FASNY: Proposed changes to OSHA regulations could impact fire departments, property taxes

Fire officials recently lobbied against the plan saying it would more than double the necessary training hours volunteers would have to receive.

Liz Burke

Jun 5, 2024, 12:26 PM

Updated 7 days ago


At a news conference at the Dix Hills Fire Department on Wednesday, several fire and government officials across Long Island spoke out against OSHA’s proposed emergency responder changes, which would affect volunteer and career fire departments.
Officials said the proposed changes would have a profound negative impact on the nearly 180 volunteer fire departments across Long Island and make the challenges of firefighter recruitment even worse.
Eugene Perry, first vice president of Firefighters Association of the State of New York, said, “We’re absolutely not against firefighter safety or training and some of this stuff that we’re doing now, but they’ve taken this to another level and a one-size-fits-all standard just doesn’t work here on Long Island and especially in the rural counties up in New York state.”
Fire officials said the new regulations would mean changes in firefighter training requirements, medical screenings and other mandates.
Donald Corkery, president of the New York State Association of Fire Districts, said, “It doubled the training. We’re in the midst of trying to recruit firefighters. So, if I told you, come on, come on board, it’s about, ya know, 150 hours and now it’s 300 hours.”
Physicals currently cost $300 dollars per firefighter. The new regulation would cost a fire district $1,300 to $1,500 per firefighter.
Government officials said Suffolk County Fire Rescue would need to triple its staff for training at an excessive amount for taxpayers.
FASNY said the changes would significantly increase the costs of providing fire protection and communities may need to shut down volunteer fire departments and increase property taxes to comply with the rules.
According to OSHA, the current standards do not address the full range of hazards facing emergency responders. OSHA has not made changes to these regulations in 40 years.
Members of the public have until July 22nd to submit their input about the proposed regulations. Click here for more info.

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