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    Default DOJ Appealing Chris Kangas Decision

    They rather spend $$ looking for Jimmy Hoffa then do the right thing..
    **********************************

    Itís been four years since Julie Amber-Messick started fighting for death benefits and the right for her son, Chris Kangas, a junior firefighter who died en route to a fire in 2002, to be named on the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Md.


    But itís only been about three months since sheís known victory. Amber-Messick learned in March that federal appeals Judge Marian Blank Horn ruled in her favor, legally naming her son a firefighter.

    Amber-Messick said she planned on attending the memorialís dedication ceremony in October, knowing her son would be proud his name was etched among fellow firefighters.

    Tuesday those dreams started vanishing as quickly as they arrived. The Kangasí familyís attorney, Frank Daly, informed the Daily Times that the Department of Justice has filed an appeal in federal court.




    Unless the DOJ withdraws the appeal before October, Kangasí name wonít be listed on the memorial this year, and Amber-Messick wonít receive federal death benefits worth $267,000. Sheís already received local and state benefits worth $270,000.

    "Itís disappointing, but I canít say Iím surprised," said Amber-Messick, who first started fighting the DOJ over death benefits in 2002.

    She has lost those legal battles three separate times over the past three years. The DOJ claimed each time that the Kangas family was ineligible for benefits because Chris did not fall under federal "firefighter" definitions, since he was not permitted to "fight fires."

    Horn ruled March 27 that federal definitions for a "firefighter" were much broader than the DOJ allowed.

    Daly said that according to DOJ attorney Nancy Kim, the Department of Justice decided to appeal Hornís ruling because its solicitor generalís office needed more time to review court documents.

    If the DOJ had not appealed by Saturday, he said Judge Hornís ruling would have been permanent and the Department of Justice would not have had an opportunity to appeal later.

    "Even though they had 60 days, I guess it wasnít enough time for the Department of Justice to hear from everyone they had to hear from," said Daly.

    U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon, R-7 of Thornbury, who introduced legislation that passed April 6 in the House of Representatives recognizing Kangas legally as a firefighter, called the DOJís appeal "total stupidity."

    "Itís disappointing, but at the same time, outrageous that the bureaucrats just donít get it," he said.

    "This is not about money; itís about the status of Kangas and other junior firefighters affected by this. Hundreds of fire companies in America have sent me letters, telling me how happy they are that the (March 27) ruling was finally achieved. For the Department of Justice to leave the door open for an appeal doesnít make sense."

    Weldon said he would use "whatever means" at his disposal to have Hornís decision upheld, which apparently included calling on the Attorney General to become personally involved.

    Daly said Hornís decision could still remain active if the DOJís solicitor generalís office advises the department to withdraw.

    Without a withdrawal, however, he expected a decision on the appeal in about a yea

  2. #2
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    Angry Well..........

    We CAN do something constructive here. I've sent an email to my Congressman and US Senators about this. DoJ needs a reality check.
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    In these times dosent the DOJ have other things to worry about?
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

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    A true example of why there is little to no faith in our wonderful judicial / legal system.

    They say it's not about the Money......I find that hard to believe. If it was nothing more than putting this kids name on the Firefighter Memorial to recognize his efforts and devotion why would lawyers need be involved ?

    Why would they care about a name on a memorial unless there was a buck to be made ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BD6413
    A true example of why there is little to no faith in our wonderful judicial / legal system.

    They say it's not about the Money......I find that hard to believe. If it was nothing more than putting this kids name on the Firefighter Memorial to recognize his efforts and devotion why would lawyers need be involved ?

    Why would they care about a name on a memorial unless there was a buck to be made ?
    Are you saying the mother is fighting for the money? Or the DOJ is fighting to not pay?

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    Screw it, let's save money and put everyone's name on there. Why should we care about honoring them and their sacrifices.
    "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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    If you're going to "write your congressman/senator" ask them to be a cosponsor of HR 1456 (congress) or S 491 (senate):

    http://thomas.loc.gov/ -- you can search here.
    "When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope is to leave the world a little better for my having been there."
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    Quote Originally Posted by BD6413
    A true example of why there is little to no faith in our wonderful judicial / legal system.

    They say it's not about the Money......I find that hard to believe. If it was nothing more than putting this kids name on the Firefighter Memorial to recognize his efforts and devotion why would lawyers need be involved ?

    Why would they care about a name on a memorial unless there was a buck to be made ?
    Another MUTT heard from......... It's the principle of the matter. Had he been MY son, I would have wanted his name on the memorial enough to have gotten attorneys involved........
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Quick question: Since when is the government allowed to appeal a case? Only the victim/plaintiff can appeal a case to a higher court. Another question: What the hell does DoJ have to do with a CIVIL CASE. Their job is law enforcement, not micromanaging civil cases. I thought we had a war on terror going on...

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    If I remember the rules that decide if a death is a LODD and if it qualifies for federal LODD benefits are written by the DoJ.

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    If its truly not about the money, then how about they go ahead and let his name go on the memorial along with all the ceremonial stuff and the family can be happy with the money they have already received.

