President’s Message

By FASNY President Bob McConville

I wish to thank everyone who attended the 142nd Annual Convention of FASNY at the Desmond Hotel and Conference Center in Albany. Without a doubt, it was one of the most successful events FASNY has ever hosted. The first annual golf tournament raising money for the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation Fund and the New York State Fallen Firefighter Memorial in Albany was well-attended and we thank everyone who participated.

The membership who attended enjoyed informative forums with speakers from around the country presenting up-to-the-minute information. A youth hands-on session was outstanding and we thank all at the Town of Colonie Fire Training Facility for hosting. This annual junior program continues to grow and we look forward to being back at this great facility next August.

We thank those who sat in on the meeting sessions, visited the vendors and enjoyed the hospitality night. We were overwhelmed when we heard that the scholarship auction led by FASNY Director Brian McQueen and his hard-working committee collected over in excess of $3,500. It was an unbelievable effort by all in attendance to help educate the youth of New York State.

I congratulate FASNY CAO David Quinn and his committed staff at 107 who made this Convention a success. I personally thank President Jim Burns for his two years of service as president to FASNY, as he kept moving the needs of the organization, membership and the volunteer firefighters of New York State forward. James: great job and good luck in all your future endeavors. I certainly look forward to working with First Vice President Ken Pienkowski, Second Vice President Steve Klein and everyone in FASNY for the next two years.

Myself, First Vice President Ken Pienkowski, Second Vice President Steve Klein and the entire leadership of FASNY are dedicated to the idea and need for firefighter safety, firefighter health and firefighter wellness. FASNY’s concept for the upcoming administration will be “A Healthy Firefighter Is Everyone’s Fight.” Now is the time for the volunteer fire service in New York State to begin to change the culture of the way we take care of ourselves, our fellow firefighters and the public we serve. We need to educate, train and inform our membership on how to practice daily safety procedures and actions as to protect themselves from cancer, cardiac events and other diseases we face in firefighting.

FASNY’s first step, in conjunction with VFIS, in this fight has been to develop a three-hour seminar entitled, “You … Safety and Wellness = Survival.” We have scheduled 10 of these classes across the state this fall. I encourage everyone to find the closest class and attend. I have also requested all FASNY committees to direct their efforts to safety, health and wellness in their upcoming years committee programs. The Youth in the Fire Service Committee will look to teach safe practices to the youth in seminars and hands-on drills. The EMS Committee will add these type of classes to their two seminars this winter. The Fire Prevention and Life Safety Committee will develop a health and wellness program to teach in the schools across the state and we will further reach out to experts in this field to write articles for The Volunteer Firefighter and our website. As I stated in my address at Convention, I have asked all our association partners from across the state to join FASNY in this fight. We will use every resource available to us to educate, train and inform the firefighter on best practices for safety, health and wellness of themselves. FASNY continues to partner with the Firefighter Cancer Support Network Association. I have listed the organization’s 11 immediate steps you can use to better protect yourselves against cancer.

1. Use SCBA from initial attack to finish of overhaul. Not wearing SCBA in both active and post-fire environments is the most dangerous voluntary activity in the fire service today.

2. Do gross field decon of PPE to remove as much soot and particulates as possible.

3. Use a Wet-Nap or baby wipes to remove as much soot as possible from head, neck, jaw, throat, underarms and hands immediately after a fire.

4. Change your clothes and wash them immediately after a fire.

5. Shower thoroughly after a fire.

6. Clean your PPE, gloves, hood and helmet immediately after a fire.

7. Do not take contaminated clothes or PPE home or store it in your vehicle.

8. Decon fire apparatus interior after fires.

9. Keep bunker gear out of living and sleeping quarters.

10. Stop using tobacco products.

11. Use sunscreen or sun block.

Lastly, in closing, I wish to thank everyone who supported me in my election for President of this great Association. I continue to promise to you that I will be a hard-working and caring president of FASNY.