1. #21
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    Mar 2006

    Default I agree

    TFD181 I could not agree with you more. As an explorer he is not different than someone playing high school football, or the chess club. It is an after school extra curricular activity, that gives youth in the community a hands on exposure to Firefighting, Law Enforcement, EMS or whichever discipline they decide to participate in. Albeit, an extremely sad situation when any youth passes away, and I am sure the department he was an explorer at feels his loss, and grieves, the point is, he was not a Firefighter. He was an explorer, or junior firefighter. It is sad he was struck and killed, but should not be considered line of duty. I know many agencies want to give the youth a worthwhile, and exciting experience while in thier explorer/junior program, but what needs to stop is these departments that count the youth as part of thier department when making staffing decisions. These kids should not be responding from school, and should not be considered essential employees, or essential members. They are there to observe, learn and help from a safe distance. My concern with the Kangas case is that if we bend this time and honor him financially than the flood gates will open, and it will diminish what it means to actually make the ultimate sacrafice. If his friends and family, or the BSA want to work on a smaller memorial wall of some sort to be on the same property as the Firefighter Memorial than I have no problems with that and would support it 100%. What I don't want to see is "just anyone's" name on the actual Firefighter Memorial, it will dilute the actual meaning of it.


  2. #22
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    ChiefReason's Avatar
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    Feb 2001
    Illinois-where pertnear is close enough!


    Quote Originally Posted by tfd181
    Am I the only one here who feels like the definition of LODD has become so broad and all encompassing that it has lost all meaning?

    As it stands, apparently from the time you join a department untill you retire, if you die it can be made to be an LODD.........

    Fell off a ladder when your pager went off? LODD

    Driving like a maniac to the fire station? LODD

    Run over by your own rig at a controlled burn when you are drunk? LODD

    Die hours after an alarm drop at home from a heart attack? LODD

    If you want to give peoeple money, go right ahead. It's like an insurance policy you get as a benefit for signing up, but to considering anything as a LODD disrespects the brothers who died truly in the line of duty.

    I am a military vet. If I was hurt or killed during normal ops outside of a war zone, my family would have been compensated monetarily. However, I would not recieve a Purple Heart, which is reserved for those who sustain injury as a result of enemy action. Thus, the medal retains it's honor.

    This seems to be aproblem in our society in general. These days everyone is special, everyones a hero - no matter what. Kids in school ae rewarded for watered down acievements, people just doing there jobs are treated as extrodinary. For example; I was involved in a rescue this winter. Actually, I helped load the victim in the ambulance and worked the code on the way to the hospital, just like every other cardiac arrest. However, she was pulled from the river by the squad guys. They are the ones who went willingly into harms way, I just had an EMS call.....but EVERYONE was honred. I think people that weren't even there got awards! Sure, looks good in the news. To me it takes away from the true danger that was faced by the guys in the water.

    Riding your bike to the fire house to respond on a non-emergency cover assignment as an explorer does not put you on par with the brothers who died on 9/11, or in Worcester or in the countless other fires over the years.
    First; I don't believe that there is any government conspiracy to deny Kris Kangas of his rightful place. I don't believe that it's about the money. The government has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that OUR money means nothing to them. I honestly believe that it's about the DEFINITION used as the qualifier in this case. Anyone who has lost a brother or sister to a flashover or building collapse during interior attack believes that is the measure of an LODD. Anyone who has lost a brother or a sister at an MVA, struck and killed by a negligent driver, believes that is the measure of an LODD. Wildland firefighters chased and killed by fire; that is the measure and on and on.
    Many believe that the PSODB and LODD have become an entitlement program. Because there can be loose interpretation to qualify, situations come up that require interpretation. And that can be at odds with OUR interpretation.
    I was very vocal about the death of Bradley Golden of Lairdsville FD. His was an LODD, but more importantly, up until Bradley's Law was passed in New York, you could kill another firefighter and walk away. But Brad's law changed that.
    What I would like to see is a well written, articulate, simple definition of what constitutes an LODD, which in turn qualifies the spouse or surviving children of the fallen (remember; this isn't an insurance policy where you can name a beneficiary) for PSODB and STRICTLY administer it. Something like "an active, full member of a fire department who succumbs from injuries received at the time of the call while actively participating in emergency operations" and STICK TO IT. If an active member excludes in-active members, juniors, auxiliary or canteen folks, then so be it.
    I have nothing but admiration and respect for Kris Kangas. It would have been great to watch him grow into the leader of his fire department. As I'm sure that he would have succeeded.
    But in this case, I have to wonder: if Kris were faced with this decision, what would Kris do? If the rules were written as they are and he was responsible for either submitting a death under the same circumstances or not because of the rules, what would he do? Those of you who have followed this case and have read the laudits of Kris, based on what you know from what you have read, what would he have done? Because that's what it comes down to. I believe that he would want to be remembered. And beyond that is speculative, but man, we have to get past this.
    We cannot continue to broaden the definitions and not have it affect or rather spark debate from those who lost someone by different circumstances.
    Define them and then stick to them. No in between. No gray area. What's it say? That's what it is. Congratulation; you qualify/Sorry; you do not qualify.
    Harsh? Maybe. But fair.
    Visit www.iacoj.com
    Remember Bradley Golden (9/25/01)
    RIP HOF Robert J. Compton(ENG6511)

