unfortunately a disease that should be on the minds of all individuals involved in emergency services. And unfortunately, many have no coverage under an Accident and Sickness program and limited, if any coverage, available through Workers’ Compensation.
However, with the VFIS Critical Illness Insurance Program, your emergency service personnel can receive a lump sum cash benefit when diagnosed with a heart attack, stroke or life threatening cancer. Coverage is provided on a 24 hour on and off duty basis. Of course like all insurance policies, there are certain conditions of coverage among them:
Conditions of Coverage:
Who is eligible?
Learn More: CRITICAL ILLNESS FLYER
- via NVFC
Is your fire department in need of new turnout gear? Eligible fire departments can apply for four sets of Globe gear through the 2014 Globe Gear Giveaway. A total of 52 sets will be awarded to 13 departments this year. The deadline to apply is June 1.
Volunteer firefighters selflessly devote their time and risk their own safety to protect their communities. Yet many volunteer fire departments are struggling to provide the gear and equipment necessary to keep their personnel safe. Departments are forced to make due with an inadequate amount of turnouts or with worn-out gear they can’t afford to replace.
As the world’s largest and most trusted manufacturer of structural firesuits in the world, Globe is giving back to first responders in need through this remarkable donation program. The program launched in 2012, when Globe partnered with DuPont and the NVFC to celebrate the company’s 125th anniversary by giving away 144 sets of gear to volunteer departments in the U.S. and Canada who demonstrated their need. With the success of the 2012 program and the great need among departments for gear, Globe and DuPont provided an additional 51 sets of gear to NVFC members in 2013, and are now offering 52 sets to eligible departments in 2014. Thirteen departments in the U.S. and Canada will be awarded four sets each.
To be eligible to apply for the 2014 Globe Gear Giveaway Program, departments must meet the following criteria:
Applicants that do not meet the stated criteria will be disqualified from the application process.
How to Apply
To apply for four sets of new Globe turnout gear, fill out the application form found at: https://nvfc.wufoo.com/forms/globe-gear-giveaway-2014/
Applications must be received by Sunday, June 1, 2014.
The 2014 application period will be open from February 12 – June 1, 2015. Once the application period has ended, the applications will be reviewed by an expert panel selected by the NVFC. Thirteen winning departments will be selected to receive four sets of gear each. Two to three winners will be selected each month between July and December. Winners will be contacted directly before the public announcement is made each month.
If you have any questions, please contact the National Volunteer Fire Council at email@example.com or 202-887-5700.
Globe Manufacturing Company is the largest and most trusted manufacturer of structural firesuits in the world. Over its 127 years, Globe has been responsible for introducing many of the materials, designs, and construction methods now taken for granted in personal protective equipment. Learn more at www.globeturnoutgear.com.
DuPont (NYSE: DD) has been bringing world-class science and engineering to the global marketplace in the form of innovative products, materials, and services since 1802. The company believes that by collaborating with customers, governments, NGOs, and thought leaders we can help find solutions to such global challenges as providing enough healthy food for people everywhere, decreasing dependence on fossil fuels, and protecting life and the environment. For additional information about DuPont and its commitment to inclusive innovation, please visit http://www.dupont.com.
About the NVFC
The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) is the leading nonprofit membership association representing the interests of the volunteer fire, EMS, and rescue services. The NVFC serves as the voice of the volunteer in the national arena and provides invaluable tools, resources, programs, and advocacy for first responders across the nation. Learn more at www.nvfc.org.
The International Association of Fire Chiefs Foundation (IAFC Foundation) is accepting applications for its educational scholarships from qualified first responders.The deadline is June 1, 2014.
Scholarships provided by the IAFC Foundation help improve the fire service by assisting first responders advance their college level educations so they are better prepared to face the ever-increasing and complex challenges of today’s fire service.
Available 2014 scholarships include:
Any person who is an active member with a minimum of three (3) years as a volunteer, two (2) years paid, or a combination of paid and volunteer of three (3) years with a state, county, provincial, municipal, community, industrial, or federal fire department is eligible to apply.
The scholarship application form can be found here.
For additional information please email Sharon Baroncelli or call 703.896.4822.
