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OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE

The Bravest

UNIFORMED FIREFIGHTERS ASSOCIATION OF GREATER NEW YORK

WWW.UFANYC.ORG

VOL. XLV NO. 3, 2009

President’s Message t is with great sadness that I report Firefighter

I

Paul

Warhola,

of

Engine

221

in

the

Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, died on

5-5-5-5

August 14th at Bellevue Hospital as a result of a stroke he suffered after operating at Brooklyn Box 106 on August 12th. Firefighter Warhola was a 15year veteran of the FDNY and was among the ten thousand plus firefighters that responded to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade

Firefighter Paul Warhola

Center. He is survived by his wife Arleen; a son Paul, 15; and a daughter, Tiana, 13. Funeral services were

beginning the UFA endorsed and supported both can-

didates who were vocal critics of Mayor Bloomberg’s held August 19th at St. John the Evangelist Roman successful effort to persuade the City Council to Catholic Church in Center Moriches where thousands amend the term limits law so he could run for a third firefighters, police, and emergency personnel flooded term. We will work to make John Liu and Bill de the town to pay their respects. Please keep Firefighter Blasio prevail in the November general election and Warhola and his family in our thoughts and prayers. the UFA asks that you and your family and friends In the Democratic runoff election on vote for them on November 3rd. September 29th, John Liu, a councilman from Queens On September 16th, I, along with the running for city Comptroller, and Bill de Blasio, a Executive Board, announced the UFA’s endorsement councilman from Brooklyn running for Public of the Bill Thompson for mayor. Bill has been a Advocate, easily defeated their opponents. From the staunch supporter of firefighters he understands and (Continued on Page 2)


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(President’s Message - Continued from page 1) can relate to the struggles of working class families. He Battalion 18 hosted the annual memorial service at the recognizes that public safety is dangerously compro- Firefighters Memorial Monument on Riverside Drive mised when firehouses are closed or fire company and 100th Street to commemorate the eighth anniverstaffing levels are reduced. He is committed to keeping sary of the attacks on the World Trade Center. After the firehouses open and the Department fully funded. Under Bloomberg’s administration, FDNY leadership is bloated and mismanaged and, as we have seen with the Deutsche Bank tragedy, accountability does not exist at the top. It can’t be forgotten that Mayor Bloomberg closed 6 firehouses in 2003 and then tried closing another 16 fire companies this year, blatantly disregarding the safety of both firefighters and the public. Remember, Mayor Bloomberg is spending $200 million to get reelected to a third term. There is little doubt that firehouse closings will be proposed

event firefighters attended a memorial Mass at St. John the Divine. On October 7th, FDNY Memorial Day Services were also observed at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Thousands of firefighters turned out to honor members of the Department that have died since October 2008. Memorialized this year were FF Jamel M. Sears, BOT; Lt Robert J. Ryan, Jr., E-155; and FF Paul Warhola, E-221, all of whom died in the line of duty. The following active members who died in the past year were also honored: FF Thomas Orlando, E-65; EMT Wendell O’Brien, BHS; FF Salvatore Scarentino, L-24; FF John J. Kelly, E-37; Paramedic Clyde F.

again if Bloomberg is reelected.

Sealy, BHS; FF Christopher M. Velez, Sq-252; FF It is only with your support that Bill Thompson Timothy G. Lockwood, E-275; EMT Ruby L. Greaves, will get elected. If you want a Mayor that will appoint EMD; and FF John F. McNamara, E-243. These two an administration that will respect firefighters, and one memorial events, always so close to each other, remind who understands the middle class and working fami- us that we must never forget our fallen brothers who lies, turn out and make your voice heard on November made the supreme sacrifice. New York City 3rd. The UFA has mobilized Get-Out-The-Vote field Firefighters have one of the most dangerous jobs in the operations to rally support for Bill Thompson and all world. Let us keep the families of our fallen brothers members are encouraged to support our ramped up and sisters in our thoughts and prayers. As always, stay efforts to bring our endorsed candidates to victory in safe! the general election. On Friday, September 11th, members of

