[cifnmedia] Re: Volunteer Firefighter Job Protection Act

  • From: Sean & Kimberly Aaron <cifn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: cifnmedia@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 2 Aug 2004 18:57:42 -0700 (PDT)

Marc,

I agree to a point, but I think our main problem is that the federal government 
is putting more and more as far as mandating training to volunteers who have 
families and jobs and so on, and they expect the volunteers to continue the 
same amount of dedication, volunteers really don't have alot of time to train, 
look for instance at the U.S. Military, when I was in the reserves each year 
you are required to do 2 weeks training and 1 weekend a month, (Your Employer) 
has to let you go they can not get rid of you or disipline you for missing that 
time.

Without volunteers your town or city is unsafe, due to having to wait for 
neighboring departments or what ever. I was a firefighter for 15 years in 
Maryland, I was an Instructor at the UofMD Fire & Rescue Institute, I was 
career for 5 years, career is great because you train and take classes while at 
work so you can keep that standard of training up. Employers should be happy to 
see that they have people working for them that are willing to dedicate 
themselves and their lives to taking care of the people & property in the 
community. 

Back when I started w/ the Hurlock Vol. Fire Department in Maryland it was 
nothing of local business's to let firefighters leave work to assist on calls, 
but I think those days are over, don't get me wrong I understand that the 
company has work to be done and they have a time period to get it done, but I 
used to work for a consturction co. when I was younger and the owner was a 
volunteer ff and he understood the importance of getting training, being ready 
and prepared to handle anything at anytime, I do think however that the company 
should NOT have to pay you if you take off for training. I think this is also a 
problem as to why we are seeing less and less volunteer Emergency Medical 
people because they are mandating so many hours of continuing ed. that most 
people who love to volunteer but who have families and 2 jobs to pay bills or 
what ever can't afford to keep their training up so they just drop their 
license and give up on years of hard work, Then you look at the paid side, you 
read alot of articles more and more about paid EMS services shutting down 
because the cities or towns or counties just can't afford to operate anymore, 
so now where do you stand? No paid department, No volunteers, so now you are 
back to the beginning again where does it stop? We will always need volunteers 
and they will always need training, but the government needs to figure out a 
way to make things easier for the volunteers who care about what they do. Just 
my 2 cents...


Sean A. Aaron (CIFN*1)
Central Illinois Fire Network
cifn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
www.geocities.com/central_illinois_firenet



--- "MARCO" <MISOME@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
in michigan we are protected if were at a call before work, then we can not
be fired as long as we bring in a letter from the chief. but we are not
covered for training i think thats going a bit to far, if you want to goto
training the use your vacation days.  Think about the employers when your
gone from your job your are costing them money because they haft to get
someone else to do your job. i goto alot of trainings at the fire academy in
maryland and in michigan and i use my vacation days. my employers in no way
has to give me time off so i can train, besides we may train during the day
but at night its one big party usually.

marc
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Sean & Kimberly Aaron" <cifn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
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Sent: Monday, August 02, 2004 7:50 PM
Subject: [cifnmedia] Volunteer Firefighter Job Protection Act


Fellow Illinois firefighters,



As you may have heard House Bill 4851, Volunteer Firefighter Job Protection
Act, has passed both houses and is sitting on the Governor’s desk.  If he
does not veto the bill within the next couple of weeks, it will become law.
This Bill is something that the state of Illinois has needed for years to
protect our volunteer firefighters.  However, in looking over the bill
several local firefighters and myself noticed some important things missing.



First, there was no inclusion for volunteer EMTs.  I have searched all
weekend on the website and cannot find any sister bill that would protect
volunteer EMTs.  Secondly, we thought it was more important to get time off
from work to maintain training!  It would be great to be allowed time off to
attend Fire College or some other training class.



Attached is a letter that I am sending out today to the sponsors and members
of the General Assembly trying to get amendments for EMT protection and time
off for training added to the Volunteer Firefighter Job Protection Act.  The
attached names in bold print were sponsors of the bill, while the others are
Senators and Representatives for our local area.



Please, if you feel the same as I do, that training is just as or even more
important, take the time to write a letter to your Senator, Representative,
and the sponsors of HB4851 to have them add these amendments.



