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The Bravest

OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE

UNIFORMED FIREFIGHTERS ASSOCIATION OF GREATER NEW YORK

VOl. XlVII NO. 3/4, 2011

Photo Credit: Stephen N. Symbolik III

WWW.UFANYC.ORG

Santa arrived in Times Square for the annual Widows’ & Children’s Christmas Party at the Toys R Us flagship store on November 20th. Pictured with Santa and Jeffrey the Giraffe are Firefighter Carl Graziano, L-172, Joseph Graffagnino, Jr., and Mia Graffagnino. The children’s father, Firefighter Joseph Graffagnino, L 5, made the supreme sacrifice on August 18, 2007 in the Deutsche Bank Fire.

President’s Message by Stephen J. Cassidy

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n Monday, December 19th, at 09:04 a 2-alarm fire broke out at Box 920 on the third floor of a brownstone in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, critically injuring Firefighter James Gersbeck, (R2) a 25-year FDNY veteran, and Firefighter Robert Wiedmann (R2), a 14-year FDNY veteran. Firefighter Wiedmann sustained 3rd-degree burns on 50 percent of his body. A video of the blaze, taken by a civilian from in front of the building, shows the front room on the 3rd floor pushing heavy smoke and then flashing over. Both Firefighters Gersbeck and Wiedmann were

trapped, however, Firefighter Gersbeck was able to escape to the hallway where he was assisted down the stairs and out of the building. Firefighter Wiedmann became engulfed in flames and the video shows him appearing at the window on fire! Miraculously, he was able to climb out the window onto the Ladder 132’s aerial where another firefighter had to literally pat down his bunker gear to extinguish the flames. Less than five seconds after Firefighter Wiedmann came out of the window, the video shows a line being opened on the fire from the interior (Engine 234) and begin to extinguish the fire. In a matter of a few seconds, the fire in the front room was knocked down. This dramatic footage highlights what we all know: Seconds

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count! (We have posted this video and news coverage of the fire, on our Web site at www.ufanyc.org.) Firefighters Gersbeck and Wiedmann were taken immediately to the Burn Center at New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Firefighter Gersbeck, though seriously injured, seems likely to recover. Firefighter Wiedmann’s life hangs in the balance. Inexplicably, an FDNY spokesperson at the scene said to the media that “the good news here today is the protective equipment they were wearing really helped them not sustain what could have been true lifethreatening injuries.” In response to my assertion that staffing cuts had a negative impact on the fire, another spokesperson is quoted as saying “We don’t see any operational or response issues.” The truth is, the Department is defending its decision to eliminate the 5th man on 60 engine companies which is directly responsible for the injuries that both firefighters suffered. Engine 234, the first engine to arrive on the scene, was a 5-man engine until February 1, 2011. Since then, Engine 234 and 59 other engines have been forced to operate understaffed. Time and again, these staffing reductions have negatively impacted our ability to quickly get water on a fire, however, none have had the disastrous consequences as this fire and, none have been caught on video tape. If Engine 234 had been fully staffed they would have been able to get a charged hose line in place at least one minute earlier. If water was flowing just 15 seconds earlier, neither firefighter would have been trapped; 30 seconds earlier, and the front room would not have flashed over; one minute earlier and the fire would have been quickly knocked down and confined to the back room where it started. In the wake of this tragic fire, the leadership of the FDNY has decided to defend a decision that they had to know would compromise the safety of firefighters and the public. I’m sure they hoped that the staffing reductions would not lead to the kind of serious injuries that Firefighters Gersbeck and Wiedmann sustained. I’m pretty damn sure that FDNY brass never imagined that such a dramatic fire would be caught on video. This video conclusively shows how a delay in getting water on a fire can have devastating consequences for firefighters and the public. The leadership of the FDNY boldly claimed in their affidavit in opposition to the UFA Roster Staffing case that they are “not aware of any evidence or

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data…indicating that four-firefighter FDNY companies are any less effective or less safe than their fivefirefighter FDNY counterparts.” You only need to look at the dramatic videos of this fire to see that such an assertion is nonsense. Again, every second counts! Now is the time for Commissioner Cassano to acknowledge that the decision to reduce staffing was a mistake and to immediately reverse this policy before more tragedies unfold. Let’s keep Firefighter Gersbeck and Firefighter Wiedmann, and their families, in our prayers. I wish each you a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year. As always, be safe!

