National News

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Verizon denies allegations that it’s throttling mobile data for Hurricane Florence victims

Verizon said Tuesday that it is not slowing down or degrading the wireless services of North Carolina residents who have been affected by Hurricane Florence, after a report surfaced accusing the company of "deprioritiz[ing]" mobile data plans. A hurricane victim identifying him- or herself as a Verizon customer posted to reddit Monday saying that it has been days since it has been possible to check Facebook or email from a mobile device in a small town in eastern North Carolina. "We traveled into a bigger town and called Verizon to check and see if there was a data outage," the person wrote. "Only, I was told that my unlimited plan was deprioritized for being to low tier of a plan. But if I upgraded to a higher plan my service would be restored."
Greensboro News & Record

DWI arrest highlights battle between fire fighters union and Texas city

The current collective bargaining agreement between the City of San Antonio and the San Antonio Professional Fire Fighter’s Union expired four years ago. Right now, the first responders are operating on an evergreen plan, keeping the most current contract in place and allowing time to negotiate. But the city says that's not happening. Earlier this month, 31-year-old Jesus Cuevas was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated. Thanks to the current collective bargaining agreement, Cuevas could use taxpayer money to mount his legal defense. "I don't think the average taxpayer knows they pay for the legal defense of a firefighter when they're in a divorce, arrested for something, going through a bankruptcy, child custody case,” said City of San Antonio Director of Government and Public Affairs Jeff Coyle. San Antonio

Pipe Pressure Before Massachusetts Gas Explosions Was 12 Times Too High

The pressure in natural gas pipelines prior to a series of explosions and fires in Massachusetts last week was 12 times higher than it should have been, according to a letter from the state's U.S. senators to executives of the utility in charge of the pipelines. Democratic U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey sent the letter Monday seeking answers about the explosions from the heads of Columbia Gas, the company that serves the communities of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover, and NiSource, the parent company of Columbia Gas. "The federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has reported that the pressure in the Columbia Gas system should have been around 0.5 pounds per square inch (PSI), but readings in the area reached at least 6 PSI - twelve times higher than the system was intended to hold," the letter said.
NBC Boston

What you need to know about ISO’s 2018 Public Protection Classification

ISO has been developing grades of fire suppression capabilities for communities under our Public Protection Classification program for many years. We recognize there are often questions about the PPC process. This article is designed to help provide a better understanding of our PPC, along with information about some ways fire chiefs can get help with the related process. ISO has undergone significant changes in the last 10 years, and is now a Verisk business. As part of our transformation, we’ve provided extensive outreach to communities under the umbrella of ISO Community Hazard Mitigation. Our related team works to foster an active relationship with fire departments, building departments, water suppliers and community officials throughout the country.

Missouri city manager accuses public safety workers of harassment in pay dispute

Joplin's finance director says critics are trying to force her out of her job, and the city manager says city employees who continue to stir rumors and act disrespectful could face disciplinary action. City Manager Sam Anselm holds fire and police employees responsible for repeated incidents in which he said untruths have been spread and employees have acted out against other city employees, such as the finance director, and the City Council. ... Asked if there is a personnel investigation of the allegations, the city manager said no information would be disclosed because it would be a personnel matter. The president of the firefighters union says the union has not been involved in asking the widow of a police officer to come forward with allegations against the Haases. He said that if individual firefighters have been involved, they have the right to express their own opinions.
Joplin Globe

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Missouri fire chief cites harassment, bullying as reason for resignation

Citing a campaign of harassment, antagonism and bullying, Sunrise Beach Fire Protection District Chief Dennis P. Reilly, is stepping down from the position he has held since 2012. In a letter dated Sept. 14 to the SBFPD Board of Directors, Reilly announced his intention to relinquish his duties effective on or about Oct. 10. Reilly will remain on the district’s payroll until Oct. 31, using accrued vacation time. In the letter, Reilly made several references to the turmoil that has been taking place within the district. For the last several months, the district has come under fire by a member of the board, Bob Hemen, who has questioned Reilly’s leadership and management of the district. Reilly said he has witnessed and been a victim of Hemen’s campaign of intimidation and bullying against employees. Reilly said at this point in career he has decided to resign and move on to another position.
Lake News Online

As Hurricane Roared, North Carolina Fire Station Burned

On Sunday, Fire Chief Teddy Stamatis had just left his home to go shopping when a fire call came in for a working fire at the Macclesfield Rural Fire Department's station. On arrival Stamatis found heavy fire showing in the firehouse. He was able to get one of the apparatus bay doors open and remove one of his tankers to safety. He tried to get back in but the building was too heavily involved. He could hear the other local fire departments responding and many of his firefighters were now arriving on location. There wasn't much they could do until the other fire apparatus arrived. A total of 10 different stations responding with over 70 firefighters, and they took several hours to bring the fire, which was reported at about 9:30 a.m. under control. Crews were still extinguishing hot spots and removing debris at 4:30 pm, seven hours after arrival.

Unique Ohio fire department partnership connects seniors to services so they can remain in their homes

Norwich Township Fire Chief Jeff Warren was happy to be wrong. He thought the number of people enrolled in his fire department’s collaborative program with National Church Residences was around 100. Actually, it’s already grown to 120. Not far off, but he still underestimated it, which meant more people were getting help than he figured. “That’s just amazing,” Warren said with a smile Thursday as he stood in the bay of Station 81. The program, now one of three in Franklin County, seeks to fill a gap in the health-care system for seniors by connecting them with services available in their community to help them age in place — such as installing grab bars in homes or helping them understand their prescription schedule. In this case, fire departments deal daily with seniors who reach out to them for a variety of needs outside of emergency medical services.
Columbus Dispatch

FDNY EMS workers, elected officials call for mayor to stop opposing paid sick leave for 9/11 responders

More than 17 years after the Sept. 11 attacks, EMTs sickened at the World Trade Center are still fighting for unlimited sick time due to resistance, they say, from Mayor de Blasio. Lawmakers and union leaders ripped de Blasio Monday for his opposition to legislation that would expand unlimited sick time — already available to NYPD officers and FDNY firefighters, and to first responders from outside the city — to another about 4,000 city workers, including FDNY EMS workers. “My message is simple: We respected you, we rescued you. Now we need to be rescued,” Oren Barzilay, president of EMS union Local 2507 said at a City Hall Park press conference. De Blasio has opposed to a state bill that would extend unlimited sick time to EMS workers, members of the Transport Workers Union and other city employees who became ill working on the 9/11 response
New York Daily News

Oprah Winfrey honors first responders as new USPS stamp is unveiled

First responders were honored Friday at a U.S. Postal Service stamp ceremony in Montecito. The firefighters, law enforcement officers and emergency medical personnel who assisted during the Thomas Fire and Jan. 9 mudslide were specifically recognized as a new, commemorative "First Responder" Forever stamp was dedicated. Oprah Winfrey, a resident of Montecito herself, gave the keynote address at Friday's ceremony. "Brave, valiant, daring, undaunted, fearless - those are words but there just aren't enough words or emotions, actually, to describe the heart, the soul, and the fortitude required to sign up to be a first responder," she said.

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