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The Association of Fire Districts of the State of New York, a not-for-profit corporation, works to improve the fiscal responsibility, efficiency and effectiveness of the fire district management through education, training and advocacy for commissioners and other fire district officials in the 57 counties outside of the City of New York.
Forming Fire Districts, Fire Protection Districts and Consolidation of Services
Fire departments in towns, villages and cities have for many years explored more efficient ways to provide, improve and to deliver fire, rescue and EMS services to their communities. The 'Basic Fire Department Structure" document provided here provides a “How to” guide containing information to assist local officials in the process of establishing new Fire Protection Districts, Fire Districts, Joint Fire District in Towns and Villages, and resources for consolidating Fire Protection in Fire Districts, Fire Protection Districts and Villages. Formation and consolidation decisions should not be made based on information or links presented here; Officials should always consult with attorneys? that specializes fire service law.
?Basic Fire Department Structure Document (pdf)
Supplementing Volunteer Resources
Transitioning from an all-volunteer to a combination department (supplementing volunteers with paid resources) is one of the most difficult decisions a fire district can make. However, in many cases, it’s the correct one and is usually a result from fire departments and EMS organizations struggling to recruit and retain enough volunteer resources.
“Many fire departments have successfully implemented changes to address staff and volunteer shortages, but most departments continue to face challenges in their efforts to bolster or even sustain volunteer memberships in a time when community expectations and operational demands are increasing”.
On September 25, 2014 a facilitated day long symposium co-sponsored by the Association of Fire Districts of the State of New York and the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs brought together a group of 28 participants that included long-serving and experienced fire service leaders from across New York State that where considered ‘subject matter experts’ in areas of volunteer fire department management. The group was brought together to evaluate and summarize issues related to supplementing volunteer resources in the fire service and which led to the preparation of the attached “Supplementing Volunteer Resources” guidance document that fire districts across the state can use when considering options and strategies to address fire department staffing and meet operational demands.
The symposium discussions and guidance are intended to serve as a resource for fire districts and departments when they are evaluating options to enhance volunteer participation; but also includes options to supplement volunteer resources by consolidating services, contracting for services or adding paid staff to supplement the volunteer force.
The goal of the symposium was to capture successful strategies and to identify ‘best practices’ that fire departments have used to address volunteer participation and enhanced staffing, It further recognizes failures and challenges that departments have encountered when working to meet staffing needs and provides an analysis of the range of options departments can consider when addressing their volunteer force and staffing requirements.
This is a must read and a great reference document for any fire district or other emergency service organizations considering supplementing their volunteer resources.
The 44 page “Supplementing Volunteer Resources” guidance document (pdf) can be viewed, downloaded and printed.
Supplementing Volunteer Resource Guidance Document
Eileen Franko –Director, Division of Safety and Health, was a guest speaker at the AFDSNY 72nd Annual Conference Saturday morning April 18th and provided Fire District Officials in attendance an overview of the recently released document entitled “Recommended Best Practices for Fire Department Training Programs” and discussed changes to the annual OSHA refresher training in the document entitled “Fire Department Annual Refresher".
The Department of Labor (DOL) worked with the Office of Fire Prevention and Control (OFPC), the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York, the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs, the Association of Fire Districts of New York State, and the County Fire Coordinators Association of the State of New York to develop the documents. These documents were developed to help clarify the levels and types of training required for firefighters in New York State. However, these best practices do not limit an Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) from establishing training requirements which exceed the recommended minimum standards.
These regulations require that fire department members must be provided with training and education “associated and consistent with the duties and functions that such fire department members are expected to perform”. This regulation is intended to ensure the safety of firefighters. It also requires fire department leaders and training instructors to receive training and education which is more comprehensive than that provided to the general membership of the fire department.
It was mentioned that the Department of Labor (DOL) and Office of Fire Prevention and Control (OFPC), realizes that training may come from various sources, such as those offered by OFPC; vendors; in-house department training and from the fire service associations. Their focus is to website ensure that competencies are achieved by firefighters and their leaders and are not focused on the specific source of the training. Eileen mentioned that training received from any source must be properly documented.
The annual OSHA refresher requirements document entitled “Fire Department Annual Refresher” was also discussed. This document identifies the required topics that must be covered and the applicable standard, as well how to identify additional topics specific to your department and your firefighters.
Director Franko noted that these new requirements changes are no longer hour dependent. As you will see in the document there is no longer a requirement that you provide a specific number of hours of annual refresher training (8) but rather that you must provide and document annual safety training in 6 specific areas as well as additional training from the suggested areas that apply to your department. This training does not have to occur in one single class, but must occur each year.
Eileen mentioned that both of these documents along with a memo will be mailed to the Chief officer of your departments. The AFDSNY also mailed these documents to District Officials.
These best practices information is already available here: www.dhses.ny.gov/ofpc/training/documents/training-best-practices.pdf
In addition, all of the documents and information mentioned above can be accessed by clicking the highlighted text below as a single file (pdf) for your convenience.
Memo - Best Practice's OSHA / PESH documents