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Legislative Update By James Slevin, UFA Vice President, Legislative Chairman Two down, One Close Race To Go – General Election November 3rd The UFA backed candidates for Comptroller, John Liu, and Public Advocate, Bill de Blasio, both won in the runoff elections. The UFA endorsed these candidates prior to the primary after interviewing all of the candidates that were running. We endorsed these candidates based on their strong positions and past history supporting firefighter issues, along with our belief that they had the ability to win. The UFA was one of only a few unions that supported both of these candidates. Each candidate received the most votes in the primary but failed to reach the crucial 40% number to avoid the runoff. Despite not getting the 40%, they both cruised to victory in the runoff. The UFA provided key support for both candidates. John Liu and Bill

de Blasio both expressed their gratitude for our help and support.

They both face a challenger in the

General Election but are expected to win easily. We look forward to working with them on January 1st. Now our attention is focused on the Mayoral race. On September 16th, the UFA proudly endorsed Bill Thompson for Mayor. UFA members have been turning out in force at subway stops, rallies, walks and other special events.

This support will continue

through Election Day. Bloomberg will spend almost a quarter of a billion dollars to try and make the voters forget that he closed seven firehouses and tried to close 16 more (and will close them if he is re-elected), disregarded the will of the voters by overturning term-limits, increased fees, tickets and other taxes that makes it next to impossible for our members to live in the neigh(Continued on page 4)

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen N Symbolik III

The UFA formally endorsed Bill Thompson for Mayor on September 16th.

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Legislative Update - (Continued from page 3 borhoods they serve, and has left an administration in people out to support Bill Thompson. In addition to the the Fire Department that penalizes our members for daily Battalion campaigning, we will be looking for every little mishap while there is no accountability for extra volunteers to turn out for special events closer to their major failures. All of these issues affect our mem- Election Day. Look out for these events on the UFA bers and their families.

Web site and postings via fax and email in the fire-

Despite the outrageous spending by Bloomberg house. At the October membership meeting delegates his poll numbers have not risen, while Bill Thompson’s were provided with contribution forms, lawn/window have. This race is getting tighter and will continue to signs and satellite campaign office locations. If you do so. All hands are needed to support Bill Thompson did not get any of these items and you are interested for Mayor. Every Battalion will continue to provide please speak with your delegate. This election is too troops. Members should be doing everything possible important not to turn out and get involved. Election to make sure that they are available on each assigned Day is November 3rd. Turn out get involved – make day. The turnout is expected to be light on Election Bill Thompson the next mayor of NYC! Day so it becomes even more important for us to get

PHOTO CREDITS: Stephen N Symbolik III

Torrential rain did not deter thousands of New York City Firefighters, as well as firefighters from around the world, from attending the memorial service hosted by Battalion 18 at the Firefighter’s Memorial Monument on September 11th.

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General Counsel’s Column by Michael A. Block, Esq. New Law “Revised” Time-barred WTC Injury Claims

the City of New York, as long as a lawsuit against the

Currently, there are several hundred firefighters City is commenced by September 16, 2010. Thus, it is among thousands of plaintiffs seeking damages for per- a one year “revival” window. sonal injuries caused by the failure of the City of New

Accordingly, even if an individual knew he was

York and various contractors to provide them with injured more than a year and 90 days ago, that individproper respiratory protection during their rescue/recov- ual can now join the lawsuits pending in the federal ery efforts following the 9-11-01 terrorist attacks at the court against the City. World Trade Center site. All the claims are pending in

I urge anyone who is suffering from a WTC ill-

the federal court in lower Manhattan and are slowly ness caused by the inhalation of toxins during rescue proceeding toward trial.

and recovery operations at the WTC site, the Fresh

The defendants, the City of New York and var- Kills Landfill, the City Morgue, or on the barges that ious contractors, are insured for these claims by a one traveled between Manhattan and Fresh Kills, to call my billion dollar insurance policy funded by the federal office immediately to inquire about joining the litigagovernment.

tion.

