Five Things You Need to Know: Tuesday, 1/17 Edition


Texas Assistant Fire Chief Accused of Workplace Intimidation

    • An Assistant Chief for the San Antonio Fire Department (SAFD) has come under some heat from current and former Department members after a senior staff meeting that took in late October 2016, according to the KSAT 12 Defenders series posted online. Assistant Chief Joe Jones has been demoted, according to the city, who was used as a source in the article. Jones was placed on administrative leave, then demoted from SAFD’s command staff to a battalion chief. KSAT 12 Defenders referenced a memo sent by SAFD Chief Charles Hood, which said Jones was assigned temporarily to the Emergency Operations Center. The article also references a SAFD spokesperson, who confirmed Hood didn’t know the meeting was being recorded. “The meeting came weeks after 20 of the department's 24 battalion chiefs signed a letter outlining morale concerns within the department,” according to the article. Battalion chiefs said Jones “was out of control” in the meeting audio, referencing a cadet video recording from 2013 where trainers “…curse and scream at cadets and throw some of their belongings outside.” Jones did participate in counseling sessions, according to Hood on the audio referenced in the article. But because of confidentiality reasons, didn’t discuss that topic any further.

Florida and Montana Firefighters Fight for More Cancer Coverage

    • Florida House Representative Heather Fitzenhagen filed a cancer presumption bill for firefighters earlier this month, according to WINK News. Currently, if a firefighter gets a cancer diagnosis, they have to prove it is attributable to the job, according to Florida Cancer Presumption Coalition Founder Heather Mazurkiewicz, referenced in the article. If the bill passes, responsibility is passed on to the insurance companies and firefighters would reap some workers’ compensation and health benefits
    • Montana firefighters pushed legislators last week for the second time to make it easier to obtain workers’ compensation coverage for “job-caused lung diseases,” according to Jayme Fraser of Senate Bill 72 also amends state law that coverage would be presumed (but not guaranteed), unless the insurance company can prove otherwise. Montana Senator Pat Connell will carry the Bill.

Drug-Induced Driver Hits New York Landscaper  

    • Anibal Aceituno-Perez of New York, 52, was hit while mowing on a zero-turn machine in September 2016. Brianna Hassett, 25, has pled guilty to “vehicular manslaughter and misdemeanor driving while ability was impaired by drugs,” according to Jill Odom of Hassett failed multiple sobriety tests on the morning of the accident. She was 24 at the time, and told the police that she had “…sniffed a line of coke…” on the night prior, and “…snorted a half a bag of dope and shot up the other half,” according to Riverhead Local. The landscaper was taken to a local hospital, but died two days after the accident. Hassett is in Suffulk County Jail on a $50,000 cash bail or $100,000 bond.

California: Task Force Created for Victims of December 2015 Terrorism

    • San Bernardino County has put together a task force in efforts to combat problems the Dec. 2 victims of terrorism are encountering while trying to seek medical treatment in a timely manner. The attack on the Inland Regional Center killed 14 and injured 22 people. According to Shea Johnson of the Daily Press, County CEO Greg Devereaux said "...the county will 'work with them to identify issues they're experiencing, their members are experiencing and see about suggestions for addressing those issues.'" Johnson writes that as of late November, 18 Department of Public Health county employees had filed for workers' compensation and 36 more cases were predicted to come in. An advocacy group, San Bernardino Survivors Speak Out, said in a statement that the county hasn't expedited the workers' compensation process, according to Brian Ross of ABC News.



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