The Be The Match Firefighters Challenge starts August 10. Come join us for the Kick-Off Party at Pyramid Brewery!
BFD has committed to adding 500 potential donors and $5,000 to the coffers and we need your help. Please volunteer at one of our donor drives and spread the word with your family and friends. Signing up is quick, easy and painless.
It is with deep regret that I notify you of the off-duty death of active Berkeley Firefighter/Paramedic Anthony Nunes. Tony died tragically on Sunday, February 23rd, he was operating a tractor on his property and fell into 135ft. ravine. He was found by his brothers Sunday evening. Brother Tony Nunes was 54 years old, and as of today a 28 year veteran of Berkeley Fire Dept, his Dept. anniversary is today 2/24. Tony worked for Piedmont Fire Dept. prior to Berkeley Fire Dept. Before that he was a reserve and maintained very deep ties with Contra Costa Fire Dept, where his father and and two brothers served.
Our organization created a 501(c)3 organization called Berkeley Fire Fighters Random Acts of Kindness (BFRA). The BFRA manages all the Associations charitable functions including the holiday food drive and the jacket drive. The organization also allows any Berkeley Firefighter to submit a Random Act. These projects or needs are oftentimes encountered on emergency calls and provide the firefighters a way to positively impact what is oftentimes a difficult situation after the emergency call is done. Random Acts can be as small as bringing toys to a child who lost everything in a fire to compex landscaping projects.
The photos below are from a recent yard clean-up project. The BFRA also installed a new walkway from the sidewalk to the front door which will allow our gurney to easily be positioned near the front door.
In the final months of 2011, almost two years before the city of Detroit would shock America by declaring bankruptcy in the face of what it claimed were insurmountable pension costs, the state of Rhode Island took bold action to avert what it called its own looming pension crisis. Led by its newly elected treasurer, Gina Raimondo – an ostentatiously ambitious 42-year-old Rhodes scholar and former venture capitalist – the state declared war on public pensions, ramming through an ingenious new law slashing benefits of state employees with a speed and ferocity seldom before seen by any local government.
When Firenuggets.com closed this past January 2013, we posted a letter titled “The End of an Era”, and in closing, we wrote the following:
“Perhaps in the future a group of energetic, web-savvy, and passionate firefighters would like to make a go of the site. Anyone so inclined is welcome to contact us”.
Many took the aforementioned seriously, and we wish to update our supporters and share an exciting development with everyone….
Over the past few months, we received five inquiries from firefighters throughout this great land. The common theme in their message was of gratitude for all we, the founders have done for the fire service, and that Firenuggets.com MUST continue to live on providing the incredible “nuggets” of information in an effort to keep firefighters safe.
After careful review and evaluation, we are proud to announce that the Berkeley, (CA), Firefighters Local 1227 will become the new “custodian” of Firenuggets.com. Throughout our discussions their interest is clear, to maintain the original mission set forth in January 2000, remain non-corporate and be committed to the “firefighters for firefighters” reputation we have so strongly embraced.
Additionally, Berkeley California is located in the San Francisco Bay Area where Firenuggets.com was born, thus maintaining it’s West Coast presence!
At this point, the founders will retain ownership, with the Berkeley Firefighters Local 1227 updating the website to include a fresh layout and begin posting new content from some of our past authors as well as introducing some new contributors. The Brothers and Sisters will also revisit and evaluate the feasibility and sustainability of offering seminars and training in the future.
Fire Nuggets will continue to be dedicated to those in our “Hall of Fame”!!!
Although this transition will take some time, we did want to share this exciting news as early as possible with everyone and encourage you to stay tuned for the return of Firenuggets.com…….We are confident in what lies ahead, especially knowing the fact that Firenuggets.com has continued to receive new members every single day since our announcement of closing, and the website statistics reflect consistent viewing of all the existing content still posted, by firefighters throughout the United States and 100 countries world-wide.
Please join us in welcoming Berkeley Firefighters Local 1227. You may read their introductory message through the link provided. Should you have any comments, requests, suggestions etc., for the leadership of the Berkeley Firefighters Local 1227, you may contact David Sprague-Livingston, Secretary, BFD Local 1227 email: email@example.com
We will continue to play a supportive role to the BFD Local 1227 throughout the transition process and provide updates as necessary. As part of keeping everyone informed, our members may receive occasional emails from Firenuggets.com with important updates.
Thank you Brothers and Sisters, for your continued support.
Please stay safe,
Paul Schuller / Ted Corporandy
Brother and Sisters –
We are excited and privileged to have the opportunity to continue the great tradition of educating members of the fire service through firenuggets.com started by Paul Schuller and Ted Corporandy. Our intent is to continue the great legacy of low to no-cost training, education and information sharing that has been beneficial to so many since its inception in 2000. Our organization believes that the sharing of information between members of our profession has never been more vital and that firenuggets.com plays an important non-profit, non-corporate role in that endeavor.