Visit www.ufanyc.org

www.ufanyc.org


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Legislative Update By James M. Slevin, Vice President Political Success = Legislative Victories

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he UFA has built a successful and respected political action program. As a result of this success, we have enjoyed many victories at the City Council and in Albany. Most recently, we saved the Variable Supplement Fund, Governor Cuomo signed the 20 Year Pension Protection Bill, and we prevented the closing of firehouses. The Pension Protection Bill was a decades’ long battle that many people felt would never get signed. Mayor Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Kelly, and Fire Commissioner Cassano lobbied the Governor to veto the bill. The leadership of UFA met with Governor Cuomo to convince him that the legislation was fair and necessary to prevent the shockingly harsh result of terminations of UFA members after 20 or more years of dedicated service to the Fire Department. While the statute does not prevent terminations, if a Firefighter has twenty or more years of credible uniformed service in the pension system and has not been convicted of a felony, the member cannot be deprived of pension benefits. Without a successful political action program, we never would have been able to get the City Council to pass a home rule message and the NYS Assembly and Senate would never have voted in favor of the bill. There are many facets to running a successful political action program. It all starts with the leadership of the

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union working with the politicians and the candidates but, ultimately, success relies on strong participation from the membership. Members are needed to turn out for Get Out The Vote (GOTV) operations. They also are needed to contribute to the PAC fund. The UFA has a 100% voluntary political action fund to which members can opt in. Not one cent of union dues goes towards political donations. Our ultimate goal is to have 100% participation and every year we get closer to achieving that goal. There are a small percentage of members that do not participate. Those members still get the benefits of our successful political action program despite not contributing. If you are not currently participating, you should reconsider. If you are not sure if you are participating, you can check your status by looking at your online pay stub at www.nyc.gov/ess Those members that participate will see a $1.50 UFA PAC deduction. It is a very small price to ensure that our members are protected and additional gains can be made. The forms to enroll in PAC can be found on the UFA website. In the coming months we will once again be facing budget cuts at the City Council and potentially may be dealing with Tier VI in Albany. Public employees, including police and firefighters, have been under attack around the country and here in New York. It is critical that our members turn out for GOTV events and participate in the political process. Next fall the entire NY Senate and Assembly is up for election, along with elections for both the US House and Senate, as well as for President of our country. The UFA will be calling for volunteers to turn out. If you enjoy the benefits you currently have and do not want to risk losing them, we urge you to get involved, turn out, and be a part of the process. WTC Zadroga Bill WTC Legal Experience Counts! Over $500 Million recovered from original WTC Victims Comp Fund

All Types of Personal Injury Cases

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Here are a few recent verdicts/settlements to show what serious injuries could be worth: » FF with torn rotator cuff: $450,000

Too many injured FFs seek legal advice after their rights expire. Don’t wait to call for advice.

» FF lost career after rupturing quadriceps tendon: $800,000

Call Mike Barasch 1-888-280-CD72 (2372)

» FF with multiple disc herniations requiring surgery: $1.3 Million » FF with burn injuries requiring skin graft surgery: $4 Million

WWW.FIRELAW.COM Figures are based on actual cases handled by this firm. Prior results do not guarantee similar recovery. Attorney advertisement

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2011 UFA Widows’ & Ch hildren’s Christmas Party

Continued from page 1

IMPORTANT RETIREE INFORMATION SAVE!

www.ufanyc.org

www.ufanyc.org

Photo Credit: Stephen N. Symbolik III

November 20th marked the 11th 11 consecutive year that the UFA Widows’ & Children’s Ch Christmas Party was held at the Toys “R” Us flagship store inn Times Square. This year the UFA was joined by Toys “R”” Us U CEO Jerry Storch, former Major League Baseball pitcherr Dwight D “Doc” Gooden, former New York Knicks star Walt Frazier, F and Yankee infielder Robinson Canó, along with thee UFA U Holiday Party Chairman, John G. Kelly, Jr, and members rs of the UFA Executive Board.


