Tag: Fire Service Leadership

House Hearing Spotlights Fire Service Occupational Cancer

(May 18, 2017) – On Wednesday, May 17th, the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health held a hearing titled “Examining Initiatives to Advance Public Health.”  The hearing addressed several current pieces of legislation before the committee, including H.R. 931, the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act.  

H.R. 931,  introduced by Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27), directs the Center for Disease Control to create a specialized national registry to provide researchers and epidemiologists with the tools and resources they need to improve research collection activities related to the monitoring of cancer incidence among firefighters.  Kevin O’Connor, Assistant to the General President for Governmental Affairs and Public Policy at the International Association of Fire Fighters, testified in favor of the bill.

“Our nation is served by approximately one million professional and volunteer fire fighters who respond to nearly 35 million calls for assistance each year.  Statistics maintained by the National Fire Protection Association indicate that there are approximately two million fires or hazardous materials incidents annually, routinely placing fire fighters in environments where they will be exposed to carcinogens and toxic chemicals,” Mr. O’Connor stated in his testimony.  He went on further to say that the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act “will lead to a preeminent centralized data collection point that will aid in studies that we expect to result in better prevention and treatment measures for fire fighters.”

Senator Robert Menendez (NJ) introduced companion legislation, S. 382, in the Senate on February 15, 2017.   

Congress Passes Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Improvement Act

(May 18, 2017) – This week, Congress passed legislation designed to improve the timeliness and transparency in the Justice Department’s processing of the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program survivor, disability, and educational assistance claims.  S. 419, the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Improvements Act, was introduced by Senator Charles Grassley (IA) on February 16, 2017.  The bill will address on-going problems with the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (PSOB) program.

The legislation allows the PSOB office to issue rules, regulations and procedures that are based on standards developed by other federal agencies dealing with death or disability claims of public safety officers.  This is in direct response to the Department of Justice’s delay in adopting the World Trade Center Health Program and Victims’ Compensation Fund findings associated with 9/11-related claims.  Additionally, the legislation restores the “substantial weight” standard that requires the PSOB office to give substantial weight to the findings of federal, state, and local agencies as to the cause of the public safety officer’s death or disability prior to the rewrite of regulations in 2005.  The bill also requires the PSOB office to post a public weekly status report on claims and to make a detailed biannual report to Congress.

S. 419 was approved unanimously by the Senate on Tuesday, May 16th.  The House unanimously approved the bill the following day.  The legislation will now go to the White House for the President’s signature.

Congressional Staff Participate in Ride-Along with DC Fire & EMS

(May 18, 2017) – On Friday, May 12th, approximately 20 staff members from the House and Senate participated in a ride-along with the District of Columbia Fire and EMS Department.  This was a unique opportunity for Congressional staff to witness firsthand the daily operations of firehouses in our nation’s capital as they accompanied firefighters to actual emergencies and observed their actions.

“We extend our appreciation to Chief Gregory Dean and the men and women of the DC Fire and EMS Department for sponsoring this important educational opportunity for Congressional staff,” said Bill Webb, Executive Director of the Congressional Fire Services Institute.  “There are few better ways for Congressional staff to learn about the challenges our firefighters face than by spending a night at the firehouse and seeing firsthand what our frontline responders face every day.”  

CFSI’s mission is to educate Congress about the needs and challenges of our nation’s fire and emergency services.  Partnering with local fire departments, like the DC Fire and EMS Department, is a critical component in delivering that message.  

Forging New Relationships: Fire Service Leaders from Across the Nation Attend CFSI Event to Deliver Important Messages on Capitol Hill

The Congressional Fire Services Institute took great pride in hosting the 29th Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Symposium and Dinner Program on April 5th and 6th, in Washington, DC. Over 1,500 fire and emergency services leaders from across the country attended this year’s program, spending much of their time attending seminars and meetings with the members of Congress.

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House Judiciary Committee Approves The Honoring Hometown Heroes Act

(May 4, 2017) – On May 3, 2017, the House Judiciary Committee approved H.R. 1892, the Honoring Hometown Heroes Act, by voice vote.  The legislation, which was introduced by Congressman John Larson (CT-1), amends the U.S. Flag Code, affirming the ability of state governors, as well as the mayor of the District of Columbia, to order the lowering of the United States flag to half-staff in the event of the death of a first responder in the line- of- duty.  

In 2013, CFSI’s National Advisory Committee approved a resolution calling on CFSI to support the legislation.  Companion legislation is expected to be introduced in the Senate later this month.

CFSI Releases 2017 Legislative Outlook

(March 23, 2017) – The Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) has released a Legislative Outlook for the First Session of the 115th Congress.  In 2017, Congress will consider a number of critically important issues to the nation’s fire and emergency services. Their actions will have a direct impact on the fire service’s ability to prepare for, respond to, prevent, and mitigate incidents both large and small: natural and man-made, local and national in scope.  The CFSI Legislative Outlook is intended to be a resource for members of the fire service, detailing some of critical issues Congress will be considering.  

“On April 5th and 6th, nearly 2,000 fire service leaders will be in Washington, DC attending the 2017 National Fire and Emergency Services Symposium and Dinner.  As part of the event, they will be on Capitol Hill meeting with members of Congress to discuss a number of critical issues,” said Bill Webb, CFSI’s Executive Director.  “We hope this document will not only prove to be a valuable resource for them while they prepare for their trip to our nation’s capital, but also for the members of Congress they will be meeting with.”  

The 2017 CFSI Legislative Outlook can be found at CFSI’s website, as well as a list of current legislation pending before Congress.