Members of our Local quickly sprung into action when we learned of Paul and Ted’s decision to retire. We developed a proposal that transitions management of firenuggets.com to the Berkeley Fire Fighters Association, IAFF Local 1227. The heart of our proposal is structured to maintain and expand upon the existing articles and information available on firenuggets.com.
We are excited to take firenuggets.com to the next level and to build a community that is willing and excited to support the website as we move forward. We’d like to thank our partner at UnionCentrics.com who has graciously volunteered to design and build the new website at no cost.
During this transition, any inquires can be sent to the Local 1227 Secretary, David Sprague, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you and please continue to visit the firenuggets.com website during this transition.
President, Berkeley Fire Fighters Association I.A.F.F. Local 1227
When Flame Retardants Burn: Toxic Exposure and Health Risks to Firefighters
“Our study provides clear evidence that firefighters are exposed to high levels of cancer-causing chemicals including brominated flame retardants and their combustion by-products – dioxins and furans – that are formed during fires by the burning of flame-retarded foam furniture, televisions, computers and building materials. Firefighters have much higher levels and different patterns of these chemicals in their blood than the general population. There is no doubt that firefighting is a dangerous occupation. What we have shown here points to the possible link between firefighting and cancer.”
San Diego's firefighters and other public workers won a huge victory in the fight to overturn last year's pension-slashing initiative, Measure B.
The state Public Employment Relations Board ruled this week that Measure B violated the collective bargaining rights of San Diego workers and should be invalidated. Measure B eliminated defined benefit pensions for new employees and imposed new restrictions on existing workers. It was placed on the ballot by then-Mayor Jerry Sanders, who sought to get around collective bargaining law by filing the measure as a "private citizen".
"The Mayor, under the color of his elective office ... undertook to launch a pension reform initiative, raised money in support of the campaign, helped craft the language and content of the initiative, and gave his weighty endorsement to it, all the while denying the unions an opportunity to meet and confer over his policy determination," wrote Shawn Cloughesy, PERB's chief administrative law judge.
Dan Borenstein’s Crusade Against Public Pensions Gets the Best of Him and Misleads Readers
Dan Borenstein is one of the few columnists that understands many of the complexities of public pensions but his personal bias and crusade against public employee pensions once again got the best of him, thus misleading your readers, in his January 11 column (“CalPERS planning to gut a key cost-control provision of new pension law”).
He attacks CalPERS preliminary interpretation of the new pension law that went into effect January 1 and the types of compensation that can be used toward calculating pensions. Contrary to Borenstein’s snide comment that CalPERS operates “in a parallel universe,” our interpretation of this provision is the agreed upon intent of those who wrote, passed and signed the bill into law. What he neglects to tell readers – a fact which CalPERS explicitly shared with him during multiple attempts to try to help him get the facts straight, which he nevertheless failed to do – is that during the legislative process, CalPERS worked with the legislative committee consultants to answer their questions and enable them to write the bill according to their intent. They agree that the intent was to eliminate some special compensation but not all of it. Further, as we prepared our preliminary interpretation in recent weeks, we based it on conversations with officials in the legislature and the administration. In spite of Borenstein’s most fervent personal desires, the legislature’s intent was never to limit pension calculations to base pay only. Additionally, CalPERS will seek broad public input on the issue of compensation before any interpretations or regulations are finalized.
Borenstein’s view that our interpretation of the law will lead to pension spiking is both shortsighted and wrong. The abuse of pension spiking, by significantly increasing an employee’s base pay in the final year of their career, has been addressed in changes CalPERS instituted years ago for public agencies and school employees. In fact many of the items specifically called out in the new legislation have not been reportable to CalPERS. Pension spiking is also addressed in the new law through a cap on compensation that can be used to calculate a new member's pension as well as requirements to use the average of an employee’s highest salary over three years of their career for public agencies and schools.
Lastly, Borenstein is again wrong when he condescendingly claims that CalPERS “absurd interpretation of the new law will … erode untold billions of dollars of savings that … CalPERS previously claimed the new law would produce.” The only absurd interpretation here is Borenstein’s complete ignorance or disregard of what CalPERS actually said in our cost analysis of the bill. CalPERS never claimed that the restrictions on what is included in pensionable compensation would result in significant savings, let alone “untold billions.” Instead, CalPERS wrote in our cost analysis: “We have not reviewed or been able to assess the potential impact of any such changes. To the extent that savings are realized as a result of additional restrictions on pensionable compensation, the savings will be greater than quoted in this analysis."
CalPERS is committed to implement and administer the laws as they were enacted. Borenstein has done nothing more than rush to judgment and yell fire. If his readers believe his rhetoric, they will likely only get burned by the misinformation.