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RETIRED FIREFIGHTER SECURITY BENEFIT FUND (R.F.S.B.F.) SUMMARY OF BENEFITS ELIGIBILITY Retired Firefighters and Fire Marshals, who retired on or after January 1, 1971 (July 9, 1993 for Wipers), and their eligible dependents, including duly registered domestic partners and their dependents. Retired Marine Engineers and Pilots as of January 1, 2012.

DENTAL PLAN FOR RETIREES CHANGING DENTAL PLANS You may change dental plans each year between October 15th and December 15th. Most plan changes take effect on January 1st. U.F.A. SELF-INSURED HEALTHPLEX Retiree is reimbursed in accordance with the R.F.S.B.F. Schedule of Fees. A dental form must be filled out. $1,500 Limitation per family member per calendar year. Orthodontic services for dependents under 19 years of age only. Cosmetic dental treatment and implants are not covered. HEALTHPLEX PPO Effective July 1, 2010 members enrolled in Healthplex will have access to the Healthplex Participating Provider Organization (PPO) panel. This panel has over 3,500 participating dentists who will provide services at a reduced fee schedule. You will only be responsible for the patient co-pays. $1,500 Limitation per family member per calendar year; exclusions apply. Cosmetic dental treatment and implants are not covered. DENTCARE PROGRAM A pre-paid comprehensive dental program. Provides the necessary dental care, including orthodontics, at no cost to the member except for elective general anesthesia, porcelain with metal crown, abutment or pontic, $50 co-pay per unit. Orthodontic services for eligible dependents under 19 years. Members must select a dentist from the DENTCARE panel of dentists. Cosmetic dental treatment and implants are not covered. Please note that members may be charged additionally for porcelain crowns/abutments/pontics on posterior teeth. HEALTHPLEX AMERICA 500 - FLORIDA (This Plan Replaces Comp Benefits Fla.) Effective April 1, 2010, Retirees residing in Florida may elect Healthplex America Plan 500. This plan offers an open access network, with no need for pre-selection of a dental provider. Members of the Healthplex America 500 dental plan are eligible to receive benefits immediately upon the effective date of coverage with: •No waiting Periods •No Deductibles •No Claim Form to Submit Members can choose a participating provider at www.yourdentalplan.com/healthplex or call the Members Services Department 888-200-0322.

