NYC EMTs win FLSA case
A federal jury unanimously agreed the City of New York disregarded the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) when it permitted emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics to work before and after their shifts without pay. The law firm of McGillivary Steele Elkin LLP represented the plaintiffs in a trial in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of NY.
The plaintiffs demonstrated that they began working at the EMS stations up to 15 minutes prior to the start of their shifts preparing their equipment and performing other tasks to put their ambulances in service and for up to 15 minutes at the end of their shift exchanging vital medical equipment and information with the next tour of EMTs and paramedics and storing any other personal medical or protective equipment they had used during their shift.
Since the employees were scanned into the City’s electronic timekeeping system while performing these activities, the jury noted that the backpay damages could be computed directly from the number of minutes recorded. The amount owed to the employees will be determined at a later date.
Chaz Perry, et al. v. City of New York and New York Fire Department, Case No. 1:13-cv-01015 (SDNY). The official press release is at https://bit.ly/2qxpagD/.
Bleeding control training for TX schools
The Texas Education Association (TEA) has approved Con10gency Consulting, LLC curriculum for training students in grades 7 and higher in how to control bleeding in an emergency. To deal with the potential of a mass-casualty event occurring in a Texas school, the Texas Legislature passed H.B. 496, which established a traumatic injury response protocol and the installation of bleeding control stations in public schools to deal with the potential of a mass-casualty event in a Texas school. In addition to the students, the training is required for the school district’s peace officers, security personnel, resource officers, and all other district or school personnel who may reasonably be expected to use a bleeding control station. Con10gency Consulting will provide H.B. 496-compliant bleeding control training and bleeding control stations to school districts to ensure that Texas schools meet the requirements by the January 1, 2020, deadline.
“Fall asleep within two minutes”
Sleep has been the subject of much discussion in the fire service lately. Lack of sleep is a symptom most cited by those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and other trauma-related conditions. An article from Inc. describes a relaxation technique that reportedly taught 96 percent of U.S. military pilots how to fall asleep within two minutes, after six weeks of practice. They not only fell asleep, but they could sleep sitting up, even if they had consumed coffee and even with noises like gunfire in the background. Naval Ensign Bud Winter designed and tested the five-step method taught to the pilots. Winter, a successful college football coach, had worked with a psychology professor to come up with methods that would help athletes relax and excel under pressure.
The primary components of the technique involve (1) getting into a comfortable position, (2) relaxing your face, (3) dropping your shoulders, (4) letting your legs go limp, and (5) clearing your mind for 10 seconds. The entire article, which includes suggestions for achieving these five conditions, is at /.
Portable Fuel Container Safety Act passes House
In September, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 806, the Portable Fuel Container Safety Act. The bill would require the addition of flame mitigation devices to consumer-grade portable fuel containers. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The National Volunteers Fire Council endorsed the bill after its introduction in January.
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October 4. Fire Engineer Paul Edwin Quattlebaum, 46, Lexington County (SC) Fire Service: struck by semi-truck at vehicle accident scene.
October 12. Firefighter Steven Paul Henderson, 60, Louise (TX) Volunteer Fire Department: injuries suffered when hit by a vehicle on October 7.
October 15. Firefighter Greg Garza, 49, San Antonio (TX) Fire Department: injuries sustained when he was hit by a truck when he tripped while exiting the apparatus after retrieving tools for an electrical incident at a hotel call.
October 18. Firefighter Michael Johnston, 45, Equality (AL) Volunteer Fire Department: vehicle accident.
October 27. Firefighter Alex Graham, 48, Washington, DC Fire and EMS Department: aortic dissection suffered on October 24.
November 2. Firefighter Brian Serdynski, 38, Union Grove-Yorkville (WI) Fire Department: heart attack suffered on October 19.
November 6. Assistant District Chief Dwain S. Bradshaw, 41, Escambia County Fire Rescue, Pensacola, FL: struck by truck.
November 11. Chief John Sing, 67, Boys Town (NE) Fire & Rescue: apparent heart attack.
Source: USFA Firefighters Memorial Database