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VOL. XLVI NO. 2, 2010

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engine companies from 60 to 11 if annualized medical leave exceeds 7.5 percent. Current annualized medical leave is 7.4952%. If medical leave continues to trend upward we will be facing a staffing reduction in August. The problem is exacerbated by the recent heat wave. As widely reported, the first week in July was the busiest week for the New York City Fire Department in almost 30 years, as firefighters responded to 93 major fires that resulted in 471 firefighters getting minor injuries. Since July 4th, there have been a total of 8,700 fire incidents. Obviously, if an oppressively hot summer continues, medical leave will continue to rise. A staffing reduction will immediately reduce manning to 4-FF’s on all but eleven engine companies. These remaining eleven 5-man engine companies will also be reduced to 4—and then truck companies will be reduced to 4—as members become injured or sick after the start of the tour. Note that 4-man truck companies will need to modify existing search and rescue protocol (VES) at fires. These manning reductions if enacted will compromise Firefighter and public safety. Pension legislation In June 2009, Governor Paterson vetoed the Tier II Pension Extension Bill, which had previously been approved every two years by the State Senate, Assembly, and Governor for the past 30 years. Although this veto has no impact on current FDNY employees, it will affect future hires with all the Fire and Police unions throughout the state. This winter, Firefighters and Police Officers outside NYC agreed to a new pension tier that maintains the 20-year pension but individuals must now contribute 3% towards their pensions throughout their careers (NYC Firefighters have always contributed to their pensions). Other changes regarding vesting requirements and overtime pension calculations were also agreed upon. Some important progress has been made regarding Presumptive Illness Retirement Laws, though we still face significant challenges. Since the Tier II veto, the UFA spent considerable time in Albany meeting with elected officials regarding maintaining important pension and retirement standards. Most importantly, we insisted that any new tier must include a provision that makes all of the UFA’s presumptive bills permanent. The UFA was successful this winter in getting these legislative improvements made into law. All current and future members and

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their families now have the protection of permanent heart, cancer and communicable disease laws. No longer will the legislature or future governors be able to play political games with the laws that protect NYC Firefighters. Tier III Pensions As a result of the governor’s veto, the next FDNY class after 7/01/09 will be hired under Tier III which will require employees to work a minimum of 23 years before reaching retirement eligibility, however, there is a built-in COLA. Not all issues are clear or resolved, including reduced disability and death benefits under Tier III. The UFA will continue to update you on the UFA’s negotiations for a new pension tier as they develop. The UFA will also continue to post updates regarding all of the above issues on it’s Web site. A new feature has been added and one can now easily follow breaking news about the UFA on Twitter. A link to register for Twitter is posted on our homepage. Our Twitter tag is: @UFANYC. In May, the annual UFA Delegate Education Seminar was held at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. This year, to recognize their long-time support of firefighters, the UFA honored Bill Grilliot, Chief Executive Officer of Morning Pride/Honeywell, 19712009; Mary Grilliot, Chief Operating Officer, Morning Pride/Honeywell, 1978-2009; and Jack Reilly, VP of Metro Market Accounts, Morning Pride/Honeywell, 1994-2009. Specifics regarding the seminar, as well as the program guide can be viewed on the UFA Web site. Medal Day was held on June 2nd in front of City Hall. A listing of Medal Day recipients, as well as a complete program along with biographical data, can be found on the Department’s Web site. Congratulations to all of the honorees. The UFA is proud of you! As always, stay safe!

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IMPORTANT RETIREE INFORMATION SAVE! 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.

DENTAL PLAN 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 12 month period. Orthodontic services for dependents under 19 years of age only. Cosmetic dental treatment 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 12 month period; exclusions apply. Cosmetic dental treatment 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 crown, porcelain w/metal or pontic - $50. Orthodontic services for eligible dependents under 19 years. Members must select a dentist from the DENTCARE panel of dentists. Cosmetic dental treatment not covered. 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 or call the Members Services Department 888-200-0322.

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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. Medicare Members should see information 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 – 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)*

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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 –

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. Continued page 6

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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 2010, the limit is $2,830): •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 2010, the limit is $2,830), 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. When you reach the T.R.O.O.P cost limit you qualify for Medicare Part D Catastrophic Coverage. For 2010, the T.R.O.O.P. limit is $4,550. After your yearly out-of-pocket costs reach the T.R.O.O.P cost limit you pay the greater of $2.50 or 5% for generics and $6.30 or 5% for all other drugs. 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. 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.