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    Whats the betting they stall until after October, so the family miss this years ceremony?
    United Kingdom branch, IACOJ.

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    Millerman,

    I'm not saying that it's the mother making the fight for the money....She's even made that clear in past interviews and articles that I've read. The DOJ is involved and why ? they don't want to see this guy honored and/compensated. -- Sorry for not clarifying that.

    FWDbuff,

    Seeing you're from "pee Ayy" You 'ought to be well aware of what's been occuring. Kris deserves to have his name on the monument, his family compensated, and this mess put to rest.-- I'll agree if he too was my son or belonged to my company I'd want lawyers involved to fight for that. What you didn't see by my post was the fact that Our wonderful judicial system at the higher levels doesn't want Kris honored, his family compensated, or this whole disaster put to rest. They want to keep drawing this out because there is money involved. I truly believe this is turing into a case of greedy lawyers and a bunch of pollitical horse sh** that doesn't need to be.

    But in your eyes I'll remain Just another MUTT ! Thanks

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    BD6413- I owe you an aplogy! Seems my anger about this whole thing clouded my ability to read for comprehension. First reading of your post made me think that you assumed the family was only in it for the money, and thats why they got the lawyers involved.

    After further review, and reading your recent post, I retract my statement, hang my head in shame and owe you a beer.

    And yes, as far as the DOJ goes, it is all about the money. They are very afraid of setting a precedent here- If they pay the Kangas Family, they may very well have to pay out a lot more money in the future, until if and when, (and it WILL happen, I guarantee that!) they re-write their reqiurements/statuates for eligibility of the benefits. You can bet that Junior or Cadet Firefighters will not be included.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    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.

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    Great post TFD. I have felt the same as you do. I do feel that the LODD has lost something over the years. DoJ has to do something, It is getting out of hand quickly!!

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    TFD- Though I agree with some of what you said, I have to wholeheartedly disagree with what you said concerning Kris Kangas-

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

    -Fact: He heard the Fire Company's siren while at a friend's home, located near the fire station. He did not know what the circumstances were- he did not know that it was merely for a cover assignment. For all he knew it was a box alarm for a 10 story building with fire on 7 floors.

    -Fact: He responded. Again, in accordance with the rules and regs of his organization.

    -Fact: He was struck by a car, and died of injuires sustained while responding to an alarm of 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.

    -Fact: He deserves to have his name on that wall. Plain and simple. Why dont you have a seance (spelling?) contact the 343 Firefighters who died on 9-11 (Many of whom were volunteers in the communities in which they lived) or the Worcester 6, and ask THEM if they think Kris Kangas deserves to have his name on that wall?
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    First, about the Kangas situation, it's sad, and the government really ought to worry about more pressing issues than dragging some poor, grieving mother to court to prevent her son from being properly honored. Really, it's shameful. I do consider his death a LODD after taking all the facts into consideration.

    That being said, I also wholeheartedly agree with tfd181. There is a very bad trend the past decade or so of stretching just about any firefighter death to a LODD. It really does diminish the whole point of it, and I do not agree with that.

    Back in 1994, one of our older members had a massive heart attack in the firehouse. If I recall correctly, he was at least 70 years old. He was the company secretary and was opening mail while sitting at a table in the dining hall, chatting with several other older members. This happened at around 8pm on our weekly truck/equipment maintenance and drill night. I happened to be upstairs on the apparatus floor when it happened, and someone rushed up to get me (I was EMS Captain/EMT at the time). We performed CPR and ALS arrived within 3 minutes, to no avail, he passed away. While he was a very long time, respected and loved member of the company...and while he was technically performing fire company duties at the time of his death...and while it did happen in the firehouse...and while it did happen on a drill night...I do not believe it was a LODD, nor do I agree with the fact that it was considered a LODD and still is to this day. Believe me, I'm not being insensitive at all, as I said I was literally the first person to touch him to attempt to save his life, and I was fairly close to him and his family. But a true LODD it was not.

    I believe LODD should be reserved for actual fireground deaths only. A heart attack that leads to death within 24 hours should also fall under LODD, not unlike dying from wounds received at the scene at a later date.

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    [QUOTE=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.
    Last edited by tfd181; 06-03-2006 at 02:31 PM.

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    FWD Buff,

    No Problem...I re-read my previous post and understand how it could have been mis-understood

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    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.

    Jon

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    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.
    INCOMING!!!
    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.
    IMHO.
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    [QUOTE=tfd181]
    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."

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    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. ß 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 officersówhose primary function is not law enforcement or fire suppressionómust be engaged in their authorized law enforcement, fire suppression, rescue squad, or ambulance duties when the fatal or disabling injury is sustained.

    Survivors

    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. ß 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:

    (http://www.usfa.fema.gov/fatalities/.../criteria.shtm)

    Fire Fighters Memorial:

    Criteria for Inclusion

    Overview

    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.

  25. #25
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    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 Kangasís death via PSOB and placing his name on the ďĒwallĒ 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 LODDís are eligible for the ďwallĒ (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 nationís fire service. He supports the Kris Kangas case - we should too.

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