1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by SamuelFire
    I believe there is a morally right answer (to the firefighter) and a financially right answer (to the taxpayers) and they are not the same. Our department has a policy that if we come upon an emergency scene and we are hurt performing work we are trained to do, then we are covered by the city's workman's comp.
    Even in another city?

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    Quote Originally Posted by nmfire
    First of all, for everyone on here saying he should have just not done anything and put himself in that position, I 'd like to see you do what you say. Like any one of you would have been in his position and just said "sucks to be them but I might not be covered by an insurance claim if I get hurt." Please, spare me. I know I would have done the same thing as would just about anyone I know.
    Who said that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MIKEYLIKESIT
    I am sure all of you would just stand there with your thumbs up your *** if faced with the same situation. Actually...Maybe some of you would
    That isn't the point of this thread or the story. No one here has said they wouldn't have acted on this too.

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    If the city of Cranston wants to argue that Burgess was not an "employee" at the time, then fine; let him file on group health and the city pick up his deductibles.
    Burgess should not have to pay a DIME out of his own pocket.
    And the stakes could sky rocket if Burgess decides to get an attorney and goes after the city fathers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefReason
    And the stakes could sky rocket if Burgess decides to get an attorney and goes after the city fathers.
    CR
    ........now that could make it interesting !!!!!
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  6. #31
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    1) Ok, I'll stir some more crap. Was he at the bar drinking? Would he still be considered "on-duty" IF he had been drinking? There's a few unknown's in this issue. Will be interesting to see how far this goes.

    Ok, given the fact that the mutt Mayor of Cranston is also running for U.S. Senate (I believe challenging Lincoln Chafee for the Republican Nomination).

    Are you saying, Bonesy, that this will become a Rhode Island version of TURK-182...boy the Farraley brothers would have fun filming it. Already can see the Newport Bridge in lights now

    2) if joe citizen is ordered to pull a hose line by a fire officer (say they were buddies growing up), should the hosting department have to pay for any mental or physical injuries he should sustain?

    Yes.

    CT State Statutes specifically idemnify civilians pressed into working forest fires by a State Fire Warden to be considered State Employees for the purposes of workers comp.

    For a structural situation, you're department's general liability insurance would be making the payments -- remember, worker's comp is essentially no-fault so you receive it in lieu of the right to sue for injuries sustained.

    3) Do your towns pay claims arising from M/A?

    In Connecticut, it's required by state statutes. The Town in which the fire company you belong to is located is responsible for worker's comp, irregardless of where the injury occurs.

    Now, when I stop at an accident or such in Mass, which I think I've done more than in CT...I'm on my own if injured or exposed since I'm not under CT law at that point.

    4) This isn't a situation he went looking for trouble, or turned out from a bar because the pager went out. It found him, bang, there it is.

    The right thing to do is to pay the claim. Next time one of your firefighters is involved with a 100 death mass casualty event that occurs where he is standing, worry about the past precedence then.

    Thumbs up to the Florida law.

    5) E-mail sent momentarily NM!

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    Moraly.....I think the city should pay for his injuries.

    HOWEVER

    We all know that every city in America is looking for every excuse it can to not pay benefits to the people that work for them. Not to mention all the "suit happy" individuals just looking for a payday. I hate having to choose when to put my conscious aside, but my family comes first. As much as it hurts me, I do not, and will not, involve myself in ANY emergency of ANY kind while off duty...period.

    Thank our legislators for letting it get to this.
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    The city says they will not cover him because he was "off duty", but I bet if he was to get into trouble with the law when "off duty" they would be bringing Department charges against him. What's the difference between the two?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dalmatian190
    The right thing to do is to pay the claim. Next time one of your firefighters is involved with a 100 death mass casualty event that occurs where he is standing, worry about the past precedence then.
    Well said.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    What would have happened if Burgess refused the order from the West Warwick LT.? For sure he would have been named in some kind of suit for refusing and order. I am sure the "Duty to act" phrase would have been mentioned more than once and Cranston would have tried to fire him somehow. There was no winning in his situation. Either he helps and gets no protection or he can watch a hundred humans burn to their deaths and live with that his whole life. He did the right thing morally and now politicians show their true colors. Just another case of politicians not human being running things. Rest assured if an off duty firefighter died in that fire trying to help it would have been made a LODD and Mayor Laffey would be the first one in line to put his face in the limelight praising this Firefighter for political gain. The right thing to do would be to cover this firefighter and his family.

