NVFC expands members’ health insurance options

NVFC expands members’ health insurance options

The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), in conjunction with several insurance carriers, is offering members the opportunity to purchase optional cancer and critical illness coverage at special rates. The program is open to individuals and department members.

Coverage carriers include AFLAC, ESIP, Provident, and VFIS. A spouse and family members may be covered under some of the options.

This program will be helpful especially to members in states where there is no presumptive cancer bill, notes NVFC New York Director and Cancer Subcommittee Co-Chair Chief Brian McQueen. Additional information is available at the Members-Only section of the NVFC Web site.

Pascrell Jr. CFSI 2016 Legislator of the Year

Congressman Bill Pascrell Jr. (NJ-9) has been named the Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) 2016 Legislator of the Year. “Throughout his congressional career, Congressman Pascrell has demonstrated an incredible commitment and dedication to our nation’s fire and emergency services,” notes Bill Webb, CFSI’s executive director.

Pascrell, the chairman of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, has been instrumental in the creation and support of a number of federal fire service programs, including the Assistance to Firefighters (FIRE) and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant programs. He has been a staunch supporter of the United States Fire Administration. In addition, Pascrell has introduced H.R. 5123, the Honoring Emergency Response Officers Benefits Reform Act, which is intended to improve the timeliness and transparency of the death, disability, and education claims filed under the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits program.

NFPA releases Fire Service 2015 Needs Assessment report

In its “U.S. Needs Assessment Survey of the U.S. Fire Service,” the National Fire Protection Association reports that “fire departments of all sizes and in every area” have needs in the areas of staffing, training, facilities, apparatus, personal protective equipment (PPE), and health and wellness. “Overall,” the report states, “the smaller the community protected, the greater the need.” The information was obtained from a Needs Assessment survey distributed to all U.S. fire departments in September 2015.

Among key findings cited in the report are the following:

  • The percentage of departments that have not formally trained all of their personnel involved in structural firefighting increased to 49 percent, up from 46 percent in 2010.
  • The number of departments that reported that some of their self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) equipment is at least 10 years old increased to 69 percent from 55 percent in 2010.
  • The number of departments that reported that some of their PPE is at least 10 years old rose to 72 percent from 63 percent in 2010.
  • Two out of five fire stations (43 percent) that responded to the survey said their structures are at least 40 years old, up from 32 percent in 2001, when the initial needs assessment survey was conducted.
  • Forty-three percent of the respondents said all their engines and pumpers are at least 15 years old, down from 51 percent in 2001.
  • Only 27 percent of the responding fire departments have a basic firefighter fitness and health program, slightly down from 30 percent in 2010. (http://bit.ly/2fMz1oT0)

Work ‘N Leisure recalls air valves used in CPR training

On November 23, 2016, Work ‘N Leisure issued a recall for Practi-VALVE training valves used in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training because the end cap of the valves can detach in a person’s mouth during CPR training, posing a choking hazard. The recall involves only valves in Lot 3197. Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled valves and contact Work ‘N Leisure to return the valves for free replacements. Consumer Contact: Work ‘N Leisure at 800-884-9629 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, e-mail at john@wnlproducts.com; online at www.wnlproducts.com; click on “Practi-VALVE Recall” at the bottom of the page for more information.

The valves were sold online at Amazon.com and wnlproducts.com and in the following catalogs: Channing Bete Company, CPR Savers & First Aid Supply, Emergency Medical Products, MCR Medical Supply, NASCO, School Health Company, School Nurse Supply, and World Point ECC from July 2016 through September 2016. The valves were sold separately from the mask. The importer is Work ‘N Leisure Products Inc., Holliston, MA. The manufacturer is Ningbo Sifang Medical Corp., China.

USFA-NVFC issues report on volunteer fire service health and safety

The United States Fire Administration (USFA) and the National Volunteer Fire Council have completed a study of occupational health and safety challenges in the volunteer fire service and among volunteer wildland firefighters. The results are in the USFA report “Critical Health and Safety Issues in the Volunteer Fire Service,” which is available at http://www.usfa.fema.gov/.

Researchers find gene tied to alcohol consumption

Researchers have identified a gene associated with alcohol drinking in mice and humans, potentially revealing a mechanism for regulating alcohol consumption. The research results could serve as a potential pharmacologic target for reducing alcohol consumption, according to the researchers. For additional information, contact David J. Mangelsdorf, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX; tel: 214-645-5957; e-mail: davo.mango@utsouthwestern.edu.

FRA proposes rail safety standard updates

Updates to safety standards for railroads proposed by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) would establish a new Tier III category for passenger trains traveling up to 220 miles per hour. They would offer an alternative method for evaluating crashworthiness – how well passengers and crews are protected in an accident. Crashworthiness would be measured on whether trains meet current prescriptive strength standards and also “meet an equivalent level of safety achieved through crash energy management technology or other innovative engineering methods,” according to the FRA. The FRA, at press time, established a 60-day period for public, railroad industry, railroad labor, manufacturers, and other stakeholders to comment on the proposed rule.

Tier III trains would be required to have exclusive tracks to operate at speeds above 125 mph, but the new standards would allow Tier III trains to safely share track with current Tier I and Tier II commuter, intercity, and Acela trains. This compatibility among equipment types, explains the FRA, is a key strategy to allow trains to share existing corridors to reach downtown stations. The proposed updates are at http://www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/details/L18433#p1_z5_gD.

LINE-OF-DUTY DEATHS

November 8. Chief Michael Payne 58, Brookston Prairie Township (IN) Fire Department: unknown.

November 17. Firefighter Ted Rodney Collett, 41, Red Bird Volunteer Fire and Rescue, Beverly, KY: injuries sustained on October 29 while on a fire apparatus working a wildland fire incident; a tree limb fell and struck him and the fire apparatus.

November 19. Master Firefighter Michael W. Curry, 42, Savannah (GA) Fire and Emergency Services: unknown.

November 26. Fire Police Captain Merle L. Nell, 78, Volunteer Fire Company of Vernon, New York: cause of death unreported.

November 27. Firefighter Thomas Gary Walker, 70, Otsego County Fire Department, Gaylord, MI: cause of death unreported.

November 28. Firefighter Charles “Doug” Archer, 49, Spokane County Fire District 8, Valleyford, WA: succumbed in sleep.

November 30. Crew Boss/Engine Boss Darryl “Poor Boy” Elden Vielle, 51, Blackfeet Forestry and Fire Management, Browning, MT: found deceased in motel room; the crew had been supporting firefighters in North Carolina since September 10.

December 1. Senior Firefighter Ardythe “Ardy” Hope, 48, Wilmington (DE) Fire Department: injuries sustained on September 24 in attempting to rescue fellow firefighters trapped after a floor collapse in a brick row home fire. Two other firefighters from the department died in this collapse.

December 10. Assistant Chief Jeffery A. Worsham, 45, Whitesville Rural Volunteer Fire Department, Moncks Corner, SC: complications of cardiac arrest suffered on December 2.

December 19. Firefighter Ruben E. Mast, 42, Wayne Township Volunteer Fire Department, Dundee, OH: injuries sustained in an accident involving his private vehicle while responding to a call.

December 23. Firefighter/Smokejumper Ray Rubio, 52, Redmond (OR) Smokejumpers-Redmond Air Center Deschutes National Forest: injuries suffered in a fall on September 23.

Source: USFA Firefighters Memorial Database

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