1. #1
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    Default PSOB Rules Finalized!

    PSOB Rules Finalized
    ............
    SUSAN NICOL KYLE
    Firehouse.com News

    Congress' intent, to provide a broader scope for definition of line-of-duty deaths and financial security for the survivors has finally evolved into concrete guidelines.

    There may be light at the end of the tunnel for loved ones of fallen heroes.

    Regulations for the Public Safety Officer Benefits (PSOB) program have been rewritten nearly three years after Congress passed federal legislation known as the Hometown Heroes Act that amended LODD criteria up to that time.

    The new rules allow benefits to be paid to relatives of personnel who suffer a heart attack or stroke within 24 hours of a response or strenuous on-duty activity. That was not the case previously, said Hope Janke, counsel to the PSOB director.

    "We;e very excited that the regulations are finally done,," she said, adding that the entire program was completely re-vamped in order to insure the families of people killed in the line of duty are compensated.

    The law specifically defines a firefighter to be inclusive of those performing other duties such as HAZMAT and EMS. Currently, survivors may receive $275,658.

    Originally, the rules were very specific about who would be eligible for benefits. It would have made it nearly impossible for the families of heroes who suffered a heart attack or stroke to be compensated.

    Now, however, the rules have eased. Yet, Carroll said it will be interesting to see how it is interpreted. "I'M not an attorney. I know it will be open..."

    Knowledge of pre-existing conditions as well as unhealthy habits such as smoking, substance and alcohol abuse will be taken into consideration before a claim is decided.

    Janke said her office has kept in contact with families over the past three years, keeping them apprised of the status. The regulations have been scrutinized, and modified a number of times over the period.

    And, concerns raised by fire service organizations have been addressed.

    Now, personnel in her office have started reviewing approximately 140 PSOB claims to determine if the criteria has been met.


    The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation also has been keeping tabs on the bill. When a firefighter dies in the line of duty, the family receives a packet of information regarding PSOB, said Linda Hurley, chief of staff.

    "I know families have been waiting to get the regulations out the door," she said. ""heir wait is finally over."

    The PSOB regulations go into effect Sept. 11.

    A number of fire service organizations have been working to make sure the rules were fair.

    "It was important that the language was correct, and concerns were addressed," said David Finger, legislative representative for the National Volunteer Fire Council.

    Officials at the Congressional Fire Service Institute say they will be keeping an eye on things as the PSOB funds are granted. "I think they've understood our concerns, and worked closely with us," said Sean Carroll, director of legislation.

    Fire officials say even for the government, the process took way to long. They never imagined it would take three years to get such an important law into effect.

    The International Association of Fire Fighters also has been working on the issues. General President Harold Schaitberger issued the following statement:

    ""...It is unfortunate that the families of fallen fire fighters have waited so long, but we needed to ensure that our members' families are fully protected and receive due benefits in the event of a line-of-duty death."

    Schaitberger went on to say that the IAFF provided extensive comments and, through bipartisan political outreach, was successful in educating the DOJ on several areas of concern and in garnering the support of Senator Bill Frist (R-TN), Representative Roy Blunt R-MO), Representative Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Representative Curt Weldon (R-PA) and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) to revise the regulations.

    "It was a long battle, but has ended in another success and serves as one more example of our ability to achieve results against long odds. The new regulations ensure that the intent of Hometown Heroes is met and that the families of fire fighters who perish as a result of a heart attack or stroke receive PSOB benefits."
    Yeah, but what about kids on bicycles who get killed responding to an alarm?
    I didn't see that one in there.
    I didn't see an age limit for those who think 65 plus is too old to be actively participating.
    And come to think of it; "strenuous" is a pretty curious word. If you are not in good shape, mopping a bay's floor can be "strenuous".
    Does the rules go far enough?
    CR
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    I dunno about kids getting killed riding bicycles to respond but I've had a few close calls riding mine to the station.
    I try to keep an eye out for those too"busy"applying make-up,yammering on the phone,refereeing a backseat squabble or rummaging through the briefcase for something they can't show until they reach the office anyway.But,I am just as human as everyone else and sometimes catch myself looking at the handlebars coming up for a periscope sweep once in a while when the ride gets boring.

