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  1. #1
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    Default Line of duty benefits anywhere in state?

    Some guys and I were discussing this at work and no one really knew. I am a paid firefighter in KY and was under the impression that I was "covered" anywhere in the state if something happened to me. I.E. if I was driving out of my city, or county for that matter and saw a wreck or fire and I stopped to help before anyone was there and something happened causing me to be killed there, would my family still get line of duty benefits from the state? I looked all over the net, but couldn't find a straight answer and thought someone here may know. Thanks for your time and sorry if this has been addressed here before.


  2. #2
    Forum Member PaladinKnight's Avatar
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    The answer to the question starts at home my friend. You need to check with HR in your town. If your policy and/or contract agreement prevents you from working as a firefighter in another venue, then you are not covered... unless, your State Legislature has written a Staute that give you coverage in your job capacity.

    I have seen this go both ways. Some time back a firefighter that had stopped at a MVC outside of his home district and was struck by a passing vehicle while he was rendering aid. He was denied ON-DUTY Medical Coverage, although under his contract and medical plan, he was entitled to medical treatment as an off-duty injury. The difference was loss of income because he was doing something that was prohibited by the policy and contract agreement.

    I find this amusing since some argue that we have a duty to react and/or respond no matter where we are, whether we are on or off duty. In some cases it can get you terminated. So get the facts from your HR, policy or contract. Then document it in case it happens to you.

    Seem like splitting hairs, but it is the Insurance Driven World we live in.
    HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL

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    Never really thought of it in that context.

    I know that if I offer my services to an IC at an incident outside my home district and the IC accepts, I am fully covered, at least as far as NY's VFBL is concerned.

    It's certainly something to think about, doubly so if one is travelling out of their home state.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

  4. #4
    Forum Member VinnieB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tree68 View Post
    Never really thought of it in that context.

    I know that if I offer my services to an IC at an incident outside my home district and the IC accepts, I am fully covered, at least as far as NY's VFBL is concerned.

    It's certainly something to think about, doubly so if one is travelling out of their home state.
    This does not apply to Paid Firemen in NY.

    When I was a vollie chief I never accepted help from someone who showed up that I didn't know well. I always just said thanks but no thanks. No Chief in his right mind should allow non-dept members to operate....you will open a tons of liability issues no matter what the VFBL says......trust me....you are NOT "Fully" covered as you say....there is much meaning in that.

    If no FD is on-scene, do what you think you should do.....if they are there operating.....keep driving.
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  5. #5
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    Check with the Commonwealth Fire Commission on the issues. You can also check into KRS 95 for some legal writings. Your EMS actions might be covered under Good Samaritan laws but the rest you are on your own.

    Also check your pension. If you get non-line of duty you might get jack from your pension (same is true if you two-hat in KY.) Our difference is minimum 50% pay LOD, non-LOD is 2.5% for each service year (you'll need 20 years on to match the 50%, not a good thing.)

    The only time you are on-duty as a firefighter in the Commonwealth of KY is when you are on the clock.

  6. #6
    Forum Member PaladinKnight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tree68
    Never really thought of it in that context.

    I know that if I offer my services to an IC at an incident outside my home district and the IC accepts, I am fully covered, at least as far as NY's VFBL is concerned.

    Quote Originally Posted by VinnieB
    This does not apply to Paid Firemen in NY.

    When I was a vollie chief I never accepted help from someone who showed up that I didn't know well. I always just said thanks but no thanks. No Chief in his right mind should allow non-dept members to operate....you will open a tons of liability issues no matter what the VFBL says......trust me....you are NOT "Fully" covered as you say....there is much meaning in that.
    Tree: If you're acting in the capacity of dept mutual aid, then you're most likely covered. But as an individual, you most likely aren't. Again you really need to study the wording and meaning.

    Vinnie: I agree. We refuse assistance, no matter who it is or what the level of skill/training is. Our Insurance does not cover walk-ons and any call that a walk-on stops at is not automatically covered by his departments insurance, as it is not his departments event and cannot be considered a mutual-aid. What if the guy causes another event within the event? Then we have (as you call it) liability exposure.

    Having said that... if you do stop and render aid, you do so at great exposure to yourself. More time than not the Good Samaritan Laws will apply to your actions, but if you become injured (or killed) your insurance can and will most likely bauk since you were not on a "SANCTIONED CALL and acting within your scope of responsibility or duty".