Under the applicable law, in order to sue the

Finally, I have received many calls indicating

City a claimant has to file a Notice of Claim within 90 that there may be some confusion about the federal days of the date that he knew or should have known Victim

Compensation

Fund.

The

Victim

that he was injured. An actual lawsuit against the City Compensation Fund no longer exists. If you did not has to be commenced within one year and 90 days of previously receive an award from the Victim such a date.

Compensation Fund, your only remedy at this time to

Unfortunately, many firefighters did not meet recover for a WTC-related illness is the lawsuit noted the deadline for filing claims against the City for WTC above. illnesses and were either entirely time-barred from the

A bill is pending in Congress seeking to resur-

lawsuit or could only sue the contractors (against rect the Victim Compensation Fund. That bill has not whom the statute of limitations is three years).

yet moved forward, and has not been passed. If the

However, we are pleased to report that the Victim Compensation Fund statute is passed, we will Governor and state legislature have provided relief to certainly notify all firefighters. If you have joined the those individuals who were barred by the statute of lawsuit, you will still be permitted to drop the case and limitations from suing the City. On September 16, apply to the Fund. Thus, joining the lawsuit will not 2009, Governor Paterson signed a “revival” statute, prejudice your rights if the Victim Compensation Fund which allows an otherwise time-barred claim related to is brought back to life. the World Trade Center attacks to be brought against

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PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen N Symbolik III

Firefighters filled the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on October 7th for FDNY Memorial Day Services commemorating the deceased members of the FDNY.

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PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen N Symbolik III

Firefighters line Amsterdam Avenue in front of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. A formal review was conducted for the bereaved families immediately after the memorial service.

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Health & Safety Officer’s Column by William Romaka, Health & Safety Officer, Sergeant-at-Arms H1N1 (Swine) Flu Heed the Warnings!

By now everybody should be very much aware of the possible problems and complications from the H1N1 Flu Pandemic. This specific flu illness has shown a different pattern from the regular seasonal flu, with many young adults, school age children and pregnant women developing this illness. Some in this group have become very ill and some have died. Many of the very ill have had certain risk factors such as asthma, emphysema, severe obesity, and compromised immune systems. It should be remembered though, that anyone can become infected. Influenza is spread from person-to-person by contact with respiratory secretions from an infected person. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, the viruses are carried in large droplets which settle on the surfaces of the upper respiratory tracts of persons who are nearby (usually within three feet of the individual). The viruses can also spread by direct or indirect contact with these respiratory secretions – touching contaminated surfaces and then touching the eyes, nose, or mouth. The H1N1 (Swine) Flu is likely to be transmitted in the same manner that spreads the seasonal flu. The main transmission of flu viruses from person to person is through coughing or sneezing. Transmission can also occur by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching the mouth or nose. Persons with swine flu should be considered potentially contagious as long as they are symptomatic, and for up to seven days following illness onset.

As firefighters, we are exposed to the general population on a daily basis. For this reason and the desire to best protect our families, co-workers and ourselves, we strongly recommend that our members comply with stated protocol regarding every CFR run. This protocol includes only sending an officer and one firefighter wearing full Personal Protective Equipment. This equipment should include wearing the N95 mask, having your helmet eye shields in the down position, and gloves on as a minimum before entering the patient environment. It is important to remember that the concern is not merely the patient that the call was initiated for, but everybody you come in contact with could possibly expose you to this illness. To further reduce the risk for infection, the patient should be given a surgical mask or oxygen mask to help contain any secretions or droplets at the earliest possible time. When returning to quarters from these types of runs, you are advised to fill out an exposure report. A sample will be posted in the Health and Safety section on the UFA Web site (www.ufanyc.org). It is important to understand that if your company does not have the required supply of N95 masks, that the Officer notifies the Dispatcher that you are not available for CFR runs until an adequate supply is furnished. The best protection against this season’s H1N1 Flu is the H1N1 Flu Vaccination that will be available in the weeks to come. It is available on a voluntary basis, but is strongly recommended for those who are concerned about their families, their co-workers and themselves. This is especially important if you have small children or a pregnant wife at home. (Continued on page 9)