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    Quote Originally Posted by doughesson
    I dunno about kids getting killed riding bicycles to respond but I've had a few close calls riding mine to the station.
    I try to keep an eye out for those too"busy"applying make-up,yammering on the phone,refereeing a backseat squabble or rummaging through the briefcase for something they can't show until they reach the office anyway.But,I am just as human as everyone else and sometimes catch myself looking at the handlebars coming up for a periscope sweep once in a while when the ride gets boring.
    Doug:
    I remember some hot discussion on this subject just a few months ago over the Chris Kangas bill that was being introduced. The issue wasn't so much the bicycle, but the age of Chris, his involvement with his department and whether or not PSOBs should be extended to parents. Nothing was mentioned in the article that I read.
    Maybe we'll get some discussion, but you'd think with so many factors, there would be more discussion.
    CR
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    Lightbulb Yep!..........

    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefReason
    Doug, The issue wasn't so much the bicycle, but the age of Chris, his involvement with his department and whether or not PSOBs should be extended to parents.
    CR
    CR, Good Point. We had a LODD here in Maryland some years back, a Volunteer who was in his late twenties, single and living at home, and helping his parents, who were retired. The "Parents" instead of "Wife and Kids" thing was a bit of a problem for a short time. It was resolved in the Parents favor though. There are Fire/Rescue folks out there, Career and Volunteer alike, who support their parents in varying degrees.
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    I guess my major issue with this is a huge time window for MIs. I mean 24 hours after an event? Just seems a bit excessive to me.

    Certainly on return from an incident, at the station etc., but something about the length of time strikes me as odd.


    And as it says a case by case evaluation. Freaking 16 y/o kids riding their bike to the firehouse to help out on a call most certainly died just as honorably as a firefighter killed in an apparatus collision/accident.

    There is no age limit for firefighting either. But some twit politician/beaurocrat will try to screw someone out of benefits entitled to them by law.
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    Lightbulb Re. the def. of a firefighter

    If you all feel that way, contact your Congressmen/women and tell them to get on HR 1456 when they're back in DC on September 6th. Call your Senators and have them support S 491 and S 3699 IS (a private bill). All bills can be found on http://Thomas.loc.gov/ (no www).

    This bill (Heroes Survivors Benefit Act) is completely unrelated and is from 2002 and 2003 (107th and 108th sessions of Congress), signed into law December 2003.

    Christopher Kangas was killed May 2002. The first Christopher Kangas Fallen Firefighter Apprentice Act originated after the DoJ denied the family benefits and was introduced June 1, 2004 (108th session). The second one (same bill) for the 109th session was introduced in April 2005 (HR 1456).
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    Anyone know what the status of that case is?

    Last I read the judge said that DoJ was wrong, ordered teh payment and they were appealing it.
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

    The borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7 - Debt free since 10/5/2009.

    "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." - New York Judge Gideon Tucker

    "As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government." - Dave Barry

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    Talking

    yeah i hit a racoon one day one the way to our hall. went over the handlebars. all scraped up and still made the truck.
    j

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    The latest win in March for Chris' mom was appealed at the final hour in May by the DoJ (all articles from the Delco Times):

    Department of Justice appeals Kangas decision
    Stephanie Whalen, Of the Times Staff
    05/31/2006

    http://www.delcotimes.com/site/index...id=18171&rfi=8

    Editorial: Kangas should be honored as firefighter
    06/02/2006

    http://www.delcotimes.com/site/index...id=18171&rfi=8

    Spencer: Even bureaucracies have the right to be right
    Gil Spencer, Times Columnist
    06/02/2006

    http://www.delcotimes.com/site/index...id=18171&rfi=8

    Delco remains spellbound by Silverman
    06/03/2006

    http://www.delcotimes.com/site/index...id=18171&rfi=8
    "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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