www.ufanyc.org


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R.F.S.B.F. PRESCRIPTION DRUG PLAN R.F.S.B.F. Prescription Drug Plan Administered by CVS/Caremark. Insulin (including oral agents) and diabetes equipment and supplies are covered by ALL City Health Plans (NON-MEDICARE). Up front annual family deductible $125. SilverScript Administers the Prescription Drug Plan for Medicare Members. See the information below that is specific to Medicare Coverage. PARTICIPATING PHARMACY Once the deductible is met you will pay 35% of the cost of the drug with a minimum of $5 Generic/$20 Brandname. Retirees can obtain up to a 30-day supply at a participating pharmacy. Customer Service Department 1-866-832-0563 Website – www.caremark.com NON-PARTICIPATING PHARMACY Retirees using non-participating pharmacies can obtain up to a 30-day supply and may be reimbursed up to average wholesale price plus dispensing fee, minus co-pay. Up-front annual deductible of $125 must be met first before co-insurance applies. Reimbursement claim forms can be obtained by calling CVS/Caremark at: 1-866-832-0563. ANNUAL FAMILY DRUG CAP - $5,000 MAINTENANCE DRUGS / MAIL ORDER (UP TO A 90-DAY SUPPLY) The mail service program is designed for individuals on maintenance medications for treatment of chronic, long-term conditions. If you or an eligible family member regularly takes medication for chronic long-term conditions such as arthritis, high blood pressure, heart conditions, etc., you may receive up to a 90-day supply of maintenance medication through CVS / Caremark mail service pharmacy. NOTE: No deductible will be required for prescriptions being filled at mail service and 35% of the cost of the drug still applies to mail orders. Deductible still applies to retail prescriptions. The $125 deductible does not apply when using mail order. Co-insurance of 35% of the cost of the drug still applies as well as minimum for Generic and Brand-name. PICA Plan administered by Express Scripts – This benefit is available to both Active and Retired members, as well as their eligible dependents. (Once on Medicare, PICA will no longer be available). There is an annual deductible of $100 per person for injectable and chemotherapy medications. This deductible is independent of any other deductible. PICA covers medications in two specific drug categories - Injectable and Chemotherapy Injectable – Most self-administered injectables. Chemotherapy – Medications used to treat cancer Medications used to treat the side effects of chemo Retail Pharmacy (Up to a 30-day supply) $10 generic $25 preferred brand (formulary) $45 non-preferred brand (non-formulary)*

www.ufanyc.org


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Mail Order Pharmacy (Up to a 90-day supply) $20 generic $50 preferred brand (formulary) $90 non-preferred (non-formulary If you choose a non-preferred brand drug that has a generic equivalent you will pay the difference in cost between the non-preferred brand drug and the generic drug PLUS the non-preferred brand co-payment. Customer Service No. – 800-467-2006 or 800-233-7139 Website – www.express-scripts.com

MEDICARE REIMBURSEMENT FOR MEDICARE PART B When you (or your spouse) become eligible for Medicare at age 65 or before 65 because you received Social Security Disability, the City requires that you take Medicare Part A (Hospital) and Part B (Doctors). FAILURE TO DO SO COULD RESULT IN LOSS OF HEALTH COVERAGE. If you are in a HMO you must notify your health care carrier that you are going on to Medicare. Example: HIP-Prime members become HIP-VIP; Aetna members become Aetna Golden Medicare, etc. If you are receiving a City pension check and both you and your spouse are enrolled in a City health plan, you will be reimbursed for your Medicare Part B by the City of New York. You should send the following information to Employee Health Benefits Make a copy of your Medicare card to show that you have both parts “A” and “B” and include the following information •Birth dates for yourself and your spouse •Your retirement date •Your pension number •Name of your health plan •Name of your union Send this information to: Office of Labor Relations Employee Health Benefits Program 40 Rector Street - 3rd Floor New York, NY 10006 Attn: Medicare Division If you are in an HMO (Example: HIP, AETNA, etc) you must inform your health carrier that you are going on Medicare due to forms that need to be filled out with your health provider. MEDICARE PART D PRESCRIPTION DRUG PLAN – SILVERSCRIPT Effective January 1, 2010 the R.F.S.B.F. purchased a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan, SilverScript, for all retired members over 65 years old, as well as those who are on Social Security Disability. This also applies to Medicare eligible spouse, dependent or domestic partner.

www.ufanyc.org


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This Plan has an up front annual individual deductible of $100. After you pay your yearly deductible, you pay the following until you reach your initial coverage limit (for 2012, the limit is $2,930): •35% of the cost of the drug with a $5 minimum for Generics •35% of the cost of the drug with a $20 minimum for Brand-name After you reach the initial coverage limit (for 2012, the limit is $2,930), SilverScript will continue to provide prescription drug coverage for some generics at the same co-payment/co-insurance until the yearly out-of-pocket costs (also known as True Out-Of-Pocket or T.R.O.O.P. costs) reach a maximum amount that Medicare has set. In other words, once you’ve reached the coverage limit, you will still pay 35% of the cost of a GENERIC drug, with a minimum of $5. For NAME BRAND drugs, you will pay 50% of the cost of the drug. When you reach the T.R.O.O.P cost limit you qualify for Medicare Part D Catastrophic Coverage. For 2012, the T.R.O.O.P. limit is $4,700. After your yearly out-of-pocket costs reach the T.R.O.O.P cost limit you pay a small co-insurance or co-payment. There is no annual “drug cap” or limit to this catastrophic coverage. When you become Medicare eligible check with your health care provider to see if Medicare Part D drugs are provided under their basic health plan. You CANNOT be enrolled in two Medicare plans. Some health plans stipulate that in order to remain in their health plan you must use their prescription drug plan e.g. HIP-VIP.

