Guthrie Bill Calls for Safety, Health Standards for RI Fire Departments

Rep. Guthrie is also a retired firefighter.


Rep. Scott J. Guthrie (D-Dist. 28, Coventry) has introduced legislation to require all fire departments in Rhode Island to comply with minimum occupational safety and health standards developed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Referred to the House Committee on Municipal Government, the Guthrie bill, 2013-H 5067, would require compliance with, at a minimum, the 1987 version of the NFPA standards and to provide a written plan of implementation to the state fire marshal by January, 2014.

“The NFPA standards were developed to provide a consensus standard for an occupational safety and health program for fire service,” said Representative Guthrie. “The intent of the standard is to provide a framework for a safety and health program for fire departments and other organizations providing similar services.”

“It has been 25 years since the NFPA standards were developed and there is still no minimum standard that has been adopted or implemented by fire departments in Rhode Island,” said Representative Guthrie. “During the last two and a half decades, those standards have been added to and improved, and our fire departments still have not acted to adopt the most minimum standards that were proposed in 1987. That’s pretty sad and it should also be a great concern to every firefighter in this state who is regularly exposed to dangerous situations.”

The legislation would transfer responsibility of enforcement of the standards from the Department of Labor and Training to the Fire Marshal. It would also create a seven-member NFPA 1500 implementation plan review committee, composed of an individual appointed by the RI League of Cities and Towns, two members named by the president of the RI State Association of Fire Fighters, two appointed by the president of the RI Fire Chiefs’ Association (one of whom shall represent a volunteer department); one member of the general public named by the Speaker of the House and one member of the general public appointed by the Senate President.

“The NFPA standards are not an outrageous imposition – financial or otherwise – on our state’s many fire departments,” said Representative Guthrie, a retired firefighter. “They exist for one, very important reason – to ensure that the firefighters in those departments can expect a minimum amount of nationally established safety and health protections, to keep them safe while they are rushing into burning buildings and saving the lives of people in our communities.”

The legislation was introduced as a result of the findings of a commission that Representative Guthrie co-chaired in 2011, the NFPA 1500 Implementation Plan Review Commission in the State of Rhode Island.

Co-sponsors of the bill are Rep. John G. Edwards (D-Dist. 70, Portsmouth, Tiverton), Rep. Raymond E. Gallison Jr. (D-Dist. 69, Bristol, Portsmouth), Rep. Raymond H. Johnston Jr. (D-Dist. 61, Pawtucket) and Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston).

coventry voter-Jay January 23, 2013 at 01:01 PM
Questions Does this Bill: Provide funding for the program? Estimate the additional tax burden it will mandate on the taxpayer? Eliminate Smoking by Fire Fighters on and off duty? (job related hazard) Implement a heath and well being program? Implement a semi-annual weigh-in? Implement a semi-annual physical agility test? . Fire Fighters place themselves at greater risk percentage wise by what they eat, lack of exercise and smoking cigarettes than fighting actual fires. Here are the facts; http://www.nfpa.org/assets/files/pdf/osfff.pdf For 22 of the 31 victims of sudden cardiac events in 2011, post mortem medical documentation was available and showed that 13 were hypertensive, six had coronary artery disease, five were diabetic, and four were reported to have had a history of cardiac problems -- such as prior heart attacks, bypass surgery or angioplasty/stent placement. Some of the victims had more than one condition. Other risk factors were represented among the victims of sudden cardiac death, including obesity, high cholesterol, smoking and family history. Firefighter Fatalities in the U.S., 6/12 6 NFPA Fire Analysis and Research, Quincy, MA
eye in the sky January 24, 2013 at 02:34 PM
I thought the first paragraph was related to you! No firefighters smoke on the job and most sign a contract upon hiring that they don't smoke at all! I think that being blown out of your bed in the middle of the night by lights and loud sounds and having to get you wits together in about 5 seconds puts a lot of stress on the heart! You just hate firefighters fatboy admit it, Mommy didn't give you a Tonka fire truck to play with because she saw even then it was something you just fail at! Your father the poor man must look at you everyday and " say there is no way this POS came from my loins" It' sad you have to look in the mirror everyday and know that!
RS January 25, 2013 at 02:53 PM
Coventry Jay, The NFPA standards go way beyond individual health and fitness. Maybe you could spend some time researching that too.
coventry voter-Jay January 28, 2013 at 01:09 PM
@Eye in Sky=head up Axx "No firefighters smoke on the job " Really?? is that true in Coventry, beacuse if it is that contract is bing violated as we speak. I dont hate FF's Joe I dont like being scammed. We not only have FF's smoking we have dedicated smoking areas at our fire stations. @RS I have read much of the NFPA standards and I know they go way beyond individual health and fitness, but as a taxpayer I am not willing to spend one red cent more than I already am unless the ff's are on board will all the standards. We can start with individual health and fitness. As joe said in his post, FF's go from sleep to respond in 5 seconds. I agree that is a great ammount of stress on the mind and body. Especially a body that 40lbs overweight. We have smokers at most of the stations in coventry and at anthony there are a couple of FF's that can only drive the truck. They are too big to fit in the rescue.
eye in the sky January 28, 2013 at 02:56 PM
Coventry Voter at least call me by my first name John not Joe if want to think you know who I am. But you know that CCFD is not Anthony who is not Hopkins Hill who is not Western right? You know they are separate Departments with different policy's right? Which ones allow smoking?
RS January 28, 2013 at 03:35 PM
I was hired in 1996 and I had to sign a no smoking clause. All our stations have fitness equipment and we are encouraged to use them.
coventry voter-Jay January 28, 2013 at 04:41 PM
RS please tell us the details about the No Smoking policy for your dept
coventry voter-Jay January 28, 2013 at 04:45 PM
@eye sorry John I thought you said your name was Joe my bad. I do know we have several districts in Cov. But given the Job hazards whay would any FF even smoke? and why would a dept allow a member to smokes given the same job related hazards?
eye in the sky January 29, 2013 at 03:30 AM
I won't argue with you on that one, Most departments today you have to sign a no smoking clause.
coventry voter-Jay January 29, 2013 at 12:49 PM
I renue my request, RS please tell us the details about the No Smoking policy for your dept. Do all Coventry districts have a no-smoking policy? Which ones do not?
RS January 29, 2013 at 03:54 PM
Jay, I don't work for any Coventry Dept. My dept doesn't have a set policy, it varies Chief to Chief and Mayor to Mayor. I know when I was hired there was a no smoking policy. I do know that more and more depts are adding fitness equipment for the members to use between calls to try to improve heart health. Reguardless of smoking or not, the chemicals we are exposed to wreak havoc on our systems. Not saying I didn't know this before I signed up, just trying to say that I can try to improve my health myself, but I don't think I should have to fight the Town to replace outdated air packs and turnout gear. The NFPA standards my Guthrie is talking about set standards for things like replacement schedules on these items.
Gorman no saint March 21, 2013 at 08:25 PM
The fix is in, right Guthrie. Are you going to threaten Kettle at the next meeting ? You did a great job telling him to sit down and shut up, I'd better not hear you or I will run against you next time ! Was a fire fighter will always vote for the fire fighter, he could care less about the real tax payer. You must be related to Gorman !
Gorman no saint March 21, 2013 at 08:27 PM
He has that ridiculous mustache so you can't see his grin while he is screwing you !


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