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  1. #1
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Post Legislators look at FF issues

    Lawmakers probe firefighter staffing, fire codes

    By KEN MAGUIRE
    Associated Press Writer
    BOSTON (AP) - Firefighter layoffs, station closings and
    sprinkler regulations are among the issues legislators are
    examining as they consider new laws to improve fire safety
    following a deadly Rhode Island nightclub fire.
    The legislative panel meets Tuesday night in Revere. Members say
    they won't rely solely on the forthcoming recommendations of Gov.
    Mitt Romney's fire safety task force, created after a Feb. 20 blaze
    at The Station nightclub in West Warwick, R.I., killed 100 people.
    "We're the ones who make the laws," said Rep. Kathi-Anne
    Reinstein, D-Revere. "Just relying on the governor's commission's
    recommendations is selling ourselves short."
    The lawmakers, members of the Public Safety Committee, are
    taking a broader view than did Romney's task force.
    Both groups are examining laws regarding sprinklers, building
    exits, interior finish and pyrotechnics - all factors in the fire
    at The Station.
    But the lawmakers are also looking into staffing levels.
    Statewide, 191 firefighters have lost their jobs in recent months,
    according to the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts union.
    Springfield alone laid off 53.
    "Fire safety in Massachusetts is at risk," union president
    Robert McCarthy said. "A catastrophe is going to happen sooner or
    later. We don't oppose any progressive legislation to enhance fire
    safety, but the most important part is the first responder."
    Reinstein saw one of her city's four fire houses close because
    of budget cuts after the state slashed local aid to help close a $3
    billion budget gap. And few lawmakers are willing to propose tax
    increases.
    The committee will hold hearings around the state leading up to
    a formal meeting in September.
    By then, the recommendations Romney's task force will be known.
    That report is expected to be sent to the governor within two
    weeks, State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan said.
    Since the Rhode Island fire, the state has retested 38 holders
    of pyrotechnic licenses and stripped nine others of their license
    after they declined to be retested.
    Also, the Public Safety Committee in March approved a bill to
    require nightclubs and dance halls in Massachusetts to install
    sprinkler systems.
    Only arena-sized venues and traditional theaters would be
    allowed to use pyrotechnics. The measure is awaiting action of the
    full House.
    Edwin J. Shanahan, chief executive of the Greater Boston Real
    Estate Board, said he favors efforts to expand sprinkler usage. But
    he plans to urge lawmakers to be flexible, such as letting local
    fire chiefs have say in interpreting the law.
    "Let the local fire chief be the final arbiter," Shanahan
    said.

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
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  2. #2
    Forum Member kghemtp's Avatar
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    The fire service left to government bureaucracy shall certainly defy all logic & reason, but maybe someone out there will put people back on the line where fatal cuts were made. Good luck!
    ~Kevin
    Firefighter/Paramedic
    --^v--^v--^v--^v--
    Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong
    Dennis Miller

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