ONCE ON MEDICARE PICA WILL NO LONGER BE AVAILABLE REMINDER – PLEASE PROVIDE RFSBF WITH A COPY OF YOUR MEDICARE CARD. ON THE COPY, ALSO WRITE DOWN THE NAME OF YOUR HEALTHCARE CARRIER (EXAMPLE HIP, GHI, AETNA, ETC) NOTE: As soon as you or your eligible dependent(s) go on Medicare a copy of the Medicare Card MUST be mailed to the R.F.S.B.F. or if you prefer, fax it to 212-683-0693. You should also write down on the copy what your healthcare carrier is (for example, HIP, GHI, AETNA, etc.)

ADDITIONAL BENEFIT INFORMATION NOTIFICATION OF CHANGE IN STATUS The Security Benefit fund must be informed of ANY changes in your status. For example: •When you get married, we need a copy of the marriage certificate. •When you become a new parent we need a copy of the birth certificate. •If you get divorced we need a copy of the first and last page of the divorce decree. •When a spouse dies we need a copy of the death certificate. •When you move please update your address with the SBF. If you wish to add or remove a Domestic Partner, please contact SBF for instructions. 212-683-4723. To change your address with the NYC Fire Department, or to make changes for direct deposit, please call FDNY Pension and Payroll at 718-999-2327. CHANGING HEALTH PLANS You can change health plans every other year during the even numbered years (2012, 2014, 2016 etc). The usual time to change is in November in order to take effect the following January. You may also change plans at any time if you move out of your health plan service area. A change can occur outside the normal change period “Once in a lifetime.” If this option is used, you can only change during the allotted change over period, or if you move out of your service area.

www.ufanyc.org


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CHANGING DENTAL PLANS You may change dental plans each year between October 15th and December 15th. Most plan changes take effect on January 1st. OPTICAL One eye exam and either one pair single vision, bifocal or contact lenses (subject to providers’ surcharges) for Retirees and eligible dependents EVERY TWO YEARS through optical provider panel Effective January 1, 1999, maximum of $60 ($15-exam, $20-Frame, $25-Lenses, $45-Contact Lenses) reimbursed to Retiree if other than provider(s) is used. To find a provider, you can look online at: www.ufanyc.org/security_benefit_fund/optical_provider_search.php. CATARACT LENSES R.F.S.B.F. allows up to $75 toward purchase after health plan (Medicare, etc.) has paid its portion. Send the paid bill and health plan(s) Explanation of Benefits (EOB) to the R.F.S.B.F. office for reimbursement. HEARING AID Effective January 1, 1999, Retiree is reimbursed up to $600 toward hearing aid (s) purchased in a five-year p e r i o d upon referral of a physician or audiologist. Send the paid bill, a copy of the prescription and a copy of the audiologist report to the R.F.S.B.F. for reimbursement. DEATH BENEFIT Notification of a retired firefighter’s death is made to the NYC Fire Department by calling 718-999-2320 or 718-999-2321. Retirees have a life insurance policy in the amount of $6,000 with the FDNY Life Insurance Fund. This is the $9 deduction on your earnings statement listed as Fire Life. Members who have retired after January 1, 1971 have a death benefit with the Retired Firefighters Security Benefit Fund (RFSBF) in the following amounts Up to Age 49 $10,000 Age 50 to 69 $ 5,000 Age 70 and over $ 2,500 A claim for this benefit will be sent to your beneficiary when we receive notification of death. Only the Retiree is covered for this benefit insured through the AIG Life Company. Payment is made to the designated primary or contingent beneficiary of the eligible deceased Retiree upon submission of a completed claim form with a certified death certificate. LIFE INSURANCE To update your status or beneficiary, please contact Maria Zingone at 646-839-6503. SURGICAL ASSISTANCE FUND R.F.S.B.F. pays the yearly dues for Members who were part of the fund for two years prior to their retirement. You have one year to submit a claim. For information and to request the MD-35-1 application form call (718) 999-1252. If you have any questions or doubts, request the information and submit the proper forms in duplicate to: UFA/UFOA Surgical Assistance Fund, 9 Metro Tech Center, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11201 YOUNG ADULT DEPENDENTS up to 26 YEARS of AGE Due to a change in Federal Law, the Uniformed Firefighters Association Retired Firefighters Security Benefit Fund (RFSBF) will provide benefits for your dependent children until the end of the month of their 26th Birthday. The RFSBF Benefits include Dental, Prescription Drugs, Optical and Hearing Aids. Student verification will no longer be necessary.