Leading by example is the best way to ingrain health and safety practices in firefighters
By Linda Willing - Shared from www.firerescue1.com
There were many big questions in the air at the recent Tampa2 Summit on the 16 Life Safety Initiatives. How can firefighter suicide be prevented? What is the connection between organizational culture and firefighter life safety?
What is the actual instance of firefighter cancer, and how can these illnesses be prevented? Are some casualties inevitable among those who do an inherently dangerous job?
Ten work groups were formed, each creating recommendations on specific topics from behavioral health to wildland firefighting. All of the recommendations were on point and valid, but I could also sense a little frustration among conference participants.
Of course it's important to talk about and plan for the big issues, but what can one person do right now to make a difference?
This question was on my mind during one lunch break when I happened to share a table with two company officers from a large metropolitan department. They were talking about the problem of firefighters failing to always wear their air packs during overhaul, and how this exposure can lead to a number of long term illnesses.
"When I was a new firefighter, I took off my mask the minute my officer did," said one. "I didn't want to look weak in his eyes."
Others at the table echoed this attitude, reinforcing that the example set by the company officer often establishes the standard for health and safety during an entire emergency response.
Follow my lead
So the first obvious thing an individual can do is set a good example. It is critical that officers do this, but others — the senior firefighter, the highly respected engineer — should not underestimate their influence either.
Then another firefighter at the table recounted a system they had developed on his department for encouraging firefighters to stay on air longer.
"We use Scott masks, and you have to put your palm over your face to unscrew the regulator," he said. "So now when you put your hand over your mask to take it off, we look at it as if someone were holding a hand up in front of your face to stay 'Stop.' And then we look at the five fingers of the glove, and that means, wait five more minutes before you take off your mask."
I don't know who came up with this idea, but it's brilliant. It's not a sweeping policy that says firefighters must stay on air from the minute the get off the engine at the fire until the moment they step back on the rig to return to quarters. Certainly requiring firefighters to wear SCBA 100 percent of the time at fire calls would reduce toxic exposures, and that's a good thing.
But realistically, firefighters are not going to adhere to such an all-or-nothing policy. They will make decisions along the way about when to remove their breathing protection. And systems like the one I heard about in Tampa over lunch are great tools to assist every firefighter in making incrementally better decisions.
There are hundreds of ways individual firefighters can come up with reminders, rules of thumb, or individual systems for making firefighting a safer profession.
Conferences like the one last month in Tampa are great for talking about the big ideas, but may be even more valuable for sharing these smaller, more specific ideas in an informal way: over lunch, over beers, while riding the shuttle back to the airport.
Most importantly, whether the conversation centers on a nationwide study about cancer or a trick of the trade to get firefighters to use their protective gear more effectively, leadership always comes from example.
If officers want their crews to do something or to value something, then they must set the example in their actions and continue to live those values both on and off the emergency scene.
Original Source Article - http://www.firerescue1.com/firefighter-safety/articles/1878655-1-easy-step-to-get-firefighters-to-follow-safety-rules/
About the author
Linda F. Willing worked for more than 20 years in the emergency services, including 18 as a career firefighter and fire officer. For more than 15 years, she has provided support for fire and emergency services and other organizations through her company,RealWorld Training and Consulting. Linda's work focuses on developing customized solutions in the areas of leadership development, conflict resolution, diversity management, team building, communications and decision making. She is the author of "On the Line: Women Firefighters Tell Their Stories." Linda is also an adjunct instructor and curriculum advisor for the National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer Program. She has a B.A. in American Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, an M.S. from Regis University in Denver in Organization Development, and is a certified mediator. To contact Linda, e-mail Linda.Willing@FireRescue1.com.
The start of the Volunteer Retention Study sponsored by the Texas Emergency Services Retirement System in partnership with VFIS of Texas and SFFMA has been postponed. According to Michelle Jordan, Executive Director for TESRS, the start date for data collection has been postponed because not enough departments have signed up for a statistically valid sample. Currently, 47 departments have agreed to participate, which is short of the goal by about 120 departments. We’re hoping that a strong push in February will enable a March 1 start date.