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 pension and payroll at 718-999-2327. CHANGING HEALTH PLANS You can change health plans every other year during the even numbered years (2010, 2012, 2014 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. CHANGING DENTAL PLANS You may change dental plans each year between October 15th and December 15th. Most plan changes take effect on January 1st.

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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. 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 period 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 Security Benefit Fund (SBF) 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. 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 DEPENDENT STUDENT 19-23 YEARS OF AGE Dependent full-time students covered to the end of the calendar year of the unmarried, dependent student’s 23rd birthday, or until Graduation, whichever occurs first. STUDENT VERIFICATION MUST BE SUBMITTED EVERY SEMESTER. To receive SBF benefits, parents of children attending college need to provide the SBF with the following: •A letter each semester from the registrar on school letterhead listing the student’s name and acknowledging s/he is taking 12 or more credits. •A copy of a paid tuition bill from the college for each semester. •Dependent Students: You are responsible for notifying your health care carrier of your status as an“eligible dependent.” Continued page 8

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These items are necessary for the SBF to provide the proper benefits to the children of firefighters. All information should be mailed to Security Benefit Fund, 204 East 23rd Street - 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10010 or fax to 212-683-0693. HANDICAPPED DEPENDENTS Retiree MUST notify basic health carrier when dependents become mentally or physically handicapped, prior to 19 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 w w w.n /downloads/pdf /he alt hb/e r bapp.pdf w w w.n 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) 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.

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212-683-4723 Fax 212-683-0693

Welfare Fund (AMB/OXY)


Pension and Payroll


Art 1


Surgical Assistance Fund


Pension Life Insurance


Honor Emergency Fund

718-999-2531 or 718-999-2532



Express Scripts

800-467-2006 or 800-233-7139



Dentcare / Healthplex


Florida Dental - Healthplex America 500


Counseling Services Unit

212-570-1693 or 212-570-1696

FDNY Retirement Desk


FDNY (Death) Notifications Desk

718-999-2320 or 718-999-2321

City Employee Health / Medical / Medicare Benefits* (*Not managed by the UFA)


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Making Sure Our Brothers Are Always Remembered By Joseph A. Miccio, Recording Secretary he September 11th Families’ Association/Tribute WTC Visitor Center, which is located next door to Engine 10 / Ladder 10, is seeking active or retired members of the FDNY to serve as Tribute Center volunteers and guides. Volunteers share their experiences related to September 11, 2001 and educate visitors from around the world about the World Trade Center, through walking tours and informal talks in the galleries. For FDNY members who are looking for an additional opportunity to make a difference through service, you are welcome to consider joining the many NYC Firefighters who currently volunteer at the WTC Tribute Center. Every individual who volunteers for the Tribute Center is motivated to contribute their time for a variety of reasons. One Firefighter describes his motivation to volunteer as, “I was a witness to history and I have to tell people about what happened here.” Located on Liberty Street, the Tribute Visitor Center opened in September 2006. The museum has welcomed over 1.5 million visitors from 120 countries to learn about the story and aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center, September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993. The Tribute Center is a place for people to interact and connect with our history through real first hand accounts from deeply impacted people. Mike Barone, ret. FDNY, feels very strongly about revealing personal details of his experience and sharing the stories of other firefighters. “It makes it real. By sharing my personal story with people from all around the world, I am not only contributing to the telling of the history of 9/11, but also honoring the memory of those who were lost. I am sure there are other FDNY members who have their own stories to contribute. Now is the time. We must speak for all who were lost. If we don’t tell their story, who will?” Another volunteer, Bill Spade, a retired Rescue 5 Firefighter, joined because: “Volunteering at the Tribute WTC Visitor Center has allowed me to honor the 343 firefighters that gave their lives as well as the other victims of September 11th. On tours, speaking with people from all over the world, leaves me with a satisfying feeling that I am giving back a little something to everyone who volunteered in some way or just


