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August 01, 2014
  IAFF LOCAL NEWSWIRE  
 
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Updated: Aug. 01 (16:45)

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What's New at 144
Death Notice of Retired Brother Ralph F. Washburn
Ralph F. Washburn
July 24, 2014
Ralph F. Washburn, retired BFD, age 92, of Brockton, died July 24, 2014 at Copley at Stoughton. He was the husband of the late Ruth C. (McDonnell) Washburn. Lifelong of Brockton, he was the son of the late Nelson F. and Eva M. (Hayden) Washburn. He was a graduate of Brockton High School and earned an Associate’s Degree in Fire Science from Massasoit Community College. During WWII Ralph served in the US Navy with the Torpedo Boat Squadron 28. He worked at Charles Eaton Company prior to the war and Howard & Foster Inc. following the war. Ralph was a member of the Brockton Fire Department for 31 years and retired as a Lieutenant. He was a co-owner of Pleasant Fence Company and a sales clerk at Stengel’s Liquor Store. He was a member of Local 144, State Retired Fire and Police Association and a longtime communicant of St. Edward’s Church.
Ralph is survived by a brother George Washburn of Franklin; sister Gloria Fernandes of Raynham; brother in law Francis X. McDonnell of Brockton; sister in law Joy McDonnell of Nevada and nieces Pamela Washburn, Patricia Fernandes and Carol Budnik and her daughter Elaine. He was the brother of the late Marion Lewis and Elsie Conant.
Visiting Hours will be held in the Conley Funeral Home, 138 Belmont Street (Rte 123) Brockton Sunday 3-6pm. The Funeral Procession will gather at the funeral home Monday at 9:30am for a funeral Mass in St. Edith Stein Parish at 10:30am. Burial in Calvary Cemetery.
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.

SEACOASTONLINE.COM
 
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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