  3. #23
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    FWDbuff's Avatar
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    Jul 2003


    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff
    -Fact: He was a qualified responder, acting in accordance with the rules and regulations pertaining to junior firefighters of the Brookhaven Volunteer Fire Company.

    What exactly are you qualified to do as a 14 year old on a fireground? Maybe the problem here is a department that considers children to be an intregal part of their response. If all he was qualified to do was support work in a safe area, then maybe we should consider fire buffs, photographers, and the ladies auxillary for LODD benefits as well should they die at, near, or on the way to a fire.

    -Fact: The kid was dedicated. The kid died doing what the rest of us do hundreds of time a year- go out the door knowing damn well we may or may not come home.

    Again, a 14 year old explorer should not be going out the door "not knowing if he will come home". He's a child for christ sake! You shouldn't be risking your life at that age. What other profession does that to children????? Any department that puts children in harms way, or approves of them doing so should be investigated, shut down, and it's officers arrested. Dangerous child labor has been illegal for a long, long time. As far as being dedicated, my department has a few dedicated buffs that are at every fire religously, helping out where they can. They are by no means considered firefighters.

    The death of a child is a tragedy of the greatest magnitude. I am not trying to diminish that, and I hope my comments are not taken as such. However, I do not belive that it qualifies as a LODD.
    I am not going to debate with you weather or not he should or should not have been responding to emergencies, as I happen to agree with you, HE SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN. But as I said; He was responding in accordance with the rules and regulations set forth by his organization, and whether thats right or wrong in our eyes is not relevant here. What is relevant is, is that he died in the line of duty, if he was 14 or 41, doesnt matter. He deserves to have his name on that wall.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

  4. #24
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    Feb 2003
    Fairfield, CA


    Although somewhat lengthy, please read the following from the DOJ and USFA websites. There may be other websites with more information. If anyone finds one, please post it. (The bold print is mine to provide emphasis.)

    From the US DOJ website (http://www.ojp.gov/BJA/grant/psob/psob_death.html#a)

    Public Safety Officers' Benefits Program: Definitions

    Public Safety Officers

    Under the Public Safety Officers' Benefits (PSOB) Program, a public safety officer is a person serving a public agency in an official capacity, with or without compensation, as a law enforcement officer, firefighter, or member of a public rescue squad or ambulance crew. Law enforcement officers include, but are not limited to, police, corrections, probation, parole, and judicial officers. Volunteer firefighters and members of volunteer rescue squads and ambulance crews are covered under the program if they are officially recognized or designated members of legally organized volunteer fire departments, rescue squads, or ambulance crews.
    In October 2000, Public Law 106-390 (Sec. 305) designated Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) employees as public safety officers under the PSOB Act if they are performing official, hazardous duties related to a declared major disaster or emergency. The legislation also indicates that state, local, and tribal emergency management or civil defense agency employees working in cooperation with FEMA are, under the same circumstances, considered public safety officers under the PSOB Act.
    The Mychal Judge Police and Fire Chaplains Public Safety Officers' Benefits Act of 2002 (42 U.S.C. § 3796, et seq.) is retroactive to September 11, 2001, and amends the PSOB Act of 1976 to include chaplains in the definition of public safety officers. A chaplain is defined as "including any individual serving as an officially recognized or designated member of a legally organized volunteer fire department or legally organized fire or police department who was responding to a fire, rescue, or police emergency."
    A public agency is defined as the United States; any U.S. state; the District of Columbia; the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; any U.S. territory or possession; any unit of local government; any combination of such states or units; and any department, agency, or instrumentality of the foregoing. To be eligible for benefits, a public safety officer's death or total and permanent disability must result from injuries sustained in the line of duty. Line of duty is defined in the PSOB regulations as any action that the public safety officer whose primary function is crime control or reduction, enforcement of the criminal law, or suppression of fires is authorized or obligated by law, rule, regulation, or condition of employment or service to perform. Other public safety officers—whose primary function is not law enforcement or fire suppression—must be engaged in their authorized law enforcement, fire suppression, rescue squad, or ambulance duties when the fatal or disabling injury is sustained.