    I had a guy on our department that stopped at a MVC that occurred in front of him. He began to render aid, and actually kept a guy alive until the bus arrived. Once the District Fire Department arrived, they told him "Thanks, we got it". That is a polite way of saying, "Leave". Our guy continued to hang around until finally their Captain approached him and ask him if "I" (meaning me) was aware he was on their scene. Our guy said "No, but what the Chief doesn't know won't hurt me." Right in front of him the Captain called our headquarters and ask for me. The Captain told our guy that he was going to clear it up for him. When I talked with the Captain, I thanked him for taking care of our guy and advised him if he didn't need him, tell him he was excused.

    The point being... we have a Mutual-Aid Agreement with the other department, but only on a "Department Level" Request for Aid. One person is not going to be considered "Department Level Aid" unless the guy we send is the only TECHNICIAN or Specialist that can handle some issue. We must sanction it before insurance and tort protection covers it. Otherwise, the guy is on his own. My duty to him is to protect him, even if it from himself.

    So do investigate this matter to satisfy yourself. I am just trying to give you my understanding of what I deal with and have experience with.

    Some states and jurisdictions may be very "loose" concerning this issue, but I have never seen this personally.
    HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL

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    Interesting discussion.

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    EMTs and Paramedics have a duty to act and can be stopped and made to help. At least that is what I was told in the classes. Fire Fighters do not have the same duty to act. Once again showing that EMS and Fire Fighting are two distinct and separate functions. At least they should be separate.

  9. #9
    Forum Member pasobuff's Avatar
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    When I was volunteer Downstate, I was able to work on different fire scenes with the approval of the IC.....BUT.....These were neighboring departments, and I knew and was friends with the Chiefs - AND they knew me and what training I had (depatments often drilled together too).......We had a few different people who would do this - AGAIN with the approval of the IC - and these were people who were known.

    Now, if I am traveling outside of my immediate area, I don't bother to stop - what I do is make a phone call (911, local emerg number etc) and KEEP ON GOING!.....I do not have a duty as a volunteer FF to stop.....

    Ok- for CT -
    http://www.cga.ct.gov/2007/rpt/2007-R-0250.htm -We could not find any Connecticut law that requires volunteer firefighters or EMTs to stop and render assistance when they are not acting in their official capacity as a firefighter or EMT. But if they choose to do so, they are given some protection by the “Good Samaritan Law. ”
    I haven't found anything concrete for NYS (yet) - although I do know when I worked for a paid service, we stopped at quite a few accident scenes etc while on the road (and available to render aid ie. no Pt on board).......care would be rendered until the local EMS showed up at which time care would be turned over as long as the other agency had equal or above care. Although, there was one time I ended up riding with the local rig because the pt was freaking out (panic attack after MVA) and had already formed a 'bond' with me - wouldn't go to the hospital if I wasn't with that person.

  10. #10
    Forum Member pasobuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    EMTs and Paramedics have a duty to act and can be stopped and made to help. At least that is what I was told in the classes. Fire Fighters do not have the same duty to act. Once again showing that EMS and Fire Fighting are two distinct and separate functions. At least they should be separate.
    Oh - how do you MAKE a person stop and render aid? If you are in your private vehicle with no identifiers (or even if there are stickers etc).....who is going to make you stop? Just because the PERSONAL vehicle has markings doens't mean the operator is certified in emergency care.....

    It is up to the individual person to stop and see if they could render aid.....as long as you are not on duty or in an 'official' vehicle.......

  11. #11
    Forum Member PaladinKnight's Avatar
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    You will note:

    But if they choose to do so, they are given some protection by the “Good Samaritan Law.
    This applies to their 'scope' or 'function' or 'actions', not their personal protection. If you get injured, then you are on your own, much like the good samaritan.

    The statement that EMT (medics) have a duty to respond may in fact be true in some cases. But again, how much 'duty' can you provide and at what risk to yourself? If you are 200 miles from home, you might have off-duty insurance coverage but we all know that isn't the same as on-duty.

    Just how much will you risk if it exposes you to huge risk to yourself? Your 'duty to act' does not protect you, Policies, SOG/SOP, Contracts and Insurance is what protects you.

    Personal Responsibility to act and protection from liability is not the same as protecting yourself from getting hit by a passing car when you have no "OFFICIAL" function or agreement to render aid.

    Some States or jurisdictions may be inclusive in these matters, but I have never seen it cover you everywhere. So you must get to the facts by looking at only what applies to you. Blanket Statements do not make the insurance company feel compassion for your plight.
    HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL

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