In addition to a late start, the monthly reporting has been eliminated. The data to be collected has been revised to include current roster numbers and demographics, as well as year-end numbers from the previous five years, and retention strategy information. By eliminating the monthly reporting, the time and effort required to participate has been greatly reduced.
Any volunteer fire department in the state can participate, as well as combination departments (only information on the volunteer side will be reported). This study will predict statewide and regional declines over the past five years, as well as provide demographic information that may be helpful. In addition, retention strategy information will be collected and shared.
This is an important study to determine whether or not pension programs and other incentives help to retain volunteers in Texas. If you have any questions or would like to participate in this study, please contact TESRS at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Thank you for your interest!
VFIS of Texas and Texas Mutual Insurance Company Award $45K in Grant Money to Texas Volunteer Fire Departments
AUSTIN, TX – VFIS of Texas and Texas Mutual Insurance Company recently awarded grants of up to $2,500 to 39 volunteer fire departments across Texas. Funds awarded through the Firefighter Safety & Training Grant Program will enable these departments to participate in a certification program and training to support critical workplace safety training.
Fifty-eight volunteer fire departments applied for the grant and the 39 grantees were selected based on their financial needs and the impact the funds would have in their safety and training efforts. VFIS of Texas and Texas Mutual Insurance Company partnered with the State Firemen’s & Fire Marshals’ Association of Texas (SFFMA) to manage the application process and select the grant recipients.
“We are very fortunate and thankful to VFIS of Texas and Texas Mutual for this grant, which will help us pay our 2014 annual membership dues to SFFMA,” said Jack K. Rymer, Fire Chief of Possum Kingdom West Side VFD. “This is a very important association that greatly benefits volunteer fire departments such as ours by providing certified training courses and other training programs to make our department safer and more professional. Like many volunteer fire departments, our department is short on resources and this grant money goes a long way in helping us meet our budget.”
In addition to Possum Kingdom West Side VFD, the following volunteer fire departments were awarded grants: Bowman Community VFD, Boyd Fire Rescue, China Spring VFD, City of San Diego FD, Clint FD, Cookville VFD, Cottonwood Shores VFD, Crafton VFD, Cresson VFD, Daingerfield FD, Indian Creek VFD, Jamaica Beach VFD, Kaufman VFD, LaRue-New York VFD, Levita FD, Lone Star VFD, Mico VFD, Nevada VFD, Paducah VFD, Pleasant Grove VFD, Rising Star VFD, Rocksprings/Edwards County VFD, Sand Hills VFD, Santa Rosa VFD, Santo Fire and EMS, Six Mile Community VFD, Somervell County Fire, South Ector County VFD, Sunset VFD, Terrell VFD, Tolar VFD, Trout Creek VFD, Turnersville VFD, Village of Pleak VFD, Wayland VFD, Westminster VFD, Whitney VFD and Windthorst VFD.
Grantees will be recognized at the SFFMA Conference June 6-11, 2014 in Lubbock, Texas.
Statement Issued from U.S. treasury Department: Treasury Ensures Fair Treatment for Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Under the Affordable Care Act
The Affordable Care Act requires that an employer with 50 or more full-time employees offer affordable and adequate health care coverage to its employees. For this purpose, full time means 30 hours or more per week on average, with the hours of employees working less than that aggregated into full-time equivalents. Employers that do not fulfill this obligation may be required to make a payment in lieu of meeting their responsibilities, which are described in what are called the employer shared responsibility provisions. An important question arises about how the hours of volunteer firefighters and other volunteer emergency responders should be taken into account in determining whether they are full-time employees and for counting toward the 50-employee threshold. Treasury is acting to ensure that emergency volunteer service is accorded appropriate treatment under the Affordable Care Act.
Treasury and the IRS issued proposed regulations on the employer shared responsibility provisions (Section 4980H of the Tax Code) in December 2012 and invited public comments. Numerous comments were received from individuals and local fire and Emergency Medical Service departments that rely on volunteers. The comments generally suggested that the employer responsibility rules should not count volunteer hours of nominally compensated volunteer firefighters and emergency medical personnel in determining full-time employees (or full-time equivalents). In addition, Treasury heard from numerous members of Congress who expressed these same concerns on behalf of the volunteer emergency responders in their states and districts.