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remembered New Yorkers in their prayers during the aftermath of September 11th. Through volunteering, the Tribute WTC Visitor Center has given me the opportunity to make new friends, all wonderful sincere people with September 11th as a common bond.” The primary goal is to educate the thousands of visitors of the World Trade Center site every day. This is done through exhibitions, volunteer-led walking tours, and informal talks with world visitors in the galleries. Tribute’s volunteers are the heart of the organization and are very passionate about sharing their personal history as it relates to September 11, 2001. The volunteers are part of the 9-11 COMMUNITY, meaning: family members, rescue/recovery workers, volunteers, survivors of the attacks, and those that lived and worked in the area. To date, over 300 people have been trained as volunteers—many are active and retired NYC Firefighters. As FDNY member Lt. Peter Brown puts it: “I volunteer to put a face on 9/11. Everyone who visits knows exactly where they were on that day and witnessed it on television. I try to convey the sights, sounds, smells and emotions of my personal journey so it transforms a detached memory of a historic event to a connection to another human being’s experience.” For each new volunteer, Tribute Center staff provides training which focuses on best practices of public speaking, sharing your story, working with the public, and collaborating with other volunteers, to name a few topics. Revisiting experiences related to September 11, 2001 can be difficult, but the Tribute team works to provide tools and support for each volunteer to feel comfortable and confident in doing so. Through sharing these experiences, Tribute volunteers provide a humanistic, tangible and historical account and allow visitors from around the world to “NEVER FORGET.” If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering for the Tribute WTC Visitor Center, please contact Tracy Grosner at 212.422.3520, ext. 112, or Visit to download an application. Let’s make sure our story is told and our brothers are always remembered! Editor’s Note: Joe Miccio is the former V.P. and co-founder of The September 11th Families’ Association.

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Report from the Health and Safety Office By Bill Romaka and Bernadette Royce

Heat Stress n the summer months, the risk of heat stress increases for firefighters. This is particularly true on days with a high heat index. The heat index measures the contributing factor of the humidity on the temperature to determine how hot it actually feels to the body. High humidity reduces the effectiveness of sweating. When combined with high temperature, it significantly reduces the body's ability to cool itself.


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With all of the above in mind, members should be aware of and make proper use of R&R (recuperation and re-hydration). Chiefs have the discretion to give an hour or two of R&R. With the weather we have recently been experiencing and the fire activity we have had, in certain situations 3 hours have been given. This time should be properly spent on returning to quarters, rehydrating and showering yourself clean of contaminants. The emphasis has to be on your health and s a f e t y and doing it properly which will also benefit the firefighters with whom you work! It is important to take care of yourself to improve your health. As the medical leave numbers approach 7.5%, staffing is in danger of being reduced on our trucks to four firefighters. This will only increase the danger to our citizens and our members.

The aim is for every firefighter to take care of Prevention of heat stress remains crucial. himself or herself properly. If you have questions or Proper hydration prior to any emergency responses is concerns about the above contact the Health and Safety required to ensure that the body has enough fluids. All Office of the UFA at your earliest convenience. members should be drinking ample amounts of water or sports beverages. Caffeinated beverages dehydrate the body and should be avoided. Do not wait until you are thirsty! One of the best indicators of your hydration status is your urine color; it should be pale yellow to Social Security clear. During emergency responses and training, ensure that you replace as much fluid as you are losing. On Disa bility? Disability? average, firefighters can lose 1½ to 2 quarts of fluid in Did you know that if 45 minutes. Dehydration impairs the body's ability to you become disabled fight heat stress, decreases strength and increases stress you and your family on the cardiovascular system. Heat stress can occur quickly and may result in a severe and even fatal reaction. It is important for all members to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat stress. These include dizziness and confusion, muscle cramps, nausea and vomiting, fatigue and extreme weakness, and fast and shallow breathing. Also, altered mental status, the inability to sweat, and hot dry skin should be considered life-threatening emergencies. To control heat stress, it is important to provide adequate hydration. According to Chief of Safety Stephen Raynis, "As the first step to combating heat stress, members should 'dress down' by removing their bunker coats, helmets, gloves, and opening their bunker pants to release trapped heat." As well as p r o p e r hydration, Chief Raynis further advises using proper work rotation, active cooling and proper rest to prevent heat stress.

may be entitled to valuable cash benefits? FREE FREE CONSUL CONSUL TA TION Call: Ken Larkin, Esq. of Fusco, Brandenstein & Rada, P.C. Offices in: Manhattan Bronx Queens Uniondale Woodbury Commack Medford

1.800.416.5454 Ext. 4550 cell: 516-426-6072 The Disability Lawyers

Uniformed Firefighters Association

Presorted First Class Mail 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


JAMES M. SLEVIN Vice President ROBERT STRAUB Treasurer

LAD 7 ENG 45

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


LAD 48 ENG 266

JOSEPH C. 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

ROBERT MCDEVITT Fire Marshal Representative







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The Fire Lines - July 2010  

The Official Publication of The Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York -