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(Continued from page 8)

It is important to correctly understand the facts regarding the possible side effects of the vaccine we will be getting instead of subscribing to the innuendo being thrown about. Generally, the side effects may include a mild fever or localized pain at the site. For this reason, the UFA has worked with Dr. Kerry Kelly to put out to the membership a “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) in a written format to address any member’s concerns! This also will be posted on the UFA Web site. Prevention of any infectious illness consists of constantly washing your hands, covering your mouth when you sneeze or cough, and when you have a fever staying away from others. The treatment for the flu is rest and fluids while minimizing other exposures. Tamiflu

and Relenza are available for members’ work related exposure to the H1N1 Flu. It is covered by the UFA Line-of-Duty card. These medications help to stop the replication of this virus and are most effective when used within the first 48 hours of symptoms, which is a critical time to fight the infection. The medication can minimize the symptoms and shorten the course of the illness. Additional information can be found at the following Web sites, which include the Bureau of Health Services “Health Connections” and the International Fire Fighters Association Web site. http://www.nyc.gov/html/fdny/html/emp_reso urces/health_connections/2009/sep09.shtml http://www.iaff.org/et/pandemicflu/index.htm

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Gone But Not Forgotten! By Herb Eysser

ENGINE 36

a century. Engine Co. 36 was an important part of the

Among the blunders and major tactical errors made by Harlem firefighting force which did a tremendous the Scoppetta Administration, none were more severe amount of fire duty over the years. Engine Co. 36 was than the closing of six FDNY engine companies in May always there, in position and on the fire floor for over 2003. There have been numerous serious and some- 138 years. Engine Co. 36 was part of the original paid times fatal fires in the neighborhoods once protected by New York Fire Department having been organized in these six engine companies. Engine Co. 36 in Harlem 1865. They were last quartered in Hook and Ladder was one of the six engine companies closed in 2003. 14’s old firehouse on East 125th Street between Park Engine Co.’s 36 response area was and still is experi- and Lexington Avenues. Their bells fell silent on May encing a renaissance and rejuvenation not seen in over 25, 2003. Gone but not forgotten!

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Members of Battalion 20 (above) and Battalion 2 (below) went on the campaign trail for Bill Thompson. All battalions have been turning out in force at subway stops, rallies, walks and other special events. This support will continue through Election Day. All hands are needed to elect Bill Thompson mayor on November 3rd!

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Uniformed Firefighters Association 204 EAST 23rd STREET, NEW YORK, N.Y. 10010-9998 Tel (212) 683-4832 • Fax (212) 683-0710 www.ufanyc.org

STEPHEN J. CASSIDY President ENG 236

JAMES M. SLEVIN Vice President

LAD 7

JOSEPH C. MICCIO Recording Secretary

ENG 295

ROBERT STRAUB Treasurer

ENG 45

WILLIAM ROMAKA Health & Safety Officer Sergeant-at-Arms LESTER LAYNE Fire Marshal Representative

STEPHEN J. CASSIDY Editor-In-Chief

ENG 238

BF1

JOHN G. KELLY, JR Trustee-Brooklyn ENG 201 Chairman, Board of Trustees DONALD RULAND Trustee-Staten Island

ENG 157

EDWARD BROWN Trustee-Bronx

LAD 48

DANIEL MURPHY Trustee-Manhattan

ENG 74

LEROY C. McGINNIS Trustee-Queens

STEPHEN N. SYMBOLIK III Managing Editor

ENG 266

PRESORTED STD. U.S. POSTAGE PAID PERMIT # 14 HUNTINGTON, NY


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The Fire Lines - July 2009