    Under the PSOB Act, child is defined as any natural child who was born before or after the death of the public safety officer or who is an adopted child or stepchild of the deceased public safety officer. At the time of death, the child must be 18 years of age or younger; 19 through 22 years of age and pursuing a full-time course of study or training, if the child has not already completed 4 years of education beyond high school; or 19 years or older and incapable of self-support due to a physical or mental disability.


    The Mychal Judge Police and Fire Chaplains Public Safety Officers' Benefits Act of 2002 (42 U.S.C. § 3796, et seq.) is retroactive to September 11, 2001, and amends the PSOB Act of 1976 in the following ways:
    Includes chaplains in the definition of public safety officers.
    Defines chaplain as "including any individual serving as an officially recognized or designated member of a legally organized volunteer fire department or legally organized fire or police department who was responding to a fire, rescue, or police emergency."
    Adds a new category of beneficiary. If the public safety officer had no surviving spouse or eligible children, the individual designated as the beneficiary on the officer's most recently executed life insurance policy is eligible for benefits.1


    From the USFA website:


    Fire Fighters Memorial:

    Criteria for Inclusion


    Since 1981, America has honored its fallen firefighters at an annual ceremony held on the National Fire Academy campus in Emmitsburg, Maryland. In 1990, Congress passed legislation making the Memorial site in Emmitsburg, Maryland the "official national memorial to volunteer and career firefighters who die in the line of duty." Over the years, fire service groups have voiced concern that the original criteria were too broad because they recognize "on-duty" instead of "line-of-duty" deaths. Early in 1997, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Director James Lee Witt announced plans to transfer responsibility for the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service and all related issues to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF.) The NFFF works in partnership with FEMA's United States Fire Administration (USFA) on the Memorial Service.

    New Criteria

    The NFFF sponsored a meeting on June 18, 1997, to formulate new criteria to determine eligibility for inclusion on the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial. The participants, representing the major fire service organizations, unanimously agreed to adopt the new criteria for inclusion in the national tribute. The new criteria, retroactive to January 1, 1997, will include:
    Firefighters who die in the line of duty shall be honored at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Line-of-duty deaths shall be determined by the following standards:
    (a) Deaths meeting the Department of Justice's Public Safety Officers Benefits (PSOB) program guidelines, and those cases that appear to meet these guidelines whether or not PSOB has adjudicated the specific case prior to the annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service; and
    (b) Deaths from injuries, heart attacks or illnesses directly attributable to a specific emergency incident or training activity.
    (c) Deaths meeting the requirements of the Hometown Heroes Survivors Benefit Act of 2003. The law pre*sumes that a heart attack or stroke are in the line of duty if the firefighter was engaged in non-routine stressful or strenuous physical activity while on duty and the firefighter becomes ill while on duty or within 24 hours after engaging in such activity. Firefighters will be included on the Memorial if they become ill as the result of a heart attack or stroke within 24 hours of a training activity or emergency response. Firefighters who become ill after going off duty where the activities while on duty were limited to non-stressful tasks that did not involve physical exertion such as clerical, administrative, or non-manual in nature, will not be included.
    While PSOB guidelines cover only public safety officers, the new NFFF criteria will also include private firefighters, such as those in an industrial brigade, provided the deaths meet the standards listed above.
    Some specific cases will be excluded from consideration, such as deaths attributable to suicide, alcohol or substance abuse, and other gross abuses.