Treasury and the IRS carefully reviewed these comments and spoke with representatives of volunteer firefighters and volunteer emergency personnel to gain a better understanding of their specific situations. Treasury and the IRS also reviewed various rules that apply to such volunteer personnel under other laws. These include the statutory provisions that apply to bona fide volunteers under Section 457(e)(11) of the Tax Code (relating to deferred compensation plans of state and local governments and tax-exempt organizations) and rules governing the treatment of volunteers for purposes of the Federal wage and hour laws. As a result of that review and analysis, the forthcoming final regulations relating to employer shared responsibility generally will not require volunteer hours of bona fide volunteer firefighters and volunteer emergency medical personnel at governmental or tax-exempt organizations to be counted when determining full-time employees (or full-time equivalents).
These final regulations, which we expect to issue shortly, are intended to provide timely guidance for the volunteer emergency responder community. We think this guidance strikes the appropriate balance in the treatment provided to traditional full-time emergency responder employees, bona fide volunteers, and to our Nation's first responder units, many of which heavily rely on volunteers.
Mark J. Mazur is the Assitant Secretary for Tax Policy at the United States Department of the Treasury.
Brazoria-Fort Bend Counties Instructors Association Field Day
WHEN - February 14-16, 2014
WHERE - Fort Bend Cty Field, 260 Clay Street, Richmond, TX 77469
FEE - Burn Projects: One Day $100 – Both Days $200
- Non-Burn Projects: One Day $85.00 – Both Days $170.00
- Vehicle Extrication Class: $250.00 – Friday at 6PM
WHO - All members of volunteer, paid, or part-paid fire departments of cities and industries who want the latest training in firefighting and related skills.
WHY - To keep abreast of new opportunities and developments in the fire service and gain experience in various fire control and fire protection methods.
To lean more and to register, CLICK HERE.
If you are a young volunteer and have joined an Emergency Service Organization (ESO) that offers a Length of Service Awards Program (LOSAP), it is likely that you have been asked to complete paperwork to put a life insurance policy in place on your behalf. If so, you may have been putting it off because you have a thousand other things to do.
It is important to remember that your ESO’s LOSAP was custom-designed to meet the unique needs of your organization. Very basically, the LOSAP provides active volunteers with benefits in the event of death, disability and retirement. To a young person, retirement seems a lifetime away. However, since most LOSAP plans provide a death benefit, there is immediate financial protection available for you and your loved ones.
Sudden tragedies know no age limitations. In the event of your untimely death, a death benefit offered by the LOSAP provides significant financial relief to your family no matter what the cause of death.* You do not have to die in the line of duty to qualify for a death benefit provided by the LOSAP. You are never too young to look out for your friends and family. Take the time to become an active participant in your LOSAP by completing a life insurance application today and remember to keep your beneficiary designation current! What you do now will affect your loved ones later.
For more information on Length of Service Awards Program and to contact us, CLICK HERE.
*Certain policy exclusions may apply
MORE INFO: VFIS Benefits News (FALL 2013)
Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or ACA)—one of the most significant reforms to the U.S. health care system in over a generation in 2010. Since its passage, the federal government and others have been analyzing the act and determining how to implement this legislation. As a result, we’re only just beginning to understand how the act will impact the fire and emergency service.
The legislation is extensive, with many moving pieces, and the public opinion of the bill is highly polarized. Therefore, it’s critical that fire department leaders fully understand the facts and avoid sharing misinformation. Learn more by downloading this Fact Sheet from the International Association of Fire Chiefs: http://www.iafc.org/files/1GR/gr_PPACAfactSheet.pdf
Also, be sure to tell the IRS to exempt Volunteer Firefighters and EMS personnel from the Affordable Care Act's Shared Responsibility Provision. Simply download the IAFC's Draft Letter (http://bit.ly/1fFMf2V), input your department's information, and submit it to the IRS here (http://1.usa.gov/19UjgpC). Act quickly as this comment opportunity will expire on November 8.
VFIS of Texas NEWS
Here you will find helpful information regarding firefighters, ems responders, and updates in insurance policies.