Sincerely,

Rod Stewart

Firefighter/EMT

Taylor Springs Fire Department

Taylor Springs, IL



http://www.legis.state.il.us/legislation/billstatus.asp?DocNum=4851&GAID=3&DocTypeID=HB&LegID=9506&SessionID=3



9-11-01: Never forget our fallen brother firefighters

__----------------------------------------------------------------------

Rodney A. Stewart
1201 East Tremont
Hillsboro, IL 62049
217-532-6102
E-mail: hollywoodfire822@xxxxxxxx

Monday, August 02, 2004

Representative Jim Watson
200-4N Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706

Honorable Representative Watson,

As a proud member of the Illinois Fire and Emergency Medical Services
community for eighteen years, I would like to applaud you and the members of
the Illinois General Assembly for passing HB-4851 – The Volunteer
Firefighters Job Protection Act. I believe that this Bill speaks very highly
for the Illinois General Assembly’s support for the fire service community.

There are, however, two issues that should be added to the Act that require
your support.  The addition of these two issues would greatly improve the
Volunteer Firefighters Job Protection Act and would benefit all members of
the Fire and Emergency Medical Services within the State of Illinois.

First, there is no provision under the Act for the protection of volunteer
Emergency Medical Technicians.  Communities that rely on volunteer
firefighters also rely on separate volunteer Emergency Medical Technicians.
While in these communities the primary EMS crews may be “on call” (persons
that have made themselves available for that specific day), it is the need
for additional units that more than likely requires Emergency Medical
Technicians to be late for work or miss work completely.  I believe, either
through this Act or another similar Act, volunteer Emergency Medical
Technicians should be afforded the same job protection as volunteer
firefighters.


Secondly, especially in the case of very small communities, it is often not
an issue of having enough firefighters on the scene of an incident as it is
allowing volunteer firefighter’s time for training.  Training issues have
plagued the Illinois fire service for years.  Often it is difficult for
volunteer firefighters to maintain up to date training, including basic
firefighter training because of work commitments.  And now, in the post 9/11
world, firefighters, especially volunteers, are being required to spend more
time training on advanced and specialized skills such as hazardous
materials.  Due to recent mandates, many of these classes have specific
teaching time periods they must be taught in and specific locations that the
classes must be taught at.  The governing bodies (Office of the State Fire
Marshall, Illinois Emergency Management, and the Illinois Fire Service
Institute) are either unwilling or unable to make special provisions for
each volunteer department.  An amendment to the Volunteer Firefighter Job
Protection Act, whereas volunteer firefighters would be allowed time off for
training with prior notification in writing by the fire department
supervisor, is imperative to the safety of the citizens of the state of
Illinois.  This amendment would be similar to the state of Illinois
requirements for employers when dealing with members of the National Guard
and military reserves.  The inclusion of this amendment would put Illinois
in the national forefront in the protection of volunteer firefighter’s jobs.
It would allow for volunteer firefighters to receive training that they
would otherwise be unable to get.  It would increase revenue to the state
and communities by allowing more firefighters to attend local and statewide
training that would involve traveling, meals, and lodging.  And again, the
bottom line would be safer communities and a safer Illinois.

It is my hope that you would take these amendments into consideration and
introduce legislation providing for these amendments.  Passage of these
amendments would solidify the General Assembly’s support to the Illinois
fire and emergency medical service community and the volunteer firefighters
and emergency medical technicians that protect this great state.


Sincerely,




Rodney A. Stewart
Firefighter-EMT
Taylor Springs Volunteer Fire Department
Taylor Springs, Illinois

------------------------------------------------------------------------


Representative Mike Boland
243-E Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706

Representative Careen Gordon
276-S Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706

Representative Larry McKeon
279-S Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706

Representative Patrick Verschoore
250-W Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706

Representative John E. Bradley
275-S Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706

Senator Gary Forby
M115 Capital Building
Springfield, IL 62706

Senator Patrick Welch
121A Capital Building
Springfield, IL 62706

Senator Denny Jacobs
123 Capital Building
Springfield, IL 62706

Senator Carol Ronen
M113 Capital Building
Springfield, IL 62706

Senator Frank Watson
309A Capital Building
Springfield, IL 62706

Senator Larry Bomke
105D Capital Building
Springfield, IL 62706

Senator Deanna Demuzio
323 Capital Building
Springfield, IL 62706

Representative Gary Hanning
300 Capital Building
Springfield, IL 62706

Representative Ron Stephens
220 Capital Building
Springfield, IL 62706

Representative Robert F. Flider
282-S Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706

Representative Rich Brauer
E-1 Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706

Representative Raymond Poe
E-1 Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706

Representative Jim Watson
200-4N Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706





Sean A. Aaron (CIFN*1)
Central Illinois Fire Network
cifn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
www.geocities.com/central_illinois_firenet


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