www.ufanyc.org


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If, however, there has been a lapse in your Young Adult Dependent’s coverage and you wish to re-apply for coverage, you will need to fill out a Young Adult Dependent Attestation form. Call SBF for more information: 212683-4723. HANDICAPPED DEPENDENTS Retiree MUST notify basic health carrier when dependents become mentally or physically handicapped, prior to 26 years of age. Dependent must be unmarried, living at home and dependent upon retiree for support. Upon receipt of the health carrier’s confirmation that the dependent is handicapped, R.F.S.B.F. coverage will be continued while the criteria are met. VESTED RETIREES In order to be eligible to receive benefits of the Fund, a vested retiree must make a contribution equal to that made by the City each year. Payment must be made for the full year in advance. Vested retirees who enroll in the Fund (and their eligible dependents) would be covered for the following benefits provided by the R.F.S.B.F. •Burial Allowance •Family Dental Plan •Optical Benefits •Surgical Assistance Fund •Hearing Aid Benefit •ANNUAL Prescription Drug ID Card Any subsequent changes in the rate of contribution to the Fund and the above benefits would apply to the vested retirees. Vested retirees interested in this program, please communicate by writing to the Security Benefit Fund office, 204 East 23rd Street, 3rd Fl., NY, NY 10010. Or call 212-683-4723. In all cases where there is a change of family status, member must file an ERB and forward it to: Employee Health Benefit Program 40 Rector Street 3rd Floor New York, NY 10006 212-513-0470 www.nyc.gov/html/olr/downloads/pdf/healthb/erbapp.pdf www.nyc.gov/html/olr WIDOWS’ BENEFITS The R.F.S.B.F. provides benefits for widows and eligible dependents of retired firefighters, who retired after January 1, 1971 (July 9, 1993 for wipers or January 1, 2012 for Marine Engineers and Pilots) who become widowed after July 1, 1987; these widows and eligible dependents will be entitled to the same health plan and benefits under the R.F.S.B.F. for a period of ONE YEAR ONLY. The Trustees of the Fund reserve the right to modify or discontinue the benefits of the Fund at any time. Notification of changes in the benefits or procedures will be sent to your address as listed on the Fund records.

www.ufanyc.org


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IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS Security Benefit Fund (SBF) www.ufanyc.org

