Baltimore Firefighter Unions Say Firefighter Safety Act Could Prevent Them From Doing Their Jobs – CBS Baltimore

BALTIMORE (WJZ) – Two local firefighters’ unions made it clear on Tuesday that they do not support the Firefighters Safety Act because it “seems to be prepared to unreasonably restrict” them from performing their duties. me.

The Baltimore Firemen’s Association and the Baltimore Fire Officers’ Association, in a six-page letter to the Baltimore City Council, described their displeasure with the bill, which regulates how firefighters should respond when An empty building was on fire.

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Councilmember Danielle McCray (D-District 2) make an invoice after three firefighters were killed on January 24 after part of an empty house burned down on them.

A fourth firefighter – John McMaster – was buried among the rubble but survived his wound.

“At the scene of the fire at 203-7 S. Stricker St., we tragically lost the lives of Lieutenant Kelsey Sadler and Firefighter Kenneth Lacayo,” the letter read. “This incident has shaken the conscience not only of the Baltimore Fire Department, but also of the community. Together we share the grief and mourn the loss of our friends, as we grapple with each other on how best to move forward. ”

But the firefighters did not want to continue with the restrictions the law was meant to place on them.

The bill contains a provision banning firefighters from attacking fires from iStay inside a building if it is abandoned, vacant, or uninhabited unless it is confirmed that someone is inside the building, that the fire is consuming less than 25 percent of the structure, and that conditions permit safe entry.

Additionally, the bill calls for fire department personnel to travel no more than 15 miles per hour above the specified speed limit when responding to an emergency. It will also require firefighters to wear helmets and thermal imaging cameras in masks, to be used only at the site of a fire.

That aspect of the bill confused some firefighters because it “seeks to solve a problem that doesn’t exist,” the letter said.

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McCray noted in a statement earlier this year issued by the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health and the Board of Inquiry’s Internal Investigations Division, highlighting the “alarming lack of regulatory system internal accountability at the fire scene”.

Representatives from the Baltimore City Fire Department and a union of firefighters said they were not contacted about the bill before it was submitted. Richard Langford, president of the International Association of Firefighters in Baltimore, said McCray’s law was created with good intentions but was flawed.

“I think there needs to be a lot of discussion with the fire department governing body, with both unions sitting with the council to really address this and turn it into something that is not a response. knee,” Langford said of the bill.

But now, push has come pushback. In a letter representing more than 2,500 Baltimore Fire Department employees and firefighters, both active and retired, fire officials argued that the bill contains troubling language about speed limits. . Fire officials noted that speed was not a factor in the deaths of Butrim, Sadler and Lacayo.

Additionally, the bill’s parameters for entering an empty building on fire are questionable, according to fire officials.

The law states that the fire must consume less than 25% of the structure at the time of entry. But how does one measure the fire and know whether it burned 24 percent of the home or 26 percent of the home, fire officials said.

In addition, the law “unduly restricts the Superintendent’s power to supervise and direct the activities of the Department,” the letter read.

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“The Firefighter Safety Act’s Rules of Participation section is filled with contradictions and does not serve the general fire service industry standards, especially not those of the City of Baltimore Fire Department,” the letter reads. . “The Cohesive Rules are best left to the experts, the Baltimore City Fire Department and its members to develop, implement, and revise.” Baltimore Firefighter Unions Say Firefighter Safety Act Could Prevent Them From Doing Their Jobs – CBS Baltimore

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