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    Echoing Dalmation--makes it really nice to be a volunteer. Time clock and schedules don't get in the way of doing what's got to be done. For the career side, this kind of situation kind of creates a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" setting. A brother shouldn't have to be put in that kind of trap.
    (yeah, there has to be some rules to control free-lancing and self-deploying. Somebody's gotta be in charge.)
    Bottom line--i think one of the two towns should step up for him. Opinion only, no legal basis for it.
    earl
    Not being from the US, I may be a bit out of whack here, but isn't there potential from the WTC incident with all the FF's that responded that weren't on roster, changing shift and staying back, etc?
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    Quote Originally Posted by WebFire
    Even in another city?
    The city policy does not state any boundary or limitations except only that (emergency) assistance is rendered

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    1) I would have done the same thing he did.
    2) I would not expect my town to cover injuries that I received in another town "helping out".
    3) It would be nice, but I would not expect the other town to cover the injuries UNLESS I was officially asked to help and conformed to their policies. I'm fairly sure that a guy without any PPE and not assigned any position in my department would not be conforming to our policies.
    4) I would have done the same thing he did.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by SamuelFire
    The city policy does not state any boundary or limitations except only that (emergency) assistance is rendered
    That is interesting to me. I see that alot of the other posters stated that their department has the same policy. To me, that doesn't make sense for the city to do.

    For instance, let's say I am employed by a city in Florida. I am vacationing in Las Vegas and a high rise fire breaks out nearby. I decide to go down and assist in evacuations. In the process, I break my leg and will be off work for a couple months.

    Why should the city be responsible for that? And where in the heck do they draw the line? If you hire a whack job tha listens to the scanner and chases volly depts fires (we have a career guy close that has done that), should be be covered as well?

    I guess we need to separate the business sense from the emotional thinkings. I am looking at it from business sense, and I can't figure out why this gentleman should be covered, other than from an emotional side.

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    How much could this co-pay really be for the PTSD treatment? Would not cost me more then $100, and I blow that randomly helping folks every three months or so, chaulk it up to doint the right thing in life, I don't expect anyone to pay me back except hopefully St. Peter might have a delux suite reserved for me when the time comes.'

    If a Union plumber burns himself helping out his neighbor install a hottub on the weekend, should his employer have to cover the treatment for the injury?
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

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    There should be some sort of national law that all certified firefighters regardless of what state they get there cert from, are covered no matter what part of the country there in when acting to save or help the lives of others until the local department/help arrives. I mean for the most part police have the right to act, even if there off duty in another local???

    I don't know just my thoughts....maybe I am talking out of the wrong orifice again....
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    Default We arent talking about plumbers

    Quote Originally Posted by DennisTheMenace

    If a Union plumber burns himself helping out his neighbor install a hottub on the weekend, should his employer have to cover the treatment for the injury?

    No, but a Union Firefighter assisting at a catastophic fire where his own department is involved most certainly should.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MIKEYLIKESIT
    No, but a Union Firefighter assisting at a catastophic fire where his own department is involved most certainly should.
    But why should his department cover it? Shouldn't the town where he is doing the work cover it? Just as the neighbor should be the one picking up the tab for the plumber's injury. The guy was not doing the work for his department.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

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    He's a career firefighter, he wasn't working and he wasn't recalled, Cranston owes him nothing. If an officer from West Warwick ordered him to pull a line then West Warick is, in my opinion, responsible for his injuries.

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    Default Similar situation

    With personal experience of similar nature to the quandry faced here, I can say, that it is difficult to say the least, and fights with insurance companies, unions, and fire department officials haunted me for some time.

    I was in uniform, waiting for the subway, on the way to the firehouse, and watched a woman jump in front of the train. I was out of the county I work in. As I was in uniform, with onlookers urging me to do something, I retrieved her, and began the ABC's and CPR. She lived. Thank god that I had a pair of gloves on me, as she had some blood-borne diseases.

    I continued to the firehouse, filled out an exposure form, and the quandry began. Who would cover me, if i contracted something? My own insurance said it was job-related, and the department said that I was on my own. I wound up paying out of pocket for blood work etc...The expense was ridiculous

    All I can say, is that I feel for this guy, and know his pain. It left me disillusioned about the job, and about ever being a samaritan. I have quit stopping at car wrecks that I pass, or helping a stranger who has fallen.

    I think in all, both us and the public lose.

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    Default When is a firefighter not a firefighter?

    In a case of property conservation, nah!! but if it is a life-safety issue, like at the "Station Fire" in Rhode Island; by all means please get involved! It would be like witnessing a serious crime in progress and deciding to do nothing about it! Come on!

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    Ahem, at the risk of sounding like a liberal, I know a [political] solution to this problem that would eliminate all insurance quandries! But I have learned that despite the union being for the left, that if it isn't conservative it stays out of the firehouse [boards]

  23. #48
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    Cool no coverage

    I think this follows the line of being in the IAFF and volunteering? How is it any diffrent? If I volunteer on my off time and get hurt I screw my family and brothers.. I can't go after my local cause I was volunteering when I got hurt.



    This guy was off duty helping out.. It was a great thing to do. But how can you now say I want to be covered cause I was there helping..but not on the clock

    I myself drew the line years ago. I drive by and let the professionals help. It is thier job, I am off duty.

  24. #49
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    Default My 2 cents

    We have a clause in our contract that covers us while off duty, and it basically says that you are covered for any off duty actions that you would reasonably take while you are on duty. Translation... if you have the ability to make a difference in a dangerous or life threating situation and you get injuried or killed while doing that you are covered. That being said its very muttish of the city and the arbitrator to hose this guy because he wasn't "on duty"......I guess there right...... your off duty time is truely your own
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    There is a lot to consider in this whole incident.
    With the incident itself. He was off-duty, up until the point, according to the article, that he was directed by the first arriving officer, to ""grab a line" for himself and another firefighter, and keep water on the door to keep it cool".