212-683-4723 Fax 212-683-0693

Welfare Fund (AMB/OXY) FDNY

718-999-1886

Pension and Payroll www.nyc.gov/html/fdny/html/home2.shtml

718-999-2327

Retiree Beneficiary Changes FDNY

718-999-1206

Art 1 Retirees FDNY

718-999-1207

Surgical Assistance Fund FDNY

718-999-1252

Pension Life Insurance FDNY

718-999-2320

Honor Emergency Fund FDNY

718-999-2531 or 718-999-2532

CVS/Caremark www.caremark.com

866-832-0563

Express Scripts www.express-scripts.com

800-467-2006 or 800-233-7139

SilverScript www.silverscript.com

866-412-5373

Dentcare / Healthplex www.healthplex.com

800-468-0608

Florida Dental - Healthplex America 500 www.yourdentalplan.com/healthplex

888-200-0322

Counseling Services Unit www.nyc.gov/html/fdny/html/units/csu/index.shtml

212-570-1693 or 212-570-1696

FDNY Retirement Desk

718-999-2324

FDNY (Death) Notifications Desk

718-999-2320 or 718-999-2321

FDNY World Trade Center Medical Monitoring & Treatment Program 718-999-1858 www.nyc.gov/html/fdny/html/units/bhs/wtcmm/index.shtml City Employee Health / Medical / Medicare Benefits* (*Not managed by the UFA) www.nyc.gov/html/olr or www.nyc.gov/html/olr/downloads/pdf/healthb/erbapp.pdf

www.ufanyc.org

212-513-0470*


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General Counsel’s Column Michael N. Block, Esq. The Father’s Day fire civil litigation was successfully concluded in early December after eight weeks of trial in the State Supreme Court in Queens. Pictured above with me are [L-R] Denise Ford and Mary Fahey, two of widows of the firefighters who lost their lives at the fire. They issued a statement thanking the UFA and my firm, Sullivan Papain Block McGrath & Cannavo for their support and representation. The case was a vivid example of why firefighters who are hurt in the line of duty should always consult my firm to determine if they may have the right to collect monetary damages as compensation for their injuries. In the Father’s Day fire case, firefighters responded to a fire that started in a basement of a hardware store where flammable products were stored.

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During the course of fire fighting operations, an explosion ensued resulting in the death of three firefighters and serious injuries to a dozen more. We not only represented the widows, but also several firefighters who were seriously injured at the fire. Showing the true spirit of the Department, the injured men uniformly were more interested in making sure that the families of those who died were properly compensated than in their own claims. Representing families and firefighters like these for over 30 years has been and remains a privilege. We also sincerely appreciate and thank the members of the Department who were witnesses or simply attended the trial to show their support for the families. We hope and pray there is never another firefighter death or injury. However, we also know that it is a dangerous job. We want you to know that we are there for you if you need us.

www.ufanyc.org


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Evidence and Fire Scene Preservation By Steven Tagliani Fire Marshal Representative I would like to introduce myself to the brothers that do not know me. My name is Steve Tagliani. I was elected Fire Marshal Representative this past February. I would like to discuss a key component of fire investigations: evidence and scene preservation. The preservation of a fire scene begins with the first arriving units and continues until the marshals arrive. Most people think of evidence only in a criminal context. Evidence takes many forms. Examples are: fire patterns, ignition sources, contents in the fire apartment, etc. Fire marshals gather relevant evidence, conduct interviews, and analyze the fire scene to ascertain the origin and cause of the fire. Marshals begin by conducting a physical examination of the scene. Some examples are: burn patterns on the floor, walls and ceiling, appliances, depth of charring, etc. The more intact the scene is left, the better it is for investigative purposes. The brothers in the field can assist by:

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-Limiting unnecessary overhaul by leaving walls or ceilings intact when it isn’t necessary to take them down to fully extinguish the fire and complete fire operations. -Leaving item(s) in the fire ground (in place if possible) that don’t impede fire operations. -Convey any observations to the marshals. Firefighters have a unique insight into the scene as they view the scene in a more undisturbed state in contrast to a marshal viewing the scene at a significantly later stage of fire operations. What may seem insignificant at the time may turn out to be a vital part of the investigation. If the fire is subsequently determined to be criminal in nature, the more evidence to substantiate the origin and cause, the more solid a marshal’s case is. The crime of arson is elusive. Establishing probable cause to arrest a suspect may take the gathering of numerous pieces of evidence. In addition, anything you hear from occupants or witnesses upon your arrival can be a great asset to the investigation. Apprehending one more arsonist can possibly save a brother’s and/or a civilian’s life in the future.

