A PROFILE IN COURAGE
|By Jim Vannucchi, Director|
|All too often, the standard of our calling falls prey to the verbal onslaught of those on the outside looking in. Those who believe that our existence is an extravagance for the services that we perform. Those who believe that we have become archaic and should be disbanded. Rather than respond with words, we in the fire service have always allowed our actions to speak for us, content with the knowledge that we have performed our duty to the fullest. The following is but one these unselfish acts.
On March 12, 2001, Firefighter Jeff Moreno, Truck One, was off-duty and driving home on Highway 80 near Vallejo, CA., when he witnessed a motor vehicle accident. Reacting unselfishly as one would with over 20 years of dedication as a Public Safety Officer, FF Moreno responded immediately to assist the victims of the collision. Upon exiting his vehicle, FF Moreno noted that there were two victims: an adult male who had suffered head trauma and a young child who had been thrown from the vehicle. FF Moreno saw that the child had also incurred head injuries and was bleeding profusely.
As FF Moreno attempted to render first aid after activating the 911 System, the adult insisted upon leaving the scene with the child without benefit of treatment. FF Moreno tried to calm the victim, identifying himself as a firefighter, and emphasizing the need that both he and the child receive immediate medical treatment. As FF Moreno attempted to prevent the adult from moving the child, the adult became unusually agitated and stated to FF Moreno that he was in possession of a gun and that he would kill FF Moreno if he did not allow him to leave with the child. With total disregard for his own personal safety, FF Moreno refused to allow the adult to move the child for fear of compounding existing injuries.
At that point, the adult became combative and removed a knife from his pocket, attacking FF Moreno. Refusing to jeopardize the safety of the injured child, FF Moreno engaged the knife-wielding adult in an attempt to control his behavior. After a brief struggle, FF Moreno had the adult on the ground and disarmed. Sadly, during the confrontation, FF Moreno received a knife wound to his right hand, severing a tendon, and exposure to blood borne pathogens.
Upon arrival of EMS and law enforcement, with unparallel compassion for human life, FF Moreno continued to assist with the treatment and the evacuation of the victims.
We have received communications from Clare Murphy, Executive Director of the CCSF Retirement System, that effective February 1, 2001, the San Francisco Retirement Board has approved the deferral of a portion of accumulated lump sum payments. If you are a San Francisco Deferred Compensation Plan Participant, you may defer a portion of the accumulated lump-sum payments made on or after March 1, 2001. If you decide to take advantage of this alternative you must adhere to the 457 Plan maximum contribution limit, which for 2001, is the lesser of $8,500.00 or 25% of annual salary. For additional information, contact ING Aetna, or join us for a Deferred Compensation Seminar immediately following the April 2001 Local 798 membership meeting.
April 2 30, 2001 is open enrollment for the Health Service System. This is the opportunity afforded employees to update or change their health benefits. Both HSS and benefit plan representatives will be on hand at various sites to assist you. Look for notification in the mail.
ANNUAL POLICE-FIRE MEMORIAL SERVICE
The annual Police-Fire memorial Service will be held, Sunday, April 29, 2001, 10:30am, at St. Monicas Church, 23rd Ave. & Geary Blvd. in San Francisco. SFFF Local 798 and the SFPOA will sponsor a reception immediately following the services in the church hall. Members of all faiths and their families are invited and encouraged to attend this service in a show of respect for our honored dead. Clergy of all faiths will be co-celebrating the service. This is an important opportunity to build a strong sense of community among Police Officers, Firefighters and their families. Please plan to attend.
We have gained much success with the advent of Presumptive Laws in the California Labor Code that addresses Heart-Hernia-Pneumonia, Cancer, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis and Meningitis. However, in some instances, the battle for determination of the illness as job related can be uphill. Protect yourself with a few simple steps. CPF has established the Personal Exposure Reporting system, or PER. Originally designed to track exposures to chemical hazards, it also tracks exposures to biological hazards, patient body fluids and needle stick injuries. PER is available to all firefighters. The purpose is to give long term protection if an illness develops that may have been caused by an on the job exposure. Use PER to keep track of what gets into you on a daily basis. You may need this knowledge 20 years from now. Further, give yourself a screening thats free and is a tremendous service to the community. Get involved with Local 798 blood drives. Your donation will be automatically tested for a myriad of illnesses, you will do a good thing for someone in need, and Local 798 will even help replace your blood loss.