Liability and Bail-Out Systems

Today’s burning question: We recently purchased harnesses and bailout kits for all of our members. What is the best way to word the SOG to protect the department liability-wise in the event members refuse to wear the kit? Answer: Great question. First of all, you really have two separate questions and despite your concerns about liability, neither of them are liability questions.

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2016 FLSA Roundup

Throughout 2016, the Fair Labor Standards Act continued to loom as one of the most important laws for fire departments. Here are the top 2016 FLSA for Fire Departments headlines, in rank order of importance:

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Indiana Chief Arrested as Police Fire War Brews

An Indiana fire chief was arrested at the scene of a house fire Tuesday for reportedly pushing a police officer who was breaking windows in an attempt to ventilate the building. The incident occurred in the Town of Cannelton and involved Cannelton Police Officer Ryen Foertsch and Cannelton Fire Chief Christopher Herzog.

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Court Strikes Down Police Department Social Media Policy In Ho-Hum Non-Precedent Setting But Widely Discussed Decision

Today’s burning question: I just saw that the 4th Circuit struck down a police department’s social media policy based on the First Amendment. I live in Nevada, which is part of the 9th Circuit. Will that ruling be binding here? Answer: Boy, there sure is a lot of interest in that 4th Circuit case. I have received over 25 emails and social media contacts TODAY ALONE.

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First Suits Filed in Oakland Ghost Ship Fire

The first lawsuits have been filed in the Oakland Ghost Ship fire, accusing the building owners of negligence and wrongful death. The December 2, 2016 fire killed 36 attendees of an electronic dance music event at a warehouse named Ghost Ship. Two suits were filed Friday in Alameda County Superior Court.

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LA Sues Recycling Center for Fire Costs

The City of Los Angeles has filed suit against Clean Up America over the costs of battling a trash fire that took six weeks to fully extinguish. The company operates a recycling center that had a trash pile 25 feet high, 252 feet long and 250 feet wide, with an estimated 22 million pounds of trash.

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Georgia FD EMT Sued Over Positional Asphyxia Death

A fire department EMT and two sheriff’s deputies from Coweta County, Georgia have been sued for violating the civil rights of a man who died of positional asphyxia while being restrained. Chase Sherman died on November 20, 2015 after being tased and subdued by Coweta County responders on I85 in Coweta County.

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Dallas Staring Down The Barrel of a $4 Billion Suit

The City of Dallas is staring down the barrel of a $4 billion lawsuit filed 22 years ago by firefighters and police officers who claim they were shortchanged on pay raises. The lawsuit, filed in 1994, is the longest-running lawsuit currently in the Texas court system. It accuses the city of reneging on pay-raise requirements passed in a 1979 referendum.

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