The Art of Labor Law. Certilman Balin proudly represents the New York City Uniformed Firefighters Association and many other organizations in the metropolitan area. We have a solid track record in representing union members in their personal litigation and life plans. Call Paul Linzer or Jennifer Bentley at (516) 296-7000 to resolve your personal legal matters with confidence.

Proven attorneys. Powerful advocates. Nassau: 516.296.7000 | Suffolk: 631.979.3000 | Real Estate – Real Property Tax Certiorari and Condemnation – Condominium and Cooperative – Land Use and Zoning/Environmental Law Corporate/Securities – Commercial Lending – Litigation – Labor Relations and Employment Law – Bankruptcy and Debtor/Creditor Rights Estate and Tax Planning/Probate Law and Estate Administration – Elder Law – Telecommunications Law – Criminal Law www.certilmanbalin.com Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman, LLP

www.ufanyc.org


75659 NL Output_Fire Lines Template 032410 12/27/11 4:10 PM Page 15

Fire Lines

Page 15

Photo Credit: Stephen N. Symbolik III

NO. 3/4 2011

In September, the UFA participated in the annual Labor Day Parade in New York City. The union turnout from all over the United States was impressive. Joining UFA President Steve Cassidy, UFA Vice President Jim Slevin, Queens Trustee Leroy C. McGinnis, and IAFF General President Harold A. Schaitberger this year were City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, flanked by Council Members Domenic M. Recchia, Jr., and Elizabeth Crowley. The KMF Group

MEMBERS MORTGAGE CORP.

The KMF Group

Offer our Exclusive

The KMF Group

Mortgage Loan Program for

NEW YORK FIREFIGHTERS!!! We are a Union Only lender!

Our “NO Fees” Mortgage loan, plus discounted contract attorney, title insurance and bank attorney fee give our borrowers an ...AVERAGE SAVINGS of $6,600 per closing.

Application Fee Commitment Fee

$0 $0

MORTGAGE LOAN COST:

Loan Origination Fee Document Prep Fee

$0 $0

Total Loan Cost = $0

Appraisal Fee $0 Credit Report Fee $0

Loan Points Fee Underwriting Fee

$0 $0

Save $ Thousands!

NO Points... NO Cost... NO Kidding.

IT’S ALL IN WRITING! We have saved over $40 million in closing costs for union members and their families. Other lenders have low fee programs... But NO OTHER lender has a “NO Fees” loan program!!!

MEMBERS MORTGAGE CORP. 866-436-8110

Registered Mortgage Broker, NY, NJ & FL

Toll Free

www.membermortgagecorp.com

(HQ) 600 Old Country Road. Ste. 518 Garden City, NY 11530

www.ufanyc.org

State Banking Dept’s Loans arranged though third party lender.


75659 NL Output_Fire Lines Template 032410 12/27/11 4:10 PM Page 16

Uniformed Firefighters Association

Prsrt STD US Postage PA I D Farmingdale, NY Permit #125

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

ROBERT STRAUB Treasurer

ENG 45

JOHN G. KELLY, JR Trustee-Brooklyn ENG 201 Chairman, Board of Trustees EDWARD BROWN Trustee-Bronx LEROY C. MCGINNIS Trustee-Queens

STEPHEN J. CASSIDY Editor-In-Chief

LAD 48 ENG 266

JOSEPH A. MICCIO Recording Secretary

ENG 295

WILLIAM ROMAKA Health & Safety Officer Sergeant-at-Arms

ENG 238

DONALD RULAND Trustee-Staten Island

ENG 157

DANIEL MURPHY Trustee-Manhattan

ENG 74

STEVEN TAGLIANI Fire Marshal Representative

BFI

STEPHEN N. SYMBOLIK III Managing Editor

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The Fire Lines - December 2011