    I'm assuming, since not all departments are alike, that this officer had command until relieved by a chief officer, or he "passed" command to the next arriving officer. So, with regard to accountablitity and safety, as soon as the officer is relieved, did he have Mr. Burgess withdrawl from the scene? That's a department liability right there. If you are not properly equipped to operate then you are a risk.

    The "order". With the officer telling Mr. Burgess to grab a line, then according to the "Firefighter Fatality Retrospective Study, April 2002/FA –220" The following definitions apply if Mr. Burgess where killed:

    "Who Is a Firefighter?
    For the purpose of this study,the term firefighter covers all members of organized fire departments in all states,the District of Columbia,and the territories of Puerto Rico,Virgin Islands,American Samoa,Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands,and Guam.
    Included are career and volunteer firefighters;full-time public safety officers acting as firefighters;state,territory,and federal government fire service personnel,including wildland firefighters and the military;and privately employed firefighters,including employees of contract fire departments and trained members of industrial fire brigades,whether full time or part time.It also includes contract personnel working as firefighters or assigned to work in direct support of fire service organizations.
    The study includes not only local and municipal firefighters,but also seasonal and fulltime employees of the U.S.Forest Service,the Bureau of Land Management,the Bureau of Indian Affairs,the Bureau of Fish and Wildlife,the National Park Service,and state wildland agencies.The definition also includes prison inmates serving on firefighting crews,firefighters employed by other governmental agencies such as the Department of Energy,military personnel performing assigned fire suppression activities,and civilian firefighters working at military installations."

    and...

    "What Constitutes an On-Duty Fatality?
    On-duty fatalities include any injury or illness sustained while on duty that proves fatal. The term on duty refers to involvement in operations at the scene of an emergency,whether it is a fire or nonfire incident; being en route to or returning from an incident;performing other officially assigned duties such as training, maintenance, public education, inspection, investigations, court testimony, and fundraising; and being on call, under orders, or on standby duty, except at the individual’s home or place of business."

    With particular attention to the points of definition, Mr. Burgess, is a firefighter, regardless of on or off duty. Therefore he cannot be defined as a civilian.

    With particular attention to the definition of "on duty" (re: fatality) Mr. Burgess was on duty, should he have died, and if this was not his home or current place of business.

    So, the worst question out of all of this is possibly, would he have been better off had he been gravely injured? Saddly, he most certainly would have qualified for a LODD had it happened.

    Handlines. Mr. Burgess was instructed to pull a line for himself and another firefighter. The question is, did the officer instruct Mr. Burgess to pull a handline of his own? Huge engine company operation error. Never stretch lines in parallel, but always in series. Get the first properly stretched, advanced, chased, supplied and filled, before stretching the second, especially if working off the tank. Could this be part of why they ran out of water? Despite what is showing, the basics have to be covered.

    Accountability, both operationally and corporately.
    Mr. Burgess sought out a chief officer and told him he was going to look for his date. Mr. Burgess is no longer operating on the fireground, correct? He has withdrawn himself from all suppression duties. Later, he was asked to be treated, but refused and was allowed to leave by another firefighter. Did he sign a release of treatment and liability?

    If a firefighter, not on shift, is on the scene of a fireground/rescue incident, without PPE, and is directed/ordered to become involved, the officer needs to assign, if possible/permissible, the firefighter some duty that would place him at a minimum risk to harm. Why was Mr. Burgess not directed to operate the pump on the first engine? Could Mr. Burgess have been assigned to hand jack the supply line? Could Mr. Burgess have been assigned to provide EMS care?

    If a firefighter from another company/department not on shift is present, does the officer know the skill of this firefighter? Is he liable without knowing this firefighter's credentials?

    If a chief officer has firefighters operating not on shift, and they have been involved in suppression operations, then that chief officer is, whether he knows they are there or not, accountable for their safety and welfare.

    If a firefighter not on shift is involved in suppression operations, whether or not he is injured, he needs to be assessed and treated by EMS personnel.

    If a firefighter not on shift, refuses such, he must sign a release. His "brothers" should be looking out for his best interest, and not let him slip away.

    Departments facing this possible problem should draft a general order or standard operating procedure outling what duties can be done and what cant be done by firefighters not on shift. A second set of PPE should be issued, or available for purchase, if possible. In my own experience, I had to discipline a firefighter who was operating at the scene of a fire without being in full PPE. He was wearing his running pants and, as a ambulance driver with no occupants to attend to, assisted with throwing a ladder and helping to advance a handline at an apartment fire. Despite the best of intentions, he was a risk/liability. Truly, legislation needs to be introduced among departments, unions, muncipalities, and states.

    Finally, we all know those buildings in our first-due. Those "man, I hope I'm off when that place lights off" places. If we do nothing about those places, then we turn a blind eye to the hazards and risks associated. And perhaps one of us dies as a result.
    Last edited by bcarey; 01-19-2006 at 04:58 PM.

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