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September 30, 2014
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Updated: Sep. 30 (10:45)

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Fire Company Shutdown latest Strain for Brockton Fire Department

It is not about just "one aging fire truck".... It is about having the proper number of personnel to respond to the emergencies of Brockton citizens..

There are 139 Days left in the year....

Fire Company Shutdown latest Strain for Brockton Fire Department

The Enterprise

  • Posted Aug. 13, 2014 @ 9:43 am
    Updated at 9:45 AM 

    BROCKTON – Fire Chief Richard Francis looked at an upcoming financial deficit last week and saw only one way out: Shutting down a fire engine.
    The shutdown was the latest in a series of shortfalls besetting the Fire Department, which is down nearly two dozen firefighters and has only two operational ladder trucks.
    “It does create problems for us operational-wise, especially when the calls start picking up,” Francis said. “We’re just going to have to do as we have done in the past – we’ll have to deal with it.”
    Fire engine Company 10 at Station 4 on the East Side of Brockton was temporarily taken offline last Thursday because the city does not have the $160,000 to $180,000 to pay for the overtime necessary to run the engine.
    Typically, the fire chief asks for additional appropriations in the winter or spring, but last week Mayor Bill Carpenter told Francis that the city will not have the money.
    That means the one officer and two firefighters staffing the Ward 5 engine company will be assigned to other teams throughout the city as needed, Francis said.
    “There was no other way to save the money,” the chief said. “There was no way around it.”
    Carpenter’s fiscal 2015 budget increased Fire Department funding 3 percent, primarily for non-overtime personnel costs. The overtime budget remained steady at $470,000.
    The department has 21 firefighter vacancies, based on a 2006 level of 213 positions.
    It is also down to two ladder trucks, both in poor condition and years past their expected life cycle. The city is seeking $1 million in federal funding for a third ladder truck.
    Several factors have contributed to the funding shortfall.
    Last year, the city signed a $3.6 million deal with firefighters, giving them an 11.25 percent raise by 2016. That was followed by a $2 million contract for police officers, approved in May, equaling a 13.25 percent raise by the end of 2016.
    The mayor’s current budget also forgoes the full property tax increase, fulfilling a campaign promise but leaving nearly $3 million in revenue on the table.
    Despite those strains, City Council President Robert Sullivan said Carpenter should have come up with the overtime money, especially considering the mayor just proposed purchasing the Aquaria desalination plant this week for $88 million.
    “You don’t put a price tag on public safety,” Sullivan said.
    Carpenter said public safety will not be affected by the shutdown and that it only involves one aging fire truck, which should be back in service by the end of the year.
    “It is being way overplayed,” he said.

Firefighter cancer rates should spur further action

Firefighter cancer rates should spur further action

An analysis of the health records of nearly 30,000 firefighters in three major American cities reaffirmed the conclusions of numerous smaller studies — professional firefighters have higher incidences of many cancers than the general population.

At this point the evidence seems incontrovertible.

"Compared with the U.S. population, we found small to moderate increases in risk for several cancer sites and for all cancers combined, stemming mostly from excess malignancies of the respiratory, digestive and urinary systems in otherwise healthy individuals," reports the Center for Disease Control's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, in a study released in October. "Our findings are consistent with previous studies and strengthen evidence of a relation between firefighters' occupational exposure and cancer."

The study also found a strong link between firefighter exposure to asbestos and malignant mesothelioma.

"Given that asbestos is the only known causal agent for malignant mesothelioma, and firefighter exposures are probable, the excess is likely to be a causal association."

Since we accept the scientific findings linking firefighting to increased cancer risk, and since we highly value the service firefighters provide our communities, we accept that society has a responsibility to help firefighters mitigate the risk and, when cancer is diagnosed, to help firefighters and their families deal with it in the best way possible.

Mitigation, we expect, will prove less complicated than remediation.

Last Sunday we reported on local cancer risk mitigation efforts being led by Portsmouth Fire Lt. Russ Osgood and Dave Lang at the Professional Fire Fighters Association.

Osgood became passionate about firefighter cancer risk after seeing two of his colleagues, Sarah Fox and Jeff Bokum, die from cancer in 2011 and 2012. Now he is working with others in the state to educate firefighters about proper use of protective gear and the need to thoroughly wash after exposure to toxic chemicals at a fire scene. He notes that firefighters have no idea what toxins they're exposed to during a fire.

"You have no idea — maybe it's a meth lab, maybe it's a bunch of computers burning, you never know," he told Seacoast Sunday. "A car fire is a toxic soup. You've got rubber and plastic and foam and all that stuff burning. You see that heavy black smoke — well that smoke is unburned product."

"The reality is guys are going to get cancer and you've got to support them," Osgood said.

In 1987, the New Hampshire Legislature passed a law that presumed for the purpose of worker's compensation that all firefighter cancers were work related. That law was later found to be unconstitutional because it was an unfunded mandate. Now, in an attempt to help the law pass constitutional muster, Portsmouth state Rep. Laura Pantelakos intends to submit a bill for this legislative session to fully fund worker's compensation for firefighters with cancer.

While we agree with the intent of Pantelakos' bill, we certainly think the state owes it to taxpayers to assess the full costs of such a program to determine whether or not it is financially feasible. Exactly which firefighters would qualify and under which specific circumstances would need to be clearly spelled out. The success or failure of such a bill will be in its details.

If enhanced worker's compensation proves impractical we strongly urge Pantelakos and her legislative colleagues to explore other means of providing financial protection to the men and women in our fire departments who provide such a vital and often life-saving service to our communities.

Kids Christmas Party 2013

The Kid's Christmas Party Committee would like to thank all the members and family that helped in a successful day.  

Happy Holidays

The Plot Against Pensions
Boston Marathon Bombing

Boston Fire and EMS Detailed to Scene of Explosions at Boston Marathon

April 15, 2013 –Members of Boston Local 718 Boston fire fighters are responding after two explosions in Copley Square – the finish line of the Boston Marathon and the heart of downtown Boston. More than 100 were already detailed to the event for the marathon.

The explosions occurred at about 2:45 p.m., more than two hours after the first of the race's nearly 27,000 runners had crossed the finish line. CNN is reporting three people were killed and 176 others injured.

The IAFF has been in contact with IAFF 3rd District Vice President Michael Mullane for more information as it becomes available.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with those injured at the Boston Marathon and the people in Boston.” says IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger. “We are thankful for our members and other brave first responders helping those in need.”

Runners who had not finished the race were diverted to a family meeting area, according to an emergency plan that had been in place.

Washington, DC, New York City and several other major U.S. cities are at a heightened level of security as an extra precaution because of the events in Boston.

Brockton Firefighters Local 144
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