Original article posted @: http://www.calpersresponds.com/issues.php/crusade-misleads-readers
January 14, 2013 -- While political pundits are lamenting the gridlock that dominated the recently adjourned 112th Congress, the IAFF is celebrating a string of legislative accomplishments in the closing days of the session.
In a Congress that set new records for ineffectiveness – enacting the fewest laws, working the least number of days and failing to address the most significant problems facing the nation – the IAFF was able to reauthorize the Assistance to Firefighters (FIRE Act) and Staffing for Adquate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant programs, establish a new fire fighter safety program, protect the ability of fire fighters to run for political office and expand the Public Safety Officers Benefit (PSOB). And, the IAFF accomplished all of these important initiatives during the chaotic environment of the post-election Lame Duck session.
“Once again this IAFF demonstrated that our bipartisan, pragmatic approach produces meaningful results for the nation’s professional fire fighters,” says IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger. “While partisan battles blocked the agenda of most other groups, this IAFF successfully navigated even the most treacherous waters.”
In addition to enacting important new initiatives, the IAFF also blocked proposals harmful to fire fighters during congressional negotiations over the so-called “fiscal cliff” (see box). Many of these attacks are likely to return in the new 113th Congress as the need for deficit reduction continues to be the overarching priority facing the nation.
“We will need to once again bring our A-Game to Capitol Hill this year,” says Schaitberger. “And the continued support of our allies in both parties will be necessary to fight back against proposals to balance the budget on the backs of fire fighters.”
The IAFF’s political principle of supporting those who support us – regardless of political party – was tested up and down the ballot in elections across the country in the presidential contest as well as in congressional, gubernatorial and state legislative races.
After a long and hard-fought campaign, IAFF-endorsed candidates Barack Obama and Joe Biden were re-elected president and vice president of the United States. Obama was declared the winner with 303 electoral votes, after taking the key battleground states of Ohio, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Nevada and Colorado. Florida, with 29 electoral votes at stake, has yet to be called.
Fire Fighters Pitch in During Local Economic Downturn
On Tuesday June 13th (2010) the Berkeley City Council ratified an agreement (7-1-1) reached between the Berkeley Fire Fighters IAFF Local 1227 (Local) and the City of Berkeley (City) for a 2 year contract extension with no adjustments to salary or benefits. This representes a savings of not only time spent at the negotiations table but more importantly, a savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars over the two year period.
Members of the Local approached the City in late 2009 and requested to engage in extension discussions. This decision was supported by the Executive Board of the Local in light of the on-going systemic revenue downturn and the fact that layoffs of City employees had become a reality. "The firefighters will not ask for enhancements to our salary or benefits in a time when vital services are being cut and fellow union brothers and sisters are facing reduction in salary and layoffs." said David Sprague, President of the Berkeley Fire Fighters Association.
Representatives of the City and the Local conducted a series of meetings and reached conceptual agreement on a new two-year Memorandum of Understanding on March 11, 2010. The significant terms of the new contract include no increase in wages and health and welfare benefits for the two-year term of the contract and an agreement to implement a pilot project of a change in the fire suppression work schedule from the current 3/4 “Kelly” schedule to a 48/96 schedule beginning in March 2011.
Service expectations placed on the fire service, including Emergency Medical Services (EMS), response to natural disasters, hazardous materials incidents, and acts of terrorism, have steadily increased. However, local
decision-makers are challenged to balance these community service expectations with finite resources without a solid technical foundation for evaluating the impact of staffing and deployment decisions on the safety of the public and firefighters.
For the first time, this study investigates the effect of varying crew size, first apparatus arrival time, and response time on firefighter safety, overall task completion, and interior residential tenability using realistic residential fires. This study is also unique because of the array of stakeholders and the caliber of technical experts involved. Additionally, the structure used in the field experiments included customized instrumentation; all related industry standards were followed; and robust research methods were used. The results and conclusions will directly inform the NPFA 1710 Technical Committee, who is responsible for developing consensus industry deployment standards.
This report presents the results of more than 60 laboratory and residential fireground experiments designed to quantify the effects of various fire department deployment configurations on the most common type of fire - a low hazard residential structure fire. For the fireground experiments, a 2,000 sq ft (186 m2), two-story residential structure was designed and built at the Montgomery County Public Safety Training Academy in Rockville, MD. Fire crews from Montgomery County, MD and Fairfax County, VA were deployed in response to live fires within this facility. In addition to systematically controlling for the arrival times of the first and subsequent fire apparatus, crew size was varied to consider two-, three-, four-, and five-person staffing. Each deployment performed a series of 22 tasks that were timed, while the thermal and toxic environment inside the structure was measured. Additional experiments with larger fuel loads as well as fire modeling produced additional insight. Report results quantify the effectiveness of crew size, first-due engine arrival time, and apparatus arrival stagger on the duration and time to completion of the key 22 fireground tasks and the effect on occupant and firefighter safety.