    Review Process

    Using the new criteria, the USFA will prepare a list of eligible firefighters, including information on the reasons for inclusion. The USFA will also prepare a list of individuals deemed ineligible, with an explanation for each situation. A three-person review panel will be appointed by the Chairman of the NFFF's Board of Directors. This panel will review the USFA list and recommend a final list to the Board of Directors.
    Individuals may submit requests for reconsideration of eligibility or for consideration of names previously omitted. When necessary, the full Board will act on these requests at its Annual Meeting. The NFFF will add eligible firefighters' names at subsequent national tributes.
    To report a fallen firefighter to USFA, please complete the notification form.
    For more information on the content of the new criteria, please contact the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation via e-mail at firehero@erols.com or correspond to P.O. Drawer 498, Emmitsburg, Maryland 21727.

  5. #25
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    Feb 2003
    Fairfield, CA


    The views and opinions expressed in this thread are of little value in the determination of the outcome of the Kris Kangas case. What matters are the definitions and criteria used to define LODD and who is eligible for PSOB benefits and how those responsible for administering the program interpret the definitions and criteria.

    Sorry to say, ChiefReason, there will always be shades of gray in interpreting any rule, regulation, or law (sad, but true). You wrote: "an active, full member of a fire department who succumbs from injuries received at the time of the call while actively participating in emergency operations". You now need to define in very explicit terms: 1) active, 2) full member, 3) fire department, 4) succumbs, 5) injuries, 6) actively participating, and 7) emergency operations. Good luck in avoiding any of the gray stuff.

    sfdffemt17, I honestly believe honoring Kris Kangas’s death via PSOB and placing his name on the “”wall” in Emmitsburg does nothing to denigrate firefighters who died while operating hoselines in the middle of a burning building. If it does, how would you treat firefighters dying during a training exercise? Training LODD’s are eligible for the “wall” (as I believe they should be). If a F.D. Chaplin is eligible, why not a Junior Volunteer Firefighter? If a 45 year old firefighter dying of a heart attack while attending a classroom training class is eligible, why not a Junior Volunteer Firefighter?

    Perhaps the definitions could be revised and refined. But we are now bounded by the current definitions and criteria.

    As I interpret the definitions and criteria used by DOJ and USFA, I find it difficult to believe that Firefighter Kangas has been denied the recognition he deserves.

    In this day and age when there are so many selfish spoiled brats posing as teenagers roaming the streets, I find it encouraging that there a few who have decided to serve their community as Firefighters. Whether or not a Junior Volunteer Firefighter should respond to a fire is not at issue here. Whether or not Kris Kangas is eligible for PSOB and the NFA Fallen Firefighters Memorial is.

    Rep. Curt Weldon (PA) has been a longtime champion of this nation’s fire service. He supports the Kris Kangas case - we should too.

  6. #26
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    Dec 2006
    Mosby, MO


    I also posted this on a previous thread about this.

    1st. How many of you who are AGAINST were JR/EXP?
    2nd. How many of you who are FOR were JR/EXP?
    3rd. Was he covered by the fire dept workman comp insurance?
    4th. Did he have accidental insurance throught the fd?

    I started as a jr when I was 14 and after my first 1st year i was covered by the fd insurance and got FREE accidental insurance through the fd. Also I WAS ONLY allowed to work grass/hail bail fires and severe weather. I was also REHAB on structure fires and what not. I was not able to do FULL duties until I was 18. Oh and by the way im 25.

    If he did have insurance and or was covered by the fd workmans comp then I would have to AGREE that he WAS a ff.

    However if none of the above is true it doesn't matter. We should ALL have some respect for him wanting to help others, wanting to do something that he was interested in, and most of all we should be PROUD to call him a fellow brother!!!! Weather he is classified a CHILD OR NOT!!!

    THATS JUST MY .02.
    Last edited by FIRE508; 01-24-2007 at 05:39 AM.

  7. #27
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    DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Aug 2000
    Somewhere between genius and insanity!


    Chris Kangas deservres to be honored... at his FD.

    Brookhaven can put a memorial in his name, or start a scholarship in his name.

    14 year olds do not belong anywhere near a fireground. There is no need for them to be responding to calls on bikes, or have parents drive them there.

    If your FD depends on children for response... then your FD has a real problem.

    Rep. Curt Weldon (PA) has been a longtime champion of this nation’s fire service. He supports the Kris Kangas case - we should too.
    Not to sound harsh... I know that Curt Weldon supported firefighter issues... but he is a politician, and it was an election year...
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  8. #28
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    May 2005


    Quote Originally Posted by FIRE508 View Post
    I also posted this on a previous thread about this.
    Then why not stick to that thread. Now we have 2 about the same topic to keep track of.

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